The Amazing Spider-Man 2

REVIEW: The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)

Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) is loving being Spider-Man though he does feel guilty about continuing his relationship with Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) as he feels he’ll only put her in danger. That danger soon arrives in the form of Electro (Jamie Foxx) and as Peter tries to deal with this new threat while still coming to terms with the secrets of his parent’s past, his best friend Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan) returns to New York.

Watching The Amazing Spider-Man 2 now, knowing this was Andrew Garfield’s last outing at the titular character and the filmmakers/studio never brought to screen the Sinister Six they spent a chunk of this film setting up, is a very funny and kind of a sad experience.

Because by the end of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 you can’t help but feel it’s an extended set up for what never came. There are so many plots in this film and if a few were cut out or even shortened it might have made a more cohesive film and the plots left might’ve been more effective. In the end, there’s a lot of things that felt pointless and repetitive.

Speaking of repetitive, the on and off again romance between Peter and Gwen got old very quickly. While yes, they’re supposed to be awkward teens in love they just kept going over the same arguments about why they should or shouldn’t be together. Garfield and Stone still have great chemistry but there’s only so many times you can watch two people have the same argument or talk at cross-purposes.

Another aspect that felt pointless and dull was all the stuff about Peter’s parents – or rather his father, his poor mum certainly got shafted. There was one minor detail revealed once Peter learns more about his dad but it’s more of a “Oh that’s cool” thing rather than having any major narrative impact. Otherwise, anything to do with his dad seems to say Oscorp is bad – something which was already pretty clear from the first film. In The Amazing Spider-Man you learnt that Peter’s dad didn’t want his research getting into the wrong hands and in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 it just rams that point home again.

Electro is a pretty decent villain. His looks and powers are interesting though (like another character) his decent into villainy felt far too quick, especially because of where he started. Before he got his powers, he was a nerdy guy who was a pushover and idolised Spider-Man so seeing him first of all be scared and overwhelmed by what was happening to him felt true to character. How he changed from loving Spider-Man to hating him so quickly felt more out of place.

Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Man is still one of the best we’ve seen on screen. He’s confident, cracking jokes and poking fun at the bad guys, but the problem is that the attitude bleeds into his Peter Parker. While his Peter Parker is clearly more intelligent than the Maguire version (always like the scenes where Peter is doing experiments to improve his web shooters) he doesn’t seem as awkward, quiet and nerdy.

Surprisingly considering how little screentime and decent character development he had, I once again both really liked and felt sorry for Harry Osborn. Though, I probably would’ve liked his arc a lot more if it was given more time and his decent into villainy wasn’t shoehorned into the end of the film. Also, having Peter and Harry be childhood friends reconnecting is a neat way of getting him back into Peter’s life but there’s only really one scene where you see them bonding and acting like friends before Harry starts to want something from Peter. Cutting out some of the will they/won’t they stuff with Peter and Gwen to give us more scenes of Harry and Peter could’ve helped all three of those characters.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 just has too much going on and now there was never a third film in this series the flaws seem even more obvious. It’s messy when trying to juggle all these plot threads and while many of the Spidey scenes are great fun and action-packed, there’s a bit of a videogame quality to them due to the CGI.

I’ll end this on a positive, I did like the score by Hans Zimmer and Pharrell Williams, Mike Einziger, Junkie XL, Johnny Marr, Andrew Kawczynski and Steve Mazzaro. Electro’s theme especially was eerie with the whispers underscoring the techno and it really suited the character. 2/5.

Are Trailers Ruining Films?

I love films. I love hearing about them and seeing an exciting trailer that really makes me want to see the film. However, nowadays films studios seem to be flooding potential viewers with footage and trailers to such an extent that you know (or at least can make an educated guess) all the main plot points of the film.

A recent example of this is The Amazing Spider-Man 2. There were so many trailers, clips and TV spots that you could put together the whole story of the film. The character of Gwen Stacey is famous in the comics because of her death, but even if you didn’t know this looking at the many trailers you do end up thinking she’s going to be in mortal peril/there’s a high chance in injury/death. I mean, there’s many shots of her falling and screaming or hanging from Spider-Man’s web and then there’s a shot of Andrew Garfield looking traumatised and sobbing/screaming his heart out – so what I’m saying is, you can put these things together and have an idea about what’s going to happen with Gwen Stacy. There were other characters that were in the trailer that would have been really cool to be a surprise i.e. Rhino and the Green Goblin. Green Goblin for instance, the majority of people know that Harry Osborn ends up as the Green Goblin – this is in part to the Sam Raimi’s first Spider-Man film being just over a decade old with Spider-Man 3 being 7 years old – but did you really need him in the trailer?! By all means have Dane DeHann as Harry Osborne talking to Peter, showing their friendship and have hints that there might be something sinister afoot, but to have full body-shots and close-ups of DeHann in the Green Goblin make up in the trailer – just no.

Another film I’m having a problem with its trailer(s) is X-Men: Days of Future Past. I’m looking forward to this film, I’m a big X-Men fan and I’m intrigued as to how the original cast will come together with their younger versions, but the trailers are showing way too much. I’m the kind of person that on average goes to the cinema once a week so on the run up to a big release film like X-Men: Days of Future Past the trailer for that film is in front of every single film – even a film like Locke which you wouldn’t think a superhero film trailer would be attached to.

Last week I saw Godzilla, when I realised that the X-Men trailer was starting I covered my eyes and I’m glad I did as one of the friends I was with actually said that there was even more new footage of various battles that she hadn’t seen before. I’m seeing X-Men: Days of Future Past tomorrow and part of me is excited for the film itself, the other part is excited because then I’ll no longer be in fear of trailers. I adored the first X-Men: Days of Future Past trailer – I was quite happy to just see that and nothing else before seeing the film. In fact when the second trailer was released I’d already decided I wasn’t going to watch it, so what happened when I went to see The Amazing Spider-Man 2? The new X-Men: Days of Future Past trailer was before it! And then there was the random clip from X-Men as the post credits scene (which made no sense and again I got annoyed because film studios were showing me far more than I wanted them to)

I think studios have forgotten the saying less is more. While I do understand they want people to go see their films but it’s always nice to have a surprise when seeing the film and it not just be the trailer footage strung together. Recent trailers that I’ve liked have been Godzilla, Interstella, and the new Dawn of the Planet of the Apes trailer – I think that one especially gives just the right amount of plot. Even the new Guardians of the Galaxy trailer – it had more action scenes and different footage in it compared to the first trailer but the actual plot and characters (from just seeing the trailers) basically boils down to “group of misfits must come together and save the galaxy” and I am 100% happy with just knowing that before seeing the film on July 31st.

As I’m at University I don’t see the trailers on TV and I can make sure I don’t click on trailers or clips on YouTube/Facebook/Twitter. The cinema is the one place that I have no control over what I’m about to see so it is incredibly frustrating seeing a film trailer with so much footage in it.

This post was in part inspired by Chris Stuckman’s video as well as my general rage at trailers.