I was really excited to see this sequel, mostly because I was one of the few people on the internet who liked the first one.
Maybe I exaggerate my dislike for the “originals”, as I know I saw them all in theatres and didn’t really have much to say about them (except the third one). In hindsight I find myself with a bad taste in my mouth every time I see the Goblin’s stupid mask, or Doc Oc’s puppy-like psychic metal puppets. I won’t say The Amazing Spider-Man was perfect, but to me it was an improvement even when it just retreaded the previous films’ steps.
Spoilers for the ending of the last film!
Peter is still haunted by the promise he made to Gwen Stacy’s father, and this results in an on-again-off-again relationship with his daughter. Back at Oscorp, an electrical engineer, Max (played by Jamie Foxx) is forced to do some work after hours and accidentally falls into a tank of genetically manipulated electric eels. This results in him becoming Electro. Peter also has to deal with the truth about his father, and Harry Osborn’s return to Oscorp.
Having just finished a second viewing of Captain America: The Winter Soldier I was glad to get a very different superhero movie. I’ve said in the past how lucky we are to live in an age with so much variety in our superhero diet. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 does share some themes from Spider-Man 2, but still manages to blaze its own trail. Elements of the burden of being Spider-Man are still there, but it is much more focused on the love between Peter and Gwen. You can’t have a Spider-Man movie without the age-old “I must leave you to protect you” cliché.
The storyline works for our main characters, however, in that both Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone are too adorable for words. Their chemistry is lightyears ahead of what Maguire and Dunst shared. We have established their relationship much better than the “original” movies ever did with Mary Jane, and skipped a good deal of empty space that seemed to fill up Spider-Man 2. For those who hated the awkward banter from the first Amazing Spider-Man, it continues. I can’t help but love it because these movies more than anything focus on how these characters are still teenages, with raging hormones and under-developed decision making skills.
The first Amazing Spider-Man movie suffered most when it was time for the villain’s plotline. Dr. Connor had a lot of potential, but he got one foot stuck in the “cartoonish villain” pothole left by the previous films. It might be odd to complain about cartoonish villains, but to me they always have a hard time existing outside of the 90s. With the rest of the film taking its premise very seriously (but with Spidey’s classic humour) it is refreshing to see character designs that match up.
Electro looks badass, and his story is an interesting one, but unfortunately has to share a lot of screen-time with Harry Osborn. Dane DeHaan is one of the most interesting young actors working right now, so I don’t mind him getting a lot of focus. But since we know he is likely to return to this franchise, maybe Electro deserved the bigger billing.
Despite having to juggle a lot, the film works really well. It switches from serious heart-to-hearts to action sequences with a witty comment. Perhaps more than anything, this film captures the way Spider-Man moves, sounds and looks. Even when not in his suit, you feel Peter could at any moment jump into action. The character fits so well into Garfield’s almost fidgety movements. I’m not saying Maguire never captures Spider-Man well, but for me personally Garfield nails it in every scene instead of just a few (and to date no emo dance has been spotted).
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is an improvement on the first one for those who were a bit disappointed with it. The villains are better designed and written. The film’s palate is lighter, even though it’s still darker than the originals. It has all those great perfect Spidey-quips, and at its core it’s a rather touching love story. If you didn’t like the first one, you probably won’t be over the moon about the sequel, but for those few of us who love seeing Garfield in tights, this is just a great ride.
Dice roll: 5