Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Film Review: The Amazing Spider-Man 2

.:Film Review: The Amazing Spider-Man 2:.

Sorry, Black Lightning! Beat ya to it.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2
Predictably heart-breaking.

I'll try my best not to spoil the key elements of the film, but any comic book reader would know what to expect when you put the Green Goblin together with Gwen Stacy.

The sequel picks up from where the original left off, with Gwen and Peter happily in love, and Gwen predictably graduating as class valedictorian, where she promptly launched into a graduation speech that talked about mortality faster than you can say "foreshadowing!" Of course, it helps that the topic would be very much in her head, since her father recently died, but that didn't stop Dennis Leary from still showing up all over the film, as if to remind Peter that he broke his promise to Captain Stacy to stay away from Gwen.

Wish it didn't stop this guy, either.

So as Spider-Man goes about heroing his way through New York, he wonders from time to time about his parents more, and ends up meeting Max Dillon: an employee of Oscorp who idolized Spider-Man, all the more when he met his favorite hero, who gave him the time of day. It was a recipe for disaster waiting to happen.

As Peter waffles back and forth about Gwen, he ends up hanging out with his old best friend, Harry Osborn, and a bromance is born. As the mysteries about his family and Harry's desire for Spider-Man's blood to save his life come together as plot points, Max Dillon's transformation into Electro, a villain with electricity powers, will put Spider-Man to the test like no other.

So what worked in this film? Well, Andrew Garfield may not seem as sympathetic as Tobey Maguire, but I prefer the more assertive, less sad sack Garfield interpretation, even if he does get a bit too dramatic sometimes. He's supposed to be a teenager, after all, and that's teenagers are supposed to act. The action was pretty good, and very creative with how Spider-Man moves about, although he seems to like swinging stuff with his webs a lot in this installment. I'm also still hoping to see J. Jonah Jameson in this franchise at some point, seeing how amazing J.K. Simmons was as him in the original trilogy.

There's a lot of ground to be covered plot-wise, but it feels a little ridiculously convenient how everything about Peter's life is tied into Oscorp way too neatly. His girlfriend works for Oscorp, his best friend is the son of Norman Osborn, he gets his powers from a trip to Oscorp, Electro works in Oscorp, his parents worked in Oscorp, and so forth. I just feel that as opposed to how cohesive the first Amazing Spider-Man was except for the part where he randomly stopped trying to find his uncle's killer in the middle of the first flick, this film felt a lot more disjointed, almost as if it were trying to set up yet another film (Which is exactly what it's actually setting out to do.)

"Sup, guys? Couldn't you wait until Avengers 2 is out first before 
you start  making cameos all over the damned place?!?"

I like how fun Peter is as Spider-Man. I like his chemistry with Gwen. But the elements of the movie just felt so disconnected from each other, and it didn't really manage to tell a story, so much as it just said a few things, but not really form a cohesive sentence. 

I really don't expect much from my superhero flicks, though, so what I got from here is perfectly workable. It's just mildly frustrating to see so much wasted potential, and so much needless contrivances in a film franchise where you already have to suspend your disbelief that every single person who gets into a horrible accident involving Oscorp property ends up gaining super powers of some sort.

Overall, this film could have stood on its own better if it decided to scale back on planting the seeds for the Sinister Six so much. I get how important it is to get the buzz going about it long before it's even a reality, but when it hurts your overall narrative and diminishes a very credible performance from Jamie Foxx in favor of what seemed to be a tacked-on aftermath just to add drama, well, it just doesn't really work.

Heck, based on one moment in the film, I would even argue that Spider-Man seems far less heroic than Superman did in Man of Steel.  (You know the one, if you remember what happened immediately before the Goblin shows up.)

That moment right there? That's the moment where I wondered to myself if this Spider-Man was truly the hero I deserved. Or wanted. Or needed. Sadly, the answer seems to hover around "no."

Fun Rating: A (Great cast, great chemistry, great action, albeit not as iconic as the first Amazing Spider-Man!)
Critical Rating: B- (Convoluted plot, unnecessary drama, too many contrivances, and a particularly unheroic Spider-Man, as far as I'm concerned.)

1 comment:

Dan O. said...

Nice review Marcelle. I have some mixed feelings about a few aspects, but when the film needs to be effective, it really was.