Comics Anonymous


Amazing Spider-Man 2

A mere two years since the first movie, we see the return of Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker with the release of Amazing Spider-Man 2 and there were high hopes after some impressive early footage in the trailers……but then not every movie lives up to the trailer-hype. (SPOILERS)

The first movie released in 2012 was another instance that had opinions split – another reboot of a franchise that had already been done in recent years was met with a mix of excitement and “Why bother?” but I liked it (review here) Early trailers showed that the second movie would be going for more of the same with flashy set pieces and Pete’s “normal” life mixing together as he tries to maintain a balance.  One concern of that early footage was the number of villains that were possibly going to appear……and with flashback’s of Spider-Man 3 fresh in my mind……it was a niggling doubt that this could undo ANY good work the first film did.  Thankfully, the trailer showed all those elements but the movie has a much more balanced approach to it’s content.  The main villains for this movie turned out to be Max Dillon aka Electro (Jamie Foxx) and Norman Osborn aka Green Goblin (Dane DeHaan) with both getting an origin tale in this second movie.

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As Max works within Oscorp as an invisible member of the workforce….and from the world in general.  An accident in the labs sees Max plunge into a tank of electric eels and his body is quickly whisked from the scene to the morgue as the company shy away from any bad publicity.  This all ties in with the death of Norman Osborn as head of Oscorp and the reigns being passed to Harry as he returns from a forced exile at boarding by his father.  Norman’s legacy is passed to Harry along with the knowledge that the disease that killed him is hereditary and the clock is ticking to find a cure.  A cure that turns out to be linked with Spider-man’s blood and a much deeper plot involving Pete’s parents work in the Oscorp labs.  A tangled web for sure but it’s all laid out pretty logically in the movie while we also get some focus on the relationship between Pete & Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone).

All these elements come together to pack in some impressive moments as the web-swinging and smart-ass remarks from Spidey come from the comic book pages onto our screen with ease and the depth in Pete & Gwen’s relationship make the finale all the more heart-breaking.  While I’ve always been a fan of the comic I was never really sure of where I stood on the Pete/Gwen tale and it’s only when this is recreated on the screen that I’ve realized just how significant it is.  Making me almost fall in love with Gwen myself (although that may just be Emma Stone to be fair) and while I KNEW her death was coming……it was played so well by Garfield that it came as a shock.

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So all in all the movie was as good as the first movie……but it didn’t surpass it and I think that’s mainly down to the changes we’ve seen in comic book movies over the last 2 years since the first Amazing Spider-Man hit the cinema’s.  We’ve seen Superman return to our big screens, we’ve seen TV series take to new heights and we’ve seen Marvel really stake their claim in the box office with some of the most accomplished comic book movies in years.

I think that’s where Amazing Spider-Man 2 struggles, the script is OK but there are elements that are far too clunky and forced.  Jamie Foxx was underused and is far too good an actor to be wasted in this way and he even seems to develop a Dr. Manhattan-like persona in this movie but even with all that power there’s no real substance behind it.  Giammati makes a brief appearance as the Rhino and with his terrible Russian accent ( in fact, all the foreign accents in this movie are comedy ones) he is firmly there as a distraction.

While the movie keeps the spirit of the Spider-Man/Peter Parker story, thanks mainly to Garfield who seems to embody every aspect of the character with ease…..I can’t help but think that it should be bigger…….and it should be better.  I’d even go as far to say that it’s time that Spider-Man was back in the hands of Marvel themselves…….but that won’t be happening any time soon as I’m sure Sony will push ahead with the next movie and it’s spin-offs as soon as they can.  Their less than subtle hints in the movie at the characters they have at their disposal for future movies pretty much confirms the options they are looking into but they’ve GOT to look at what DC & Marvel in particular have achieved in their movie releases.

A second installment that’s just as good as the first but just like that first movie it has it’s flaws and in a movie environment that is becoming less and less forgiving.  Comic book movies are ALWAYS going to be a great source for adventure and action but the story HAS to be as strong as it possibly can.  The body of work available and the characters on offer for a character like Spidey is astonishing and with the strongest person playing the character as Sony have in Garfield…..they can only throw those opportunities away.



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