SPIDER-MAN 2 REVIEW
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is one of the most anticipated movies of the year and last night, this lucky girl got to watch it on a big-ass IMAX screen.
Spider-Whats-it? You’ve been living under a rock? Oh, lemme give you a quick summary.
Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) is Spider-man, a masked hero that uses his new abilities to save the city from villains. He lives with his Aunt May who is his only living family. He has a girlfriend, Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone), who knows his identity and understands the sacrifice that comes along with being a vigilante. She lost her father in the last movie during the climactic villain fight scene. Her father was the police chief and a big deal because her father put the kibosh on Gwen dating Peter because he knew that he was Spider-man (Spider-man is really bad at keeping his identity a secret).
Peter Parker’s life is just as busy as Spider-Man’s because other than normal post-high school living, he spends his time trying to unravel what caused his parent’s deaths. In the last film it was revealed that his father worked at Oscorp and developed some genetic tech that caused the transformation of Peter into Spider-Man. His father had a formula that would have taken the research to the next level and it cost him and his wife their lives.
In this installment of the Spider-man story, we meet new and exciting villains as well as important people in Peter Parker’s life. Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan) comes into play as Peter’s friend and perhaps Spider-man’s next villain? *Cough Green Goblin Cough* (Not a spoiler, it says it right on IMDB).
If you have watched the trailer you must have seen the main villain of the movie Electro (Jamie Foxx). Jamie Foxx plays an insecure / delusional electrical engineer named Max Dillon. He suffers an accident and his body is negatively altered causing him to be reborn as the Super-villain Electro.
Will Peter Parker be able to juggle a normal life, a girlfriend, researching his parent’s work, AND his Spider-Man duties? Go to theatres this weekend to find out! Click the trailer to get pumped, then come back and click the jump to see what I thought of the latest from the Amazing Spider-Man….2.
My SPOILER-FREE review after the jump…
I am a huge Noir / 40s gangster / Crime Action Drama fan. This story takes place in 1940s Los Angeles at a time when the city is falling into the hands of Mickey Cohen; a notorious crime boss. The police chief realizes that Cohen has too strong a hold within the proper channels and recruits a squad of cops who have what it takes to play on Cohen’s level to save their city from corruption. The story in itself is your typical cops and gangster story, but the way it’s done and the distinct plot points make this movie memorable.
As I have already seen this movie and do solemnly swear not to spoil any major plot points you may click to read what to expect from this movie. I have also posted the trailer after the jump.
What You Need to Know:
Marc Webb reboots Sony Studios’ Spider-man franchise. British actor Andrew Garfield (Social Network) plays the titular Spider-Man and his nerdy alter-ego, Peter Parker. Emma Stone (The Help, Superbad) is Gwen Stacy, Peter Parker’s first love interest from the comic books. Rhys Ifans (Anonymous, The Replacements) plays scientist/mentor, Curt Connors, who also becomes the villainous Lizard. This film establishes the origin of Spider-man.
What I Thought:
Webb’s The Amazing Spider-Man suffers from the reboot syndrome currently plaguing Hollywood, but standing on its own merits, it is an enjoyable superhero film. Some have tauted this as a superhero romance movie, but the romance kicks and starts throughout the course of the traditional superhero origin. The film isn’t perfect, but the performance from Andrew Garfield and some great character moments in the script make this film shine on its own.
This reboot film follows the standard origin format. Protagonist gains powers. Tragic event sets them toward a quest for justice. Fun and games while the protagonist establishes himself as a hero and gets control of his abilities. Antagonist arises to counter hero. Hero fights villain. Hero beats villain. Pretty basic, right? Add in some of the elements that made the 2002 film a success such as a romance that drives the story equally and a city that comes to the rescue. It’s not surprising that this story is not surprising, but there are little hints of novelty.
The relationship between Gwen Stacy and Peter Parker starts strong enough. The chemistry between actors Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield goes a long way to sell the awkward relationship between the romantic leads. So much of both characters is said by their silences in a scene that sets the ground for a tragic event. But as we find ourselves barrelling into the second act, the relationship between the duo seems to jump from milestone to milestone. By the end of the film, I am left questioning Peter’s motivations in the relationship.
One of the major downfalls of the movie was telegraphed in very early trailers. Quick cuts to Spider-Man’s POV as he swings through the city are jarring. There are small plot holes toward the end of the film as the threat goes citywide. The design of Curt Connors as the Lizard is a bit disappointing. It does have an evolution over the course the film that ranges from Ditko’s original to slightly past Ditko’s original. The final stage of the Lizard seems like a cross between a velociraptor and the Goomba’s from the ill-conceived Super Mario Bros. movie. Connors motivation toward villainy is also only hinted at by an article briefly viewed by Peter early in the film.
The saving grace of the film lies firmly in Andrew Garfield’s hands as Peter Parker. While he seems a little too cool at times, he play a shy and awkward nerd when it really matters. Andrew Garfield’s performance is only improved upon by wonderful character moments in the silm. Early in the film, the soft-spoken Parker defends a fellow victim of Flash Thompson’s torment in which he’s met with violent retribution. Another moment glimpsed in some trailers, Spider-man saves a child from a burning car. I won’t give away too much, but it proves Spider-man is an everyman hero. Anyone can be behind that mask, but I’m glad that Andrew Garfield, with all of his talent, is the one behind it now.
As a comic book fan, dedication to the source material is paramount to the success of a superhero movie. The bar has been set high by The Avengers and The Dark Knight, and The Amazing Spider-Man does a fine job in aiming high. Some liberties are taken, of course. No wrestling career for Pete in this new franchise. (Sorry… spoilers.) The importance of OsCorp is upped, but Norman Osborn is only glimpsed in silhouette and mentioned as a loose plot thread for future films. Spidey’s webbing is a product of OsCorp, but Peter develops and designs the web-shooters on his own. Where Tobey Maguire played an old-fashioned Spider-man, Andrew Garfield plays a more modern version of the character. The Spider-man of this film is wise-cracking yet tragic character which, if you flip open a comic today, will be the Spider-man you read.
Was this “retold” story worth retelling only 10 years after the original? The simple answer is “no”. BUT — and that is a Sir Mix-A-Lot sized “but”– is it worth watching? If you are a die-hard fan of Spider-man or didn’t like Sam Raimi’s campier version, I would tell you to absolutely watch it. For others, it isn’t a must see, but you’ll have fun watching the movie. The Amazing Spider-Man hits a lot of the same notes as the Sam Raimi original, but it does it in a subtly different and more modern way. Andrew Garfield’s performance is on par with his work in The Social Network and The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, and the very least, he is someone to keep an eye out for in future films. The movie isn’t without its faults, but it remains true to the source material. Isn’t that what we want out of our comic book movies? That’s why we loved The Avengers and The Dark Knight. This film doesn’t quite reach that height yet, but it is on its way.
See what I did there? Y’know… cuz it’s for Amazing Spider-man. This is essentially the trailer that was attached to the Avengers, so many of you have seen most of it. But there are a few extra scenes and an extended sequence at the beginning, so check it out.
So if you listen to the podcast, you already know that I am not as hyped about this reboot as Danny is. I am, however, up for seeing it, and I do think it will improve upon certain aspects that I felt lacking in the original franchise. The opening scene in this “super preview” embodies the heart that Spider-man/Peter Parker has as a hero. We also are reminded that Spider-man has lighter side. His wit is his way of avoiding the fear and anxiety of the life he has chosen. I’m curious (and I’m sure we’ll get some answers July 3rd) about who that is talking to Connors in what looks like a prison cell. Norman Osborn? Otto Octavius? The actor has a very Adrian Toomes look to him?