If you’re looking for a “Did I like it, or did it suck” review, you may wanna go elsewhere. If you want me to just rate it now and get it outta the way, then I loved it, even though there are things that I wish they would have added. For the rest of you that wanna know why, then read ahead.
If you’ve read anything I’ve ever written about Spider-Man, then you know that he’s my favorite superhero and that I’ve loved the Wall-Crawler for as long as I can remember. I have a Spidey tattoo, too many toys and collectibles to even put on here, and he’s incorporated his way into my clothing on multiple occasions. I also take comic book movies with a grain of salt. So many other reviewers wanna take these movies as FILMS. They are not. They are popcorn fare with big budgets and special effects and if you happen to elicit an emotional reaction out of them with a plot that is somewhat tangible, well then you’ve hit the trifecta in my opinion.
So many times, I read people hating on Transformers, or Blade 2, or even the Spider-Man movies. Remember people, these are films based off of toys, comics, and cartoons. You watched them when you were eight years old and you didn’t care what the plot was, only that you saw your favorite hero beat up your favorite villain. When that rudimentary plot gets translated to a big screen adaptation, that’s ALL you should expect. Your childhood just came to life, and either you go back into your eight-year old self in your Turtles pajamas in front of the television on Saturday morning, or you are an adult who pays bills and gets married and has kids and forgets what it’s like to have fun, be nostalgic and just get away for a couple of hours.
Sitting in front of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 in IMAX 3D, I was excited. Sony had managed to show so much in the previews, that I wasn’t sure what else they could add, but I was still ready to see what writers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman (Transformers, Star Trek) had in store for me. Not only did I love their films, I had also enjoyed what Marc Webb had done with 500 Days of Summer and the first Amazing Spider-Man film. Seeing this film made me remember why I fell in love with Spider-Man in the first place.
The film started out with Andrew Garfield back in the blue and red tights. This kid KNOWS Spider-Man. He gets that he uses humor to mess with his villains and that he’s just a KID. He’s funny, he’s angsty, he’s got no money and lives in Queens with his Aunt May. He has this hot girlfriend, whom he promised her father that he wouldn’t see anymore. He’s got a lot of stuff weighing him down, but he loves playing the hero and being that person of hope for New Yorkers.
One such person is Jamie Foxx’s, Max Dillon. Spidey ends up saving Max in the beginning and it starts Max’s journey from obsessive Spidey Stalker to the charged up villain, Electro. On the opposite end of the spectrum is the return of Dane DeHaan’s Harry Osborune. Peter and him were friends eight years ago and he comes back to New York to visit his dying father Norman and take on his legacy. Oh yeah, and Paul Giamatti is briefly shown as Aleksei Mikhailovich Sytsevich, otherwise known as The Rhino.
Now, that may all seem a bit much, kinda like the three villains in Sam Raimi’s, Spider-Man 3. It’s not. The movie is two and a half hours and it takes the time to build up all these villains into believable characters. Wait, you read other reviews where they said they weren’t built up? That’s cause they forgot they were watching a comic book movie. A movie where a kid is so smart that he can build web shooters after being bitten by a radioactive spider. Please don’t forget where these movies came from people. Max gets saved by Spider-Man, then gets dissed by NY, then Spidey tries to help, and then gets dissed by Spidey. That’s all the motivation you need. The dude works around electricity and gets bitten by a ton of electric eels, isn’t that enough to give the filmmakers some artistic licenses!?
Harry is turned into The Green Goblin because of his dad’s bloodline. In their genes is something that turns their body green and it kills them. They also grow horribly long nails. Harry believes he needs Spidey’s blood to stave off death, so that becomes his motivation to go bad. Yet again, in the comic book world this is completely plausible. DeHaan plays the role deliciously. He relishes in the brooding, disowned child and when he becomes the Goblin; he laughs like how he does in the comics and even throws a pumpkin bomb that looks believable.
The best thing about this film though, has to be the relationship between Peter and Gwen. It’s perfect that Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield are actually dating in real life, because it makes their love even more believable. Their screen time grounds the movie from being just fanfare and you really feel for the struggles they have to go through as Peter struggles with Spider-Man, as well as the promise he made to Capt. Stacey.
Of course, Spider-Man wouldn’t be who he is without some struggle, and the Death of Gwen Stacy is the worst. Webb does his darndest to follow the comic in terms of set and costume design, and it works. It was an extremely emotional scene, and the after math is something that changed Peter forever. If you paid special attention, after the scene pans out to show the clock tower in which she dies, they hands are on One and Twenty-Two. The comic book number in which she dies.
So, you have cool villains, a great romance, what else? The score! Hans Zimmer knocks it outta the park. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a Danny Elfman fan for life; but Zimmer took the Electro theme and ran with it. It was my favorite music in the film. It’s very much Zimmer and super creepy and dark and ominous. Even when it gets playful, you can still hear the dark undertones. Spidey’s theme is good, but for that one, I’d rather hear Elfman’s.
The special effects were out of this world. This was the only time I’ve seen Spider-Man on-screen where you could actually SEE the way his costume moved. It didn’t look CGI the whole time, it looked like a kid in a costume that very talented people made; but seriously, it was incredible. Electro glowed and hissed and the battles with him were epic. My favorite part of it all was just seeing The Wall Crawler swing through the air. Webb made him do the classic and impossible poses from the comic, and the ‘Spidey Vision’ first-person view was used to perfection.
Oh, I almost forgot. What of The Sinister Six? Well, they blatantly call out The Gentleman in the credits. He brings The Sinister Six together with the help of Harry Osbourne. Who will it consist of? By the end of the film you know Rhino for one, Harry, Doc Ock, Lizard, Vulture…and then, I really don’t know. I’ll have to watch again to see if they make more references, but since Electro pretty much blew up. They could save him through comic book plot points. Maybe he snuck away into a battery nearby or something, but otherwise I’m not sure who the final member will be.
If I had to make a couple of points on what I didn’t like, it would be that they didn’t show anything with the Symbiote. If they plan on doing a Venom movie in the near future, I would have thought that they would have alluded to him in the movie, they didn’t. Also, I was kinda hoping that Peter’s dad would have lived so that we could see him working for the CIA on the symbiote later on. Yet, they didn’t show him NOT live. There was that parachute still in the plane when it went down, so it could have happened.
The other thing, is the inclusion of ‘Felicia.’ It’s not confirmed that it’s Felicia Hardy, but if it’s not, then why use the name? If it was Felicia Hardy aka Black Cat, then why did she work for Norman Osbourne for years? Also, Felicity Jones looks absolutely nothing like what I imagined Black Cat would look; but that’s just quibbling.
Also, why did Marvel/Disney/Sony/Fox or whomever just add that X-Men: Days of Future past clip in that film!? That made literally no sense. Why not just add more about the Sinister 6 or Venom in the post-credit sequence. Seemed like a complete waste of an opportunity.
Overall, the film was pretty fantastic. If you get a chance to see it this weekend, go to it in IMAX. The 3D only enhanced the film, and it would be fantastic to hear this movie boom the way it does. I’m excited to see where they take the series. Let’s just hope that Garfield keeps donning those tights because he really is Amazing!