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Movie Review: The Amazing Spider-Man 2: Falls far short of the hype

The Amazing Spiderman 2


Comic book based films have become one of the main resources Hollywood uses for source material for films. The former occupants of the funny pages are among the biggest draws in modern movie making. Over the last 15 years, there has been a new movie about one of the former dwellers of the books that were once deemed as kids’ stuff that dominate the headlines for summer blockbusters. Now more than ever, comic book heroes have become even more interwoven into the hearts of the world.
The Amazing Spiderman 2 is the highly anticipated, action packed continuation that kicks off the summer movie season of 2014. It’s the second chapter of the epic retelling of Marvel Comics most popular character. The movie stars Andrew Garfield (The Amazing Spider-Man), Emma Stone (Gangster Squad), Jamie Foxx (White House Down), Dane DeHaan (Chronicle), Chris Cooper (The Town), Sally Field (Lincoln), Paul Giamatti (Romeo and Juliet), Colm Feore (Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit), and Felicity Jones (Like Crazy).
The Amazing Spiderman 2 (AM2) is the first disappointment of 2014. It’s not a bad film by any means. However, it fails to meet the lofty standard and expectations that the success of the first film established. AM2 is a victim of the same problem that murdered the last film to feature the character before the current reboot of the franchise. It succumbs to the pressure to try to include too much of the long running character’s universe into one film. The film is too convoluted. There is just too much compressed into this film. Sony rushes to include too much of the rich history of Spiderman and attempts to set up the sequels for the film but forgets to tell just this story in the process. In almost every way that The Amazing Spiderman succeeded, The Amazing Spiderman 2 fails. AM2
The film felt rushed to get to the Gwen Stacy death scene so the next one can be started.
Andrew Garfield continues to make the character his own. He clearly embraces wearing the costume. There are number of scenes that felt like the character was literally ripped from the pages of the comic and placed on screen. He was better as Spiderman in his second outing but worse in the continued updating of the Peter Parker aspect of the character. Since the debut of The Amazing Spider-Man, there has been an ongoing debate as to who is the better “Spider-Man” between the former Peter Parker (Toby Maguire) and the current, Andrew Garfield. AM2 does help to settle that debate. While it has become apparent that Maguire still has the better take on Parker while Garfield clearly has the better take on Spiderman.
The film's biggest redeeming quality is the great chemistry between Garfield and Stone. One of the best aspects of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is the Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy romance. This doomed love story is played out perfect and eloquently in this sequel. It builds on the foundation laid by the first film and then continues to dazzle audiences with quite possibly the best loved story in a superhero film. The new additions to the franchise Jamie Foxx and Dane Dehaan both are at complete opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of performance. While the veteran Jamie Foxx seemed uncomfortable and unsure of how to approach the performance as a villain, Dehaan clearly embraced his role as the villain and became one of the best aspects of The Amazing Spiderman2. Foxx’spre Electro performance of Max Dillion was nearly a copycat of Jim Carrey’s performance of pre Riddler Edward Nigma in Batman Forever but nowhere near as entertaining. Just like in his other superhero movie, Chronicle, Dehaan saves the day and delivers a masterful performance in extremely limited minutes.
The Amazing Spiderman 2 is as big of a disappointment for the comic book movies that there has been in recent years. The film clearly squanders the great set up that the 2012 film started. It feels unoriginal and forced. While I loved Dane Dehaan as Harry Osbourne, he is the one of the only aspects of the film that makes this worth watching. AM2 misses a lot of key connections to the first movie. It never shows how the Gwen/Peter relationship resumed, why the change in costume, and doesn’t contain enough aerial acrobatics. Where the first movie was fresh and original, this one just feels redundant. I also loved the romance between Peter and Gwen. That was clearly the best part of the film but it was submerged too far into trying to connect all of the storylines that are springing from this film. The ill-fated relationship between the two loses a lot of its impact because of Sony’s attempt to build a franchise as opposed to simply telling the story as the first Amazing Spiderman did. Undoubtedly, The Amazing Spiderman 2 will make a lot of money and its almost a sure thing that there will be a third. Let's just hope that the third one rights all of the wrongs of this one and gets this franchise back on course. Bottom line, The Amazing Spiderman is fluff and DVD worthy but not the right film to kick off the summer movie season.