This was easily one of the films that I was waiting for this year. Aside from Godzilla and Captain America; I was pretty sure that Spider Man would be the best film of the year. The first one wasn’t as amazing as I had hoped, but it was still a pretty fun film. This one would have more action and the trailer was the best superhero film trailer that we’ve had in quite a while. The film makes some errors that keep it from being truly amazing, but it’s a film that I don’t regret checking out.
The plot involved Peter Parker, who is actually the Amazing Spiderman, has he tries to get through life. (Disclaimer, when mentioning Spiderman, I will not use the space. This is the way that I’ve always thought that it should be spelled) He decides to break up with Gwen when the film starts and then he begins to doubt whether this was the right call. Peter is also kept busy because several villains are after him. A gangster is around and there is a shocking new villain in town as well. Peter also finds out that Aunt May may not have told him the truth about his parents!!!
That’s not an amazing plot summary, but you don’t really need one for this film. They squeeze in tons of plot points and while the film is about two hours and a half, it may feel longer. There were several scenes where you may have thought that the film was going to end and then it didn’t. (Like the Dark Knight) It’s in a good way of course; the film didn’t really drag on. Time to go into a little more depth with the film.
I got worried during the first few scenes. We start out with some animals dying and then we find out that Spidey’s parents were actually pretty hardcore. I don’t think we needed this development for those two. Richard Parker attempts to be like Clark Kent’s father and I just can’t take him seriously. Parker’s mom helps out during the fight as well, but the parents are basically fighting James Bond! That scene came across as pretty generic and it wasn’t very interesting, but at least it was serious.
Which brings us to the next problem with the opening. After the sad and “shocking” scene, we get to see Spiderman swinging through the sky. He’s laughing and making Mario sounds, but it’s a complete 180. We just got through a pretty sad scene so we should have had some subtlety. A scene that wasn’t quite so happy before we get a really happy scene. The transition just happened too quickly and it’s hard to feel happy alongside Spiderman. The scenes were Spiderman is just flying through the city can also be a little too long. We get that they want us to see how great the special effects are, but we’ve seen Spiderman web sling dozens of times in the past. 5 straight minutes of close calls and daring maneuvers isn’t going to impress me.
The beginning may have been rocky, but things get better during the first fight scene. I’ll talk more about the fight scenes in a sec. Things get rocky when Spiderman shifts into his secret identity and then makes some big errors. Peter is being haunted by a ghost so we are supposed to sympathize with him. I don’t mind the decision…but then Peter goes back on it pretty quickly. Again, I’ll go into that a little more in a bit.
The Fight Scenes in the film are some of the best that we’ve seen in Marvel. They easily defeat the battles in The Avengers and are probably in the top 5 of all time. Aside from Man of Steel, I can’t think of a superhero film that had better action scenes. That’s major props to the Amazing Spider Man 2 and hopefully the third film can continue this. Spiderman is very quick and powerful so his battles should always reflect that. He looked pretty good in the first fight against Rhino, but he did let the bragging distract him a lot. It’s not very heroic at times, but he could have beaten the Rhino whenever he pleased.
The scenery also helped to make the battles really cool. Times Square is always ready for a superhero showdown and making sure that it was night time was a good move. Spiderman is also shown to be able to think quickly and save people in a split second. This portrayal of Spiderman helps to reinforce the idea that he could easily take down the Avengers. I want to see some feats for those guys in Avengers 2.
This film naturally had a lot of romance surrounding Gwen and Peter. It was pretty unnecessary and Peter could have ended things. They did break up during the opening minutes of the film after all. They should have stayed as friends after that instead of constantly flirting. It was partially why I didn’t like Peter’s portrayal in this film and I can’t say that Gwen was my favorite either. Romance doesn’t have to be a bad thing, but it’s rarely a good thing either. It’s just another subplot in a film that already has a lot of plot lines going.
