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The Amazing Spider-Man 2

May 2, 2014

The hardest thing for me about watching The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was that I spent the preceding fifteen hours before watching it trying my damnedest to remember what the hell happened in The Amazing Spider-Man.

That isn’t to say that Marc Webb’s first entry into the rebooted franchise was bad, it just was well… one of dozens of Peter Parker origin stories I’ve seen in just a little over two decades of life. I really couldn’t remember much beyond a few scenes and that they finally did Doc Connors but it doesn’t matter because this movie ends up standing on its own fairly well. There are a couple of plot points that you probably should remember but they both get reintroduced early on in the film so even if your memory is hazy you won’t have much trouble enjoying the sequel.

After a brief introductory sequence involving Peter’s parents to hint at the plot, we get thrown right back into the action as we watch Spider-Man stop a robbery of an Oscorp truck that is carrying plutonium. A scene which reminds us that the greatest thing about comics has always been the way major corporations can ignore laws concerning hazardous materials. Of course, because Spider-Man’s heroics are always interfering with his personal life we realize that he is stopping this robbery at the exact same time his high school graduation is going on. This sequence perfectly captures everything you need to know about Spider-Man and on top of that it is beautifully shot and scripted.

The movie then proceeds to introduce us to the various intersecting plot points that inevitably will bring us to a phenomenal third act. Max Dillon (Jamie Foxx) is saved by Spider-Man in the opening sequence, and the hero’s few friendly words cause the Oscorp electrical engineer to develop a psychotic fixation on him. Max is ignored, belittled, and largely invisible to his colleagues which results in an accident turning him into the angry villain Electro. Meanwhile Norman Osborne, the founder of Oscorp, passes away and his largely ignored son Harry (Dane DeHaan) inherits the company just as he learns his father’s horrific disease is genetic. Harry, who we learn is a childhood friend of Peter’s, starts doing his best to cure himself using Oscorp research only to realize that Spider-Man may very well be the key to his salvation. Finally, as Gwen (Emma Stone) and Peter (Andrew Garfield) go off to college, their relationship continues to grow more messy and complicated because they’re both uncertain of where they’re going in life and Peter fears he’s putting her in danger.

If you can make sense of that paragraph you can understand why I consider the movie a bit jumbled. The plot is very ambitious and jumps around from character to character and while this causes it to drag in places, they actually manage to keep us grounded in the emotional core at the center of each plot. I was very surprised by how satisfied I felt when the movie ended because somewhere in the middle I started to fear they had bit off more than they could chew. However, between the script, the direction, and the performances, the people behind this movie came together to make something that was really great.

This movie pleases me in a lot of ways. Spider-Man despite his forays into some very whacky fantastical story lines has always been, in my mind at least, a science fiction character and I think the crew behind the Amazing Spider-Man feels the same way. The world these characters inhabit is very similar to our own but is clearly further along in fields like chemistry, physics, computer science, and obviously genetics. You’ll see little dashes of believable advancements and of course a giant robotic rhino which is slightly less believable. Still, this is a world where science matters and obviously they want people of all ages to be thinking about their own scientific education, which I think is just grand.

As I said the direction is fantastic, and I know that they put a lot of effort into creating practical effects. I know, from an electrician who worked on the film, that they actually recreated Times Square for an awesome fight sequence and it’s jaw dropping to watch it knowing that its being shot on a massive set. The performances are great as well, Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone obviously have real chemistry on set but the real show stealer is Jamie Foxx. He completely sells his character from when he first bumbles onto the screen to his final fight at the end.

The two things I would be completely remiss in not talking about are the soundtrack and the costumes. This film has the first theme that really makes Spider-Man seem heroic, and on top of that it blends pop music with some more traditional bombastic superhero stuff that complements the film astoundingly. I always feel a little weird mentioning costumes but everyone in the movie looks great, particularly Emma Watson and Dane DeHaan. All of the outfits match the characters and say more about them with just a few quick visual cues (Jamie Foxx’s briefcase is a great example) than any amount of dialogue or exposition ever could.

Overall, I would definitely rank the Amazing Spider-Man 2 as better than its predecessor, which seems to be a trend when Spidey is on the big screen. It definitely has its problems in plot and pacing but the ending is satisfying enough that it’s very easy to forgive. Let’s just hope that the third installment doesn’t also follow in the footsteps of the previous trilogy or else we will end up with another reboot come 2023. No matter what though, this is a movie that is worth the trip to the theater.

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From → Movies

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