If I had to give my original review for "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" a rating then I would only give it three stars which is the same rating I gave to the movie itself. Three stars isn't a terrible rating and in fact if I give something three stars it means that I did like it. Three stars is pretty much C range which is satisfactory, but not quite in the realm of something very good or totally excellent.
I have seen "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" twice now and I have to say that seeing it the second time revealed things that I did not see the first time. For example, there is a very blink-and-you'll-miss-it reference in one scene of the movie. The scene involves the character of Harry Osborn looking at a computer screen. On the screen, there are many different folders. When I saw this movie the first time, I was thinking too much about the plot to pay much attention to these folders. On the second watch, I frantically looked at each one in search of a hidden reference. I found it in a folder named "Dr. Morbius files". Dr. Morbius is a scientist from the Spider-Man comic books that becomes a vampire. Yes, there may be vampires coming in the next Amazing Spider-Man film and who knows, maybe a certain Marvel Comics vampire hunter?
Of course, a tiny reference like this would not change my opinion on a movie. There would have to be something else I found in the movie to change my opinion of it. So, what exactly did I see that I didn't on my second watch of this movie? Well, technically, nothing. You see, almost everything I said in my original review of "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" is something I still stand by. So what's wrong with it? Why does it not perfectly reflect my current views on the movie? Well, let's take another look at my review of the movie.
In my initial review of the movie, I criticized the third act in particular while mostly saying positive things about the first two acts. Actually, I began my review by incorrectly stating that the movie opens with Spider-Man fighting the criminal that would become Rhino. The movie really starts with a scene involving Peter Parker's parents. I completely forgot about this scene when writing my review. The reason I forgot about it is that it is a scene that is unnecessary. It helps plant the seeds for Peter's quest to find out more about his parents, but the scene itself doesn't really tell us anything about them that we don't learn in other ways. The fight with Rhino is a much better opening scene because everything comes back to it in the final scene of the movie. Anyway, the first two acts were not without their problems.
The main problems with this movie all come from the character of Electro and his use of electricity. If this movie is to be believed, electricity can do a lot of things that they don't teach you in science class. For example, if you fall into a vat of electrified water with electric eels swimming around in it then you will not die. No, you will will instead basically become electricity. An added bonus is if you have a gap in your teeth then that will be fixed by the electricity too. Who knew that all you had to do was electrocute yourself in order to get a perfect smile? Instead of the pain and agony of the dentist you will get a small shock and then you will become a super-powered being with a great smile!
Really, there are problems all over the movie. I mean, things can feel too convenient at times and so inevitable, like I said in my original review. There are flaws all over this movie and yet, as I think about the movie now, I have very positive feelings. In watching this a second time I was able to really just go with the flow as I had no expectations to be met. I already knew what was going to happen and if I felt the story was all inevitable the first time, well, it was literally inevitable on this second watch. Freeing my mind of all of these burdens, I was able to just let the movie play out and not be concerned so much with plot or with how a specific scene was done. On second watch, I was just letting the movie take over me on a more emotional level.
What I found is that the movie had a bigger impact on my emotions than the first time around. Suddenly, I was relating to Peter's issues with his parents and specifically that of my own father. I could feel all the burdens he had to make in his choices as both Peter Parker and as Spider-Man. Decisions are what plague most of my thoughts and I am never certain I have made the right one. Watching Peter try to make the right choices for him and for others was something I could really relate to.
Then there is the third act. On first watch, I found this to be where most of the flaws of the movie resided. This time, not so much. There is more emotion in the final moments of "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" than a lot of big budget franchise movies dare to have. Yes, the ending of the movie does have a little bit of a tease for future movies, but it more focuses on character than anything else. It is telling that "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" doesn't even feature a tease for the next movie in the franchise during or after the credits. It lets the movie actually end when the credits start and its final scene is much more about emotion and character growth than any kind of cliffhanger or tease for future plots.
Yes, the third act of "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" does move a little quicker than I would have liked. The character of Harry Osborn does kind of leap suddenly to his final moments in the movie, but the points that the movie tries to make still get across. The movie still works. The emotions are still there.
I criticized the character of Gwen Stacy in my original review for lacking depth, but actually, she has more depth than a lot of other love interests. She has her own goals and makes her own choices. That is pretty great.
The character of Max Dillon A.K.A. Electro is really over-the-top and cheesy, sure, but his character also gets the point across. In fact, there is a great message here about the problems with hero worship and how people can fixate and have an overblown reaction to things. In that sense, the over-the-top performance by Jamie Foxx of Max Dillon is appropriate. His character is supposed to exaggerate everything to shed light on how people can be this way and actually, his performance as Max Dillon carries over nicely to his transition as an over-the-top supervillain. I think Harry's transition in the movie isn't quite as smooth, but it gets the point across.
Much of "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" is over-the-top and it can be cheesy at times, but it actually conveyed a tone not unlike the old comic books where much of the movie's script is derived from. There is definitely some camp in this movie and it is something that differentiates itself from some of the more serious superhero movies.
Overall, what I have learned from my second watch of "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" is not unlike what the characters of this movie learn as well. Max Dillon is a character who looks at little things and blows them out of proportion before literally blowing things up as Electro. Peter Parker is a character so concerned with whether he has made the right or wrong choices in his life that he can't move on. Peter drowns himself in the negative aspects of his life until he almost loses it. First, he nearly loses himself as Peter and then he nearly loses himself as Spider-Man, but in both cases he lives on. He still sees the negative aspects of his world, but he chooses to put on the mask anyway and embrace the positive.
In my review of "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" I was like Max Dillon in that I was blowing all the flaws I saw out of proportion. I was like Peter Parker in that I was drowning myself in the negative aspects of things. Yes, technically it does have its flaws, but for me, "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" works pretty well in terms of emotional character drama and its various plots. Plus, the action scenes are really cool looking! I think the story of Peter Parker and the various characters in his life could go in very interesting directions in the next movies in this series. Personally, I can't wait to see what happens next!
Sometimes movies, like the world around us, can seem pretty bleak, but like Peter Parker, we must put on our positive costumes and head out into the world. If you focus too much on the negative you can miss all of the things that actually are good. Everything has flaws, but it is important not to get too caught up in the ones that don't matter so much. I still see negative aspects of "The Amazing Spider-Man 2", but I now see so many positive things about it and if I were to review it again I would give it four stars out of five rather than my original rating of three stars.
So, in the end, while my original review of "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" does touch upon some truths, it is ultimately not totally true to my current feelings on the movie. This is why, as of today, I can only give my review of "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" a satisfactory rating of three stars out of five.