The music for this film was very interesting. It felt very parodyish at times and then it would be awesome during other scenes. It was so topsy turvy that it makes the soundtrack a little harder to rate. I would say that it’s still above average for a live action film, but some of the tunes may make you sneeze. The best themes are during the fights and Electro’s main theme is pretty great. Then, we’ve also got some happy disney music and random beats that don’t make a lot of sense. You’ll likely walk out of the theater puzzled.
Spiderman looked pretty good during the fights. He made a controversial decision towards the beginning as he let the Rhino damage a lot of property so that he could make a few extra puns. Spiderman could have stopped him at any time, but instead he decided to mock him. The Rhino was eventually defeated, but what if people pulled the Man of Steel card on us? It’s definitely possible, but punning is Spiderman’s first job; preventing collateral damage is definitely second.
I will admit that it’s not very heroic, but we have the Avengers for heroics. Spiderman is just an average guy who got super powers and then decided to help people. He still remembers the bit about Great Responsibility, but maybe he just forgot in that scene. It happens to the best of us and Spiderman still made sure that no humans were hurt. He was literally amazing during the fight scenes and the freezes in the film helped to show that. When the film would stop the time, we could see things from Spiderman’s point of view. He’s definitely a capable superhero and still one of Marvel’s finest. I would make a whole paragraph about how they didn’t use his spider sense to its fullest extent, but I’ll wait for the next film. This is one problem that never leaves the franchise.
Peter Parker…is not nearly as cool. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting much from him. I don’t mind the actor, but he just does not look like the real Peter Parker from the comics. Aside from his looks, Parker continues to make the wrong calls. I’m okay with him breaking up with Gwen so that he could keep the promise that he made to her father. (Even though he should just have stayed away from her in the ending of the first film if that was his intention) What’s not okay is the fact that Peter decides to start following with her and he obviously wants to get back together.
Peter can’t keep swinging back and forth like that. It’s not a good move and it also makes things tough on Gwen. Forgetting that his house didn’t have a chimney was a pretty big lapse in judgment as well. There is a plot involving Harry Osborn and Peter doesn’t make the best call and he doesn’t word it very subtly either. It involves choices of death or possible death and Peter doesn’t choose the latter. Parker did have some good scenes in the film. He took down the grunts who were after Gwen and he made sure to help a kid that was being bullied. It’s the little things that help at times, but the final scene doesn’t count because he was in Spiderman form.
Gwen Stacy is one of the main characters of this film and she has to endure Peter’s emotional tornado. She also can’t stick to the decision as she invites him to become friends again, but it doesn’t really work out. Peter started the flirting, but she went along with it so it’s all the same in the end. Gwen proves that she’s smarter than Peter in some areas and she can mildly fight so I still say that she’s a huge improvement over Mary Jane. I think it would be cool if she just forgot about Peter Parker and decided to become a superhero, but the world may not be ready for that yet.
Harry Osborn is one of the big players as well and things don’t look good for him. At one point, the shocking revelation of what’s going to happen to him is so shocking that he doesn’t even finish his pizza. Everyone has turned against him so it’s time to turn against them! His goblin form is as ugly as it looked in the trailers so I didn’t like that form. Harry was a decent character when he was in Harry form, but he doesn’t make for an epic villain. He’s out of Spiderman’s league so he’s not much of a threat. Hopefully he has as much composure as the CEO did when he went out.
The Rhino isn’t likable in the slightest and he’s really just here to be defeated by Spiderman. He’s completely out of his league and he can’t back up his tough talk. He has his “epic” moment where he almost fights a kid, but that’s the only time where it looks like he may take the win. The film gives us a few name drops for other characters, including Black Cat, Vulture, Doctor Octopus, Smythe, etc. I’m hoping that they throw all of those guys into the next film so that they can afford to cut Rhino out of the next one. Let’s keep the D listers in the comic books folks…
Electro was a pretty likable guy in this film. I actually liked him during his Max days and he always tried to do what was right. After Spiderman saved his life; Max was finally able to be happy. Nobody came over to celebrate his Birthday party, but he believes that Spiderman baked it. We’ll never know for sure, but it definitely made Max’s day. Aside form Gwen Stacy, everyone else is really mean to Max and they make it their job to ensure that he has a terrible time. I definitely can’t say that I would want to be in his shoes. He does find out that someone is not telling the truth when the person claimed to be Spiderman!
