The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Movie Review

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Movie Review

2 and a half_2

The Good: Emma Stone & Dane DeHaan.

The Bad: Uneven pacing, clear lack of focus and everything being a hot (but beautifully CGI-rendered) mess.

The Ugly: “I. AM. RHINO!” Serious WTF moment there.

Opening strong in the Philippines with local box office sales records exceeding that of My Little Bossings (ha! Take that Kris Aquino), it seems that The Amazing Spider-Man 2 should be winning its audience in full. Sadly, that isn’t the case. Scoring a relatively low score of 54% in review-aggregated site Rotten Tomatoes, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 jumps back on screen more limping than swinging.

Spider-sense is tingling!
Spider-sense is tingling!

The main problem with the Amazing Spider-Man 2 is that there was a ridiculous amount of excessiveness going on that the producers, writers and director couldn’t weave them all up as one cohesive story. It sorely lacked the one thing that this movie really needed: focus.

Okay, now what?
Okay, now what?

The movie opens up with so many story arcs. There’s Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) and his budding relationship with super adorkable Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone). Then there’s the story about Peter’s past finally revealing (without much spectacle) what his father, Richard Parker (Campbell Scott) ominously discovered. We’re then introduced to Max Dillon (Jamie Foxx), a bullied stereotypical nerd schizophrenic OSCORP engineer  and his freak accident to become Electro. This happens at the heel of Norman Osborn’s (Chris Cooper) passing and leaving his son (and apparently Peter’s childhood best friend) Harry (Dane DeHaan) control over the company and its research. Unfortunately for Harry, Norman left something more for his son: a debilitating and deadly genetic disease that only the research of Peter’s dad can fix. Sadly, the only semblance of that research now resides in Peter’s blood. Peter now faces his toughest challenges to date: can he string a web big enough to cover all of these gaping plot holes?

Lights, camera...
Lights, camera…SQUIRREL!

The unfortunate task to balance all this out resides in known indie-director Marc Webb (500 Days of Summer). And while the first movie gave the franchise it’s much needed fresh take, juggling all of these stories only exposed Webb’s inexperience in handling a production this large. The result is a confusing mess with the movie being pulled in so many different directions.

These two are soooo adorkable! :p
These two are soooo adorkable! :p

When not in costume, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 tells a compelling character story of Peter Parker and his relationships with the people around him. Every time Peter and Gwen are on screen, you’re enthralled by the giddiness these two share. Even the Peter-Harry Osborn arc was brilliantly conveyed in smart banter between actors. Clearly Marc Webb’s talent is capturing the small moments that adds a relatable human side to everything you see on screen. He has the ability to take a small moment and magnify this tenfold,  and the result is a brilliant character performance by  the actors. The moments when Spidey has a one-on-one with the kid being bullied and Aunt May’s frustration over Peter’s obsession with his Father will move you. On those accounts the film is magnificently brilliant. However,  it’s time to pull off the big action set pieces, the movie falters big time.

Pumpkin bombs...really?!
Happy, uh, Halloween? :p

The great thing about the reboot was the potential to show a more grounded Spider-Man. And while it did so successfully on the first film, it seemed they double backed on this one. Every time they put on their costumes, it feels like you’re watching a totally different movie. Suddenly the villains feel like a caricature of themselves, throwing away the superb backstory that was written for them before they transitioned to their colorful costumes. This makes it harder for us to acknowledge them as authentic to their causes.

Meet obsessive-compulsive delusional nerd engineer of Oscorp division. He also hears voices in his head. How he passed the psych test is beyond me.
Max Dillon’s obsessive personality makes him a great candidate for Moon Knight. He also hears voices in his head. When he becomes Electro later on the voices are replaced by a  Heavy Metal Band. >_<!

The best villains are never those who see themselves as villains, but as someone who simply believes in whatever they’re doing. So much so that it becomes truth to them. Take the villains from the Marvel Studio roster. None of them (save for the Red Skull) were overly flamboyant to the point of referring to themselves as their aliases (heck, now that I think about it, the Red Skull never referred to himself in that name).  I mean, seriously, who calls themselves “Electro” and “Rhino”?

This fight scene is particularly interesting primarily because Electro made a musical equalizer out of them pillars.
This fight scene is particularly interesting primarily because Electro made a musical equalizer out of them pillars.

There were a lot of missed opportunities with The Amazing Spider-Man 2. The story arcs per se isn’t bad. It’s just not told in a way that would’ve expounded on the narrative. It felt rushed and very unfocused. If I were to guess, I feel that the film that Marc Webb really wanted to make was those without CGI and and the studio executives wanted more costumes and boom-booms.  Why advertise having 3 villains when Paul Giamatti’s Rhino had a mere 5-7 minute exposure? Why add Electro into the mix?  And why did they disregard Norman Osborn that quickly? Dude! I cannot even.

Isn't he the cutest thing? D'aaawww.
Isn’t he the cutest thing? D’aaawww.

If there was one villain that they should have developed and concentrated on, it should have been the Green Goblin, because his was the only story that needed telling. And Dane Dehaan is amazing at his job. Even when the script would dictate that he deliver campy comic-book lines, he still manages to pull through as believable.

Harry Osborn. Dapper extraordinaire. Seriously those Oliver Peoples eyeglasses just oozes #swag.
Harry Osborn. Dapper extraordinaire. Seriously, those Oliver Peoples eyeglasses just ooze #swag.

In the end, despite a strong cast and the Andrew Garfield + Emma Stone magic, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 leaves lacking. It felt like a rushed job and you’re not sure who holds the reins anymore. One thing is certain though, the fanboys are already calling for Sony to relinquish the franchise and give it back to Marvel so it can be as awesome as the MCU movies are. Sadly I doubt this will ever happen. Oh well, how bad can they botch up Amazing Spider-Man 3, right? Spider-sense is tingling.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 opened in Philippine theaters last April 30, 2014 in 2D, 3D, IMAX & 4DX.



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