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Dan the Man's Movie Reviews

All my aimless thoughts, ideas, and ramblings, all packed into one site!

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)


Spiders can have problems, too.

The last time we left Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) he was just a punk, high school kid that had a smart and hot girlfriend, Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone), a loving, supportive aunt (Sally Field), and was also saving the day, 24 hours a day, seven days a week as the web-slinging, wall-climbing, friendly neighborhood superhero known as Spider-Man. Yes, that little Peter Parker grew up to be quite a somebody and now that he’s graduated high school, he’s got to look forward – which means that some changes may have to be made. That means no more girlfriend; no more other priorities; and no more distractions to take him away from what really matters: Saving the day and finding out more about his parents’ pasts. However, he may have to put all of those plans on hold when Oscorp employee, and self-declared, Spider-Man’s number one biggest fan, Max Dillon (Jamie Foxx) gets electrocuted and falls into a pool of electric eels, turning him into what some will know as “Electro”. He’s dangerous, but so is Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan), the son of rich billionaire Norman (Chris Cooper) who has just recently passed-away due to a radiation infection, leaving his son all of the estate and plenty of power in the palm of his hands. Almost too much, some would say.

Growing up on the Raimi-Maguire Spider-Man movies, it should come as no surprise to anyone that I wasn’t the biggest fan of the first Amazing Spider-Man. First of all, I knew it was all made as a way to ensure that Sony would be able to keep the rights to the Spider-Man name and brand, and because of that, was made and released literally five years after the original franchise ended. In my book, that’s way too soon, especially for a franchise that clearly was close to me, regardless of how crappy that third one-of-a-turd turned out to be.

Oh my gawd! We get it! You're in love! Now quite the PDA for gosh sakes!

Oh my gawd! We get it! You’re in love! Now quit the PDA for goshsakes!

Regardless, now that we have a sequel to the re-boot and unsurprisingly, I come off with a little bit of the same feelings that I had before: “Meh”. But this time, with a bit more oomph. Just a little bit.

See, I think where most of this movie’s charm comes from is in the way that Marc Webb does not give up on making a single-sequence here the least bit exciting or entertaining. Sure, the action scenes are a romp-and-a-half by how much CGI he’s able to throw at us, without ever making it seem like total overkill, but he’s even able to make the character-driven scenes pop with a little more energy than one would expect from something so up-and-moving all of the time. Which for a two-hour-and-twenty-minute-movie, can get a bit tiring, but considering that this movie begins with a car-chase through the streets of NYC, and ends with a mono-e-mono duel in the same place, I think it’s pretty safe to say that I got all of the action that I wanted, but not without the fun, of course.

That’s why Marc Webb, despite initially not knowing what to think of him as director for the first movie, really does deserves to keep this franchise under his name. At least for now; that is until he pulls a stunt like this and burns everybody’s corneas, as well as their memories of what a Spider-Man movie should be.

Sorry, people. I’ll still never be able to get over that. Never, ever.

Yet though, I find myself oddly perplexed by this movie because while it is definitely fun, exciting and thrilling, there’s still something about this story that feels a bit hollow, yet at the same time, totally shouldn’t be. It’s almost like the third Raimi movie, except that this time, it seems like everybody behind-the-camera is actually trying to make sure that they can make sense of all the numerous subplots, characters and conflicts, while also still being able to deliver the goods on the action-element of this movie. More often than not, the effort works and makes it seem as if this was created by those who care about making a lick of sense, but other times, it doesn’t really seem to matter what makes sense or what doesn’t, because there’s sometimes nothing really there.

For instance, this whole story is centered around the fact that Peter wants to discover more about his parents, their lives, their professions and why exactly they decided to leave him with his aunt and uncle on that one, fateful day. It makes sense why he would and it would have been able to bring out some raw emotions within Pete himself, but it never really does much except just have Pete running all around New York, skateboard in hand, eyes wandering all of the place and a confused-look on his face practically the whole time whenever he’s reading or seeing a hidden-document for the first time.

But that’s just me reaching for something that isn’t there, because basically, this is just a story about Peter Parker’s one crazy summer after high school ended. He gets to break-up, and get back together with his sweetheart numerous times; he gets a chance to hang out with old pals; he gets to walk around the streets; do his own laundry; talk-back to his aunt; be rebellious; swing; fight crime; beat-up baddies; and get in all sorts of trouble with those who are closest to him. That’s pretty much all there is to this story, but rather than make it as simple and easy as that, the movie decides to throw layer, upon layer, upon layer, until there’s too many layers to begin with. It’s almost like freakin’ ogres!