As Electro, he’s a pretty big threat. He’s not quite as upbeat or happy anymore, but his raw power is incredible. The cops started the fight and then Electro decided to end it! I was rooting for Spiderman, but Electro is definitely cool. His friendship with Spiderman wasn’t as deep as he had thought since Electro turned his back on the wall crawler so quickly. I suppose that they just weren’t meant to be friends. Overall, Electro reminded me of Walter Mitty as far as characters go and I definitely hope that he comes back for a sequel. Maybe not as Electro, but as Max Dillon!
Aunt May wasn’t that good in this film. She refused to tell Peter about his past and she wouldn’t even let him do his own laundry. She also didn’t want to tell Peter about her nursing position, but then she quickly uses it to throw Peter into a guilt trip. She just wasn’t likable in this film and I find myself missing the old Aunt May. At least she will probably tell Peter about more secrets in the next film.
Norman Osborn doesn’t appear for most of the film, but his short role is pretty fitting. He makes sure to take a few shots at Harry and then he shows him the despair that Harry will have to endure. Norman doesn’t appear after that scene, but it was pretty powerful. Norman is always pretty mean and the film really tried to capture that. You can’t really say that he’s likable, but he was memorable.
One thing that I have to note is that the film seemed aware of the 60’s memes. If you don’t know about the Spiderman memes, then you haven’t truly appreciated how epic Spiderman could be. The movie borrowed the fireman joke and the “Nobody will recognize me if I put on a coat” memes. Naturally, the film gives us context so that he has a reason to do these things, but it was a nice addition anyway. More films should look at the memes and acknowledge them in some way.
I may as well compare the film to the original trilogy since we’ve come so far. I easily prefer this to the original Spider Man 2, but it gets defeated by Spider Man 3. As far as characters go, Peter Parker, Aunt May, Norman Osborn and Harry Osborn as not as good as their original counterparts. Gwen Stacy defeats her former self, but that’s mainly due to a lack of screentime. It’ll be hard to defeat the original trilogy, but this film was a good start. Both trilogies are essentially tied if we just pit the first two films against each other. The Amazing Spider Man may have been slightly ahead or slightly behind the first Spider Man film. It’s a pretty tough decision to be honest and that’s why we need to see how The Amazing Spider Man 3 does. I’m expecting big things from it once again!
Be warned that the film makes some pretty big changes from the trailer. Remember when Harry let Peter know that Oscorp was spying on his parents? That is not in the film at all and Harry doesn’t even mention how they will (literally) change the world. (They cut the world “literally” from some of the trailers) I don’t like it when films remove scenes form the trailer because it feels like those scenes were fake. It’s as if they were only around so that you could go and watch the film. It’s false advertising at its finest!
Overall, The Amazing Spider Man 2 is a fun action film. I give it props for being such a light hearted superhero film that is full of action. In that sense, it’s similar to the Avengers and that’s a good formula to follow. Unfortunately, Peter Parker didn’t help the film with his constant mind switching and the music wasn’t the greatest at times. The 60’s Spiderman memes will continue to live through this film and it definitely could have been worse. The action scenes alone are enough to make this film worth a watch. The film does have a habit of suddenly shifting from happy to sad to happy scenes, but you just need the ride the waves as they come. I recommend checking this film out while it’s still in theaters. It’s not quite as good as Captain America, but it’s much better than critics would have you believe. I wasn’t really disappointed with the film by the end and the action scenes were as great as I had hoped.