The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014): A Crappier Version of Spider-Man 3 *SPOILERS*
“The Amazing Spider-Man 2” is directed by Marc Webb, who also directed the first “Amazing Spider-Man” film, and stars Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx, and Dane DaHaan in the fifth live-action “Spider-Man” film brought to the big screen. This film continues the story of Peter Parker in what is being called, according to all the movie’s marketing, “his greatest battle.” …Honestly it’s not. His greatest battle happened in 2004 in Sam Raimi’s “Spider-Man 2.” He has to stop the evil Electro, while at the same time, he regroups with an old friend, Harry Osborn, the son of Norman, whose name was mentioned in the last movie, but has a much bigger importance in this movie. Meanwhile, he has to balance all of that with his relationship with Gwen Stacy.
The year before this movie came out, that’s when I first aspired to make my own movies in Hollywood, that’s also when I started to look at all sorts of film news regarding films that come out long from the day its announced. This was one of those films I was really looking forward to. “The Amazing Spider-Man” wasn’t the best Spidey flick I’ve seen, but it didn’t mean I lacked faith in its then upcoming sequel. When I first saw the first trailer for it, my excitement grew, and before it came out, it was my most anticipated film of 2014 right below the final “Hobbit” film. I liked the film when I first saw it, but as time passed, the film went from being good, to just being OK. Before watching this film again, I wondered if this opinion would change. So how was the experience of rewatching this movie? It was worse than I thought it would be. There were some cool moments, but this experience of rewatching this movie, was surprisingly boring and surprisingly almost anger-inducing. So much crap is happening in this movie that it isn’t even funny! You think a lot of crap happens in “Batman v. Superman?” A lot of the crap you see that movie, at least in my book, PAYS OFF! This movie almost seems to never know what it ultimately wants to be! It’s just a bunch of tones combining together in one product! It’s like putting peanut butter on pizza. Peanut butter is an unthinkable pizza topping and even if your friends call you boring for doing so, you’re probably better off ordering cheese pizza. Which reminds me, hilariously enough, this movie is full of cheese.
Andrew Garfield returns in this movie as Peter Parker, and when I compare Andrew Garfield with Tobey Maguire from Raimi’s trilogy, I do think there are some things I like better one way as opposed to the other. One pro Garfield has compared to Maguire is his age. He was a bit younger than Tobey when playing Peter in each of their first “Spider-Man” movies and he was also younger than Tobey was when they were doing their own second installments. Another pro Garfield has is his line delivery. OK, well, this isn’t entirely directed towards Garfield as an actor, nor is it directed towards Maguire, it’s more towards the writing. Garfield’s interpretation of “Spider-Man” is slightly more faithful to its source material. What do I mean? Garfield’s Spidey gives more quips as opposed to Maguire’s. Sure, Maguire did that too, but not as much. Although as Peter Parker, I think the better interpretation goes to Maguire. It was believable, it showed how much of a nerd he was, and it wasn’t as awkward. OK, you have every right to bring up some segments in “Spider-Man 3” which I consider understandable. Speaking of faithfulness to the source material, Spidey has web shooters. I personally prefer Spidey shooting webs out of his wrists simply because believe it or not, it sounds more practical. You have this high schooler, you have no verification that he or his family is rich, and now he’s making all of this technology that could be costing a lot of money. The creator of “Spider-Man,” Stan Lee, actually has a criticism for all of this. He likes the web shooters because at any point Spidey could run out of fluid and he’s forced to rely on his wits. By the way, Stan, Stanny, Stan by me, Superstan, if you’re reading this, which you probably aren’t, because you’re probably at a convention right now or something, I need you to rewatch Sam Raimi’s “Spider-Man 2.” Spider-Man doesn’t exactly run out of fluid, but he has trouble producing it, which eventually leads to him losing his powers, I honestly think that’s better, but you do you. Also, from my memory, between the two films in Marc Webb’s Spidey series, Spidey never runs out of fluid. One of his web shooters becomes disabled, but he never runs out of fluid. If you ask me, after watching every “Spider-Man” film brought to the big screen that exists today, I’ve come to the conclusion that Tobey Maguire is my preferred “Spider-Man.” He may not be as funny, but he’s extremely relatable, I’m able to care about him, and his interpretation may be arguably the most realistic interpretation of a superhero I’ve ever seen.
