Editorials & Opinion
GOUGH MEDICINE: The Amazing Spider-Man 2 satisfies, but that's all
11 months, 3 weeks ago by Alex Gough
THERE ARE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW
Marc Webb's second stab at the rebooted Spider-Man franchise is fun and occassionally brilliant, but that's it.
I went into this movie thinking it had serious potential because of what looked like was an impressive cast with returning leads Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, and Sally Field, plus newcomers Chris Cooper as the dying Norman Osborn, Dane DeHaan in the role of Peter Parker's best friend Harry Osborn, Jamie Foxx as the previously super lame super villain Electro, and Paul Giamatti in a glorified cameo as The Rhino.
DeHaan gave life to Harry Osborn that James Franco never did. Franco seemed to just get by on being good looking and I rarely got the smarmy vibe that Harry should radiate and even then it was minimal. Even when he was raising the knife over Spidey in 2004's Spider-Man 2 I didn't really believe he was going to ever stab him even if he hadn't taken the mask off to reveal Tobey Maguire's Peter Parker, but I digress.
This incarnation of Harry Osborn was far more accurate in my opinion with playing up the daddy issues, however briefly, showing Harry's sense of entitlement, and something I felt was overlooked in Raimi's trilogy, that being his extreme dark side. DeHaan's Osborn along with Foxx's Max Dillon (pre Electro) were characters that you could in fact feel sorry for though I felt that Foxx was much better and interesting before the accident that turns him into Electro. Some of the major movie critics have said that his obsession with Spider-Man makes no sense, but I completely disagree.
Max Dillon was obsessed with Spider-Man because he saved his life and it appeared that he had no other friends in his life to count on so naturally he clings to the first person that ever made him feel needed, which is not totally unrealistic. There's definitely some psychological issues with Max Dillon that people seem to be missing for whatever reason. Foxx's Electro seemed like it would be one of the franchise's greatest villains with the way the marketing was, but he just didn't live up to the hype. I don't necessarily believe it's his fault though because he just wasn't on-screen enough. Foxx was great when he was on screen, it just wasn't enough to be considered the main villain.
Had there been no Green Goblin I think the potential was there for Foxx to seize the reigns and be right up there with Alfred Molina's Doc Ock and Willem Defoe's Green Goblin among the best villains in the history of the franchise. There's not much to say about Giamatti's Rhino since it was more of a set up for the Sinister Six movie, Giamatti is one of the better actors working today and he was solid in every scene he was in.
It's becoming clearer and clearer that Andrew Garfield is one of the finest young actors in the business, whether and while it's unfortunate as an actor that he's tied down to a franchise and not really getting to do much else, I don't think it could be any better for the fans, and he seems to be enjoying himself which is good because he's offered us the best take of Peter Parker/Spider-Man in the last two outings that we could have hoped for. Much improved over Maguire's who never seemed to grow out of the "Puny Parker" routine. There's real growth in Garfield's Peter from the last movie to this one, something that I never sensed with Maguire.
When it was announced Marc Webb would be helming the Spider-Man reboot just five years after the release of Spider-Man 3 there were skeptics, and I was one of them. Webb's only other notable work is (500) Days of Summer, which is a romantic comedy. Webb has knocked the romantic aspects of this franchise out of the park which is something Raimi was never quite able to do, especially with Kirsten Dunst's unlikeable portrayal of Mary Jane Watson.
This Spider-Man film feels like it should be a RomCom at some points, and even though both of Webb's films are good, I feel like the best parts are the moments between Peter and Gwen which I like to attribute mostly to the chemistry between Garfield and Stone, and though Peter Parker's love life is a huge chunk of what makes him who he is, a Spider-Man film should have the best moments be between Spider-Man and his enemies in their battles. There really hasn't been any big climactic battles in this series of films.
The action in this movie was pretty good though, 80% of it is the action from the trailer, which doesn't bother me really because most of it's cool, I just felt I'd seen it several times before. The part where I felt it was most prevalent was during the final battle with the Green Goblin, who didn't have near enough screen time, I thought, but that's something that's alright since he'll be in future installments (Sinister Six, Amazing Spider-Man 3). I didn't feel I'd seen anything new during these action sequences and they just seemed a little dry to me.
All in all this film was carried by Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, and the rest of the stellar supporting cast, the visuals were very neat, and the score by Hans Zimmer, Pharrell Williams, and Johnny Marr was very unique and it worked very well.
The whole film as a whole has a nice storyline, if a little bit but there was so much in the trailer that wasn't actually in the movie which is kind of upsetting since some of the stuff like Harry Osborn talking to his father and Norman saying "Not everyone has a happy ending." refferring to Peter brings an interesting twist to the plot that wasn't even in the movie. You don't exactly walk out of the movie feeling cheated, but more this movie could have been so much more than it was.