by Nadin P.
To call The Amazing Spider Man 2 a major disappointment would be an understatement. Having all the money in Hollywood at their disposal (well, sort of, you know…), they come up with THIS? Really?
Once bitten, twice shy is the exact description of my relationship with the superhero films. Scarred by the unsuccessful adaptations – one day some very lucky therapist will make a fortune out of my Daredevil and Catwoman experiences – I tend to be on guard when it comes to anything that’s not entirely human. That said, you’d probably have a hard time finding a bigger and more devoted The X Men and Thor fan, so go figure.
The most accurate word to describe The Amazing Spider Man 2 would probably be ‘overwhelming’. Which is not necessarily a bad thing when it comes to an action film. Unless it’s The Amazing Spider Man 2, apparently. Sorry, I can’t help scoffing every time I have to write ‘amazing’ because the film was anything but. In fact, it was almost a guide to “How To Have Top Actors In The Film Industry And Ruin A Film”, in case anyone was really wondering.
Well, to be completely fair, the story did work in terms of plot beats – turning points, ‘all is lost’, ‘new beginning’, etc. Which is hardly a success because when you do notice them, it usually means that the rest of the project sucks.
Following the story established in the first film, we meet Peter Parker portrayed quite brilliantly by Andrew Garfield – a college boy by day and a Spider Man by…whenever the world needs him. All this in between his morning coffee, doing laundry and taking selfies to sell them to the newspapers and get some pocket money. Fun times, no? Well, not without Peter’s smart and sassy girlfriend Gwen Stacy brought to you by Garfield’s real life girlfriend Emma Stone, who has the magic power of turning every single movie she’s in into something unbelievably awesome.
Naturally, life wouldn’t be half as challenging for our hero it is wasn’t for some bad guys running around and trying to destroy the world, or at least take control over it. Secret experiments, conspiracy theories, you pick it.
In this particular film, the antagonism is divided between two individuals – Max Dillon (Jamie Foxx), an Oscorp employee with serious abandonment and attention issues, and Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan), Peter’s childhood friend and Oscorp heir dying from a rare genetic disease.
Max was, I suppose, meant to be the main villain, or at least the bigger one, what with his powers to de-power the entire city in a blink of an eye. Yet, he was set up as such a pathetic and ridiculous character that it wasn’t possible to take him seriously even when he went all blue and scary and every kind of emotionally unstable. Basically, he was what I imagine Justin Bieber’s fangirls are like – obsessive and needy. Even Jamie Foxx, as wonderful as he is, couldn’t make this character plausible. If anything, he was way too cringe-worthy, even for the comic book reality.
Harry Osborn could have been a better antagonist if he was established as such earlier in the film. We learn about his disease almost immediately but he doesn’t go all Spiderman crazy until midpoint and by then I already stopped caring about him. The whole Fly thing he pulled closer to the end of the film wasn’t that bad but let’s face it, no one could do it better than Jeff Goldblum anyway, so…
Of course it’s impossible to miss brilliant performance of Emma Stone—No, wait, it actually was possible because Gwen Stacy was, I daresay, criminally underused. For the most part of the film, like 95% of it, her main role was to break up with Peter and then be torn about it and sort of get back together but not really. Over and over and over again. Even her role as an entry level employee of Oscorp was not helping the matters. The fact that she meets Max and then sort of tries to get some information about him only makes it even more obvious that she’s barely anything but a plot device.
For a moment there, when Peter mentioned her to Harry, I thought they might go for a love triangle kind of thing which is never my plot of choice but at least it’d give Gwen some story. They did not.
The absolute best thing about the entire film was, perhaps, a glimpse of what the relationship between Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield looks like in real life. These two are just too cute for their own good. Which, of course, wasn’t enough to save the movie.
One of many problems of The Amazing Spider Man 2 was, undoubtedly, the tone that no one seemed to set properly. I never expect superhero movies to be particularly serious because, you know, when was the last time you saw real Batman? But The Amazing Spider Man 2 was too ridiculously comical which, frankly, made me cringe more often than I expected. To tell the truth, humor is my everything. Dry sarcasm is what I look for in every film, every character on screen, and it is delightful to find it and marvel in it. The attempted humor in The Amazing Spider Man 2 wasn’t anything like what I’d want to see, however. It was all in our face, coming primarily from Garfield’s character as he was trying to be sassy with the bad guys a moment before he’d spray them with his sticky whatever.
To be completely honest, I’m not sure what my problem with Andrew Garfield/Spider Man is, exactly. I sure don’t mind him as an actor. I do like Spider Man as a character. But him being almost clownish in the new film? Big time no! (Hate blaming the writers but I think I have no other choice).
I do want to believe that it was the end of the franchise, at least for now, but something tells me that it’s too good to be true and that we’re going to see film No. 3 sometime in the foreseeable future. Which I will most likely skip for the sake of saving money and my brain cells that I don’t trust to handle another film of that kind.
That said, I want to believe that even if they choose not to put an end to this rather painful experience, then maybe the next time they’ll find a way not to cram EVERYTHING into a 2-hour film and give the characters a chance to develop properly.
Stay tuned! … Or not.