The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Review

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I haven’t felt this conflicted about a movie in a very long time. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 isn’t aย  bad movie, necesarrily, but I don’t think I can call it a good one either. While Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Man is the best version of the character we’ve seen on the big-screen thus far, the movie’s plot is so weighed down by its own ambitions that it ends up becoming a dizzying mess of sadly untapped potential.

The movie picks up some time after the end of the first film, with Peter seeming to have finally adjusted to his role as his city’s costumed vigilante. He’s bold and daring, and makes saving the day look like a walk in the park, and with movements so quick and agile, watching him swing freely through the busy city streets becomes one of the most enjoyable aspects of the entire film.

Director Marc Webb seems to understand how Spider-Man moves and operates even better than Sam Raimi did, and never before has Spidey looked this good. His costume is wonderfully bright and nostalgic, and Garfield’s frequent banter and one-liners, even in the midst of a tense battle, seem to have been picked right off of a comic book page.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is by far one of the most classic superhero movies we’ve seen in the past year or two, and everything about it has a traditionally comic-book tone that makes the film’s proceedings feel, for the most part, fun and energetic.

Amazing Spider-Man 2-Peter
Peter Parker: a man with the weight of his city resting on his shoulders.

His moves seem effortless, and Webb directs each and every action sequence with a keen eye for the dramatic, perfectly capturing the essence of the graceful web-slinger we all know and love. Garfield’s Peter Parker may be a little too awkward at times, but he’s such a capable actor that he makes it work, and watching him easily transition back and forth between Peter and Spider-Man is truly impressive.

However, the script for Spider-Man’s newest adventure is so heavy and over-populated that it nearly succeeds in derailing the entire thing in the end. This is where Marc Webb seems to have gone wrong, and while his intentions were in the right place, he just tries to do so much with his movie that he actually accomplishes very little.

There are at least five different plot threads all running concurrently throughout the film’s overly lengthy running time, and as much as I enjoyed seeing so many different sides of Spider-Man and the world he’s living in, none of these plots get the attention they deserve and never end up reaching the heights they so desperately tried to achieve.

The first Amazing Spider-Man movie tried to do something unique with the character’s origin by involving Peter’s father, but that particular plot thread was never developed enough to feel like anything more than a side-note. For this movie, we were promised a fuller, more complete understanding of who Richard Parker was, but sadly, the results are just as confusing as they were in the first movie.

Amazing Spider-Man 2-conspiracies
Peter’s bedroom is starting to look a lot like the plot of his movie.

Outside of a couple cool flashbacks, the plot never implements Peter’s parents in any kind of meaningful way, and it only ever leaves us asking more questions that aren’t likely to be answered. Thankfully, Sally Field’s Aunt May is able to salvage a lot of it simply because she’s such a great performer, but much like the rest of the movie, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 just can’t seem to juggle more than one plot all that well.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 makes the same mistake Spider-Man 3 did, although it thankfully stays far away from replicating some of the laughably bad moments in that movie, and overpopulates its plot with an array of villains and secondary characters that are so rushed and underdeveloped that they become little more than plot devices in the end.

Jamie Foxx’s Electro, for example, starts the movie off with an interesting origin story and some especially exciting confrontations with Spider-Man, but is then sadly side-lined until the film pulls him back into the mix near the end just to make the climax feel a little more, excuse the pun, electric.

Foxx does an admirable job with what he’s given, but since the plot never seems to figure out what to do with him outside of the aforementioned fight scenes, that he’s simply relegated to a supporting role that does little to benefit the already busy script. Which is a shame, because I would’ve loved to have seen the plot really delve into the potential of the character it created, but alas, that just doesn’t happen here.

Amazing Spider-Man 2-Electro
The colorful fight sequences are easily the best thing about this movie.

Dane DeHaan fares a little better, and his interpretation of Harry Osborn is unique and interesting, but outside of a couple strong scenes with Andrew Garfield, he’s not given much content until the final act either, where his character arc is so needlessly rushed that his entire character misses out on any of the potential that he seemed to be so close to tapping into.

That’s the most crippling flaw with The Amazing Spider-Man 2 it seems, it just doesn’t know what to do with the potential sitting right in front of it. With a great cast and so many fantastic action scenes that just get who Spider-Man is, it’s disappointing that the plot is more preoccupied with setting up future sequels and spin-offs than it is developing its characters and creating a meaningful story for them to engage in.

The only exception comes from Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, and their wonderful chemistry together. While some of their dialogue borders on the melodramatic, they still pull it off because they make you believe in their relationship. It’s awkward and difficult at times, but watching them fight to stay together was well done and gave their characters an extra layer of realism that was like a breath of fresh air amidst everything else going on.

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“Hey, let’s just hide in this closet. No one will think to look for us in here.”

