Lazy Movie Review: The Amazing Spider-Man 2

SPIDAHHHH MAAAAHHHN

Premise:  Spider-Man is back after I don’t quite remember where he left off, since I haven’t seen the first Spider-Man of the new reboot trilogy all the way through since it came out in theaters.  But now Peter is dating Gwen Stacy, he’s seeing the ghost of Dennis Leary ALL over the place, and he’s kinda just enjoying being Spider-Man; even if the city doesn’t give much back to him.  Unfortunately, a guy has accidentally fallen into a vat of radioactive electric eels, and another guy has taken experimental green super drugs, so now there are two new supervillians roaming the streets of New York.  Missing, though, is the stereotypical Italian guy with a tank top holding a pizza while shouting at The Green Goblin “Hey budday, you mess wit Spidah-Man, you mess wit New York!”  But you can’t have everything.

 

Pros:

-All of the action scenes were pretty fun.  They were fast paced, had some nice choreography.  Anything involving Electro in particular was pretty cool.  He’s a villain who you kind of assume will be lame, but ends up being pretty entertaining once he starts to develop.  The early scenes of Electro discovering the full potential of his power are downright awesome.  A real marvel (*snickers*) in fast, believable character development.  I’m hoping the internet pulls through and makes a Django Unchained / Spider-Man mash-up set to the spoof song “Electroooooooooooo!”  Just make it happen, someone.  Though, by the 15th time that Spider-Man gets electrocuted with minimal consequence, it starts to take away from the overall power of the villain.  But he has the ability to turn off the power on my iPad in the middle of a Hearthstone battle, and that scares me.

-I really enjoyed the montage near the beginning of the movie of Spider-Man doing little tasks, like scaring off bullies, and having fun doing it.  Obviously it wouldn’t make a great movie if it was just about Spidey’s day-to-day life, but I appreciate inserting little touches like that.  It reminded me of the scene in the first, second Spider-Man reboot movie (what?), when Peter is testing out his newly found powers and discovering how much fun it’s going to be to be Spider-Man.  Moments when we see what it’s like to be a normal teenager who discovers he has this amazing new gift, but he’s still confined by the limitations of being a teenager.  I don’t think a 30-year-old guy who gets bit by a radioactive spider and obtains unimaginable powers has the same outward reaction as a guy as young as Peter would.  I’d just use my Spidey powers to get up the stairs faster, and react quicker when some guy is about to t-bone me at an intersection.  Mostly I’d probably just think I had a fatal illness and would curl in a ball in the corner of my office.  But Peter still has the optimism and dreams of an idealistic young person.  And I like seeing those moments translate onto the screen.  The fragility of adolescence.  Or some shit.  Shut up!  I’m going to my room!  I don’t want to do the dishes!  I just saved New York from a robotic rhinoceros!  But you didn’t even notice because you were too busy yelling at me about that one plate of food I left in the living room!  I hate you!  (slams door)

-Felt a little emotion, wasn’t expecting that.  But it’s not like I was shedding a single tear or anything.  Though, it probably got more out of me than it deserved.

-As far as comic book (movie) romances go, I found myself enjoying the chemistry between Peter and Gwen.  I actually liked it better than any part of the Peter/Mary Jane romances in the Raimi Spider-Mans (but to be fair, the first trilogy did most other things better).  I think a lot of it stems from Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone doing a pretty great job of acting like lovestruck teens while not particularly looking like 18-year-olds.

-There was an Aidy Bryant cameo that I’m sure nobody else appreciated.

-The 3D was interesting at times, but the effect wore off somewhere in the 2nd act, as usual.  That’s still enough to earn it a spot in the ‘pro’ area, in my book.  Kind of like eating at Blimpie’s for a month straight, then having a Subway sandwich on the 31st day.  It’s bland, saucey rubbish, but it tastes 100x better than that crap I just ate for the last four weeks, so it’s allllllllllright in my book.

