Film Review: The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)

Director: Marc Webb
Screenplay: Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci and Jeff Pinkner
Stars: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx and Dane DeHaan

Dear reader, there’s two things I’d like to divulge here.

1. This contains some spoilers. Boo hoo.

2. My writing style is not usual filled with so many open questions and SCREAMING CAPS LOCK but this film brought out the worst in me. I blame Marc Webb.

The sequel nobody wanted to the reboot nobody wanted. A script from the creative minds behind such beloved classics as Transformers, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, The Island, and Star Trek Into Darkness. The return of a director who demonstrated he is incapable of handling large-scale action sequence in the previous woeful instalment. What could possibly go wrong?

The obvious answer would be “a lot” – but that suggests there is room for something to actually go right. In the case of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 the answer is “Everything. Absolutely everything.”

When a production is as disastrous as this it can be hard to know where to begin, but here the issues are so glaringly obvious that only a person who still needs to have their food mushed up and fed to them with accompanying airplane noises would struggle to point them out. Call me old fashioned but I rather enjoy a film, whether it has a budget of $20k or $200m, to have a plot which makes sense featuring characters which have at least a hint as to what their motivations are for doing whatever it is they do. Perhaps I’m showing my age, but I remember when Spider-Man films were the pinnacle of blockbuster storytelling back in the summer of 2004, effortlessly fusing action, story, and character together. How things have changed…

Let’s start with the ‘plot’ as it could loosely be referred to. There isn’t one; it’s just a bunch of scenes devoted to three films’ worth of storylines mashed together and pumped out as one. Think of a great film as a 1000 piece jigsaw perfectly put together by countless numbers of people to reveal a beautiful picture for which you just have to sit back and enjoy, without worrying if the pieces fit. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is like a 100,000 piece jigsaw dumped on a table by the writers and director who tell you to sort it out yourself. But if you ever managed to put it together it’d still only be a picture of a giant steaming turd.

There a not one, not two, but there villains in the film. Didn’t Sony learn from the last clusterf*ck from 2007 that three doesn’t work? Why is there the urgent rush to show Electro, Green Goblin and Rhino in the same film, and worse still, not give any of them a reason to even exist other than the need to have three villains? Moreover, what are Electro’s motivations in the film? He gets electrocuted and suddenly becomes obsessed with power grids… because in his human form he worked with power grids? So if he worked in McDonalds he’d become hell-bent on consuming as many burgers as possible, or resoling every shoe on Earth if he were a cobbler by trade? Why is he all of a sudden evil? Why does he suddenly HATE Spider-Man so much when he is OBSESSED with him as a human? Why does he feel the need to call himself Electro all of a sudden (in one of the many laugh out loud moments) and what purpose does that hope to achieve?

Then he’s obliterated with at least 30 minutes still to go with no pause for thought as in flies Green Goblin, and the questions start all over again…Why is he after Spider-Man when his only goal is to find a cure for his illness? Are we supposed to believe he is so upset Spider-Man wouldn’t give him his blood that he has to go fight him INSTANTLY? How does he know how to fly the hoverboard? WHY DOES HE GET IN THE SUIT? WHY? WHY? WHY? WHY? WHY IS ANY OF THIS HAPPENING?

There is a moment in the film which, to its credit, did take me my surprise. This moment could have been used to build serious depth in the paper-thin Peter Parker character and send the currently awful film into an unexpected but welcome direction, ending on a much darker note, with questions surrounding Peter’s ability to now put on the suit. It could have saved the film from total and utter failure if the writers dared to ‘go there’… but no, they bring Rhino in with ten minutes left (who also ludicrously announces his name) to have a shootout with cops, not kill cops when a random kid appears (arguably the worst part of the film), not shoot at Spider-Man once despite showing a proclivity to do so just moments earlier, and engaging in a slow mo battle we’ve seen countless times before.

On to director Marc Webb, the man who manages to make modern CGI sequences look more dated than when Sam Raimi was doing it over a decade ago. Can someone tell Mr Webb that slow-mo then normal speed then back to slow-mo may have been cool in 1999 and since then was, at best, used by directors to show off then-new tricks but no one is buying it now. Add to this an obnoxiously loud and needlessly bombastic opening sequence which should have been handled in quiet, sinister manner, the needless destruction of several parts of New York in both his films (how original!), and an uncanny knack to make every scene as visually unappealing as possible despite all the money he can throw at it, and you have a catalyst for an extremely poorly directed film in every respect.

Webb is actively regressing the state of modern cinema with his ideas of action set pieces and the outstanding lack of tension and excitement he is able to make (or not, as the case is). It’s the clear sign of a man who had exhausted all ideas two years ago, a list which could be written on the back of a postage stamp.

Stop thinking for yourself verdict: What really baffles me are the same questions which I asked two years ago; why are Sony treating the character with such disrespect (filmically speaking) when Sam Raimi already gave us two awesome pictures and was keen on making amends for the terrible third? These films from Webb may well take lots of money, but they won’t be remembered a month after they open because, quite frankly, they are crap. In the context of superhero films these are right at the bottom, and that’s not where a character as great as Spider-Man belongs but is where he has been unceremoniously dumped. Shame on everyone involved for this is a very, very bad film.


One thought on “Film Review: The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)

  1. Sam Raimi´s Spider-man movies are way overrated, Tobey Maguire was an ok Peter Parker but never liked him as Spider-Man and the relationship between Gwen and Peter was so much stronger in this movie then both the “first” movie and the old movies between Parker and MJ.

    Then if you really did not get how mentally unstable Max “Electro” was then you must have missed the opening hour of the movie. Not only did they show how weak and fragile his psyche was but when his only “friend” lies to him when he gets shoot, he also takes away the one thing Max had always wanted in life and that was to be seen by people. The reason he is obsessed with the power grid it was he who designed it and didn't get any credit for it plus it super charges him into a “god” and then people would have to listen to him. So yes if he worked at McDonald's and eating all their burgers he would have been super strong then yes he would have been obsessed with burgers.

    Harry went for the suit since he knew it had healing capabilities something else you would have know if you had payed any attention in the beginning of the movie :/ Then Green Goblin is one of the most vindictive and arrogant enemies Spider-Man has and he clearly needs someone to blame for turning into a monster and that is Spider-Man.

    The Rhino is just basically introduced in this movie so the next one wont have 4 people to jam in back-story with, so complaining that they have to many villains when they basically only focus on 2 makes no sense if you compare it to X-Men 2, The Dark Knight, Superman 2 and Batman Returns all with multiple villains and seen as some of the best superhero movies of all time.

    I am not saying this movie is with out flaws, I didn't really like the first one and didn't have any real hopes for this one but it pleasantly surprised. So giving it a troll rating of 1 is just beyond me….

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