The Amazing Spider-Man 2

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Scientist Richard Parker records a video message to explain his disappearance. Later, he and his wife, Mary, are aboard a private jet hijacked by a man sent to assassinate Richard. With the pilot dead, the plane crashes.

In the present, Richard’s son Peter continues to fight crime as Spider-Man. He pursues and apprehends Aleksei Sytsevich, who attempted to steal a truck containing plutonium vials. During the chase, Spider-Man rescues OsCorp Industries employee Max Dillon. While speaking by phone with Gwen Stacy, Peter sees a vision of her father, police captain George Stacy, reminding him to leave Gwen out of it. Afterward, Peter meets with Gwen at their high school graduation ceremony, but insists he needs to keep his vow to her father and ends their relationship.

Peter’s childhood friend Harry Osborn returns to Manhattan to see his terminally ill father Norman, CEO of OsCorp. Norman explains his illness is hereditary, and Harry is at the age where it first develops. Norman gives Harry a small device he claims contains his life’s work. The next day, Norman dies and Harry is appointed the new OsCorp CEO. He humiliates the OsCorp board, which has been privy to Norman’s secret biogenetic projects for foreign military powers.

Thinking that they have become friends, Max idolizes Spider-Man. While tending to some maintenance in an OsCorp laboratory, he loses his balance and falls into a tank of genetically modified electric eels. They attack him, and he mutates into a living electric generator. Meanwhile, Peter attempts to maintain a friendship with Gwen, but she reveals she may move to England for school. Before they can discuss it, Max wanders into Times Square and accidentally causes a blackout. Spider-Man attempts to calm him down, but the police fire at Max, making him lose his temper and attack. Spider-Man eventually stops him, and Max is taken to Ravencroft Institute.

The first symptoms of Harry’s illness show, and he uses the device Norman gave him to deduce that Spider-Man’s blood could help save him. He asks Peter, who has been selling photos of Spider-Man to the Daily Bugle, for help finding Spider-Man. Peter refuses, unsure of what effects the transfusion would have. The OsCorp board-members frame Harry for covering up Max’s accident, and remove him as CEO. Harry’s assistant, Felicia, informs him of equipment that could help him, so he makes a deal with Max (now calling himself Electro) to get him back inside the OsCorp building. There he finds a suit of armor and other equipment made by Norman, as well as venom from the now-destroyed genetically altered spiders. Instead of curing him, they transform him into a hideous, goblin-like creature.

Peter uses information left by his father to locate the video message in an abandoned subway station’s hidden lab. Richard explains he had to leave because he refused to cooperate with Norman Osborn’s biogenetic weaponization plans. Peter then hears a voicemail from Gwen, telling him she was offered the scholarship in England and is heading to the airport earlier than expected. He manages to catch her and professes his love for her, and they agree to go to England together. Electro causes another blackout, and Peter heads off to fight him. Gwen follows, and they kill Electro in an explosion caused by overloading his electricity supply. Afterward, the transformed Harry arrives equipped with Norman’s armor and weaponry; upon seeing Gwen, Harry deduces Spider-Man’s true identity and, swearing revenge for being refused the blood transfusion, kidnaps her. He fights Spider-Man at the top of a clock tower, and though Spider-Man subdues Harry, he is unable to save Gwen. As a result, she is dead.

Five months later, Peter has given up being Spider-Man and often visits Gwen’s grave. Harry is healing from his transformations, and his associate (the “man in the shadows” from the first film) breaks Sytsevich out of prison and equips him with an electromechanical suit of armor. Calling himself the Rhino, he rampages through the streets. But a recording of Gwen’s graduation speech inspires Peter to return as Spider-Man and fight him

REVIEW:

Other than Batman and Superman, Spider-Man is arguably the most popular superhero around. Following the mega-blockbuster that Captain America: The Winter Solder has become, excitement for The Amazing Spider-Man 2 has been nonexistent. Surprisingly, people are going crazy for the upcoming Godzilla movie, though. Personally, this version of Spider-Man didn’t work for me in the previous film, will there be any difference this time around?

What is this about?

Spider-Man squares off against the Rhino and the powerful Electro while struggling to keep his promise to leave Gwen Stacey out of his dangerous life. Meanwhile, an old friend resurfaces, and Peter Parker uncovers new clues about his past.

What did I like?

Learn from your mistakes. I was not a fan of The Amazing Spider-Man. As a matter of fact, I still don’t care much for the rushed way it was foisted on us, the emo way it made Peter act, and…well, just go back and read the review. There is an old adage that says, “Those who don’t know their history are doomed to repeat it.” Well, the filmmakers apparently have learned because many of the things they did wrong in the first film, they fixed. For instance, Spider-Man keeps his mask on in all but 2 scenes. Other than Karl Urban in Dredd, no superhero seems to do this because they think we just have to see their face. Even in the Iron Man films, where can see Robert Downey, Jr. inside the suit, he can’t keep the helmet on/down. The 3D in the last film wasn’t impressive, but in this one, granted I did see it in IMAX, but this is one of the very few 3D film that has actually impressed me with the effects and it felt like we were swinging around the city with Spider-Man. Those are just a couple of examples, but you get the idea. There has been much improvement since the last time around.

Electro. Spider-Man’s gallery of rouges is one of the most impressive around. Only Batman, and you can make a case for The Flash have more colorful and interesting villains. So far, in the films, we’ve seen Green Goblin (more on him later), Doctor Octopus, Sandman, Venom, and the Lizard. Now, Doctor Octopus would be the obvious choice, as he is considered by many the penultimate villain for Spider-Man, but since this is films #2, I don’t think the filmmakers wanted to deal with the headache and comparisons to Spider-Man 2. This brings about the chance to delve into the rogues gallery and see what we come up with. The answer is Electro, a tragic character, yet powerful character that is sure to capture the audience’s attention with all the effects they can do with him. I’ll be honest, I love Jamie Foxx’s portrayal of him, but not a fan of the wannabe Dr. Manhattan look they had going for him. Once the climactic act kicks in and they let him realize the full potential of his powers. Man, you’re going to be glad you’re along for the ride! Many have been comparing his portrayal to that of Jim Carrey’s Riddler in Batman Forever. I can see the comparison but, given the way he becomes Electro, I would throw in a hint of Poison Ivy from Batman & Robin in there, as well. At any rate, bringing this character to the big screen was a huge undertaking and they did such a great job with that I was wanting more. Hopefully, if plans come to fruition, he’ll be back in a future film.

Bring the funny. One thing I didn’t like about Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man is that he didn’t crack jokes. Go read a Spider-Man comic or watch any of the cartoons and you’ll see that ol’ webhead is cracking wise left and right when he gets the chance. Sure, when it is time to be serious, he gets down to business, but otherwise, he seems to enjoy fighting crime. Now, Andrew Garfield seems to have the jokes down, as well as the comic timing. It may be the one thing he has over Tobey’s take on the character. I still think he’s a bit too much of an ass, but that seems to be what appeals to this generation.

What didn’t I like?

The life and times of Peter Parker. Once again, we are getting some backstory on Peter’s parents. The problem this time around, though, it doesn’t really seem to do anything, but convolute the story. Sure, the opening scene is exciting, but what does it really have to do with the rest of the film, honestly? If you’re a fan of this character, then you know that Peter Parker is a nerdy guy with some very bad luck, to say the least. While the toned down Garfield playing Peter as a total douche, he still isn’t the nerd we all want him to be. What can’t we get the nerdy Parker?!? As far as Peter’s luck goes, well, he and Gwen Stacy break up multiple times, he gets fussed at by his aunt May, his best friend tries to kill him, etc. I said this when Chuck was on the air, and I’ll say it about Peter. They just need to give the poor guy a break! Speaking of that Gwen Stacy storyline, while the comics have always been Peter Parker first and Spider-Man second and people have been gushing over how much chemistry Garfield and Emma Stone have, I just was meh about it. Of course, part of this may be because a)I’m team Mary Jane and b) I prefer Emma Stone as a redhead and haven’t really liked her in this role.

Give up the Goblin. The Green Goblin is Spider-Man’s arch-nemesis, and yet with 2 1/2 tries, we have yet to see a decent Goblin on the screen. I won’t bring up Willem Dafoe’s version, because that was just…I don’t know what to say about that. James Franco’s New Goblin never really made sense to me, as I felt they could have just gone on and made him another Green Goblin, but I guess they didn’t want to put him in a mask (Heaven forbid!!!). Dane DeHaan’s take is pretty much the same as Franco, but with some scientific stuff to go along with it. He is not a convincing or menacing Goblin. If anything, he is more comical looking because of the weird skin, hair, and teeth. I don’t want to say this, but either they need to give up on Green Goblin or make him look like he’s supposed to look in the comics. Speaking of DeHaan, this kid was hyped as a very talented actor, but he was like petrified wood on screen. He may have the looks of a young Leonardo DiCaprio, he most assuredly doesn’t have the talent.

Secrecy. Remember in Charlotte’s Web when Charlotte would write messages in her web above the barn? Well, for Spider-Man writes “I Love You” in giant letters on the bridge with his web, then he swoops down and grabs Gwen off the street. Now, this is a very sweet gesture, but many people are aware of Peter and Gwen’s relationship. I can let it slide that no one has picked up that Spider-Man and Peter have the exact same build and voice (at least he didn’t pull the Christian Bale Batman voice thing), but when you swoop down and grab your girlfriend, in broad daylight, mind you, what really is the point of having a secret identity? Most Marvel superheroes don’t have a secret identity, and that’s fine, but Spider-Man is one of the few that does. This scene kind of defeated the purpose. My feelings on this matter were cemented a couple of scenes later when Harry seen Gwen at the power plant and puts two and two together. I’m sure he isn’t the only one that has been able to do this!

Rhino. When the cast was announced for this film, I believe that Paul Giamatti as the Rhino was the first. With that bit of information, one would imagine that Rhino would be one of the major villains. Now, to be fair, in the comics, Rhino is nothing more than a henchman who got some powers, so nothing special there. I have no problem with the way he was portrayed here, except that it isn’t until the last scenes that we get him. Had this been a Marvel film, that would have been some kind of post-credits stinger. As a matter of fact, that is what it felt like. Someone compared his entrance in the end to that of The Undermine in The Incredibles. He is brought in to set up an actions shot/pose and the credits roll. How did such a capable actor as Giamatti let himself get roped into this?

No one is more surprised with how much I truly enjoyed The Amzing Spider-Man 2 than I am! Based on the previous film and the fact that no one was excited about this flick, I thought it was going to be more of the same. Perhaps the IMAX effect has something to do with my opinion of this film (the last IMAX flick I saw, other than some documentary in San Antonio, was Fantasia 2000). While the film is riddled with issues, one of the most glaring is that it runs about 30-45 minutes too long. Do I recommend this? Yes, very much so! I even suggest that if you can watch it in IMAX 3D, the  by all means, check it out!

4 1/2 out of 5 stars

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3 Responses to “The Amazing Spider-Man 2”

  1. […] My reviews of movies I catch via Netflix, in theaters, TV, or my own DVD collection. « The Amazing Spider-Man 2 […]

  2. Mystery Man Says:

    Reblogged this on Mr Movie Fiend's Movie Blog.

  3. […] how there are some similarities to Foxx’s hair here and in his pre-Electro scenes from The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Yes, his hair doesn’t have anything to do with his performance, but everytime he was […]

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