That said, it’s still entertaining to watch Pete do all of this fun and wacky stuff with his summer, because Andrew Garfield is such a joy to watch play him. I’ll admit it, I was a bit too hard on Garfield in the first movie, which may have to do with the fact that I was just getting over not being able to see Tobey don the red-and-blue jump-suit any longer. But now that I’ve been able to let it all sink in, I have to say that I was really astonished by how natural Garfield is in this role; he’s funny, without being brass; he’s charming, without being too cutesy; and he’s nervous, without being too fidgety. He’s the perfect 30-year-old to play an 18-year-old teenager, and it makes me happy to know that this kid could literally do this role for the next ten years or so, and I will not get bored once. He’s that good. Although, I’ll still stand by Tobey no matter what.

Always got your back, Tobes.

Always.

Joining Garfield once again is his real-life, off-screen-hottie Emma Stone, playing Gwen Stacy, the type of gal every guy in high school wanted to go out with, after high school was already over and done with. Stone, like Garfield, fits all of the perfect requirements with what makes her character lovable, as well as sympathetic, even when all sorts of chaos and mayhem is occurring around her and she refuses to leave. Don’t get it twisted though, because she’s not a damsel-in-distress by any means; sometimes, she may even know a little thing or two more than her boyf himself. That’s why it’s not only a blast to watch Stone do her thing and play, what is essentially way past her own, actual age, but to also see how her and Garfield make great use of their chemistry for the betterment of this movie and how its emotional-core is built stronger through them. Hell, it makes me even not want to see M.J. pop her little, red head in.

As for the villains, despite there being two more than the first movie, it never felt too over-crowded for me – just too much that was left undeveloped. More specifically in the case of Harry Osborne who, through Dane DeHaan, is able to become a bit of a punk-ass kid that has an attitude problem, but still doesn’t really reach the heights of “psychopath” that the movie so clearly and dearly wants him to reach for and grab. DeHaan is good in the role, however, it does seem like it’s his weakest to-date when he starts yelling and having to act all serious, yet goofy and over-the-top at the same time. Regardless of whatever else the guy’s done in the past couple of years, being both “goofy” and “over-the-top” is not a right fit for him, and I felt like somebody should have known that right from the get-go. He tries with it, but by the end, I felt like Willem Dafoe was bound to pop-out of the infamous mirror at any second.

Could have swore I saw this guy on the subway the other night.

Could have swore I saw this guy on the subway the other night.

The better villain of the three is Jamie Foxx as Electro, which moreso has to do with the way the FX team really paid close attention to this character and making him work in every which way. Foxx is fine when he’s Max Dillon, because he’s in human-form and we’re able to see him actually act, but once he becomes Electro, all we really see is some glowing, blue-light floating around from place-to-place, blasting everything with his magic hands. We know this too, because everytime Electro does blow shit up, something like Skrillex blasts through the speakers and makes it seem like you’re not necessarily in a theater, but a wild and crazy rave. Sadly, without the ecstasy.

Still though, as much as I may make a joke about it, the creators behind this really felt confident enough with Electro in terms of the way he looks, acts and proposes a threat to Spidey, which makes me wonder why they didn’t just give him his own movie and leave all of the Green Goblin and Rhino stuff until a tad bit later? Oh yeah, and speaking of Rhino, well, I think I’ve already said too much. Just see the movie and you’ll know what I am talking about.

Consensus: May have handled more than it rightfully should have, the Amazing Spider-Man 2 squanders a great villain in Electro, but leaves the rest of the movie a fun, exciting blockbuster that doesn’t go for the big, or heavy thoughts, but just wants you to get ready for the rest of the summer and all of the joys it may, or may not, be able to bring to you. Hey, have to say, that sounds good enough for me.

8 / 10 = Matinee!!

Alright, Spidey. A little too friendly.

Alright, Spidey. A little too friendly and neighborly.

Photo’s Credit to: IMDBColliderJobloComingSoon.net

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50 responses to “The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)

  1. Tom May 2, 2014 at 5:30 am

    Nice review man! Didn’t get to this tonight like I thought, but I’m really pumped about seeing it early tomorrow! Sounds like a good time and if I expect some continued cheesy writing and maybe some bad development of the characters. I hear Electro bears the worst of the film’s moments and Rhino barely shows up at all. It still sounds like a fun movie. And better than Spider-Man 3.

  2. mikeyb @ screenkicker May 2, 2014 at 5:57 am

    I just couldn’t like Tobey Maguire. He just wasn’t Spiderman. Garfield is much better, just needs the right film

  3. Jordan Rath May 2, 2014 at 5:57 am

    We are in agreement on this one. I didn’t think they squandered Electro too poorly other than lack of screen time, but I had too much fun with this one. Really well done on all accounts for me despite me going into it with lukewarm expectations.

