REVIEW: The Amazing Spider-Man 2- A Great, if Flawed Outing

I hate Disney.  Okay, maybe that's a bit strong, but still, I hate what Disney has done to comic book movies.  Why did their whole plan for the Avengers have to go so well?  I mean their movies are fantastic and I have loved almost every single one of them.   Apparently I'm not the only one who has loved their movies, as they have made a whole crap-ton of money.  Add in the fact that now Disney intends to make a lot of 

Star Wars

movies and it looks like Disney is poised to rule the lucrative summer season for years to come.  This situation has every other studio with rights to comic book characters scrambling to emulate Disney's success with The Avengers.  Sadly, Sony's desperate attempt to create a universe as comprehensive as Marvel Studios is what keeps The Amazing Spider-Man 2 from being a fantastic movie as opposed to an OK movie.

Andrew Garfield returns as the titular character once more and it must be said that he owns the part of Spider-Man.  Seriously Garfield's comedic timing and fantastic delivery was the greatest part of the movie.  Finally we have the true Spider-Man from the comics, full of the arrogance that comes of youth and plenty of hilarious quips.  When the mask comes off, Garfield shows how well he can play the twitchy, eccentric and thoroughly conflicted Peter Parker.  I honestly do not believe there will ever be another actor which more perfectly portrays our Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man.

One of my favorite things from the last installment was the sometimes awkward totally believable relationship between Peter Parker and Gwen Stacey.  That relationship returns in this installment, and Emma Stone once again brings a fantastic character to life.  The chemistry between Garfield and Stone is wonderful, in fact I enjoyed their scenes together just as much as I enjoyed the action sequences, which is saying something because the action in this film is top-notch.

The first installment leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to action. Because half of the movie was spent showing Peter actually getting his powers and learning how to use them (again) the really wasn't a lot of time left for action, which is pretty common for origin stories.  This time around, the action starts right from the word go.  The opening car chase is done incredibly well.  It's full of Spidey's awesome stunts mingled with his hilarious quips.  It also demonstrates a very different tone from the first movie.  It's almost as if Marc Webb and the writers of this film were much more willing to embrace the "cheese" in this film.

In fact they were so willing to embrace the cheese, they created a villain whose cheesiness rivals that of the Riddler's in Batman Forever.  

In fact Max Dillon's (Jamie Foxx) unnatural obsession with Spider-Man rivals Nygma's obsession with Bruce Wayne.  Seriously they are almost the same character, except you know, Dillon has power over electricity.  Because he was bit by eels.  Best villain origin ever.

The resemblance is uncanny!

Seriously though, Electro ends up being terribly under utilized, thanks to the fact that the writing team felt it was necessary to introduce one of, if not the most iconic Spider-Man villains in the form of Green Goblin.  It honestly feels as though half-way through writing the script, someone said, "You know what would be awesome?  Green Goblin.  Let's put the Green Goblin in this movie.  What's that?  Oh, yeah Electro...Well we can cut all of those scenes in which we develop his character to make room for Gobby."  There is just not enough time given to Electro to elicit any kind of sympathy from the audience.  And if you want an effective villain you almost always have to make him or her a sympathetic character at first.  It's really sad because they have a very talented actor playing Electro, so his under-utilization is almost criminal.  Green Goblin is also completely under utilized.  In fact I think he only has a total of five minutes of screen time as the actual Goblin.  That's like going to a Batman movie in which they advertise the Joker as a main villain and then only having him on the screen for five minutes.  Or an Iron Man movie in which the Mandarin turns out to be a bumbling goofy actor named Trevor.  It just feels cheap.


Over all The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is a fun movie with some pacing issues, and a hodgepodge plot.  It's clear that this movie is meant to set up a universe in which multiple spin offs can and will exist.  Sony is doing everything it can to catch up to Marvel Studios, and they are sacrificing a fantastic cast and a wonderful director while they do it.  That's what is so frustrating about this movie.  It honestly had the potential to be the best Spider-Man movie to date.  Indeed the climax made me more emotional than any other comic book movie has thanks to some brilliant acting on the part of Garfield and fantastic direction by Marc Webb.  Sadly though the rest of the film is just so muddled.

The Wrap Up

The Good:

-Fantastic performances by Garfield and Stone

-Exhilerating action sequences

-Fantastic humor

-Chemistry between Stone and Garfield

The Bad:

-Some 90s caliber, cringe-worthy lines from Electro

-Under utilization of Electro

-Gobby's lack of screen time

-Pacing issues

-Muddled plot

The Ugly

-Electro's design.   His costume is atrocious...just look at it

The Verdict

7.5 out of 10.  The brilliant acting, great humor, amazing action sequences and emotional conclusion to the film save this feature from being a complete dud.  Recommended for ages 10 and up.  Minimal swearing, no sex, some scary sequences.

Have you seen the film?  Let me know what you thought in the comments below!

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