The two of them imbue the film’s final, dramatic confrontation with a layer of emotion that was lacking from the rest of the film, and it’s thanks to them that the movie ends on the high note that it does. The final scenes are powerful and memorable, and actually managed to leave me interested in seeing where the series might go after this.

For all of its flaws, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is still a decent movie, albeit an inconsistent one. It understands Spider-Man better than any of the other films did, and the relationship between Peter and Gwen is more genuine and enjoyable than it has any right to be. However, it’s impossible to ignore the unnecessarily clunky and disorganized script, and it’s a shame that they held the movie back from actually living up its title.



14 responses to “The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Review

  1. Great review. I loved the film and thought the new lighter more comic book feel of the film made Spider-man finally feel like Spider-man.

    Very much looking forward to the next one, BRING ON SINISTER SIX! ๐Ÿ˜€

    • I would’ve been happy if the whole movie was just Spidey soaring through the city and dropping one-liners, to be honest. ๐Ÿ˜‰ And I’m intrigued by the idea of introducing spin-offs, but kind of wary as well…if anything I hope they let someone new handle the scripts, just to freshen the series up a little.

      Thanks for stopping by, Tim! ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Good review William. Had too much of a good time with this to really pay attention to all of the problems. However, I will admit that it was pretty messy.

    • I did have a great time with it…when it was about Spider-Man being Spider-Man that is. I’d like to see them tone down the third movie a bit, just to make sure that the focus stays clearly on Garfield, because he’s seriously amazing when he’s allowed to be. Thanks for reading, man, heading over to check out your review now!

  3. My son just saw it this weekend and said all of the Spidey stuff was cool but that it was all over the place in tone and story and that it suffers from too much material crammed into one movie.

    He did like Foxx and the action very much, though. I am still stoked for it despite all of the mixed reviews. Also, I didn’t care for the first one too much, so we’ll see. I will re-visit your review after I’ve watched it, Billy! Thanks man!

    • I actually totally agree with your son. There is a lot of fun to be had with it, though, you’ll just have to be willing to look last some clunky plotting. But I still think that the movie’s worth the price if admission just to watch Spider-Man be awesome. Hope you like it, Vic! Looking forward to reading your review on it! ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Great review Billy! Interesting how you’re conflicted w/ this, but I can see now why you feel that way. For some reason I have little interest in seeing it, I was excited for the first one (maybe because of the comic con panel I attended) but there’s nothing here I’m excited about. I thought Elektro looked ridiculous even from the trailer. I might rent it, but not in a huge hurry to see it.

    • Ha, Electro does look ridiculous. The special effects that he uses look great, but you’d think they would’ve put the same thought into making him look a little less like a walking blue lightbulb. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      I think if you’re at all interested in it, it’s worth renting for sure. There is some good fun to be had, just don’t go into it expecting anything all that great. Thanks for reading and commenting, Ruth!

  5. Wow! ‘Andrew Garfieldโ€™s Spider-Man is the best version’, I haven’t seen either of the films, now I need to watch his first one. I didn’t fancy the earlier Spider-man series of films, but have watched them all, only ’cause as a kid I loved Spider-man.
    I actually liked 1970’s movie, when I watched it as a kid in the 80’s.

    • I still think Spider-Man 2 is the best movie for the character, but Garfield’s version is easily my favorite. He’s worth the price of admission alone, I think, especially if you’re a fan.

      I had no idea they even made Spidey movie in the 70’s, I can only imagine how gloriously cheesy it must’ve been, haha!

      • I guess it might have been cheesy, but I watched it when I was 8 or 9 years old. I loved it then. The movie starred Nicholas Hammond, the older kid from ‘Sound of Music’.

  6. I thought that the film had some trouble switching between tones. (Sad beginning that transitions to a very happy scene with Spiderman lacked tact) That being said, this is my 2nd favorite Spider Man film out of the 5 that have been produced and I thought that it was pretty good. Some areas were disappointing to be sure, but the action was incredible and I liked all of the references. I don’t like how they cut out scenes from the trailer, but I suppose that the film can’t really be faulted for that. A 6.75 is pretty fair, I gave it a 7, but that’s extremely close. I’m glad that you actually didn’t mind Electro’s character. It seems like just about everyone disliked him as Max Dillon, but I found him to be sympathetic

    • The original two Spider-Man movies are still my favorite, but this one and the one before it are almost tied for the third spot. I wanted to love this movie, and I almost did a couple times, but those abrupt transitions you mentioned and that overcrowded script really hurt it for me.

      But I did like Max Dillon! I appreciated the different take on his origin story, and would’ve loved to have seen more of his transition from everyman to villain. Thanks for the great comment, always appreciate them! ๐Ÿ˜€

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