    And the feels at the end!!!

    Great review Dan.

  4. Writer Loves Movies May 2, 2014 at 7:01 am

    I rated this one a bit less than you but we’re on the same page about a lot of things – too many unresolved plots for me. I’d have liked to see the parents storyline go somewhere but there just wasn’t space. There wasn’t really time to develop Electro either. Top performances though!

  5. Zoë May 2, 2014 at 8:13 am

    Excellent review Dan. Glad to see you enjoyed it too. I was a big fan of DeHaan in here, I must say.

    • CMrok93 May 2, 2014 at 3:22 pm

      I thought he didn’t have much to work with, and therefore, he looked bad as a result. That’s just me, though.

      • Zoë May 3, 2014 at 9:36 am

        I think they definitely could have fleshed him out more, and his turn into the Green Goblin and his relationship with Peter, but the bit he had he did well with I thought.

  6. Terry Malloy's Pigeon Coop May 2, 2014 at 8:29 am

    Nicely done mate. I thought it was good fun but had some issues. It was too long and jumped around all over the place. I agree with you about Electro and I’d have liked to see more of DeHaan.

  7. thomasjford May 2, 2014 at 10:24 am

    Another superhero movie, another glance in a different direction from me I’m afraid. Nice review though Dan.

  8. simonsmovies May 2, 2014 at 10:36 am

    Great review, couldn’t agree more about Spider-Man 3, I look forward to seeing this one

  9. jklmd2002 May 2, 2014 at 12:25 pm

    Good review Dan. Like I said in mine this felt like a Spider-Man movie more than any other one. I loved it’s not tripping over being serious and the villains made sense. I always hate how “considerate” the movie bad guys are to just come and fight the hero one month at a time so our hero isn’t overwhelmed. Very curious what fans think of this one.

  10. MovieManJackson May 2, 2014 at 12:55 pm

    I really need to see the first before I watch the second. But at least you gave me some insight as to what I am getting myself into!

  11. falcon760 May 2, 2014 at 1:32 pm

    This movie looks so terrible to me, but perhaps that’s just my impressions of some viewer reviews. I really hate how they’ve really wrapped up Peter’s background into a mystery, just for the sake of making him more mysterious. I like the original. We never knew Peter’s parents in the original comics and I couldn’t even tell you anything about them. Aunt May wasn’t the archetypal parent, but she and Uncle Ben were still great characters and raised Peter because they were close to Peter’s parents, I guess, not because of some convoluted conspiracy.

    • CMrok93 May 2, 2014 at 3:27 pm

      You’re right. Everything does seem a bit more cheap now, but I don’t mind that as much because it does add more. However, the original franchise was so much better.

  12. spencerajjohnston May 2, 2014 at 2:22 pm

    I thought that the films villains lacked the threat that great superhero movies really need to be engaging.

    • CMrok93 May 2, 2014 at 3:28 pm

      They didn’t even develop them all that much in the first place. Only Electro posed any real threat, and that’s only because he controlled lightning, or something.

      • spencerajjohnston May 2, 2014 at 5:44 pm

        I never think it works to well when theirs two many villains (Spiderman 3) and Electro’s origin story seemed a bit to similar to The Riddler’s in Batman Returns

  13. Consumed by Film May 2, 2014 at 2:38 pm

    It definitely feels like Webb is trying to slap plot strand upon plot strand in here as a way of foreshadowing the next installment(s), which hurts the film for me. I preferred DeHaan’s Goblin-seeding to Foxx’s Electro, but that’s more to do with the overcrowding than Foxx’s performance (which is solid). Having said all that, I had a great time watching it! Good review Dan.

    Adam.

    • CMrok93 May 2, 2014 at 3:29 pm

      I had a fun time watching it, but I do think they’ve dug themselves a hole that they are incapable of getting out of with the constant fore-shadowing.

  14. Haricharan Pudipeddi May 2, 2014 at 5:04 pm

    I was super disappointed, Dan. I mean i walked in with so much of expectations, but by the time i walked out i felt cheated. Too many sub-plots and weak villains. Of course, it had some lovely action set pieces, but that alone doesn’t make a film tick, does it? Here’s my review http://movieroundup.in/amazing-spider-man-2-doesnt-leave-amazed/

  15. CouchKurisu May 2, 2014 at 6:29 pm

    I wish I hadn’t seen SO many trailers for this before its release, otherwise I might have been more excited to give it a go. Nice review though, I’ll probably check this out soon!

