Andrew Garfield as Spider-Man/Peter Parker
Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy
Jamie Foxx as Electro/Max Dillon
Dane DeHaan as The Green Goblin/Harry Osborn
Sally Field as Aunt May
Colm Feore as Donald Menken
Felicity Jones as Felicia
Paul Giamatti as Aleksei Sytsevich
Here we go again. Just a few months ago I reviewed the first installment in the rebooted Spider-Man series. I thought I would have to wait a while to review the sequel because I wait for them to hit the various home formats. But The Amazing Spider-Man 2 came to Blu-Ray pretty quick, so I am already reviewing it.
The first movie ended with Spider-Man being told by Gwen Stacy’s father just before death to not involve Gwen in the danger of the life of a costumed crime-fighter. Despite his love for Gwen, Spider-Man has respected this last request. Unfortunately, his avoidance of a love relationship with Gwen is driving them apart as friends as well.
Sounds like the central plot of Spider-Man 2, doesn’t it? As I noted in my review of the first Amazing Spider-Man, it’s worth noting that these familiar elements would still be new to younger folks who didn’t see the Sam Raimi trilogy. Besides, there are a number of improvements. For example, Andrew Garfield is a better actor than Tobey Maguire.
Sadly, this isn’t as good a movie because of everything that’s going on. Here’s a list:
- I mentioned that the deteriorating relationship between Peter and Gwen is a pretty big part of the movie. This leaves Peter in a now-or-never situation when he learns that Gwen has gotten a scholarship to Oxford, meaning that it’s now or never for Peter to say if he wants Gwen (Oxford is in England).
- Spider-Man saves a guy who ends up in an accident that turns him into Electro, a man who can control and drain electricity. This also changes his appearance and he ends up turning on society when everyone is frightened by his appearance and even Spidey tells him to let the police help him, which he takes as a betrayal and loses it.
- Aunt May struggles with the emotional and financial pressures of raising a kid by herself. Also, there’s a dark secret about Peter’s parents that was always kept from him.
- Harry Osborn becomes the head of Oscorp after his father, Norman dies of an illness. It is hereditary, so Harry suffers from it as well. Since Spider-Man can heal quickly (although he’s not Wolverine or anything), Harry asks for a bit of his blood to use to develop a cure. Spider-Man knows from The Lizard and Electro that this stuff can drive you mad, so he refuses.
- The Oscorp board hates the Osborns, so Harry is set up to look like he illegally covered up Electro’s accident, resulting in Harry being deposed from Oscorp.
- After Electro is captured, Harry frees him and agrees to help him with whatever he is planning in return for helping Harry getting his own mutation to amp up his healing and save him. Together, they discover a serum that Norman had invented that turns Harry into The Green Goblin.
That’s a lot of stuff. Too much, in fact. And notice that fully half of the elements involve the secondary villain. Is it that hard to use only one villain in a superhero sequel? Because there’s really too much going on here basically because of it.
Still, the ending sequence is much stronger. The action is great and the use of Gwen is rock-solid. There’s even an effective emotional moment that ties everything together.
(Before you instinctively criticize, it’s a joke. I mentioned that it’s Jamie Foxx playing Electro up above.)
Alas, The last scene in the movie is a real rip! You how everybody hates those endings that stop inches short of text that says, “to be continued…” Take the ending of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. The theater I was in went “Awww!” when the dragon flew towards a city to terrorize it, followed by the end credits. Well, this movie ends as a battle between Spider-Man and yet another villain appears. We’ll have to wait for part 3 to see him. Greedy assholes!
I found The Amazing Spider-Man to be good but not great. The problem was how little new stuff it brought to the table. So it’s ironic that this movie is hurt by the sheer amount of ideas it uses. Still, we had a great end sequence that could have made it good. But I can’t rightly rate is as such because of how it ends with a defacto commercial for The Amazing Spider-Man 3. For shame!
Overall: 6 out of 10