Emma Stone also returns in this movie, and she once again plays Gwen Stacy. One key difference between her character compared to the love interest in Raimi’s trilogy, Mary Jane, is that Gwen is never a damsel in distress. Now, some of you might be getting tired of that sort of thing, and believe me, I don’t mind Gwen as a character being someone who’s able to stand up for herself, but at the same time, it makes her a dumbass, we’ll get to that in a second, but let’s talk about her in the beginning of the movie. We first see her in this movie graduating high school. She’s the valedictorian and she gives this speech that is supposed to have a huge meaning in the movie as a whole, Peter comes in after trying to complete the mission he’s taking on at the movie’s opening, he kisses Gwen on the lips. Kind of cringeworthy if you ask me. Although we do get a pretty good Stan Lee cameo. The relationship between Peter and Gwen is kind of off and on. They start off as boyfriend and girlfriend, they have an awkward conversation, awkward mainly for me, the viewer, which then leads to the two breaking up. Peter then stalks Gwen Stacy, which he later admits, so yeah, basically this attempt at making a “Spider-Man” movie turned into the superhero version of “Twilight” for a few seconds… Weird. The two eventually become friends, then it’s almost like they become friends with benefits. No, they don’t have sex, they kiss once in a closet, so you can probably call them friends with minor benefits. Then the two reunite as boyfriend and girlfriend just before Gwen is supposed to leave on a plane to the United Kingdom because she just got accepted to Oxford and they have summer classes. It’s a very rocky relationship, kind of like this movie. Oh, and you know how I mentioned when it comes to the character of Spidey in this series compared to the previous one that they are slightly more faithful to the comics? Well, in terms of faithfulness, this movie’s final act is faithful to Gwen Stacy too. Right before the big bloated electric battle begins during the end of the movie, you can see Gwen and if you know anything about the comics, and you watch this movie, just look at her outfit. It may look familiar to you. Some of you might be asking why I’m bringing this up. Well, in this movie, spoiler alert, I said there were spoilers in the title of the post, so if you are at this point without having seen the movie and you care so much, only blame yourself, Gwen dies. When she dies, she’s actually wearing the same exact outfit she wore when she died in the comics. Another thing I actually just found out, is that when she dies, it’s in a clock tower, and when that happens, it says 1:21. And if you read the comics, Gwen dies in issue 121. On the topic of Gwen, let’s talk about some other things.
One thing I want to bring up is the character of Captain Stacy, who is also Gwen’s father, which if you saw the movie which came out before this one, he dies in that. Before he dies, he says the words displayed in the image above. Peter actually sees Gwen Stacy’s dad throughout the film, not literally, because he’s dead, but it’s almost as if Captain Stacy is in front of him. Peter disobeying Captain Stacy’s dying words and seeing Captain Stacy at the end of the movie should have been a sign for him that Gwen could get in trouble. After seeing that, I wonder how obvious in terms of foreshadowing this would be to people. During my first few watches, I don’t remember seeing it all that much until recently. Although I probably did notice it and it just slipped from my memory because it’s been a while since I saw this movie. Also, I want to know, if you saw the movie, did you notice this? And what are your thoughts on it? I want to know in the comments.
