The Amazing Spider-Man 2 follows the events of the first Amazing Spider-Man with Peter Parker being Spider-Man and saving New York City. Despite some negative reviews, as a massive fan of the Spider-Man comics, I was obviously excited to see where the Marc Webb and co. takes the Webhead next. Fortunately, however, I can safely say that the critics are wrong for the most part, because The Amazing Spider-Man 2 delivers on many levels despite a few minor plot missteps.
First off, a lot of people have complained that the trailers spoil way too much of the movie, which seemed to heavily affect their overall rating. Knowing how Sony's marketing spoiled essentially everything about the first movie; I intentionally avoided all of the trailers since the first one, and I even ignored the trailer in theaters (I am a dedicated spoiler-phobe). Therefore, my review is more focused on the actual movie regardless of the poor marketing ruining the experience. However, Sony really needs to do something about their trailers!
Directed by: Marc Webb
Genre: Action, Comic Book, Science Fiction,
Release Date: May 2, 2014
Running Time: 142 minutes
MMPA rating: PG-13
The Good: Positively hilarious, Perfectly captures feel of comic book, Satisfying resolution of mystery, Electro is a compelling villain, Amazing action scenes, Perfectly executed emotional scenes, Andrew Garfield is the perfect Spider-Man, Hans Zimmer's score is perfect, Dane DeHaan kills it as Harry Osborn, Electro's theme is superb, Spectacular cast, Fun references, Engaging action set pieces, Strong character development,
The Bad: A few minor plot issues, One or two overly silly moments,
Plot: 8.7/10- While one or two minor elements seem slightly rushed, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 effectively incorporates all of the various plot elements with a solid degree of success. Some of the mystery behind Peter's parents that was essentially cut from the first movie is further explained, and the resolution is satisfying. The romance and relationship aspects are handled perfectly considering how horribly most other movies have handled similar situations, and that is thanks to Marc Webb's experience with relationship drama and humor. The only slight negative that I find is that tone changes could be problematic to some viewers, but I believe showing how the lighthearted side of Spider-Man's character contrasts the darker problems that the character deals with.
Also, without spoiling anything, the film successfully adapts the comic book source material. *Possible Spoiler* My favorite part of the film was its effective emotional impact, even for those, like myself, that are familiar with the comic. *End Spoiler
Characterization/Acting: 9.7/10- Because the acting and characterization are so closely related in the film, I am combining the category.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2's strongest element is the development of the characters, which is largely thanks to the seriously top notch performances from the cast that bring the characters to life. Despite having to juggle so many characters, the movie manages to balance the screen-time and development effectively, which is greatly aided by the stellar performances by the cast.
One of the strongest aspects of the film is the relationship between Peter and Gwen, and their natural on-screen chemistry is virtually un-matched, which is likely aided by the fact that they are a couple in real-life. Also, Andrew Garfield continues to own the role of Spider-Man. Not only is his new costume ripped right off the page, he looks and acts just as I imagined him.
Dane DeHaan as Harry Osborn positively kills it in role, as he definitely sets himself apart from James Franco's version of the character. While DeHaan is not quite as good in a brief last part of the film, he really captures the character well. He also worked well with Garfield in their scenes together, which helped establish some plot elements.
Electro is a surprisingly compelling villain. Jamie Foxx disappears in the role, and his performance sells the character perfectly. No one else could have pulled off the character. The mentally unstable social outcast with a sense of worthlessness character type is not used particularly often, and the film does an excellent job at portraying the character so that the audience starts to feel bad for him. While some viewers might call his character corny, I believe he was portrayed with a surprisingly degree of believability since I know there are people out there that have no sense of self worth. Also, Foxx's portrayal certainly surpasses his comic book counterpart, even if he was significantly different in many ways. Sally Field as Aunt May has a few very effective scenes that showcase her superb acting prowess. Paul Giamatti's performance as Aleksei Sytsevich, while fun, was too over-the-top and corny, which is the source of the movie's cheesiness at times. Fortunately, he plays an incredibly small part in the movie.
Action: 9.7/10- Marc Webb's action direction has certainly improved since the first Spider-Man with many of the action scenes being fun and exciting! As with this year's The Winter Soldier, I was very engaged with the action scenes to the point of unknowingly moving around in my seat along with the action, albeit to a lesser degree than Cap's film. Electro's powers are particularly interesting, and they were used inventively during the action scenes.
Special effects: 9.5/10- While a few shots seemed to be obviously computer generated, most of the special effects were very believable. Spider-Man's swinging has never looked better, and it almost looks like it was ripped straight from the comic pages. Electro could have easily turned out terribly, but the special effects for his powers looked fantastic! Also, the movie uses a very cool time-slowing effect to show off Spidey's fast reflexes. On a side note, did anyone else think of Dr. Manhattan during a few scenes? At least Electro wore pants...
Soundtrack: 9.9/10- Hans Zimmer's really outdoes himself with the score. While it features many of Zimmer's hallmarks like booming bass tones, his rendition of Spider-Man theme, as well as the music throughout, was top notch work. However, Zimmer's best part is Electro's theme. It has to be one of the best villain themes I have heard in a long time. Often times, using voices during a track sounds odd, but it only added to the intensity of the character's scenes.
Humor: 9.8/10- The Amazing Spider-Man 2's humor is mostly spot on. While one or two moments seemed unnecessarily silly, the majority of the humor had me laughing-out-loud many times throughout the film! In fact, the movie was one of the funniest movies I have seen in quite some time. For the first time, Spider-Man actually seemed like the wisecracking character from the comics, which, as a massive fan, is utterly satisfying to finally see on the big screen.
Entertainment Value: 9.9/10- From the opening scene onward, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 grabbed my attention until the credits rolled. Not for a minute was I not thoroughly entertained and engaged with the story, and in fact, I almost want to go watch the movie again!
Overall: 9.5/10- Despite a few minor plot issues, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 delivers where it matters most, the characters. It perfectly captures the feel of the comic, and the movie delivers entertainment in spades. Due to possibly spoiling aspects of the film, I will not say what truly set the film above many others, but if you have seen the movie, you know what I am referring to.
Closing comments: If you are not a fan of Spider-Man, or completely hate the character as many do, I would lower the score to around an eight, but the movie is still worth watching for the humor, chemistry, and fun action alone. Also, if, for whatever reason, you do not connect with the characters, then you will likely not enjoy it, because it the main appeal of the film.
Recommended for: Action fans, Spider-Man fans, Marvel fans, Comic book movie fans, Sci-Fi fans,
Note: Many people are going to compare the film to the original Sam Raimi trilogy, specifically Spider-Man 2. Considering that Spider-Man 2 is one of my all-time favorite movies, I will say that The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is not quite on the same level; however, if you consider the first Amazing Spider-Man to be the best Spider-Man film, then you will most certainly enjoy The Amazing Spider-Man 2.
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