D&D Mixed Review: The Amazing Spider-Man 2

The_Amazing_Spiderman_2_poster

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is distributed by Columbia Pictures.

Hello and welcome to the first (and maybe last) in a series of duo text reviews from myself Derek Morton and my partner in crime Denis Umplebly. Today we’ll be writing about the new entry in the Spider-Man film franchise. The review will be split up into four categories and we’ll end of with a score of watch in theatre, wait for rental or pass. So let’s jump right in.

First some context on what this film is about;

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is the sequel to the Marc Webb helmed reboot. The film follows Spider-Man/Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) who is beginning to win over the hearts of the people of New York with his crime fighting ways. While he’s growing in popularity he’s battling with the demons of his past such as the death of his parents and his girlfriend’s, Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone), father.

Peter is also reunited with his childhood friend Harry Osborn (Dean DeHann). Harry takes over his father’s company, Oscorp, after his death at the hands of a genetic disease that slowly kills all of the Osborn’s. Harry starts looking for a cure and tries to enlist the help of Spider-Man.

During the film, we’re also introduced to the mild mannered Max Dillion (Jamie Foxx), an employee of Oscorp who after a horrible accident is given the powers of conjuring and controlling electricity. Dillion, now Electro, tries to take over New York and kill Spider-Man.

Plot:

In a nutshell the films plot is average. It sets-up Dillion’s job, his powers and how he could possible take over New York. The film also goes deeper into the past of Peter’s parents, and these scenes seemed out of place. The biggest issue I had with the film was the way that it chose to get to it’s larger set pieces. While the trailer would make you believe that Harry had a plan all along his eventual heel turn makes him look like a punk ass kid who didn’t get what he wanted for Christmas. “If Spider-Man doesn’t give me his blood, which probably won’t cure me, I’ll find someone to beat him up!” He’s no Ra’s Al Ghoul. Additionally we don’t really get an idea of who he or Dillion are, one minute they’re normal(ish) the next they’re crazy and want Spider-Man dead. The film feels like it was chopped up in editing and some of the crucial elements were sadly left on the cutting room floor. And despite the cut’s, the film still felt way too long! So it ended up being just one big mess.

I go into movies based on existing franchises with certain expectations. I expect a certain tone and story from a Batman movie, just like I would of a Superman movie. Sometimes a shift in the story and tone can work, but with the last Amazing Spider-Man it didn’t. This time things felt right. Spider-Man’s got his humour, the conspiracy plot actually mattered in the movie, and all the villains motivations made sense. It’s not ground breaking or will blow away your expectations. It’s a movie about Spider-Man, and frankly that’s all I want.

Performances:

So this Andrew Garfield guy, I’m not a fan. I’m sure he’s been great in other films, but this Spider-Man isn’t doing it for me. Garfield’s dialogue sounds like he simply ignored the script and awkwardly came up with the lines on the spot. His stuttering frustrated me and drew out of parts of the film. That being said, his performance didn’t annoy me as much as Jamie Foxx pre-Electro. His shabby appearance is matched with his constant conversations with himself, again we don’t get an idea who he is besides crazy person. However after the change, Foxx is a solid Electro. Stone and DeHann on the other hand do a good job with the limited time and resources they’re given. Overall, its a bit of a mixed bag for the main cast. You know who was really awesome though? Paul Giamatti as kind of Rhino and Marton Csokas as Dr. Kafka or as I’m calling him; Dr. German Von Stereotype. Unfortunately neither were featured that much in the film.

I honestly like the performances with the exception of some of the goofier characters. Peter, Gwen and Harry all felt natural and fit well into their roles. I like Garfield as Peter. He fits physically and totally to the Peter that I love from the comics and cartoons. Same goes with Gwen and Harry all who’s relationships with Peter felt so natural. It is impressive that Harry and Peter did feel like old friends even though we’ve never seen Harry before this. Max and Dr. German Accent felt a bit too goofy for a movie filled with more natural performances. Especially with Rhino, and his head chain tattoo.

Production:

Despite my distaste for the larger plot workings and some of the acting, the films production is solid. The direction of Marc Webb is good and the film features some interesting CG effects such as the Spider-Sense slow down and speed up effects, even if the Spider-Sense thing played like the buzz from Highlander. The films soundtrack was excellent. The moments that stood out the most were Electro’s scenes that either featured Dub-Step matching his movements or the whispering of paranoid voices during his first action scene. Pretty solid overall. However, there were a few things that ticked me off. For example why would Spider-Man, who in this world is a real person, not only hum but have the Spider-Man theme as a ring tone? That really bugged me. 

For once in this review I actually agree with Mr. Optimistic above. Aside from an odd Indy sounding song that Peter was listening to as he was making his serial killer wall, the rest of the music was great. The first battle with Electro especially, the sounds of his paranoia worked great. The large technical change from that last film to this one was the shift from digital effects to film, and I really didn’t notice that much. I think that this was directed better and the slow motion worked well, but I don’t know if that was implemented because of the format change, or Marc Webb just decided to direct better.

Overall Thoughts:

I hated this film. There’s no way around it. I wasn’t a fan of the first Webb film and this one managed to anger me a bit more. While the film had some solid production values the dialogue is bad, the plot moved from average to stupid way to quickly and the film just feels like an ad for the next film (something that could be said for all Comic Book Films). But then again, I love the first Captain America film, so maybe I’m the idiot here. This film will do great business due to the fact it’s a big dumb actiony thing with explosions and a quick moving plot, but in the end I think it’s not worth seeing right now. WAIT FOR RENTAL. PS Don’t tease me with Paul Giamatti in a mech suit and only give me three minutes of it. That’s just cold man.

It was a Spider-Man film. That’s all I really wanted. I didn’t want Shakespeare or the Dark Knight with webs. I just wanted a competent and fun Spider-Man movie. I reserve my anger for other things, like poverty, mouldy bread, and Community not getting renewed by NBC. But Spider-man didn’t make me mad. WATCH IN THEATRE Cause I said so sheep!

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was directed by Marc Webb. The film was produced by Columbia Pictures and Marvel Entertainment. Spider-Man was created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko.

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