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Marc Webb is the problem with 'The Amazing Spider-Man 2'

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 poster
Columbia Pictures

The Amazing Spider-Man 2


"The Amazing Spider-Man 2" is not a very good movie and most of the blame for that falls into the lap of its director, Marc Webb. He was also the director of the first one and while it did well at the box office, that too was a let down. If you are unfamiliar on who Marc Webb is, he was the director of an independent film called, "(500) Days of Summer" that got a lot of deserved recognition. It arguable helped Joseph Gordon Levitt career reach its next level and impressed the folks at Sony to hire him to help with the reboot of the Spider-Man franchise. Sometimes when you take an independent film director and put him in charge of a big studio picture he will prove he can swim with the sharks, but after two Spider-Man movies it is clear that Marc cannot swim in the deep end.

The new movie takes place some months after the end of the first one. Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) and Gwen Stacey (Emma Stone) are still dating and Peter is still saving the city and its citizens as Spider-Man. However, Peter is conflicted regarding the promise he made to Gwen's father he made and unbeknownst to Peter that a trio of super villains are right around the corner in his life to challenge him in ways he never imagined before.

So where does Marc Webb fail where directors like Joss Whedon, Jon Favreau and most recently Anthony & Joe Russo with "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" found such great success? For starters experience. The just mentioned directors have been doing what they have been doing for a much longer period of time than Marc Webb. Another problem with "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" is the script as it takes too long to set the plot up and the movie could have clearly been cut down from its over two hour running time. You can argue that a bad script is not the director's fault, but one with more experience should be able to recognized those flaws and have them fixed early in pre-production.

Good action sequences are a key component for any successful comic-book movie and while there are some good elements to the climatic battle at the end of "The Amazing Spider-Man 2", overall, starting with the opening action scene in the movie, they fail to impress and you never really get caught up with them. Creating a riveting action sequence is no easy task and clearly they are not Marc Webb's area of expertise.

Some thing that never fit quite right about the last movie was the music and the director did not learn his lesson on that because it is a problem with this movie too. The musical score rarely fits what is happening on screen. That is most apparent in scenes involving the chief villain of the movie, Electro (Jaime Foxx). It's quite a bizarre score, actually that might fit better in an independent film, but not here. Also in the musical scenes involving Electro, Marc Webb thought it best to have voice over inserted in it too that expresses what Electro is thinking or feeling. It's like he did not trust Oscar winner Jamie Foxx to convey those emotions on his own.

Speaking of the music, an additional big problem with it is that it often drowns out the dialogue on screen. You can barely make out anything Paul Giamatti is saying on screen. It's not just the music, the sound design draws too much attention to itself, but more so when it interferes with what the actors are saying. Another shock is despite the talent assembled for this movie, the performances are not up to par of what you would usually expect from these actors.

It is unfair to keep tearing apart Marc Webb like this (although, let's not forget that life is not fair). Something that "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" does have going for it is the visuals, not only with the cinematography and special effect, but the 3D is really good in it too. Unlike Disney who has their Marvel movies shot in 2D and then has them converted into 3D in post-production, Sony has these movies shot using 3D cameras. This is one of those cases where you can really see a difference. When Spider-Man is swinging around the city or when he is fighting against Electro, those 3D effects make it well worth spending the extra bucks to see it in that format. A 3D movie should give moviegoers an "experience" and at the very least this movie accomplishes that. Sadly, it does not accomplish much else. It is Rated PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi action/violence.

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