amazing-spider-man-2-review
Storm? Is that you?

*** SPOILERS WITHIN ***

I didn’t want to start off on a negative note but…

Why is Peter Parker so annoying in the movie universe? You can’t tell me you didn’t want to punch Tobey Maguire’s Peter Parker in his soft-spoken face and though Andrew Garfield’s version is vastly different there’s something about his portrayal of Parker (not Spider-Man) that irks me. I get that he’s supposed to be geeky and awkward but I think he overdoes it sometimes.

That being said, I think the director, Mark (was he solely hired because of his name?) Webb, has pretty much nailed Spider-Man. Putting on a fireman’s hat and then high-fiving his fellow civil servants as he douses Electro with water or wearing a scuba suit as he tests out new web-shooters wouldn’t seem out of place in the childish Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon but somehow they seem to work well on the big screen.

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Is it just me though, or does Spider-Man think he’s black when he dons the mask? I noticed that he tried his best Eminem impression in the first movie and it carried over into the sequel. I wonder if it’s Spider-Man’s way of protecting his identity akin to the infamous Bat-growl?

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Stop it Jamie, you’re only encouraging him
Amazing Spider-Man 2 brings the total number of movies about the wall-crawler to 5. Which means there has been a few villains for Spidey to contend with. Let’s see, Green Goblin (twice, wait no, 3 times!), Doctor Octopus, Sandman, Venom (you need to make that one right Webb and soon!), the Lizard, Rhino and Electro.

I don’t much care for Spider-Man villains. I do like Venom (and Carnage) but the less said about live action Venom the better. It could have been the brightly coloured lightning bolts or the ability to transform into pure electricity but Jamie Foxx’s Electro is the best villain to date for me and his fights with Spider-Man were rather spectacular. Minor gripe: was Spider-Man’s suit insulated? Because he didn’t seem too fussy about  an entire power grids worth of current surging through his body.

It’s worth mentioning that Hans Zimmer’s ‘Electro theme’ was unsurprisingly great, as long as you can get past the weird inner monologue lyrics.

As for Rhino, I could barely make out a word Paul Giamatti was saying in his pseudo Russian accent. My one good ear managed to decipher I am the Rhino. Why does a comic-book character announcing himself have to be so cringeworthy? I suppose there are a few exceptions like……..ummm, well there’s……..nope, it will never not induce an eye-roll.

Dane DeHaan’s emo (he knows no other way) Harry Osborn is alright even if his green goblin is a waste of time. Well, that is if you ignore that he is responsible for the most important scene of the movie…..segueway…

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I’ll take it from here Gwendolyn – MJ

Aww, look at her face…she knows she’s being replaced (poetry).

Yup, Gwen is no more. I’d just like to take this moment to thank the prick who posted the massive spoiler in the comments section of a Screen-Rant article without warning. Well, ‘massive’ might be an exaggeration. I think any reasonably knowledgeable Spider-Man fan would have it in the back of their mind that she was going to kick it. It’s a sequel after all, so there has to be a memorable death (it wasn’t going to be Aunt May) and Gwen’s passing in the comics is a pretty significant one.

This is the second big comic book movie that has been spoiled for me after the Winter Soldier. I foolishly watched The Agents of Shield/Captain America tie-in episode before actually seeing the movie. In my defense, I didn’t know it was that particular episode. Why would they even air it a mere 5 days after the official release of Captain America anyway? By the time I realised, it was already too late, Hydra had been revealed, movie plot ruined. It’s a good thing I care little about the star spangled superhero.

I like Emma Stone so it was sad to see Gwen plummet to her death. She and Garfield, bar the odd cheesy line, seem to have good chemistry on screen. They are a real life couple and it wouldn’t surprise me if they were just being themselves in front of the camera.

Gwen’s demise of course makes way for Parker’s one true love, Mary Jane Watson. She was originally supposed to appear in ASM2, played by Shailene Woodley of Divergent fame but her scenes got left on the cutting room floor and it turns out she might be recast entirely. Personally, I didn’t think there was room for her. The movie was perilously close to venturing into angsty young adult drama territory (see Twilight, Hunger Games, The Mortal Instruments…why have I seen all these?) and the infamous love triangle would have sent it careening over the edge.

Gwen’s death, although poignant, presents a problem for me in relation to the story.

Peter is haunted by the memory of Gwen’s dead father. He specifically asked Peter to stay clear of Gwen because of the people who get too close to the hero die cliche. Peter tried to respect the deceased policeman’s wishes but he couldn’t stay away (poetry), fair enough. Here’s my issue, when he does eventually get Gwen killed, supposedly his biggest fear is realised which should send him in to a tailspin.

Fine, he stopped being Spider-Man for a bit but we don’t really get to see how bad things are for him or the hero-less city. Then he watches Gwen’s graduation speech, which, let’s be honest, wasn’t all that inspiring and just like that he’s sporting spandex again and ready to battle the Rhino.

I don’t know, I’m thinking it could’ve been handled differently. And if I knew how exactly, I wouldn’t be writing this shite. I’d be at a desk putting the finishing touches on Spider-Man 3 while getting a blowjob from a supermodel. That is the Hollywood screenwriter lifestyle isn’t it?

Maybe the movie ends with Gwen’s death and the third installment kicks off with a New York gone to shit because villains are running rampant and there’s no Spider-Man to stop them.

Then again, maybe the writers’ thinking was that he realised he can’t abandon the people of New York just because he suffered a personal tragedy. Perhaps part 3 will revolve around him finding it hard to get close to someone again (MJ) so instead he just has meaningless one nighters with Felicia Hardy (Black Cat). No webs attached.

A final word on what is one of the most important part of any sci-fi/comic book movie for me…the visuals.

I was worried when I saw the first of the 429 trailers for ASM2, the CGI seemed rather cartoony. My apprehension was unwarranted. Shots of Spider-Man swan-diving off rooftops, swinging between skycrapers and seemingly endless web-shooting (how did he not run out at any point?) were quite impressive and have prompted me to award Spidey with the superhero most suited to 3D award. Electro’s destructive light show in Times Square and Webb’s clever use of super slo-mo made for great viewing as well.

Reading this over, one might think that I disliked the movie but I actually found it quite entertaining. Occasional cheesiness and useless villains aside, I’d say that Amazing Spider-Man 2 represents a solid start to the summer blockbuster season.

Rating: 7/10

After credits: A spider-man crossover with the Avengers or X-Men or Fantastic Four is not going to happen, at least not while I’m alive. The mid-credit scene of ASM2 is arguably the closest we’re going to get. The clip from the upcoming X-Men: Days of Future Past is not  necessarily one that will get asses in seats in a few weeks time though. Honestly, I would have preferred a button scene hinting at what’s to come in Spidey’s universe. Some black goo in a canister would have sufficed.

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