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The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Review [SPOILERS]
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)
Starring: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx, Dane DeHaan, and Sally Field
Directed by: Marc Webb
Our favorite web-slinger is at it again, In this sequel to 2012's The Amazing Spider-Man. Peter (Garfield) and Gwen (Stone) are graduating high school and are happily in love. But Peter can't get passed his guilt for breaking his promise to Captain Stacy (Denise Leary). Tired of the drama, Gwen breaks up with him, instead. This gives Peter more time to focus on uncovering his parents' secret and also visit his old childhood friend, Harry Osborn (DeHaan) who has returned from boarding school to take over OsCorp Industries after his father, Norman Osborn (Chris Cooper) dies. Meanwhile, Gwen has a chance at a scholarship to Oxford University, which Peter has mixed feelings about.
The main villain of the movie is Max Dillon aka Electro (Foxx). He starts off as a brilliant, unappreciated, invisible employee working at OsCorp. After an accident occurs, Dillon finds himself made out of pure electrical energy. This causes everyone to look at him like he's a freak. Jealous of Spider-Man's fame, Dillon becomes a major threat. The other villain, Harry Osborn finds himself coming down with the same disease that killed his father. Desperate to live, Harry asks Peter for some of Spider-Man's genetic blood so he can heal himself. Afraid of what the blood would do to Harry, Peter refuses thus causing Harry to do everything is his power to recover some of the genetic spider blood that was salvaged before the spiders were killed. Unfortunately, the side effects cause him to turn into a goblin-like demon.
All in all it was a rather disappointing movie. The thing I've had a problem with, since the beginning, is the title. Why call it The Amazing Spider-Man 2? Spider-Man has gone by many names over the years. Why not go with The SPECTACULAR Spider-Man or The ULTIMATE Spider-Man? Unfortunately, the title is the least of this film's problems.
Most of the acting isn't that memorable. Jamie Foxx wasn't a good fit for the role of Electro. It wasn't some of his best work. Dane DeHaan really overacts his role as Harry Osborn, especially after he becomes the Green Goblin.
Paul Giamatti overacts as Russian mobster, Aleksei Sytsevich. I could not take him seriously at all but I don't think that I was supposed to. He's not in the film very much. Only at the beginning when his gang hijacks an OsCorp truck, but afterwards he is immediately forgotten until he returns to battle Spider-Man at the very end of the film, in a robotic rhino suit. That scene felt like one of those childish "A hero's work is never done" endings. The rest of the movie just focuses on Electro and Green Goblin as it's villains.
The spider suit has been changed, but there's no explanation as to why and it looks almost exactly like the suit from the Sam Raimi trilogy. There are too many story lines happening at once, so many in fact, that they had to cut one story line from the movie, completely. The story with Mary Jane Watson (Shailene Woodley), even though her footage had already been shot. Some of the stories had promising twists, but failed to deliver. Plus, the ending drags a little more than it should. Mostly, the movie just feels like it's targeted more towards children than actual fans who have been with Spider-Man since his comic debut in Amazing Fantasy #15, 1962.
I feel Stan Lee's cameos are becoming a bit too silly, these days. He started out as an extra, blending in with the beach crowd, in X-Men (2000), and nowadays he's given a line in each movie. Sometimes it works, like in The Avengers, but other times, like in Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, they reference the comic book too much. It's a fun tradition trying to find him in these movies, but sometimes they just go overboard with it.
It seems that the only thing that works in the movie's favor is Garfield and Stone's love chemistry. You really feel a connection between the two of them. I guess it helps when you're dating your co-star in real life.
The most unexpected thing about the movie, happens in the middle of the ending credits: a promo scene for X-Men: Days of Future Past. There is no clear explanation as to why this scene comes out of nowhere, but you assume that it's preparing us for a Spider-Man/X-Men crossover. There is no connection to Spider-Man at all in the scene, so you will leave the theater totally confused. There is a story going around that the reason for the scene is because of an existing one-picture deal between director Marc Webb and Fox Searchlight, after making (500) Days of Summer. But because Webb had signed on to direct The Amazing Spider-Man, the deal had to be put on hold. It's said, Fox had given Webb permission to direct The Amazing Spider-Man 2 if SONY would promote the X-Men film for free. Ah, the politics of the film world.
Recently, photos have surfaced, on the internet, teasing another post-credit scene that was cut from the film. It showed the strange man in the shadows (whom we find out in this movie to be, Gustav Fiers) lurking in one of the underground laboratories of OsCorp. He approaches the frozen head of Norman Osborn. This was supposed to give us the idea that Osborn was alive and in a sleeping state. It is unknown why this scene was cut, but maybe the filmmakers decided to just leave Osborn dead.
I like the story idea of having OsCorp being responsible for the creations of the villains, giving them their superpowers or providing them with their signature weapons (The four tentacles of Doctor Octopus and the flight harness of the Vulture make little cameos). It is quiet obvious, by now, that this series of movies is all leading up to one of Spider-Man's most famous battles: The Battle with the Sinister Six.
My favorite part of the whole movie is the moment that Gwen dies. Anyone who has read the comic books could see that Gwen was going to die in this movie. It's not to say I'm glad Emma Stone isn't coming back for the next movie. She's the best leading lady that the Spider-Man series has offered. I'd prefer her over Kirsten Dunst any day. What I like most about it was how well if affected me. Even though I knew it was going to happen, it still made my stomach turn. Plus they stood pretty loyal to the comic book with it (Amazing Spider-Man #121, June 1973).
The only differences were: In the comic book, Spider-Man is battling Norman Osborn's Green Goblin, the battle took place on top of the George Washington Bridge, and Gwen died by her neck snapping from Spider-Man's web stopping her free fall.
In the movie, the battle is with Harry Osborn's Green Goblin, the battle takes place inside a clock tower, and Gwen died by smacking her head on the concrete floor.
What makes the death of Gwen Stacy so powerful is the fact that she is one of the very few characters in the Marvel universe that actually stays dead. She is never resurrected or miraculously survives to make a surprising return later on down the road. There was a series of comic book issues where Gwen made a surprising return, but it turned out that she was only a clone. When it comes to the real Gwen Stacy, dead is dead.
All in all, Amazing Spider-Man 2 is a disappointing adaptation to the series. Spider-Man has saved many lives, but he can't save his own movie. I think we are getting to the point where Spider-Man should take a well deserved rest, for a while. If you are looking for a great Spider-Man movie, stick with Sam Raimi's Spider-Man 2.
Overall Rating: 2/5