We are living in the day and age where film studio’s are faced with the challenge of entertaining us with movies that ooze captivating content, believable visuals and emotionally-stirring scores, all the while attempting to compress these factors into a block buster that must also satisfy any type of viewer, whether they are a fan of the particular franchise or not. Another very important factor when the studio is producing a feature film on a character that belongs to a much larger universe of connected characters, is that they need to be faithful to the setting, continuation and preparation of a possible spin-off for the characters involved, much like Marvel Studio’s has done with their movies linking together from Iron Man (2008) through to Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
With current rumors about the Sinister Six and Venom spin off’s to justify my statement, it shows you that this is the direction The Amazing Spider-Man 2 had to follow to ensure it’s cinematic future. Let’s face it… with the current public demand and diverse tastes to satisfy, no matter how much content you pack into a movie, nor how close you stick to the original origin stories, there will always be people out there that do not like or agree with how things are portrayed on screen. This pressure can very easily result in a movie that is unbalanced if not dealt with correctly, but that is not the case with The Amazing Spider-Man 2. The characters are fresh, yet familiar. They are dynamically unpredictable, but fairly easy to accept. They are at times rough around the edges, but humble enough to forgive.
Since the first teaser images of Jamie Foxx’ Electro spammed the internet, I was extremely apprehensive about the sequel. Even more so when we caught the first glimpse of Paul Giamatti’ mechanized Rhino, which completely negated everything I thought I knew about the Spider-Man universe… until I watched The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and linked this new rendition to a more familiar character that is introduced in the movie. Suddenly it all made sense: The timelines had been shifted around drastically and the origin stories were acceptably different, but being unfamiliar with the original characters and order of the comics, you would not know this, and unfortunately judge the movie based on what you saw happening alone. Once I realized this, I lowered my defenses right away and let my Spider-Sense take over and allowed everything I was witnessing to seep in.
I found myself so overwhelmed with the raw passion of the actors, who made it look so easy in convincing you that they were born for their roles, that I often shed a few tears. It might sound really silly to you, but try and understand where I am coming from. Being a Spider-Man fan for as long as I can remember, there was a lot riding on this movie, especially after the unfortunate disappointment of the previous trilogy. I felt a sense of pride while watching Spidey swing through the city with such fluid motion and while watching him immediately step up and face new threats as if he had gained his honours in them before. I also could not help but “facepalm” or literally laugh out loud when Spidey cracked his sharp witted quirks in the heat of the most tense situations. It was just like in the comics. It was just like I was used to.
Andrew Garfield is Peter Parker, he is Spider-Man, and much like Christopher Reeve’ Superman, he will forever be imortalized as the face of The Amazing Spider-Man. It is well deserved. Emma Stone’ Gwen Stacy is as cheeky as ever, yet more lovable than in the first installment, and together with Andrew Garfield, created cinematic harmony with an onscreen relationship that was something very special to behold. At time’s the scenes got intensely “lovey dovey”, but were necessary and luckily knew where the boundaries were. This intensity set the tone perfectly for a clear understanding into what demons are dancing around Peter’s inner fire, which inevitably shape his character and his sense of responsibility forever by teaching him that your emotions, choices and actions ultimately shape your destiny, and the destiny of those around you.
The style of the movie lies within each scene being very fast paced, similar to panel reading of a comic book, and that was very evident in the introduction of Harry Osborne and the history between him and Peter, who were long lost best friends. Dane DeHaan makes for a very interesting Green Goblin, whose origin story is very far from the traditional comic book incarnation as well, but refreshinly well executed all the same. His character is very dark, very brash but also has a slight undertone of innocence, which is what guides his motivation and ultimately leads to his transformation from Harry into the familiar supervillain. Aleksei Sytsevich is portrayed as a very dim, small time hand-for-hire, and is introduced quite early on in the movie, but quickly disappears into the well known Ravencroft Institute until the later scenes of the movie where he returns as “Rhino”.
Max Dillon is a very fun character in this movie, who starts off as a typical loner seeking acknowledgement for his notable achievements, when through an unfortunate accident, becomes Electro which pushes Spider-Man into reinventing a few strategies, which are true to comic nature. We see Spidey working on upgrading his Web Shooters by using the original shooters he used for testing in the first movie, which satisfied one of my main concerns about the continuity between the movies. The battle sequences between Spidey and Electro are incredible, especially in Times Square as seen in the movie poster. I was a particular fan of how Electro’s theme song stayed the same throughout the movie, with the only difference between scenes being hearing what he was thinking at that time, take note of this when watching. See what I mean by fun?
As for Spider-Man’s development from the first movie, you get to see how he has embraced his spider powers, especially through his swinging style, which now incorporates his Spider-Sense and allows for those classic mid-air comic poses that make time seem to stand still. The visual representation of his Spider-Sense is exactly that. Time slows down to a crawl, during which you really get to experience Spidey’s reaction and decision skills kicking into action. Emotionally he is still having a tough time dealing with the events of the first movie, and with the added focus on the history between Oscorp and the disappearance of his parents, lends toward tying the two movies together.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 really is a musical and visual effects treat for the senses. Marc Webb’s directing is flawless, and he made sure not to dwell on things for too long, and complimented by Hans Zimmer’s phenominal score, left the impact of events so much stronger and memorable. The writing was clever, the balance between action, comedy, romance and fantasy is well spaced and the easter eggs that pop up now and then are thrilling, especially the name dropping of important characters. Be sharp. Pay attention. While on the subject of paying attention, try to notice the puffs of smoke that come from Spidey’s web shooters when he pops off webbing between the buildings. It’s the small things like this and attention to detail that make this movie so unique and in my oppinion, a great success.
Spoiler Free Conclusion
Should you go see this movie? Yes, most definately. It is better than the first. Just keep in mind what I mentioned in my introduction, do not judge this movie by any standards other than by its own. Use the first movie as a benchmark and you will leave the cinema very happy. If you judge this movie by comparing it to the Marvel Studio’s movies like Iron Man, you will be disappointed, only because they are from two completely different animation studio’s employing different techniques and technologies. Judge apples with apples. I was blown away with the visual representation of the villains and the new Spidey suit, especially the larger Ultimate Spider-Man styled eyes. I hope I have equipped you enough to go watch and enjoy The Amazing Spider-Man 2, it is a typically enjoyable superhero movie to be enjoyed by both adults and younger audiences alike. Is there room for a possible third movie? Oh yes, that is for sure!
Spoiler Containing addition to my Conclusion
READ AT YOUR OWN PERIL
Is there room for a possible third movie? Oh yes, that is for sure! Finally finding out that the guy in the top hat from the trailer and the end credit scene from the first movie is actually Gustav Fiers, also known as The Gentleman, is the perfect setting point for the Sinister Six movie as well as The Amazing Spider-Man 3. If you are not aware, The Gentleman is the original coordinator who sets up The Sinister Six, and based on the lab scene in the trailer and in the movie, the Sinister Six will comprise of Doc Ock, Vulture and possibly Green Goblin, a proper Non-Mech Rhino and Electro.