Ah the Hollywood summer time starts and the next 3 months are lined up with some of the most anticipated movies of this year. Don’t even get me started on the stars and budget of these flicks, everything seems marketed as the next best thing. From Bryan Cranston’s Godzilla and Bryan Singer’s X-Men Days of Future Past to Transformers Age of Extinction and Dawn Of Planet of The Apes and then some more. Apparently a separate budget needs to be planned for the same, cutting back some of em. A tough choice indeed.
While Sony’s decision to reboot Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man franchise could be best tagged ‘hasty’, The Amazing Spider-man garnered enough attention and good critiques that they even green lit its 3rd and 4th sequels, all thanks to Andrew Garfield’s portrayal of a ‘better’ Peter Parker and Marc Webb’s direction. Frankly I am a fan of Sam Raimi’s original trilogy and as opposed by many, I liked Tobey Maguire’s Peter Parker more and maybe . But seems like Garfield’s Peter Parker has grown on me and although I initially hated The Amazing Spider-man, I couldn’t let go a Spider-man sequel. Just like Marvel’s movies, I was bound to watch this and I did in all its splendor in IMAX. I so sorely wanted to add “….and boy, I loved it” but unfortunately it neither had the charm nor the oomph I’d anticipated for.
To start things off, we’re shown the unfortunate demise of Peter’s parents and the movie revolves around the the mysteries involved with the same. But it gets lost amidst Peter and Gwen’s mushy romance. I appreciate Marc Webb’s expertise with handling romance, as evident from 500 Days of Summer, but it also felt like too much time had been allotted for Peter and Gwen’s goofy on and off relationship. It worked well in the comics but on celluloid it felt gratuitous and cheesy. And now let’s discuss villains, shall we? What’s with Sony and squeezing as much villains as possible in a spidey movie? Don’t they know that saying ‘Too many cooks spoil the broth or haven’t they learnt anything from Spider-man 3? As obvious from the tag ‘Rise of Electro’, The Amazing Spider-Man 2‘s main villain is Electro and he would have sufficed for a good movie. But No, Sony just had to squeeze in Green Goblin and Rhino as well, even if it means mere minutes of them. Of the lot, Electro was impressive and tells us to stay away from obsessive ‘nobody’ like Max Dillon. And by the time he ‘rises’ to power his fickle-mindness can only matched with his ego and obsession. The Times Square scene in particular was tense, Electro felt like a bomb about to explode and spidey had to play all the right strings to keep him calm.
Andrew Garlfield once again dons the Spider-man spandex suit and is bit less annoying than the first. Then again he never felt even remotely threatened by adversaries and on the other hand he seemed more worried and preoccupied with his relationship with Gwen. Weirdly, his performance felt better when he was suited up than not. Emma Stone is a brilliant actor but even she was like this adrenaline junkie who couldn’t stay away from Spidey and the antagonists and in the end she just becomes a damsel in distress than anything. Jamie Foxx showcased an electrifying performance as Electro (all puns intended) and even as Max, he was able to convincingly pull off his innocent yet obsessive shades. He was well intimidating as Electro, a worthy contender for Spider-man but thanks to inane script it was never fleshed out. Dane Dehaan is no stranger playing antagonist and does a fair job of playing Harry Osborn/Green Goblin and may even slide into being a formidable villain in the upcoming sequels. Oh and by the way, Paul Giamatti plays Aleksei Sytsevich, a thug-turned-Rhino with a weird Russian which is best left at that.
The Amazing Spider-man is surely dark and the weird injection of comedy was another nuance I found. Agreed, Spidey is meant to be a wisecracking superhero, but no superhero would be wisecracking if his or the one he loves’ life is at stake, it makes the sequence less tense. And talk about ‘being dark’, the bodycounts were enormous this time and i can only imagine how much would have been at stake on the Time Square and highway stunts, yet the narrative just goes on not even addressing the grim things that just happened, crowds cheered, people went about their daily lives as if there was absolutely no threat in the horizon. <spoilers> While the death of Gwen Stacy took its toll on Peter, her parents were far less moved, I mean for chrissake that’s the second family member you people have lost!!! Her death tied in close with the comics, the panels from the comics still fresh in my head, the scene in particular was nailbiting indeed. But from an critic’s point of view it makes for a cheap gimmick to make way for Mary Jane in the upcoming sequels </spoilers> Add to that unwanted prep talk trying to infuse sentimental candy floss for the sake of it. Unlike the original Spiderman which had genuine tearjerker moments,The Amazing Spider-Man 2 falls flat.
The movie clocks in at a runtime of 142 minutes so good luck if you have a weak bladder. Despite the long runtime it becomes victim to some flimsily edited sequences. Action sequences were abruptly put to stop and there were some transitions where it felt like “Did the film reel just do a backflip?” Having already released too many pre-release clips, i was left with no awe or surprise. While the fellow crowd were gasping and ‘oooo-ing’ I was doing a meh, thanks to Marketing team behind The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Note to self, never be tempted to watch those clips from now onwards. Felicia Hardy makes a cameo and could be, hopefully, seen as Black Cat later on in the franchise. The same goes for the excellent end-credit sequence that kept us guessing, leading to speculations of the The Sinister Six.
The score from Hans Zimmer and Pharell Williams upped the ante a bit this time able to give that much needed soul which the first lacked. And thanks to the same, Spider-man swinging by gave me goosebumps. I guess its in every fanboy’s wishlist to do so and to watch it live in all the IMAX glory, it was nothing short of spectacular.
Marc Webb is undoubtedly a skilled director but with no guidance from Marvel I guess he was just as lost as we were. Its time for Marvel to buy back its most beloved character. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 falls into the familiar mediocre territory that its predecessor fell into.