Even though 2012’s The Amazing Spider-Man has a slew of problems, it still serves its purpose as a solid reboot to a new Spider-Man franchise. Almost two years later and we have The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Despite its cluttered story, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 knocks it out of the park with its performances, visuals, and emotion and it makes for a better-than-average Summer blockbuster.
Despite Spider-Man becoming a hero in the public’s eye, Peter is struggling with his relationship with Gwen Stacy after her father’s final request and in finding out more information about his parents. Matters are made worse when Peter’s old friend Harry Osborn and a flying blue electric generator named Electro come into town.
A concern going into the film was that there would be too much going on with the plot, and we would be seeing a Spider-Man 3 scenario. While ASM2’s plot isn’t as much of a nightmare as that, it is a little on the crowded side.
For as much as I enjoyed Electro’s storyline, I can’t help but feel he wasn’t needed in the film. Harry Osborn returning to New York, Peter trying to find out what happened to his parents, and where he stands with Gwen all work together so nicely that it makes Electro feel like the third, well technically fourth, wheel. It’s not too much of a bother considering I enjoyed what Electro had to offer, but taking him out of the film would’ve made for a more focused and fleshed out story.
Remember in one of the 18 trailers Sony released for the film where Harry tells Peter that Oscorp has been keeping an eye on him. The real question of the day is where was this in the actual movie? I was really excited to see how that conversation would go down, but instead here’s Jamie Foxx having a pretend conversation with Spider-Man alone in his apartment. It was a little disappointing and it makes me wish Electro was booted to the curb along with the unnecessary Rhino.
Speaking of Rhino, he’s barely in the movie, which makes him all the more disposable. He starts off the film with a cool action scene, but then disappears only to return at the end. What truly sucks is that Paul Giamatti’s hammy character just ended up distracting from a very emotionally powerful ending. Cleaning up this film’s screenplay would’ve left time for the more essential storylines to be fleshed out.
Just like the first film, the performances are fantastic. Andrew Garfield plays the wise-ass Spider-Man so perfectly and he and Emma Stone have such great chemistry together. Newcomer Dane DeHann nails the energy and emotion of Harry Osborn, and seeing that character’s great development over the course of the film is almost 100% credited to Dane’s performance. Jamie Foxx as Electro was also a pleasure considering how bizarre of a character he portrays. Going from the awkward electrical engineer to the supervillain he becomes takes some major acting chops and Jamie Foxx absolutely delivers. With what little Paul Giamatti has, he’s over the top and quite fun in the role of Rhino, even if he’s only in the action scenes.
Those action scenes are quite impressive. Not only are the special effects and cinematography insanely good, but the film is just beautiful. The bright vibrant colors are simply stunning, and I can’t wait to pick up the Blu-ray to see how nicely it translates from the silver screen to the living room TV.
The sound on the other hand is a mixed bag. The sound effects are great with every web sling, punch, and electric burst just being music to my ears. The problem lies with the actual music composed by Hans Zimmer, Pharrell Williams, and co. The actual orchestrations are fine, but it’s the bizarre dubstep tunes that distract and almost annoy. During a great scene in Times Square, we’re treated with this (appropriately) electronic score, which I wouldn’t mind if it wasn’t accompanied with some stupidly goofy lyrics. Another moment in the film saw the music go to the beat of Spider-Man getting thrown against transformers which came off distracting and silly instead of cool. I honestly prefer James Horner’s forgettable score from the first film than this.
Also, while the 3D provides a nice depth of field, it never succeeded in impressing me. A scene here or there showcased some cool effects, but the 3D is mostly subtle and didn’t add a whole lot to the film. Considering the ridiculous price of 3D movies, this one’s worth skipping. It’s not bad, but not worth the extra cash. The IMAX was letterboxed and didn’t use the sound as well as it could. A normal 2D showing is perfectly fine.
Despite its cluttered screenplay and weird music, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is a fun time at the movies. The great action is accompanied by incredible visuals and the story had some truly outstanding moments thanks to the performances and some great dialogue. Fans of the first film should be pleased.