It has been a long time since there has been a quality Spider-Man film. Spider-Man 3 is one of the worst superhero movies ever and The Amazing Spider-Man reboot had its moments, but for the most part was repetitive telling us the same story we were already familiar with. News Flash! Everyone knows by now that Uncle Ben dies. This time around in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, our favorite web-slinger is able to get down to business rather than spend an hour dealing with a familiar origin story.
The big positive from the first The Amazing Spider-Man is on full display again in the sequel and that’s the casting of Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker/Spider-Man and Emma Stone as his love, Gwen Stacey. The two have such great chemistry together and are a believable couple – even with the whole masked hero of New York City aspect. The pair make you forget all about Tobey Maguire’s mopey Peter Park and Kirsten Dunst’s dull-faced Mary Jane Watson. More great casting comes in the form of Dane Dehaan as Harry Osbourne. Dehaan plays the Oscorp heir as a damaged soul who is looking for power fiscally and physically. Dehaan casting is a major plus, but unfortunately a great deal of the problems in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 comes from the rest of the cast.
Jaime Foxx’s Electro is mismanaged completely in The Amazing Spider-Man 2. It’s like Marc Webb was channeling the Joel Schumacher Batman films with his villain development. It’s that bad. Foxx’s Max Dillion is absurd, underdeveloped and dumb. When he finally becomes Electro, he looks more Dr. Manhattan from Watchmen than the classic villain I grew up with. I know some comic purist will be bothered by an African-American playing the role – that didn’t bother me at all. What did bother me was the fact that Electro was blue! Electro should be glowing yellow, not blue. I won’t get into any of the goofy one-liners or the apparent new powers he possess, but trust me. Electro is not given the big screen treatment he deserves. Don’t even get me started on the use of the Rhino. Be warned. If you’re going to see The Amazing Spider-Man 2 solely for the Rhino appearance you are going to be thoroughly disappointed.
The other glaring problem with The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is the continuous attempt at comedy in the first hour. I get that Spidey is supposed to be a smart aleck that mocks his enemies, but it’s time to find better jokes or knock it off. It just doesn’t work and it detracts from the movie. Despite all of these problems, it still keeps you engaged for 2 hours and 20 minutes. The action scenes are very entertaining with its slow motion shots and the 3D is some of the best I’ve seen in the last year. There’s no doubt that Marc Webb manages the scenes of spectacle and the more intimate settings with Garfield and Stone very well in The Amazing Spider-Man 2. The problem is Webb’s villain development and his insistence on the wise-cracking dialogue during white knuckle action scenes.
It’s not all bad in The Amazing Spider-Man 2. As I stated before, the chemistry between Garfield and Stone shines bright and the film never feels slow likes its predecessor. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is an improvement on the last film even if I felt it was still missing something. The thirteen year old Spider-Man fans of the world will probably go nuts for this film, but this old comic book nerd may still be suffering from a Winter Soldier hangover. My interest in the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man is still alive with this installment, I just wish the smile on my face was bigger after I walked out of the theater.
Overall, I rank The Amazing Spider-Man 2 a 2.75 out of 4 stars.
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