Spiderman, Spiderman, / Does whatever a spider can, / Spins a web, / Any size, / Catches thieves, / Just like flies, / Look Out! / Here comes the Spiderman!
We all love this theme song from the Spiderman TV series. Apparently, Spidey loves it too, so much that it's his ring-tone in The Amazing Spiderman 2.
The movie has received a lot of mediocre to negative reviews from critics but has mostly been praised by comic book fans of the character. I never read the comics but I've always been a big fan of this superhero and this movie is almost everything I would want from a Spider-Man flick (I've heard that it's the most faithful of the entire franchise as well).
The movie follows Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) as he struggles to maintain his relationship with Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) following the death of her father. His actions also unintentionally bring to the rise of Electro, a powerful villain played by Jamie Foxx. Peter also continues to investigate what happened to his father and is reunited with his old friend Harry Osborn.
The Story was more about Spidey and Gwen, rather than the villains. I understand that this may have not appealed to some fans. However, this is exactly what Spider-Man is about. Spider-Man is about a regular guy with regular guy problems, which cause him just about as much pain as his work as a superhero.
That is one of my biggest criticism of the film, the fact that it would probably be more accurately titled if it were called "The Amazing Peter Parker".
There is a fair amount of romance between Gwen Stacy and Peter Parker who have a great chemistry on screen that worked! It wasn't a silly love side plot; Gwen Stacy wasn't a mere fair damsel Spidey had to rescue, she was a useful character and allowed the viewer to see Peter / Spidey on a more personal level - definitely much different to the romance in the old Spider Man series!
I appreciate Marc Webb's expertise with handling romance, as evident from “500 Days of Summer”, but it also felt like too much time had been allocated for Peter and Gwen's goofy on and off relationship.
As advertised, Spider-Man battles three baddies in this film: Electro / Max Dillon (Jamie Foxx), Harry Osborn / Green Goblin (Dane DeHaan) and Aleksei Sytsevich / Rhino (Paul Giamatti). Although the film narratively manages to avoid the villain overcrowding of the late '90s "Batman" films and "Spider-Man 3," it's far from ideal.
They clearly were not confident enough in Electro as the main villain, considering there is a Harry Osborne/Green Goblin sub-plot.
The actors performances are outstanding, especially Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone. Garfield's body language is better than Maguire's and he is way more curious, funny and emotional. Although Tobey Maguire was a good Peter Parker / Spider-Man, Garfield is a notch better. Emma Stone is a great choice to portray Gwen Stacy. The chemistry between her and Garfield is outstanding.
Sally Field's performance as Aunty May / May Parker is marvelous and she has a bigger role in this one than it's previous movie. She is very secretive and she’s kind of a selfish woman who hides a lot of things for her nephew Peter.
Foxx is cast as a one-dimensional version of his mentally ill character from "The Soloist". An Oscorp electrician and huge fan of Spider-Man, Max Dillon lives in his own world and suffers from an incapability to separate logic from his emotions. The sympathy was kind of lost when he turned into Electro; he's fine, but the reason why he became villainous didn't really make a lot of sense to me. Electro is a cool villain visually and the special effects are terrific, and I would compare his role with Arnold Schwarzenegger's Mr. Freeze.
Osborns - I feel the Osborns were better done in the previous Spider Man series (perhaps the only thing done right). Dane DeHaan who played Harry Osborn/Green Goblin was good but not as great as James Franco to play Harry Osborn. He continues to bare a striking resemblance to Leonardo DiCaprio and he shows a lot of talent while doing so. The friendship between Peter and Harry wasn't emphasized enough - I didn't really care about Harry, and I didn't full understand why the Green Goblin hated Spider-Man.
Some people are commenting that Giamotti as The Rhino is the most interesting villain in the film, for all of his very brief scenes. I was not that fascinated, since his performance is so way over-the-top. But, it does showcase an element which consistently makes Sony & Fox & most DC films bad, whereas Christopher Nolan’s Batman films consistently shine: Rhino is a real villain. He likes to steal, has no shame in it, and he's just a bad dude.
It is easy to get lost in story details and plot points and character motivation, but "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" is also as entertaining as it should be, and more so than its predecessor. The camera-work and special effects are the stuff Sam Raimi probably only dreamed of and take the character (literally) to new heights. The use of slow-motion proves to not be cliché, but to actually let the audience see the quality of the effects, the attention to detail.
I was especially glad that the web swinging was realistically designed, as you were shown which buildings the web is sticking to and how it affects Spider Man’s trajectory as he swings through the air. The fight scenes between Spidey and Electro are extremely well done with a frequent but very effective use of slow motion sequences and stunning visual effects. The Times Square scene in particular was tense, Electro felt like a bomb about to explode and spidey had to play all the right strings to keep him calm.
That final fight with Goblin was super epic, the whole sequence inside the clock tower was masterfully directed.
Another thing that I didn't really get was who was the main villain, I'm not really sure if it's Electro or the Goblin, cause the Goblin appears as the real antagonist in the end, but Electro was a villain for the most part of the movie. The villains were very mixed-up.
Compared to the trailers, this film feels to be lacking entire story threads that would have driven the plot into a different direction. Scenes between Harry, his father and Peter promised more intricate relations between the characters. Likewise, characters' scenes were dropped, including the introduction of Mary Jane. The fact is, with multiple foes, a tumultuous love life, and a continuing search for his roots and the fate of his parents carried over from the predecessor, there was more than enough substance to the plot already without the studio's obvious insistence of setting up future films as well.
Overall, I thought this was a greatly enjoyable superhero movie that is the best of its genre since “The Dark Knight Rises” and “The Avengers” in 2012. The relationship is convincing and well written, and the villains are outstanding. I would highly recommend this movie to anyone who is a fan of Spider-Man or superhero movies in general.