The Amazing Spider-Man 2-Review
By Justin Jasso (@jjasso007)
It takes some gall to do a reboot of a well-defined series. But, when it is done right, the results are truly worth it. Exhibit one: the Batman reboot. Going with a darker, more realistic feel brought the title character to life. Adding Christian Bale made it even better, and few villains live up to that of the late Heath Ledger’s Joker. Exhibit two: The X-Men reboot. Again, going away from the largely fantastical world that was the previous X-Men series, the reboot gave us characters we could more easily relate to while still providing the superhero nature we come to expect. And last, but certainly not least, the Spiderman reboot. The first film was a huge improvement over the previous trilogy with better casting choices, a more “real” feeling world and characters we could relate to. But does The Amazing Spider-Man 2 live up to its predecessor?
Life is busy for Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield). He’s graduating high school, keeping the streets safe from criminals such as Aleksei Sytsevich (Paul Giamatti), and seeing the ghost of his girlfriend, Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) everywhere he looks. He made a promise to her father to keep her safe, and the only real way he can do that is to break up with her. Easier said than done. But while Peter deals with being a young adult, Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan) arrives in town to see his father who is dying and learns he was working on so much more at Oscorp than the world knows. After an accident involving worker Max Dillon (Jamie Foxx) turns him into the villain Electro, and Harry finds out something about his own personal genetics, there is a need for Spiderman to save him. But will Spider-Man be able to save his old childhood friend, stop Electro, protect the citizens, and keep Gwen Stacy safe?
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 falls into the same trap that so many other sequels fall into. The idea that, with the success of the first one, there is a need to ramp everything up a few notches in order to live up to the lofty expectations. Unfortunately, instead of becoming The Dark Knight, we have Spider-Man 3 all over again. As the trailer shows, there are three villains in the film with The Rhino, Electro, and The Green Goblin. With The Rhino, however, you get the feeling the character was more of an afterthought. It was almost like, “Hey, let’s throw in The Rhino just because.” Actually, there is a reason for the character, and it’s spelled out for us during the last five minutes of the film in one particular line. Electro is, for the most part, the main villain of the film, comprising the majority of external conflict for Spider-Man, with the Green Goblin making his appearance toward the end. And while it isn’t as convoluted as Spider-Man 3, it is actually longer in length by a couple minutes, coming in slightly under 2.5 hours long.
With Electro being the main villain, and casting Jamie Foxx in the role, one would expect some quality to be put forth. Now we know Jamie Foxx is a good actor, so I’m tempted to give him a pass for this role. The real problem starts with the script. Max Dillon is a loner whom Spider-Man saves earlier in the film. So, what drives Electro to want to kill him? I won’t give his motive away, but once you are told what it is, the first thing that comes to mind is, “That’s it?” I can envision Jamie Foxx laughing at this travesty while smiling at the paycheck he received. Honestly, from an acting standpoint, the objective for Electro – what is driving him – is weak at best and doesn’t give Foxx much to develop and flesh out a character. This could be why his performance, as Electro more so than Max Dillon, is lackluster. If I were to sum up the character, Electro comes off most like a child throwing a tantrum. With The Rhino, it’s hard to determine his motives. He’s a criminal and that’s about it. And Harry Osborn? Well, he has his reason for wanting a piece of Spider-Man but, again, it could have been so much better. In all fairness, Dane DeHaan provides a solid performance as Harry Osborn, a positive for the film.
As with most superhero films, the use of CGI is way over the top. With Spider-Man, despite our advancements in physical technology, he is mainly going to be CGI while web-slinging around, as are most of his enemies flying around. Other times it feels the CGI could have been done without, to give it a more authentic feel a la The Dark Knight and Captain America 2, yet here it is when it didn’t need to be there. But, with a $200,000,000 budget, why not? The real saving grace for the film is the relationship between Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy. Their on-screen chemistry is wonderful to watch, and it probably helps that the stars are a couple off screen as well. Oh, and the performance by DeHaan, as mentioned before. But, overall, it doesn’t live up to its predecessor. The action sequences are fun to watch and there are some good character interactions, but the overall script leaves much to be desired. Hopefully, in The Amazing Spider-Man 3, the writers get it correct and we receive a film that really is amazing.
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars