The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Movie Review
Why. The. Fuck. Does. Hollywood. Keep. Shoving. Multiple. Villains. Into. Superhero. Sequels. It doesn’t work. It just doesn’t work. And yet they keep doing it. They keep doing it, and they keep failing at it, and the result is pretty much what you see in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, a technically well made picture that stretches its characters so thin the fragile web breaks.
There are parts that work in the Marc Webb-directed sequel. Star Andrew Garfield is really good, and his chemistry with real-life girlfriend Emma Stone, the lucky bastard, is unsurprisingly terrific. It’s their relationship that keeps the film alive.
But you don’t care about that, do you? How was the action? The special effects? The excitement level? The villains?
Forgettable, good, dull, forgettable.
Webb pieces together a few good action pieces--Spider-Man’s first encounter with Electro (Jamie Foxx) is entertaining, albeit lacking suspense, and there are some other segments that are fun to watch--but when rubber finally hits the road (more on that in a minute), the action contorts into a CGI mess of bright colors. The special effects are generally well done, but the climax is terrible; Spider-Man ducks and dodges rays of electricity as Electro appears and disappears (how is it that his suit and voltage monitors stay attached?), the result being only marginally better than the dreadful climax in Daredevil. Which says it all. But then the Green Goblin shows up just because and Marc Webb throws even more special effects at us, this time in a clock tower with a crazy amount of gears and gizmos. It’s just tiring. And boring.
The villains are poorly managed, primarily because there’s at least one too many. Not even counting Paul Giamatti’s ludicrous Rhino, who shows up for one scene at the end (why?), The Amazing Spider-Man 2 delivers to audiences two extremely stupid characters. Jamie Foxx’s Electro is cheesy, poorly explained and uninteresting; his motivations aren’t well developed and seem forced to fit the story.
And then there’s the Green Goblin/Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan). His story is central to the movie, but it feels like an afterthought nonetheless. Why the filmmakers planned a trilogy but didn’t introduce Harry in the first one is beyond me; his transformation from Peter Parker pal to psychotic villain is woefully underdeveloped.
But the biggest sin of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is not the villains, nor is it the action. At well over two hours, the movie is 20 minutes too long. While mildly entertaining, the story drags at times. It takes forever to get to the big action pieces. If anything, a superhero movie with multiple villains should never, ever, ever be boring.
And yet it is.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 isn’t a terrible movie--even within the franchise, there’s always Spider-Man 3 to fall back on--but it’s a step back from its predecessor and an overall disappointing effort. Hollywood, please take note: one villain at a time!
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.