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The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Film Review
Warning: This review contains spoilers.
A lot of people have been complaining that The Amazing Spider-Man 2 repeated all of the same mistakes from Spider-Man 3 and that it's completely "ruined" the series and it's the "worst Spider-Man ever." While I don't agree with the latter two complaints, I do agree (sort of) about the criticism over the movie doing a little too much. I still think Amazing Spider-Man 2 was a highly enjoyable, well acted, and story driven superhero film that should please the fans if they weren't so focused on trashing everything about it.
Andre Garfield returns as Peter Parker/Spider-Man who continues to fight crime in the streets of New York. He and Gwen Stacy have an on-again/off-again relationship because of Peter's conflict between his promise to Captain Stacy from the first film and his desire to be with the woman he loves. Garfield and Stone's chemistry is off the charts and makes for one of the best on-screen couples in recent memory. Early on we meet Max Dillon, an under-appreciated and imbalanced electrician for OsCorp who builds an obsession with Spider-man and actually believes that they're friends despite only meeting him once after a rescue. He falls into a vat of experimental electric eels that electrify his body, turning him into a walking electrical conductor. He stumbles into the streets and fights Spider-Man. He's later apprehended and taken to Ravencroft Institute to be studied. Meanwhile, Peter's childhood friend Harry Osborn returns to New York City and takes over OsCorp after his father dies. He learns that the disease that killed his father will also kill him and he starts to go insane. Spider-Man's blood holds the key to his survival but Spidey refuses because of the unknown effects it will have on him. After Harry uncovers the secret bio-weapons program run by OsCorp, he's forced out of the company and strikes a deal with Max, now calling himself Electro. They break into OsCorp where Harry takes an experimental serum out of the chemicals that helped create Spider-Man and it turns Harry into the Green Goblin, he dons an experimental piece of military armor and breaks loose. Spider-Man takes on Electro in the climax where, with the help of Gwen, Electro is defeated. Harry arrives and fights Spider-Man, but he's quickly defeated. Gwen falls off the gears in the clock tower where the fight took place and Spider-Man tries to catch her with his web, but he's too late, and Gwen dies. Peter quits being Spider-Man until Rhino reeks havoc on the streets at the behest of Harry and the "man in the shadows" from the first film, revealed to be Gustav Friers. Right before the credits roll, Spidey leaps towards Rhino, ready to take him on.
The problem with this movie is very simple. They tried to have their cake and eat it too. They packed too much into this movie to further expand the series and it cut away from things that should've been given more time. Specifically, the film's villains, Electro and Harry Osborn. Dane Dehann and Jamie Foxx got sort of shortchanged by the desire to stay accurate to the comics in the movie's most crucial scene and the need to set up future movies. In my opinion, I think they should've strayed away from the comics a little bit in order to deliver a better film. They should've saved Harry's transformation into Green Goblin for the very end of the film where they set up the Sinister Six for the next movie that way Electro would've received the lone spotlight as the films villain in between the bookend Rhino scenes. Jamie Foxx deserved more, but he was mostly forgotten in the middle of the movie so they could focus on Harry going to crazy town and his transformation in Green Goblin. Harry could've still goneto crazy town, but we could've had more time with Harry and Peter as friends to give more context to their friendship's end. As for the death of Gwen Stacy, it would've been different from the comics, but they could've achieved the same emotional conclusion by having her die because of Electro instead of the fight with Green Goblin. The filmmaker's need to HAVE Green Goblin because they felt he NEEDED to be involved in Gwen's death robbed the movie of a chance to breath. The Marvel Universe movies, the X-Men films, and the Dark Knight Trilogy have written the playbook on how to handle multiple villains. The men and women behind Spider-Man need to read it too, especially since the SInister Six are the next villains.
Those gripes aside, the actors did a tremendous job. Garfield, Stone, Dehann, Foxx, Sally Field, Paul Giamatti, and co. did a great job in their respective roles. The action sequences were fantastic as usual in a Spider-Man film. The two standouts were the Times Square fight with Electro and the climax where Spidey and Gwen take on Electro and Green Goblin. The story itself was good and I'm glad they at least try to stay close to the source material. I just think they don't have to stick close to it just for the sake of staying close to it. It's okay to take some liberties as long as it works in the film. I look forward to Amazing Spider-Man 3 in a couple of years and I hope they remember to breath. They don't have to cram everything in at once. If the Marvel Universe has proven anything, it's that it is okay to take your time.