 

Cons:

-The movie is too long, and is so overloaded with things that are just intended to lead to inevitable sequel developments, that the actual story of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was something of an afterthought.  While Electro was a solid central threat for this movie, he ultimately didn’t pose any sort of actual lasting threat, and his defeat will have little to no impact on the future.  Meanwhile, we are basically just teased with the concept of The Green Goblin and the Sinister Six (I think?), who will undoubtedly be fighting Spider-Man sometime in 2018.  Luckily we just spend 140 minutes getting set up for the next batch of movies.

-The dumb puns in this movie were getting borderline Schumachery.  For a little taste of what I’m talking about, as Electro is about to wreak fiery havoc on Times Square, he murmurs “It’s my birthday…  Time to light the CANDLES!”  It’s stupid things like this that can often take away from the (genuinely) quality action that follows it.  I know if I had the power to harness pure electrical energy and shoot it out of my hands for the sole purposes of evil, I’d probably be shouting something more like “HAHAHAHA FUCK ALLLLLLL OF YOUUUUU!  FRY, YOU PEONS!  I’M YOUR NEW GOD NOW!  KNEEL BEFORE ME OR DIE UNDER MY ALL MIGHTY POWER!  HAHAHAHAHAHA!”  (coughs into hand) (adjusts tie) (takes sip of water) But that’s just me.  I guess this is a PG-13 movie for children.  I guess the birthday candles line will have to do.

-Interesting choice of opening scene, involving Mr and Mrs. Parker fighting people on an airplane, and having nothing to actually do with superheroes or the like.  It felt more like a scene out of a Liam Neeson movie than a Spider-Man one.  However, and I might be a minority on this (I’m not sure), I just really don’t care about the mystery of Peter’s parents.  They tried the storyline out for two films, I haven’t yet gained any interest in it, and I doubt I ever will.  I just like watching Spider-Man jump around and fight bad guys and have emo love problems.  I’m a man of simple tastes.

-If there are supervillians in the streets shooting off high powered machine guns, or spraying erratic electrical storms all over the place, don’t be surprised to see a crowd of four hundred people on the other side of police tape observing the action fifty yards away.  I think I would have high tailed it back to my house at the *first* sign of the angry guy made of lightning.

-Paul Giamatti is in the first scene of the film, for three minutes, then doesn’t come back until the final scene of the film, for another three minutes.  Rhino seemed like a cop-out.  A marketing tool used in the trailers and commercials to falsely indicate that he was an actual part of this movie.  I’m sure he’ll be back for The Amazing Spider-Man 3, but never before have I felt so used by the simple promise of the Giamatti.  Rhino is not drinking fucking Merlot!  At least not in this movie.  God, I wanted to make so many more crappy Paul Giamatti jokes in this review, but…  …it just doesn’t feel right…

-Speaking of marketing, the “post-credits” tease after the movie was over was just a clip from X-Men: Days of Future Past, which has nothing to do with the Spider-Man movies  and is actually from a different film studio.  I guess the situation is that director Marc Webb had a contract with 20th Century Fox but got out of his contract to direct Sony’s Spider-Man movies in exchange for Sony promoting Fox’s new X-Men movie for free.  So now the post-credits hype scenes are being used as commercials for unrelated enterprises.  That means we’re all one step closer to seeing Doctor Octopus eating a blooming onion in an Outback Steakhouse commercial during the end credits of the Justice League movie.

 

Final Thoughts:  For all its missteps, it’s still an entertaining movie.  (Slightly) Better or equal to the first Amazing Spider-Man.  So, now they’re two for two on making decently entertaining, yet haphazardly faulty movies sprinkled with good scenes.  If they can’t cross that line between “Yeah, the new Spider-Man was ok” and “Damn, that new Spider-Man was pretty awesome” by the third movie, then maybe Hollywood should give Spidey like a 15 year break from the silver screen before trying him out again?  (rich studio executive laughs while rubbing freshly printed money all over his naked body)

7.5 out of 10

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