US Release Date: 05-02-2014
Directed by: Marc Webb
- Andrew Garfield, as
- Spider-Man / Peter Parker
- Emma Stone, as
- Gwen Stacy
- Jamie Foxx, as
- Electro / Max Dillon
- Dane DeHaan, as
- Green Goblin / Harry Osborn
- Colm Feore, as
- Donald Menken
- Felicity Jones, as
- Paul Giamatti, as
- Aleksei Sytsevich
- Sally Field, as
- Aunt May
- Embeth Davidtz, as
- Mary Parker
- Campbell Scott, as
- Richard Parker
- Marton Csokas, as
- Dr. Ashley Kafka
- Louis Cancelmi, as
- Man in Black Suit
- Max Charles, as
- Young Peter Parker
- Skyler Gisondo as
- Howard Stacy
Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone in The Amazing Spider-man 2.
When 2012's The Amazing Spider-man was released, many critics complained that it was too soon for a reboot, but I actually enjoyed it. The cast was terrific and the story and the action very well done. With most of the same cast and the same director returning for its sequel, I had high hopes for it, but a meandering story, some silly dialogue, and an overly long running time all work to make this sequel far weaker than its predecessor. Perhaps along with the cast and the director, they should have brought back the same writers too.
The plot is overstuffed and features not one, not two, but three super-villains. It mixes soap opera with its action and adds in some silly humor that induces more groans than laughs.
The story picks up at Peter Parker's and his girlfriend Gwen Stacy's graduation. Peter is haunted by the promise he made to Gwen's father that he would keep her away from danger and so he breaks up with her, leading to the soap opera portion of the plot and the will they or they won't end up together or will Gwen go off to Oxford to attend university.
Meanwhile in the supervillain department, Jamie Foxx does his best to make us forget he once won an Academy Award for acting as Electro, a nerdy engineer who is transformed into a glowing, misunderstood bad guy who just wants some attention. Dane DeHaan makes a creepy Harry Osborn who discovers that he is dying and thinks that the only cure for him is some of Spider-man's blood. And in a smaller role, Paul Giamatti does his best to make Jamie Foxx's performance in this film look like it deserves an Academy Award by playing a Russian mobster so over-the-top that he's practically in orbit. His accent is so thick and cliche ridden that you'll expect to see a moose and squirrel pop-up somewhere. In an overly long and unnecessary epilogue, he becomes Rhino.
All of these different plot elements and some smaller ones, like Aunt May struggling to make ends meet, Peter coming to terms with his abandonment issues, and even an unnecessary scene involving two near collision airplanes, all add up to a running time of 2 hours and 22 minutes, the longest Spider-man film yet. And given all these extra things going on in the story, you feel every minute of that time. There's enough plot to fill two Spider-man movies.
The best thing this movie has going for it is its two leads. Garfield and Stone, who are dating in real life, share a nice chemistry together. They both look and behave way beyond high-school age, but their scenes together are still the most enjoyable, which is another of the movie's problems. When a superhero movie is more entertaining when the superhero is with his girlfriend instead of when he's out being a superhero, you know something is wrong. Still, there scenes together, especially at the film's climax, are the only scenes with any sort of emotional resonance.
Comic book movies have come a long way since the 1990s. There have certainly been enough of them since then. They've gone from being campy and comedic to something often quite sophisticated. This one feels like a throwback, more like the Joel Schumacher Batman films than something made in this decade.
Andrew Garfield and Jamie Foxx in The Amazing Spider-man 2.
Let me begin by saying I have never been a big fan of superhero movies. As the years go by and the number of them keeps increasing exponentially, I find myself enjoying them less and less. The Amazing Spider-man 2 is one long bore of a movie. The completely unnecessary opening sequence with Richard Parker aboard that plane sets the stage for a long bloated story that seems to take forever to unfold. The cast certainly gives it the old college try but they are unable to overcome the same-old-sameness of this totally rehashed plot.
Even not being a big fan of the genre I expected to enjoy this movie more. Especially since I thought The Amazing Spider-man was the best movie yet made about the famous webslinger. Unfortunately this movie is a huge letdown from that franchise peak. I agree with pretty much everything my brother wrote. The overcrowded story meanders and is just plain silly in places (the little boy in the spider suit comes to mind). And some of the character motivation seems quite weak. For example, the reason the nerdy Max Dillon goes from idolizing Spider-man to hating him, after he becomes Electro, is never satisfactorily explained.
The cast is the best thing this movie has going for it. At least the good guys anyway. Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone make a nice pair, they play off each other well. Sally Field (who seems to think she's in a Spielberg melodrama) brings some gravitas to her big scene where she reveals her secret to Peter. But again agreeing with my brother the actors playing the villains are all over the place. The only one I thought that wasn't terrible was Dane DeHaan. He alone seems in any way menacing.
In my opinion no superhero movie should run over 2 hours. They aren't exactly deep or profound but simply meant to entertain in a breezy manner. The Amazing Spider-man 2 is way too much of a not so good thing.
Andrew Garfield in The Amazing Spider-man 2
I enjoyed this film much more than my brothers. I found the relationship between Peter and Gwen to be quite charming. The CGI is wonderful and the action scenes are very exciting. However, I do agree that some cuts were needed, two in particular.
As Patrick wrote, the opening scene aboard the plane serves no purpose whatsoever. How much money was wasted on filming that scene? When Peter finds the computer with the downloaded information, we get that his father must have done that. It did not require a dramatic CGI action scene to explain it.
Not only was that scene unneeded but it raises some questions. If Richard Parker, somehow, has access to a private jet, why not bring Peter along? They could fly anywhere. Whose plane was it? Osborn’s? If so, why the hell would he trust the flight staff? He did just sabotage some of Oscorp's property after all.
This all brings up another question. If Peter’s parents were so worried about being found and killed, why did they not just stay in Richard’s secret subway lair? Peter finds it undisturbed a decade after Richard left it. Peter’s genius parents would still be alive had they just went underground instead of taking to the sky in someone’s private jet.
Another scene that needed to be cut is the one of Max Dillon in his apartment, where we see how much of a pathetic person he is. We already know that Max is a loner, who goes unnoticed by everyone except his boss when a dirty job is required. We see that he is a Spiderman fan in the scene where Spidey saves him and he tells Gwen all about it. Had that scene in his apartment ended up on the cutting room floor, the issue Patrick mentioned of Max Dillon going from idolizing Spider-man to hating him, would not seem as obvious.
With the exception of those two points, I truly enjoyed most of this film. The movie should have opened with the scene of Spidey free falling through the city in pursuit of Aleksei Sytsevich. It is played very light and quick paced. It then goes to graduation where Gwen gives a foreboding commencement speech about being mortal. Although the humor remains throughout much of the film, the movie does become more and more serious as it goes. I was very caught up in the final battle at the electric plant.
James Franco played Harry Osborn like a wealthy James Dean while Dane DeHaan gives off a creepy pervert vibe. Harry is the most sympathetic character on screen. He was never loved by his father and is given the news that he is soon to die a horrible death. Even his buddy Peter screws him over when he refuses to give him some of his blood, that Harry is convinced will save him. DeHaan does a decent job, despite being given a bad haircut and ugly sunglasses.
Agreeing with by brothers, Andrew Garfield is great in the role. He handles the humor, romance and action scenes, the few he actually does himself. I liked Tobey Maguire in the part but Garfield has made the role his. His final scene with Gwen is moving.
Sure this film could have used some editing and the flow is not always smooth, but I found more of it worked than not.
Photos © Copyright Columbia Pictures (2014)