Sunday, May 4, 2014

Review 263: "The Amazing Spider-Man 2"

No more secrets.

Rise of Confusing Subtitles

      The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is a 2014 superhero film. It's the fifth Spider-Man movie total and the second in the new, heavily marketed reboot series. The film is directed by Marc Webb ((500) Days of Summer) and is written by Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci (Star Trek (2009)) and Jeff Pinkner (Lost). The film is a loose connection of unrelated Spider-Man stories. The first follows Peter Parker AKA Spider-Man (Andrew Garfield) struggles with his relationship with Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone), who may be leaving for college in England. Meanwhile, Oscorp worker Max Dillon (Jamie Foxx) falls into a vat of eels and become Electro, a villain with control over electricity. Also, Norman Osborn's (Chris Cooper) illness brings Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan) back to New York, where he assumes control of Oscorp and becomes the Green Goblin. Also, he takes a woman named Felicia (Felicity Jones) as his assistant, while fellow Oscorp worker Alistair Smythe (BJ Novak) cause trouble for Max. Aunt May (Sally Field) worries about Peter. A russian criminal named Alekski (Paul Giamatti) eventually becomes the "Rhino". We get more crap/world-building about Peter's parents Mary (Embeth Davidtz) and Richard (Campbell Scott). Oh, and we have scenes in an Institute for the Insane and set ups of Sinister Six. Essentially, this could have been ASM 2, 3, 4, and 5.

Being Spider-Man weighs on his shoulders. Get it?
The Amazing Spider-Dud

      I was way too nice on the first Amazing Spider-Man. I mean, I knew that before I saw this movie. After rewatching the first one, it misses way more than it hits and while is usually feels like a decent Spider-Man movie, the new stuff they added to it is miserably awful. But at least it was passable. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is sadly, heartbreaking, genuinely terrible. Spider-Man finally has a bad movie under his belt and this one is a doozy. It's made even worse by the fact that for the first hour, maybe, it's pretty okay. Still worse than any other Spider-Man movie, but not too bad. The new Spider-Man suit is the best ever, Emma Stone is still good and Electro, though he looks like a robot Smurf, is pretty cool. In fact, the scene where Spidey fights in in Times Square, as well as the opening fight scene with Giamatti are pretty terrific action scenes. Add on to it that the film does look great and the score, especially the weird half-chanting Electro score, is awesome. But then, they have to do their freaking "world-building",

Green Scream

      Pretty much every change made to the characters in this film sucks. And not really from a fanboyish "keep it the same forever" standpoint. I'm all for changing the story to keep it fresh. But my god did they ruin everything. First off, Garfield is a crappy Peter Parker. He's too confident and yet still tries for the nerdy loser thing anyway. The result is less the Peter Parker we all know and love and more a douchebag with arrogance issues. Never have I wanted more for the villain to kick Spidey's ass. DeHaan too is legitimately awful. Like, please, please recast him awful. I mean, yes, the fact that the writers completely butcher the Green Goblin and turn him into the Grinch with an Iron Man suit doesn't help, but DeHaan goes for tortured soul and ends up on malfunctioning robot, with a bored tone and weird inflections to make him that special kind of completely annoying.
      But worst of all is how commercial the whole thing is. And I don't mean that is some jaded hipster way. The film is literally a commercial for the next FOUR Spider-Man related movies they're making, mostly Sinister Six. And none of it sounds interesting. No, I don't want to see the Dane Goblin back again. No, the robotic Rhino suit isn't cool and makes me hate that they wasted Giamatti on it. No, I don't want to see how they pull off the robotic Vulture suit or the bright purple Doc Ock or whatever shit they pull in the next movie. Many critics have said this and I'll add my name to the list. The worst thing about Amazing Spider-Man 2 is that this awful world is the basis for the next four Spidey movies and most likely a lot beyond that. And that just sounds awful. I never thought I would hate the day a new Spider-Man movie come out, but this movie brought me to that point.

Look out for that PS-1 era video game boss, Spider-Man!
The Verdict

      The Amazing Spider-Man 2 might not be as bad as, say, I, Frankenstein or Winter's Tale, but I hate this movie way more than I hated those others. Sony sold out and now this film is nothing more than a commercial for their Spider-Man saga. And what an awful trailer it is. The actors aren't very good, the story's a mess of overly complicated plot points that either go nowhere or go to a depressingly stupid retcon of a classic Spider-Man story or character. And almost none of it goes together in a way that makes a coherent story, I can't believe I'm saying this Spidey, but unless you get your act together, consider us broken up. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 gets 2 and a half stars out of 6.

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