Back in 2012, “The Amazing Spider-Man” swung into theaters a mere five years after Sam Raimi’s “Spider-Man 3.” While entirely unnecessary, the film was technically proficient, gave us a hipper, wisecracking Spider-Man in the form of Andrew Garfield and proved what great chemistry Garfield and Emma Stone had as Parker and Gwen Stacey. Two years later, “The Amazing-Spider Man 2” makes what was once unnecessary into something entirely cringe worthy.
While it is hard to call it the worst “Spider-Man” movie to date – it will take an absolute train wreck to top the disaster that was “Spider-Man 3” – it’s hard to see any of “The Amazing Spider-Man 2’s” redeeming qualities outside of the continued strong chemistry between Garfield and Stone. The action sequences are over-the-top to say the least, if not entirely incoherent. It introduces story lines that essentially have no pay off, and it crams another franchise down our throats though does nothing to earn the fanfare it believes it deserves.
The film begins with a flashback of Peter’s parents and shows what happened to them after they left Peter. All we learn though is that Peter’s dad uploaded a file to some random place, had a fight with some guy from Oscorp, and then died in a plane crash. While the first movie tried to play up the mysterious disappearance of Peter’s parents much more, it is completely forced in the sequel.
The death of Peter’s parents has essentially no more barring on him until, ‘Oh, wait; you know what I haven’t done in a while? Investigated my parent’s death.’ When he finally does discover the truth all it provides is a video message from his father explaining that Oscorp is bad, the real reason Peter became Spider-Man and that he was sorry he had to leave his son. Done. No more need to address this ever again, I have to save my girlfriend from multiple villains.
Speaking of multiple villains, every single one of them was a disappointment. Jamie Foxx’s Electro, both pre and post transformation, is a horrific fall from grace for the Oscar-winning actor. Dane DeHaan’s Green Goblin comes about so conveniently and is disbanded just as quickly. And let’s not mention Paul Giamatti’s Rhino, who is only in this film because Sony wanted to get fans ready for the “Sinister Six” film.
In a film with three villains though, you think they could all have a little more to do with the actual plot of the film. Electro’s villainous turn of character has no impact on anyone else but himself. Harry, on the other hand, his relationship with Peter is barely touched upon before he becomes just another plot device.
Actually, I can’t tell you what the plot of “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” is, outside of Peter has to figure out his relationship with Gwen and occasionally deal with a couple of bad guys. For a film that runs nearly two and a half hours, there is actually very little going on.
The first half of the film is pieced together with barely interconnecting scenes that often go from bad to worse. It isn’t until Harry and Electro actually team up that anything resembling a plot appears. But credit must be given to the film’s climactic moment, which was done in a very brutal and faithful adaptation of a classic “Spider-Man” moment.
Director Marc Webb clearly is over his head in the super-hero genre. His action sequences try to rival Michael Bay’s in scale, instead they are ridiculously over the top and even hard to follow. There’s a reason that the best parts of these movies are the relationship scenes between Garfield and Stone, because that is what the director of “(500) Days of Summer” is best at. It’s hard to blame him for wanting to do a super hero movie, but his talents are clearly not best suited for them.
“The Amazing Spider-Man 2” is anything but. Things don’t look like they are going to be getting any better with future installments either. Whether it be “Spider-Man 3” or “4,” which already have the green light, or “Sinister Six,” the path ahead looks riddled with bad puns, way too many villains, and lacking a coherent story. So congratulations, “The Amazing Spider-Man” franchise, you’ve become unnecessary for a completely new reason.