My wife and I saw "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" the other night. I'm going to set up this review the same way as the previous review, since that's how my brain is working to figure these films out (or, rather, my often conflicting opinions and reactions to these films).
Like the first one, this is a decently-made film that I genuinely enjoyed. I actually liked this one much better than the first, and got far more into it far more quickly. However, for reasons that will probably become clear, I still couldn't get that visceral reaction I spoke about last time.
Well, at least not consistently. There were plenty of moments, especially during the beginning, where I said to myself "Now THIS is a Spider-Man movie!" I'm glad they didn't even try the pretense of "Darker and Edgier" this time because, again, that's not who Spider-Man is and whenever they tried that in the comics it almost always failed, at least from where I'm standing (feel free to disagree).
While I still don't quite buy Garfield as Peter Parker, there is no question in my mind now that he is Spider-Man. In this film more than the first, he captures the essence of the web-head in the heat of combat. I especially love both of his scenes with the kid as well as him trying to talk down Electro.
Okay, the one Peter Parker moment I loved was his causing a "Distraction" so that Gwen could escape OsCorp. That was brilliant.
I really dug Electro in this movie. Changing him from a total jerk to a stalker with a crush I think only made the character more interesting, and Jamie Foxx played it very well. Still not one of my favorite Spider-villains (even though I've always loved electricity-based superpowers/magic), but I'm glad they did what they did with him in this film.
Yes, when he had the hoodie on during the first "battle", all I could think of was: "POWAHHHH!!!! UNLIMITED POWAAHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!"
There, you happy?
One-scene wonder. I don't believe for a second that he's really dead. This is Norman @#&ing Osborn we're talking about. He's got plans up the wazoo. You'll see.
Oh, Harry, Harry, Harry.
I really REALLY liked Dane DeHaan's Harry Osborn in this movie. Yes it was understated, but I really felt for the character. Even when he began his sanity slippage, I was right there with him. I was interested in seeing where he'd go with this.
When people complained that fan favorite characters like Venom, Two-Face, and Deadpool only appeared towards the very end of their respective films (and in Deadpool's case, markedly different from the character we know), I would tell them that it was time perfectly befitting the character and their roles in the story. Each of the three got at least half an hour's worth of good final battle material, villainous monologuing (except for Deadpool sadly, but I've gone over why I think that would have been okay had fans not complained enough to get the perpetually in-development Deadpool movie removed from that continuity), and worthy defeats.
So when I complain about how the Green Goblin (II) was used here, it really doesn't have anything to do with time per sey.
We get the Goblin for a total of ten minutes, maximum, and for no other reason than making sure the filmmakers can say they're being technically faithful to the comics by having A Green Goblin responsible for Gwen Stacy's death.
This is what the Goblin's role in this film felt like to me:
Spidey: The day is saved! I love you!
Gwen: I love you too!
Harry!Goblin: Hey guys! Listen, sorry to interrupt, but can I borrow her for a second?
Gwen: AHHHHHHHHH *SPLAT!*
I mean, if the battle had been, like, ten minutes longer, and filled with Harry mugging the camera doing his best Gobby, it would have been fine. But no, it was almost literally a flyby.
Speaking of which...
Gwen Stacy is DEEEEEEAAAAAD!
I told you all I saw this coming the second I saw her blonde hair and black headband in Amazing 1, yes? If there's one thing comics has taught me, it's never get too attached to Gwen Stacy.
It was difficult in these films because Emma Stone is awesome anyway, and she and Garfield have great chemisty.
So even though the entirety of the two films was one beig forshadowing to one of the most famous storylines in comic book history, I was still hoping that they'd subvert it. I was hoping that at the last second they'd be original and pull a "psyche!" on us.
Then Gwen's head hit the ground with a sickening crack, and I was disappointed.
I wasn't sad. I wasn't heartbroken. I wasn't afraid. I wasn't even that angry. I was just disappointed.
I'm just not a fan of Gwen Stacy in the first place, and I'm even less of a fan of The Night Gwen Stacy Dies (The Green Goblin's Last Stand, on the other hand...). I'm sick of her being the sacrificial lion in almost any adaptation. The Raimi films had it right by keeping her alive (although who knows what SM4 would have brought if it were made?), and Greg Wiseman flat-out said Gwen would be alive for as long as Spectacular Spider-Man was still a TV show.
Whatever. Bring on Mary Jane, Spidey's REAL true love.
Talk about an advertized extra! Holy crap low screentime!
Paul Giamatti seems to be laboring under the delusion that rather than a Spider-Man film, he is instead filming another live-action Rocky & Bullwinkle adaptation. Which of course makes him one of the best parts of the movie.
The Man in the Shadows
Ooh, we finally get to know who he is! Harry refers to him by name! In reality, he is...
*does a quick Google search*
"In the novel Spider-Man: Gathering of the Sinister Six, Gustav
Fiers was a businessman who gathered the Sinister Six in order to have
revenge on Spider-Man, as his parents Richard and Mary Parker had
thwarted one of his plans years back."
Well, that's obscure. And kind of anti-climactic.
The Sinister Six
HEY, CAN WE FORESHADOW THE SINISTER SIX ENOUGH FOR THIS MOVIE?!
Let's see, we have Electro and The Rhino, classic Six members. Doc Ock's tentacles and the Vulture's Wings are prominently displayed alongside the Rhino suit and Goblin gear not only in the OsCorp Special Projects room but OVER THE FREAKING END CREDITS. Plus there's that "Fiers" guy conspiring with Harry (Norman is responsible for many supervillains in many versions of the story, so why wouldn't Harry follow?).
Actually, I look forward to some Sinister Six action, especially if Harry!Goblin joins the ranks and actually gives us some good material. Bring it on!
Did exactly what was needed of them. Good job.
While I'm intrigued to see where the series goes from here, I still don't like how quickly they was rushed into production after Spider-Man 3 (and in fact while Sam Raimi was concurrently working on Spider-Man 4; the studio set both projects up and went with who was closer to shooting by their deadline). I really don't want to see Spider-Man rebooted every seven years just because Sony doesn't want to give up the film rights. I have a hard time caring about that stuff.
"X-Men: Days of Future's Past," on the other hand, seems VERY interesting...