When Gwen Stacy shows up as Spider-Man is fighting around the power grid, she says she must be here because she knows how this grid operates and that sort of thing, but she has to make it clear that being here is “her choice.” Listen, I get if you want a progressive female character that girls can look up to in a movie, but the problem here is, Gwen doing this, is just idiotic by the standards of common sense. “Highly Illogical,” as Spock puts it. Gwen has no superpowers, so it would be like me, a guy who hasn’t played a game of ice hockey in his life, suddenly joining the NHL. In fact, when Gwen dies, I blame her more than Peter. I mean, sure, when she died it was sad, but if you remember the quote from Captain Stacy which was recently brought up, Spidey tried to leave Gwen out of it, but she forced herself in. Sure, Spidey failed at getting rid of Gwen at that moment, but still. How could he? Maybe some blame can go towards the web slinger for failing, but Gwen nevertheless brought herself in.
On a different subject, let’s talk about some bad guys. One of the biggest problems people have with this film are the villains. If you remember “Spider-Man 3” from 2007, you may recall that people disliked it partially due to the movie having three villains (New Goblin, Sandman, and Venom). In this movie, the main villain according to the film’s marketing was Electro (right). However, Spider-Man interacts with certain people in this movie who potentially become villains, including the Green Goblin (middle), and the Rhino (left). So in a way, the “Spider-Man 3” problem exists in this movie. This problem is overall done differently, but nevertheless, it exists. Speaking of which, let’s talk about those villains.
Starting off with Electro, his character is played by Jamie Foxx and overall I thought the buildup for his character, going from average person to villain was very compelling and in a way, I was able to understand how he felt at certain points of the movie. At the beginning of the movie, Spider-Man is going around the city trying to complete an objective, and there’s this guy named Max. He’s going around the city and all of these blueprints he’s carrying fall out of his hands. Spidey lends a helping hand to him regarding the blueprints and he says that Max is Spidey’s “eyes and ears.” Max throughout the first act is treated rather horribly by those he works with, especially considering it is his birthday. As far as other positives go, I really liked the first fight sequence between Spidey and Max in Times Square. At times it is full of CGI, much like another portion of the movie that I bet you might predict I’m thinking of, but still, I enjoyed it. Speaking of CGI, there was this one sequence when Electro was blasting this amazingly massive sparkle wave throughout Times Square, that certainly did a lot of damage. Despite all of what I said so far, I do have some criticisms. Electro feels like a superhuman whose powers give you the will to do anything. At times, it’s almost as if the screenwriter needed a scene to make sense so he’d put in a power we have yet to witness from Electro and it just feels absurd. In fact, there’s one point where we see him, and he’s wearing nothing but boxer shorts. I mean, kids watch these movies so you can’t show any penises, but really?! Just do some closeups on Electro and cut his legs off! Might look weird in terms of presentation but it might make Electro slightly more convincing. Either that or crop the image or something!
Speaking of awful, let’s go onto Dane Dahaan. In this movie, he’s portraying the character of Harry Osborn, and if you know anything about “Spider-Man,” he’s the son of Norman Osborn. You may remember from the last movie, there was a subplot involving Norman and how he was gonna die soon. You barely saw his character during the movie, but still, that plot was a thing. Turns out in this movie, he actually has more screentime. How much screentime in total? Probably less than a few minutes. Norman actually ends up dying moments after talking to Harry and it turns out that the disease that was the killer for Norman happened to be genetic. Interestingly enough, Harry is getting this disease at a much quicker rate than Norman. This leads into a subplot that just got duller by the second. This subplot involves Harry getting a cure for himself. Eventually, he says that he needs Spider-Man’s blood. Part of this is based on research done by Peter’s father and the fact that Spider-Man himself was bitten by a Spider. Now let’s drift away from that and talk about Dane DaHaan himself. I haven’t watched much of Dane DaHaan’s work, but I hear he’s gonna be in “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets,” a movie I’m really looking forward to. Although it comes out the same day as “Dunkirk” so I’m gonna put “Valerian” behind that on my must see list. I don’t know how well or poor he does in other movies, but in this movie, Dane DaHaan may have given what I consider to be part of my top 10 worst performances of all time. Dane starts out in this movie as if he were a slow talker. Like, imagine if “Seinfeld” were soft rebooted today and the original cast came back to do more episodes, and if they did one involving an over-dramatic slow talker, this would be a character if the episode had a really dark vibe. Later on, it becomes better, but it’s really weird. Plus the way Harry looks as the Green Goblin is creepy, but I almost don’t buy it for some reason. Anyone else feel that way?
