The Amazing Spiderman 2 electrifies the globe, as the web slinger returns to movie theatres everywhere. With action packed scenes paired with beautiful cinematography, this Marvel film works hard not to disappoint. Be warned, this review is filled to the brim with spoilers.
Marc Webb returns from the first instalment to direct, after achieving such high success from the first film. His experience in filmography is minimal; he’s an infamous music video director. However, you’d never be able to tell that he is a somewhat inexperienced movie director, because this movie is beautiful. Everything comes together: the lighting and the angles being the best features. Aside from a strange, unnecessary shot at the beginning, when we are in the point of view of one of the trucks wheels, which is crushing police cars beneath it, the camera always finds all the best points and magnifies them. Also, the slo-mos were fabulous and really added that je ne sais quoi to the overall experience of the movie.
The script is filled with sweet moments and funny banter, but it also manages to capture an underlying dark essence. On the other hand, there are some scenes that feel like they weren’t revised and refined, like Electro’s scene when he is locked in the Ravencroft Institute, chatting away to Dr Kafka. Whilst they sound great out of context, like in the trailer, some lines don’t sound right executed along with the rest of the scene. Another plus point, Andrew Garfield’s natural awkwardness suits Peter Parker down to a T and the script writers, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, know exactly how to exploit that. In my opinion, it feels like Andrew Garfield was made for the role of Spiderman and that resonates with the way he performs.
Speaking of Garfield, it is awe-inspiring to watch someone look so happy to play their character. Whilst some actors just enjoy the role whilst they are on the set, Garfield takes every opportunity possible to wear the costume and talk about Spiderman. It’s just great to watch somebody that loves their role that much. He can be Spiderman and he can be Peter Parker and that shows his depth as an actor. He’s the perfect actor to play him and nobody will ever be able to convince me otherwise.
Emma Stone is an amazing Gwen Stacy, but her sole purpose of this film is to build us up and let us down. In the first film, you saw her grow to love Peter, her intelligence shined throughout the film and you saw her ability to care about people to the point of risking her life. We saw the true Gwen Stacy. In this instalment, however, Gwen’s emotions drift with the tide. Due to this, her character development suffers. The chemistry between Garfield and Stone makes it feel like they are what keeps this movie going, between scenes with the villains. This transcends from the real life relationship the two share and if there wasn’t such strong chemistry between the two, the film would be a complete waste of Gwen’s character.
Let’s be real, though, the villains are really the key interest in this movie. After hearing about how many villains had been stuffed into one instalment, people were astonished at how they would all have the needed amount of screen time to make us love to hate them. Paul Giamatti’s character is the most transparent and quite frankly, a little bit of a waste of screen time. He’s really there to bring comic relief, but the poor script writing for the character, paired with a terrible accent, makes it hard to understand what his purpose in the film is. The Rhino is barely in the film, which is a little disappointing when the trailers made it seem like he had a key role. Jamie Foxx and Dane Dehaan as Max Dillon/Electro and Harry Osborn/Green Goblin respectively are faultless, though. I couldn’t have wished for anything more than what they bought to their roles. Max Dillon may not have been so believable, I mean, you really understood his background story, ‘You see me?!’, even though it lacked the depth to make him realistic. ‘The Rise of Electro’ is basically the whole purpose of this film, but I’d easily change it to ‘The Rise of The Green Goblin’, because Dane Dehaan is showstopping. Maybe it’s the eyes that capture you, but it’s so difficult to look away when he’s on the screen. His growth into becoming the Green Goblin is something unforgettable. For some reason, you just don’t want to leave his side and even though you just want to shake him for being so angry at Spiderman, when all Spidey is doing is looking out for him, you just go along with everything he does.
Well, aside from killing Gwen.
We all knew it was going to happen, but that didn’t mean it wasn’t heartbreaking. Like I said previously, Gwen’s sole purpose in this film was to build us up and then let us down. You don’t want to, but you slowly find yourself feeling calm and trusting that Gwen has a future at Oxford and maybe Peter will go with her. But no, the Green Goblin has other plans and we soon find ourselves whispering ‘No, why would you…’ at the theatre screen. After such a happy go lucky build up with Gwen, even when you see the costume directors nod to the comics where Gwen dies and make Gwen’s outfit look unnervingly similar, you still just reject the thought that there is no happy ending between the two lovers. But when it happens, at the end of an awesome fight sequence, might I add, you’ll find an eerie silence encapsulates the movie theatre and you may hear some sobbing from the back row.
The movie is action packed, but it is balanced with the filler scenes. The issue was that there was so much going on. It was unnecessary to have so many characters, who have very strong stories in the comics, be weakened because there wasn’t enough screen time so you don’t feel a strong enough emotional attachment to them to be bothered by what happens. When Electro explodes, it just feels like there isn’t enough time between him and the appearance of the Green Goblin to make it dramatic. Spiderman just defeated Electro? Well, 5 minutes later, Gwen’s dead, so who’s the real winner here?
Also, the CGI and soundtrack of this film are definitely worth a mention. I’ve seen a lot of reviews where people have said that the CGI is not good enough to live up to the expectations of the movie. I disagree strongly, the CGI in this movie is everything it should be. However, Electro’s character proves difficult to make realistic in some scenes, because there were a few moments when we saw full body shots and it didn’t look quite right. The soundtrack is great, absolutely amazing. But, there are a couple of occasions where music is poorly edited into the film. For example, in Times Square, when the sniper takes a shot at the new and improved Max, just before he goes on a rampage the music suddenly starts at a crescendo. Not only that, but it starts at a weird time, like a second too late. It’s enough to take away from the moment, which can make the scene seem a little off kilter.
All in all, the movie is good. In some parts, it’s great. Once or twice, it actually lives up to being amazing. Whilst there’s never a dull moment, some scenes fall short of expectation. The movie is really all filler, little killer and whilst that’s not a bad thing, as we experience with this movie, it’s still enough to make you say ‘Uh…’ There are too many plot devices and not enough time to explain them all in the depth you really want. So, the film is majorly enjoyable, but in my opinion, we either needed another hour or less individual stories that were taking up way too much screen time.
If you want to read more about Spiderman, check out our ‘The Amazing Spiderman 2’ game review!