Friday, May 2, 2014

Movie Review: The Amazing Spider-man 2

I've been a Spider-man fan for as long as I can remember. When I was little, I loved seeing the live-action adventures on The Electric Company with the cheesy animated webbing that I thought was the coolest thing in the world and all, and I loved his animated adventures on Spider-man and His Amazing Friends. The first comic book I ever bought when I began collecting comics was a Spider-man comic. So of course I was excited and had some pretty tall expectations. And I wasn't disappointed.

The Amazing Spider-man 2 is a 2014 action / adventure / comedy / romance / science fiction / superhero / comic book movie rated PG-13 and is appropriate for almost all ages. There are a few scenes of brief intense action and some killing that could disturb more sensitive children, so you may want to think twice about bringing the littlest ones. It is the second Spider-man movie in this franchise.

The Good

Comedy/Humor. Spider-man is well known for his wisecracking jokes and his fun loving nature, but so often the comics and their adaptions focus on the turmoil and angst he feels and neglect the fun and funny. This movie definitely had the angst, but it was also chuck full of jokes from start to finish. And these aren't your average jokes. Each one was so clever and so fresh that it kept you laughing thru most of the movie. And it had a great mix of visual gags and audible jokes. The movie would succeed on the strength of the jokes alone.

Peter Parker/Spider-man. I thought Andrew Garfield did a great job in the first movie, but in this one he is even better. He really sells the awkward teenager who isn't sure about anything. He also does an excellent job channeling the wisecracking, fun loving Spider-man we've grown to love from the comics and cartoons.

Gwen Stacey. I never liked this character in the comics or the cartoons, but Emma Stone has created a lovable character I really cared about. She has the right balance of being feminine and strong without ever becoming overbearing or witchy.

Chemistry/Romance. Whenever Peter and Gwen get together, you can feel the sparks whether they are flirting, fighting, or foiling super villains.

Harry Osborn. Harry has never been an interesting character in any incarnation (except for occasional moments in the first three Spider-man movies), but this version brought something completely new and wonderful to the table. The character was interesting. He had passion. You could feel his pain. You could totally empathize with what he was going thru and why he chose to do what he did. And yet he had heart. You could really feel the friendship between Harry and Peter. It felt real. It felt like there was history. I've never seen that before. The movie could have been just about him, and it would have been interesting.

Action. From the previews I was expecting to be blown away by the action, and I wasn't disappointed. The camera views were spectacular. The details such as Spider-man swinging from one side of the street to the other to the other running along the side of buildings were so nice. And the freeze time so Spider-man could analyze the situation was really well done and helped make the action understandable so we could truly enjoy all that was happening. Too often fight scenes are filmed in such a way to elicit strong emotion that they become confusing as to what's going on and we can't enjoy them. Not so here. I enjoyed every moment of every fight except for a couple of over the top stunts that looked like a video game. Much like Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier, this felt like I was watching a Todd McFarlane Spider-man comic come to life.

The Bad

Electro/Max Dillion. When I heard Electro would be the villain, I kind of groaned. He jsut isn't a strong character It's kind of fun to see him shoot electricity for a 20-page comic story, but after that he's kind of boring. And the producers did nothing to improve that for the movie. His origin was just as silly as the comic, which felt out of place when you consider how well thought out everything else was. Jamie Foxx played the character very flatly and unlikable with a cartoon version of a nerd for Max Dillion (kind of like all the villains in Joel Schumacher's Batman & Robin) and an emotionalless villain we care nothing about as Electro. The character's powers were played more like a weak version of Magneto not really taking advantage of what electricity can do. The special effects were weak. It looked like Electro was dangling from a wire when he floated, and the electricity just flew from his hands. There was nothing new or original about it. It looked like it had been taken straight out of a boring comic panel for panel. And the character did not fit in the plot, story, or themes. It really felt like a sideline or a second movie when he was on screen, because he did nothing to advance the main plot that anyone else couldn't have done. There are so many other villains to choose from that actually would have advanced the theme and message of the movie.

Ravencroft Doctor. Electro is sent to a prision for the criminally insane, and the doctor there brought back visions of Joel Schumacher's Batman & Robin with the over the top acting, cardboard cutout characters, and silly environments. Compared to how well cast and acted the other parts were, this really felt out of place and felt silly and unnecessary.

A Few Convenient Plot Twists. There were a few convenient plot twists, but they are forgivable considering how they helped keep the movie from lagging.

What I Would Like to Have Seen

A stronger villain than Electro.


Overall, this movie had me thoroughly entertained from start to finish and wanting more when the credits started to role. The action was spectacular, the comedy so funny, so clever, and so fresh, and the romance so compelling I can't wait to see the next one. The story was strong minus Electro and the Ravencroft doctor. I give it a solid 4.5 out of 5 boxes of popcorn.

1 comment:

  1. Nice review Jeff. A lot of stuff goes on here and while it may not all work, most of it at least kept me entertained enough to recommend it to anyone interested.