This paragraph is gonna focus on Aleksei Sytsevich, otherwise known as Rhino. This character is played by Paul Giamatti, a fairly respected actor from films like “Saving Private Ryan,” “Cinderella Man,” and “Saving Mr. Banks.” Much like Dane DaHaan in this film, this guy’s performance is weak. I personally like Giamatti’s performance as opposed to DaHaan’s, but that doesn’t say much because watching his performance was almost like watching a cartoon. The first few seconds of him on screen, he’s just obnoxiously yelling random mumbo jumbo that I guess can also be referred to as words, this is all being done while he’s driving a truck and the camera is just focusing on him as he’s shouting. You can argue that Spider-Man acts like a cartoon in this movie with those endless quips he’s got, but I can buy into it. If this was a voiceover role in an animation I might be a little bit more forgiving, but it doesn’t work in a live-action film like this.
Let me ask you something, have you ever seen a movie that you thought was so bad it was good? Common examples among people for this include: “Batman & Robin,” “The Room,” “Troll 2,” “Birdemic,” “Sharknado,” or “Nicolas Cage: The Movie,” yes, that’s not a real movie but if you know who Nicolas Cage is and follow his work you’d most certainly get my point. If “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” qualifies to be that sort of film, it does by a hair, at least that’s how I feel for now, but I do think there are more moments in this movie that can make this film hysterically bad compared to “Spider-Man 3.” I can actually ENJOY “Spider-Man 3” compared to this piece of crap! Aside from the future meme of Paul Giamatti’s performance in this movie, one of my personal favorite examples of this movie’s plethora of hilariously awful moments include this one scene where Spider-Man is going up against Electro. So the two are fighting in this CGI-infested battle, I mean, it’s a cliche in superhero movie climaxes so whaddaya expect? All of sudden, Electro flies from one structure of the grid to another, and from each structure to the next, is one syllable from “Itsy Bitsy Spider.” Hearing it is funny enough, but it’s also funny to hear Spidey talking about it saying “I hate this song!” By the way, that’s not the only time “Itsy Bitsy Spider” was used in a “Spider-Man” movie. It was used in the finale of Sam Raimi’s first “Spider-Man” movie from 2002. Yeah, the Green Goblin was on his glider and he began singing, “The Itsy Bitsy Spider went up the water spout. Down came the goblin and took the spider out.” If these guys wanted to bring any more hilarity to the table, they should have put in “Boris the Spider” by The Who somewhere! I feel like I should talk about more of these, so you know what? I’m gonna talk about more of these.
There’s this one moment where Peter and Gwen are talking, they’re thinking of just being friends. At one point, Peter thinks of developing some ground rules now that they are friends. One of them is that Gwen needs to laugh differently than she usually would. So at one point she gives off this really corny laugh and it’s almost like listening to a female version of the Joker or the Green Goblin. In fact, Harry shouldn’t be the Green Goblin in this movie, Gwen should (laughs normally, not at all like Gwen).
This next moment isn’t exactly hilariously awful, it’s just… awful. Part of the movie is devoted to Peter finding the truth behind what happened to his birthparents. Some of it feels awkward, some of it feels like it wasn’t worth hearing, and this moment, just feels… insane. There is this bag that is shown at the beginning of the film, it’s ignored until somewhere beyond the halfway point. It had all of Peter’s father’s stuff inside. I don’t even know if I’m gonna end up getting the entirety of this information right, but this movie doesn’t feel right, so this movie and I may as well call it even. One of Peter’s father’s items was a calculator. Peter ends up breaking this calculator and inside it happens to have some subway tokens. Peter all of sudden starts doing some research and heads to the area which this subway is located. So he’s in this underground station, there’s a gateway where you put in your token, Peter puts one in and he goes through the gate, there’s no train on the tracks. Turns out there’s a train is underground! Peter actually pushes a wall in order to bring it up! What the s*it?! What idiot wrote this?! Who thought of this?! Inside there is actually a computer that contains a video Richard Parker, Peter’s father, made. Just… why?! This is f*cking New York f*cking City, not Smurf Village!
