"The Amazing Spider-Man 2" Review: Craig's First Take
on 2014-05-02 08:27
Didn’t they learn anything from “Spider-Man 3”? Overlong, overstuffed, over-villained “Spider-Man” movies don’t work. Rather than swing for the fences like Sam Raimi’s first two spidey films, our favorite webslinger has just kept swinging himself into one during the last couple. “Spider-Man 3” was a mess, director Marc Webb’s reboot in 2012 was lifeless. Now his “Amazing” sequel is just a little bit of both.
First those villains. One is Aleksei Sytsevich (Paul Giamatti), a Russian thug who we first see Spidey (Andrew Garfield) fight in the beginning of the film before disappearing until the very end, where he emerges with his own gigantic, robotic rhino suit. What the heck happened in between? Also, what the heck is Giamatti even saying? In this garbled accent, he’s harder to understand than Bane was in “The Dark Knight Rises.”
One of the main villains here is Max Dillon (Jamie Foxx), an insignificant Oscorp employee with an unhealthy man-crush on the super hero. When Dillon falls into a pool of electric eels, he finds himself suddenly able to enter into the Dr. Manhattan (from “Watchmen”) look-a-like contest and control all of electricity as Electro. Just the electric current is the only energy here; writers Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, and Jeff Pinkner otherwise make him just a dim bulb.
Then there is Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan), who we know will eventually become the Green Goblin but here is really just a sullen little rich boy dying of a degenerative disease. DeHaan is a promising actor who we could be calling the next DiCaprio one day but here he suffers the same problem as the others, his character has very little to do. Also, where Raimi gave us a slow progression to the Goblin, this one rushes it, which makes it another of the upteen things that make this reboot series the inferior product.
And what’s Peter Parker doing in all this? He tries to distance himself from his relationship with Gwen (Emma Stone) for her own protection, although for this to matter the two would actually have to be in a relationship worth a damn. Instead they both seem to be locked in an epic battle to try to out-cute each other. He still lives with his Aunt May (Sally Field); they both bicker about laundry like they’re in a bad sitcom but at least they have some touching scenes together too.
Peter also seems to have a new crime fighting tactic- rattle off jokes so cheesy and terrible that the bad guys are stunned into disbelief. But probably the funniest point in the movie is when Peter gets done with a battle that destroys most of Time Square. He then goes home, listens to some Phillip Phillips, and mopes around for Gwen some more. We’re also given more of a clue about what Peter’s father did for Oscorp (hint: it’s not that interesting.)
Webb again proves limp with the action sequences. Electric flashes take up most of the screen, he’ll slow the sequence down and do a half circle spin to show us all that’s going on, but it’s all just overdone and busy without ever being all that thrilling. The pacing is very slow too. It’s all enough to make any fanboy want to write a Take Me Back letter to Sam Raimi- “Baby, I know the third date wasn’t great but at least we had some fun. Let’s try again.”