In 2009, Sony made the hasty decision to unnecessarily reboot the “Spider-Man” franchise in a desperate effort to keep the right to the franchise. The end result was a rushed, sloppy film that showed a lot of potential, but never lived up to its name. While “The Amazing Spider-Man” never reached the level its title states, its sequel manages to make the first film look amazing.
I could just say that “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” is worse than Sam Raimi’s “Spider-Man 3” and end the review, but because I like to think I am more professional than that I’ll move on to the part where I go over the convoluted mess of a story.
Events pick up a few months after the first film, as Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) and Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) graduate from high school and plan to continue on with their relationship. As Peter’s adventures as Spider-Man continue to grow more and more he is haunted by visions of Gwen’s dead father, causing him to break up with Gwen out of a necessity to keep her safe.
Meanwhile, Peter’s childhood best-friend Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan) returns to take over his deceased father’s company Oscorp, which is deeply enrooted in the boring mystery of Peter’s missing parents, and is also responsible for multiple technological advances that birth horrible renditions of classic Spider-Man villains.
This time around it is Electro (Jamie Foxx) and Rhino (Paul Giamatti) who get introduced to push Spider-Man to his limits and help bring the true hero out of Peter.
If that sounds like a mess that is because it is. The entire plot is an over bloated mess introducing too many characters without giving them any time to develop.
The audience is told that Harry and Peter are long-time best friends, which is weird considering that there was all that business with Oscorp in the first film, but it was never mentioned.
It seems that these characters were simply an afterthought, only added to the film to meet some quota for making a bigger, more action packed film.
The actors do not fare much better here, as both Foxx and DeHaan are terrible in their roles. One of the best parts of the first “Amazing Spider-Man” was the strong chemistry between Garfield and Stone, and while that still very much exists here, their scenes are so far between and terribly written that it really draws away from their performances.
It is a visually and audibly fantastic film. Watching Spider-Man web his way through Manhattan has never looked so acrobatic.
The fight scenes start off strong with Electro’s debut battle in Times Square being the highlight of the entire film. Electro, who is essentially the living representation of electricity, looks great with tiny details really showcasing the strong visual effects of the film.
In its 144 minute run time, a large portion of this film plays out as set up not just for the inevitable “Amazing Spider-Man 3,” but to build an entire franchise of Spider-Man films much like Marvel studios has done with their movies.
The strength of the Marvel films is that while they do set up future films, they also are capable of standing on their own as good, if not confident films. “Amazing Spider-Man 2” barely manages to tell a story, and has very little character and heart. If anything, this film is more in line with a giant trailer for the rest of the films rather than a movie itself.
“Amazing Spider-Man 2” represents the worst of the Hollywood mindset.
Films made using popular brands in order to create franchises to capitalize on those fans, all the while disregarding the source material that made those brands in the first place.
All visuals with no substance, “Amazing Spider-Man 2” is a insult to the cinematic standard of today. As someone who grew up loving Spider-Man, and more importantly loving film, this movie has done the impossible. It made me not care about Spider-Man anymore.