I want to talk about the score in this movie. Thus far, I’ve mentioned that I enjoyed every single score in a “Spider-Man” film I reviewed. This film, is inferior to the others in terms of that. I’ve likely heard less impressive scores throughout my life, but this film is the worst of the “Spider-Man” movies when it comes to the score. The music in this film was done by Hans Zimmer, one of my all time favorite movie composers. He’s also had experience with making scores for superhero movies prior to this one. If you watched Christopher Nolan’s “Dark Knight” trilogy, he did each one of those movies. He even did my favorite movie score, which is in “Interstellar,” a movie that came out six months after this movie. If you watch this movie and that movie, you can tell the same guy did both scores because they sound very similar at certain points. The biggest problem I have with this score, is this dubstep theme he did for Electro. I’ve listened to the theme on it’s own and I don’t exactly mind the music, as music, it’s fun to listen to. But when you place it in this movie, it just doesn’t work. My suggestion is probably putting this theme in the credits, which by the way, we’re gonna get to. There were some likable moments in the score, but in the end, it cannot even come close to rivaling Danny Elfman’s scores in Sam Raimi’s “Spider-Man” trilogy.
Oh yeah, let’s talk about the ending of this movie, it sucks! It all starts out with a sinister six teaser, then it continues to a point which the public wonders where Spider-Man is, then Spidey is in the city, he’s about to take down Rhino, a villain you may know from the comics. He was shown in the trailer and there’s this one shot that looked pretty cool in it, the shot was shown in the movie, and as soon as they start fighting, the movie’s over! This ending might be disappointing to a lot of people, but a small shred of disappointment might be added if you were watching the trailer and were looking forward to that.
Now let’s dive into the movie’s end credits, because there is an end credits scene worth talking about. And just a reminder to you all, I wouldn’t be saying this to you if I were reviewing the movie back in 2014. I might point out that there is an end credit scene, but that’s pretty much all I’d say. But I want to bring a little more depth to the table. I still recall the first time I saw this movie, it was a sold out IMAX showing, or should I say lie-MAX because it was shown in IMAX digital (I’ve ranted about it more than once). There were about 500 people in the theater. Once the movie was over, a good number of them, including me, actually stayed for the credits. So we’re watching, throughout there is this song by Alicia Keys playing called “It’s On Again.” That song comes to an end, and we see this flashing, then we are cut to a door with an X on it, that signifies that we are getting a scene related to “X-Men,” which does make sense because “X-Men: Days of Future Past” has yet to come out and it was going to be in theaters soon. Once that’s over, we go back to credits, and throughout there are no other scenes. Now just a reminder to you all, I own the Blu-Ray for this film. It also comes with a DVD and digital download copy code so you can watch the movie digitally. I watched the Blu-Ray version in preparation for this review, and that was not the only time I watched the movie in that specific format. On the Blu-Ray, and this can also give a little suggestion to other home video formats as well, the end credit scene isn’t there! Now, “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” is a Sony film, and FOX owns the rights to the “X-Men” movies, so putting that scene in this movie is a little bit out of the ordinary. If that clip existed solely for the sake of promoting “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” a movie which came out three weeks after this one, I get it, but removing it entirely from the film later on is just wrong in my book! There are some people who enjoyed that in the theater and may have been looking forward to watch it again at home, but they don’t get to see it! I wonder if one day there will be another edition of “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” released on home video and it will be subtitled “The Theatrical Cut,” and that cut will feature the “X-Men” end credit scene. For those of you who think I’m creating fake news and you plan to call out on me like Donald Trump, I have video proof, and I’ll mention once again, I WAS AT THE THEATER, so I saw something that maybe you didn’t. There is another video of this I found on YouTube that may have better quality, but I’m posting this video you’re seeing up above because in case you can’t tell, that was taken by someone in a movie theater, which was the only way you could really watch this scene. Also, if it looks kinda weird, that’s because the presentation was in 3D, quite possibly IMAX 3D.