  16. tobyyawn May 2, 2014 at 11:41 pm

    nice review. all the subplots is what every one else is saying to. and i heard they mess up the plot on peter’s parents. how good is this film. is it a film that one should see in theaters or wait unlit it comes out on dvd?

  17. Tim The Film Guy May 3, 2014 at 10:52 am

    Oh my, you actually liked it. I am so happy and surprised :D

    Great review. I loved the film and thought the new lighter more comic book feel of the film made Spider-man finally feel like Spider-man.

    Very much looking forward to the next one, BRING ON SINISTER SIX! :D

  18. CinemaClown May 3, 2014 at 2:56 pm

    I’m still not sure whether to go for it or not because The Amazing Spider-Man in itself was very disappointing for me. But a part of me says to go check it out because even if I don’t like it, it will at least make for a great cinema bashing review :P

    Very good review, Dan.

  19. Chris May 3, 2014 at 5:33 pm

    Heh, “Meh with a little more oomph” does kinda sum up my own feelings on the movie. Nice review, Dan.

  20. Jaina May 3, 2014 at 7:07 pm

    Yes :) I was in two minds on whether to see this one because the first one disappointed me so much. Surprised me a great deal and enjoyed it a heck of a lot more than I thought I would. Excellent soundtrack too. Freaking brilliant stuff from Zimmer and crew.

  21. Logan Krum Movie Reviews May 3, 2014 at 9:48 pm

    I’m so glad you actually liked it. I figured we would be disagreeing yet again.

  22. 13mesh May 4, 2014 at 9:37 pm

    I got Tobes back too. Always. You seemed to enjoy the movie more than the rest of us haha. Good write up!

  23. Russel DDK May 4, 2014 at 11:46 pm

    Great review, Dan. Gonna watch it in two days. Hope it lives up to my expectations. Have to say, even though Raimi’s first two films were well-done, I still liked Webb’s reboot more, as it was much more faithful to the comic storyline and animated show i grew up with.

  24. Rhys May 5, 2014 at 4:41 am

    Great review Dan, agree on your score. I feel like this film is getting a bit of flak from critics, but I’d go as far as to say it’s my favourite Spidey film so far :)

    http://feelinfuzzier.blogspot.com.au/2014/04/film-review-amazing-spider-man-2-rise.html

  25. Mark Hobin May 5, 2014 at 7:04 am

    It’s kind of refreshing to see someone give this a positive review simply because it has been so critically reviled. Personally I hated it too, but still nice to see a differing opinion. Great review!

  26. tajgreenemoviesinreview May 5, 2014 at 4:00 pm

    It was entertaining, but I agree that the story was missing something. I also agree that the villains were underdeveloped, and that Electro was such a great character that got squandered. There should have been more from Electro. I’m def a fan of Dehaan as Green Goblin, and I enjoyed every scene he was in, but his character was also underdeveloped. I’m not a fan of reboots, but Garfield is an Amazing choice for Spiderman. He is the only reason I even continue to watch these movies…smh…Nice Review!

  27. Rachel May 5, 2014 at 8:36 pm

    I wasn’t a fan of the first one either and thought it was boring, but I found this entertaining even though the villains were underdeveloped.

  28. Pingback: The Epics: Upcoming releases 2014 | digitalshortbread

  29. robhend95 May 6, 2014 at 8:52 pm

    Intelligent review Dan. Great to see I wasn’t the only person who enjoyed this film, despite it’s flaws.

  30. Three Rows Back May 6, 2014 at 10:00 pm

    Great read Dan, although you seem to have enjoyed this more than I did.

  31. itslluna May 7, 2014 at 4:28 am

    Good post! I do agree with the fact that Electro could have his own movie.

  32. CinemaClown May 9, 2014 at 2:36 pm

    Great review as always, Dan.

    I watched it recently (reviewed too) and it turned out to be as needless, dull & boring as its predecessor. Went for it only coz you know… free tickets :D

  33. sameeranrao May 10, 2014 at 4:24 am

    good review as always. I think you are right about Electro and also felt Harry’s subplot was redundant, despite DeHaan’s performance. check out my review of the same here

    http://sameeranrao.wordpress.com/2014/05/09/the-amazing-spider-man-2-review-messy-but-fun/

  34. Ben May 26, 2014 at 2:47 pm

    I’m really glad that Webb’s Spider-Man is getting some love. I really enjoyed the first one and got tired of Maguire’s Spider-Man after the third. This was a franchise that needed a reboot, even though the first wasn’t brilliant, it fix give us a much better sequel.

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