A Mostly Spoiler-Free Review of Amazing Spiderman 2

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Dude – go home and we can have this film done in an hour, tops. 

Having just gotten back from watching the film I came away thinking, “this movie could (and should) have been much more.”  Overall, I’d give it three out of five stars.  Here’s the skinny…

This is a love story about Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy.  Those of us who have been reading Spiderman comic books since the 1970’s get it.  Kids today only know Mary Jane, they don’t realize the importance of Gwen Stacy on the character.  We all knew that this movie would hit on that romance, but this movie wallowed in it.

Don’t get me wrong.  Andrew Garfield is a much better Peter Parker and Spidey than Tobey Maguire.  He’s conflicted – which is great.  He relishes in his role as Spiderman, but is a clumsy kid.  Emma Stone is awesome too.  Together they really have some magic.  But it was about a half-hour too much magic for me.

In the film Spiderman face off against Electro, Rhino and Green Goblin (or HobGoblin – we never really arrive at this.)  I had a few issues here. First Electro’s alter ego Max is a huge fan of Spiderman, but somehow ends up hating him enough to want to kill him.  Okay, this seems a tad forced to me.  I didn’t buy the flip-flop here.  I chalk that up to either bad writing or bad editing.  And, no matter how you slice it, if Electro wasn’t in the film, it still would have ended exactly the same.  So as a character, you have no sympathy or care about this guy.  I know he’s a villain, but the best ones are those you can identify with.  Jamie Foxx was great but the role they gave him in the script was a bit flat.

Those of use that are True Believers know that Norman Osborn becomes the Green Goblin.  Here it’s a son.  Great acting here by Dane DeHaan – he’s pretty creepy looking and acting.  But we never get the whole “daddy being the goblin” scene that we all want.

Paul Giamatti is the Rhino in the film.  We see him for five minutes at the beginning of the movie, and a seemingly kluged-together scene at the end.  At best he’s doing a cameo appearance in this film.  So we have this outstanding actor with less than ten lines of dialogue.  And, while a bit nitpicky on my part, Rhino wasn’t piloting a BattleMech in the comic book.

A lot of this movie seems to hinge on what happened to Ma and Pa Parker.  We get a lot revealed in this movie, and surprisingly little.  After the build-up to it in the first movie, I thought, “wow, that’s it?”  This chewed up plenty of plot time that seemed to really not get Peter Parker any further along as a character.  The answers he got were, well, worthless and pointless.

Despite this  – there were a lot of things I liked in the film.  In the comics, Spiderman is the king of one-liners and we get a few zingers in the film.  The eerie appearance of Captain Stacy was well done too.  Electro’s birthday cake even had his trademark colors and symbols on it from the comic – thank God they didn’t use his costume from the comics for the movies.  Ravencroft prison appears – which, if you follow Marvel stuff, you’ll appreciate.  The Goblin’s flier looked pretty cool too.  The special effects are great, the battle scenes are awesome.  I found I liked this Electro more than the comic character, but in the end he simply didn’t play the kind of pivotal role I would have hoped for.

For those of us who have been following Spiderman for years, the climax moment in the film was totally anticipated and well done.  I won’t ruin it for you, but it is a sad moment that we all understood.

There were things we saw in the previews that never appeared in the final film – and I have to tell you, that does piss me off – and force me to buy the extended Blu Ray copy, which I would have done anyway, but it damn you Sony, you are making me do it and that’s not cool.

So there you have it.  You have to go see this movie if you enjoy super hero flicks.  Just don’t get your hopes set too high.  A very solid three out of five stars in my book.

 

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