Four Letter Nerd

4LN Review: The Amazing Spider-Man 2

The last time we saw ol’ Petey Parker, he’d just stopped Dr. Connors from Lizard-fying New York , and he was *partially* responsible for the death of his girlfriend’s father, who asked him to stay away from her in order to keep her safe.

Amazing Spider-Man 2 picks up pretty much EXACTLY where the first one left off. Peter is trying to balance normal life with crime-fighting as Spidey. He’s struggling with his love for Gwen Stacey and knowing that being in her life puts her in danger. Meanwhile, his old friend Harry Osborn has come back to town and his return will have a lasting impact on Peter.

 

Acting/Cast:

I love Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker/Spider-Man. To me, he plays the part exactly like Peter is in the comics, or at least from the 90’s-era comics on. Tobey Maguire was so timid and shy as Pete. I like Garfield because he’s kind of arrogant and very sarcastic. Emma Stone IS Gwen Stacy. She’s given that character a whole new persona and attitude. She’s smart, strong and focused. She’s not the typical “damsel-in-distress” and I love that. Garfield and Stone have perfect chemistry here (probably due to their real-life relationship).Their back-and-forth is one of the best things about this movie.

Garfield also has brilliant compatibility with, newcomer to the series, Dane Dehaan (pretty much my favorite actor right now) who plays Harry Osborn. Their scenes together legitimately feel like they’re old friends. Sally Field is once again wonderful as Aunt May. She’s wise, and knows how to appeal to Peter’s sensitive side. While he’s only in a little bit of the movie, I really liked Paul Giamatti as Aleksei Sytsevich/Rhino. For the sake of keeping this spoiler-free, I’ll just say, I liked the way they handled the character better than I thought they would. Another small part was B.J. Novak as Alistair Smythe. I got the sense that these two characters, Aleksei and Alistair (along with the Osborn’s assistant Felicia, as in Black Cat), will have a bigger role in future Spidey flicks, or that Sinister Six film they keep talking about.

The biggest surprise for me was Jamie Foxx. I’ve been opposed to this interpretation of Electro from the beginning, but his scenes as Max Dillon, before becoming Electro actually feel like they were copied out of a comic cook and thrown on-screen. It’s almost like somehting from his days on In Living Color. (Yes, this white boy knows In Living Color. We don’t all watch NCIS and Hoarders.)

 

Cinematography:

I saw the IMAX 3D version of the flick, and normally would tell you to not bother, but honestly, with this movie, it added a lot of depth. There are action sequences that are just so f–king big, seeing them in the this format really enhanced the experience. There were times that the CGI used on Electro was maybe a little too cartoon-ish, but I felt they did a pretty good job making him look sinister. I wasn’t a big fan of the way they depicted his voice. I get that he’s just electricity personified and therefore the things he does are going to be subject to being filtered through that element, but his voice sounded like he was talking through a Speak-n-Spell. It made Bane’s voice from TDKR seem crystal clear. Not that this is necessarily “cinematography” related, but the Spider-Man suit in this was really great. It has the white eyes and a more traditional Spider-Man look. I dug it.

 

Story/Plot:

This time around we get some answers to the mystery of Peter’s parent’s disappearance and death. We get to learn why they left, and also what his father’s work with OSCORP has to do with him. I felt like they did a pretty descent job of answering questions that were asked in the first flick, and then also laying groundwork for the next installment(s). The relationship between Peter and Gwen is a roller-coaster here; Lots of ups and downs, slow ascents and quick  drops. It’s just as unpredictable and inconsistent as a real relationship.

Once Harry comes into the picture things start to take a turn to the dark side. Harry has been stuck in boarding school most of his formidable years and has some social awkwardness that he seems to be at least aware of. He comes home to some pretty unsettling news and events, and is suddenly thrust into the position of leading OSCORP. However, the OSCORP board has other plans.

There was all this plus Jamie Foxx’s role as the bumbling max Dillon, and eventually the villainous Electro. I think they tried to do too much in this picture. I honestly would have been happy if this had been a Spidey/Electro flick, and they’d saved the other villainous elements for the next one. They handled the turn from awkward nobody to dangerous bad guy well, but I would have loved to see Jamie get to develop the nature of Max more before turning into Electro.

 

Overall Thoughts:

For the sake of fairness, I’m going to share multiple opinions with you on the overall thoughts of the film. First up, resident 4LN extremist and 21-year-old, Bill Clark:

I thought Spider-Man was terrible. I dozed off multiple times and I left half way through because it was so corny and bad. The acting was awful. The dialogue was some of the worse I’ve ever heard. I went in not expecting much and it was still a let down. My thoughts were, ‘I can either watch this and be bored, or I can go home and sleep.’ It was very visually appealing, but I couldn’t get past the acting. And Electro, oh my…”

Next up, an opinion from a much less dramatic, much more level-headed individual… my 6-year-old son Lycan:

“I liked it. I liked Captian America: The Winter Soldier better though. Cap is more of an action film, and Spider-Man is more of a family film.”

I’m not entirely sure what it says about me as a father that my 1st grade son prefers action films to family films, but I choose to see it as a win. (He’s also super pumped for Godzilla and Guardians of the Galaxy which makes me so happy I could explode!)

 

Here’s the deal… ASM2 is not The Avengers or The Dark Knight. It’s no where near as well balanced as those films and doesn’t have the same captivating qualities. But, it’s also not a unforgivable cinematic crime that deserves to be punished in the court of bitchy-assholes either. I’m sure that this isn’t what the filmmakers wanted but, you can’t take this film too seriously. It’s VERY MUCH like watching a comic book come to life: Lots of bright colors, lots of big action moments, embellished behavior, sometimes you go a couple of issues in a series of just story-development so that it sets up events for the future. All of that happens here. Is it a waste of your time and money? That’s for you to decide. But the whole, “That’s 2 hours of my life all never get back” attitude is exhausting. Yeah, it’s too bad you saw a live-action movie where Spider-Man swung around New York and fought Electro and The Green Goblin. You really could’ve used that time to catch up on TMZ or play Candy Crush or piss and moan about some other 1st world luxury. It’s a shame you’ll NEVER be able to do any of those things ever again…

 

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Stephen Andrew

Stephen has spent most of his life reading comics, watching horror movies, listening to death metal music, and speaking in the third person. His favorite comic book character is The Punisher, and he believes that the Punisher: War Zone movie is criminally underrated. His favorite film of all-time is National Lampoon's Vacation, and his favorite album is Pantera's "The Great Southern Trendkill".

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