In the end, my thoughts on “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” has changed quite a bit from what they were last time I thought about it. Last time I thought about it, I thought it was just OK, but now it’s sadly worse than that. The “X-Men” thing won’t affect my score, but everything else will. This movie is nothing but a bunch of scenes that are randomly placed together. Peter Parker was awkward, Gwen Stacy was stupid towards the end of the movie, there were too many subplots, Aunt May was rather annoying, there’s one moment from the start of the film that comes to mind when I say this, the script almost felt like it was written by Akiva Goldsman, the writer of “Batman & Robin,” Paul Giamatti is basically the Heavy from “Team Fortress 2,” and Dane DaHaan, just, why? Why Dane DaHaan? Why did this happen? If you watch this movie, you might have some fun watching it, but ultimately, if what you’re looking for is a good “Spider-Man” movie, watch “Spider-Man” from 2002 or “Spider-Man 2” from 2004. A couple last things before I give my rating, this movie has a good chunk of deleted scenes. Including a moment when Peter meets his father in person and the introduction of Mary Jane Watson played by Shailene Woodley (Divergent, The Secret Life of the American Teenager). This movie as a final product is the longest “Spider-Man” film ever made. If these scenes were included, the final product would have only been longer. I’m gonna give “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” a 3/10. For the record, I actually gave “The Amazing Spider-Man” a higher verdict, but in the end, I’d probably much rather watch this movie. Why? It may not be as well crafted as a film, but I can still enjoy some of the goofiness it has to offer. Not to mention, “The Amazing Spider-Man” is essentially something the world has seen before in “Spider-Man” from 2002, which was a better flick, this however is a different movie. Thanks for reading this review and I can now declare that my series of reviews dedicated to past “Spider-Man” movies is over. I want to know, if there is a series of film reviews you want me to do, what would it be? Right now I think I have one in mind. In a few weeks, the movie “Dunkirk” comes out, and that is a film directed by Christopher Nolan. Maybe before that, I should do some of his films from the past. Maybe I could do “Inception,” “Interstellar,” “Memento,” “Insomnia,” or his “Dark Knight” trilogy. This isn’t official, but I’m just saying I might keep it in mind. We’ll see what happens. Also, what is your favorite “Spider-Man” film? Mine’s “Spider-Man 2” by the way. And no, “Captain America: Civil War” doesn’t qualify. If you want to read any of my other “Spider-Man” reviews, I’ll have links to those posted down below. Hope you enjoy those and I hope to see “Spider-Man: Homecoming” in theaters as soon as possible. Stay tuned for more reviews! Scene Before is your click to the flicks, and now, I’m gonna leave you with a horribly delivered quote from Harry Osborn in this movie that I find hilarious.
“On my 16th birthday, you sent me Scotch.” -Harry Osborn
“SPIDER-MAN” (2002) REVIEW: https://scenebefore.wordpress.com/2017/03/18/spider-man-your-friendly-neighborhood-2002-movie/
“SPIDER-MAN 2” (2004) REVIEW: https://scenebefore.wordpress.com/2017/04/14/spider-man-2-best-superhero-movie-to-date-spoilers-for-this-movie-spider-man-1/
“SPIDER-MAN 3” (2007) REVIEW: https://scenebefore.wordpress.com/2017/05/11/spider-man-3-2007-is-it-really-as-bad-as-everyone-says/
“THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN” (2012) REVIEW: https://scenebefore.wordpress.com/2017/06/06/the-amazing-spider-man-2012-is-it-really-so-amazing-spoilers/