Movie Review: The Amazing Spider-Man 2

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)

Rated PG-13: For Violence

Running Time: 142 minutes (1 hour and 22 minutes)

Genre/s: Action, Adaptation, Adventure, Drama, Superhero, Science Fiction

Released on April 30, 2014 (PH Release Date; Available For Worldwide Viewing)

Presented by Marvel Entertainment, Arad Production, Inc., Matt Tolmach Productions and Columbia Pictures

"Spider-Man" Created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko

Writers: Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, Jeff Pinkner and James Vanderbilt

Director: Marc Webb

  • Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker / Spider-Man
  • Emma Stone as Gwendolyn "Gwen" Stacy
  • Jamie Foxx as Max Dillon / Electro
  • Dane DeHaan as Harry Osborn / Green Goblin
  • Colm Feore as Donald Menken
  • Paul Giamatti as Aleksei Sytsevich / The Rhino
  • Sally Field as May Parker
Source 1, Source 2, Source 3, Source 4
Do you remember when there was supposed to be a Spider-Man Cinematic Universe? (Laughter) Good times. Good times. It feels like only yesterday when the biggest web-headed misfire Sony Pictures made was released, and up to this day, my comicbook geek mind still ponders on what could have been, given that an OsCorp funded Sinister Six movie sounds particularly interesting. Then again, it was either that or an "Avenging" Spider-Man. Am I right? With Spider-Man: Homecoming, a hopefully much better movie than this one, swinging by theaters in a few short months, we felt the need to take a look back at the movie that was much more disappointing in contrast to Spider-Man 3. Join Dateline Movies as we review, The Amazing Spider-Man 2! Spoilers ahead, by the way, but honestly, who else has not watched this three years after release?

What is the movie about?

In the aftermath of his battle on the OsCorp Tower rooftop, Spider-Man, played by Garfield (Hacksaw Ridge), has cemented himself as New York City's main superhero. Despite his alter-ego's rising fame though, Peter cannot help but shake the feeling that as his life becomes more and more increasingly dangerous due to the rising number of threats in the city, including gangster Aleksei Sytsevich, played by Giamatti (Straight Outta Compton), the closest people around him, his aunt May Parker, played by Field (Steel Magnolias), and his girlfriend Gwen Stacy, played by Stone (Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)) would soon get entangled in his deadly private world.

One day, Peter's childhood friend Harry Osborn, played by DeHaan (Life After Beth) enters the scene with a mysterious agenda and finds himself in a power struggle for his company with Donald Menken, played by Feore (Thor), and in another, unrelated event, nerdy Spider-Fan Max Dillon, played by Foxx (Django Unchained) receives electric-based abilities, and causes trouble! It is now up to Spider-Man to save the day again, but can he?

Acting = (4/5)

Once again, Andrew Garfield, being the Spider-Fan that he is in the real world, makes the role his own, completely embodying the witty and wise-cracking nature of our spectacular spider-themed hero. His chemistry, given that they were a couple at the time (Yeah, they broke-up two years ago, but as we have seen in the recent Golden Globes event, all is good for the both of them), with Emma Stone is believable, and the duo's pitch perfect pairing gives the movie it's sweetest and the most relatable moments. Garfield's performance during ... spoiler alert ... Gwen Stacy's death was an emotional moment, which showcased his knack for more dramatic roles later on.

Like Garfield, Emma Stone's performance was top-notch, being more than just the love in Peter's love, but also his anchor, his hope, which is why her unexpected, but expected for those who read the comics and predicted this sooner, death at the hands of the Green Goblin is heartbreaking. Her graduation speech is really moving, and her performance made it more inspirational. Sally Field, as well, does a good job being Peter's trusty Aunt May, who up to this day, remains unaware of Peter's double life as a superhero.

For this certain Spider-Man adventure, we are once again introduced to three villains, Jamie Foxx's Electro, Paul Giamatti's Rhino, and Dane DeHaan's Harry Osborn, just like in Spider-Man 3, featuring the Sandman, played by Thomas Haden Church (Divorce), Venom, played by Topher Grace (Take Me Home Tonight), and also Harry Osborn, played by James Franco (127 Hours). Despite the trailers suggesting that Electro is supposed to be the real threat at hand, it was the Green Goblin that managed to steal the show. With DeHaan's already established persona as the teenage bad guy lusting for power in Chronicle, this version of the Green Goblin is creepy and seriously malevolent. I personally enjoyed how he delivered the line, "You took away my hope, now I'm gonna take away yours". It really just gets under your skin when you hear that delivery.

However, what the trailers did not tell you was that there was another villain working from behind the scenes, and is technically not clashing with Spider-Man, but rather with Harry Osborn. Colm Feore's Donald Menken might be only appearing for a very limited amount of screen time, but with Feore's aptitude for playing supervillainous, formally-attired antagonists, the audiences are left with piqued curiosities, even if his character's inclusion is painfully and obviously shoehorned into the movie.

As for our two other villains, generally speaking, I guess they did the best they could. Jamie Foxx's version of Electro is just not my type, but I will give Foxx plus points for making Electro a sympathetic character, a socially outcast slash fanboy who just want to be like his idol. However, the script rushes Electro's characterization, which makes Foxx's effort fruitless. We will get to that later, but to sum-up this cinematic iteration of the electrifying character, he seems alright, even if it is not the kind of Electro, who is notably pretty ruthless in the comics, that I would appreciate. And yes, I will agree that he is more of a shy child here than a true menace, and that is one of the many things that bothers me about the movie.

And unfortunately for Paul Giamatti, his role as the Rhino is only reduced to only two key scenes, the exact beginning, and the very ending. But despite that, we did get to see what was in store, and like Jamie Foxx, his performance does not match his comicbook counterpart's personality, substituting his sympathetic interior and cold exterior for cartoonish antics. Oh well, at least he tried, but we can always blame the one's who asked him to perform as such.

Direction and Quality = (5/5)

The movie is still entertaining in its own right, even though I still did not like the overall jumbled story at all, and at least it could have been worse, right? You can thanks the guys at the visual effects department, as well as Marc Webb's steady hand, and the crew's impressive costume design by Deborah Lynn Scott, editing by Pietro Scalia, and cinematography work by Dan Mindel, for making that happen. Also, I apologize for the editors, cinematographers and costume and production designers that I was not able to credit in various movie reviews. You guys did great job contributing to your respective movies!

Combined with crystal clear and eye-popping visuals, the flick featured a large roster of engrossing CGI-fueled battles that are not dizzying, thankfully, but are delightful to behold. My favorite would have to be the Times Square Battle between Spider-Man and Electro, as the various neon shades of the color blue light-up the Manhattan night sky, and moviegoers are treated to a superhero-supervillain battle that doubles as a visual art show.


The highlight of the film for me, however, would have to be the music. Scoring legend Hans Zimmer, teaming-up with artist Pharell Williams, Junkie XL, who together with Zimmer worked on the astonishing score for Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, Johnny Marr, Michael Eizinger, and even Alicia Keys and Kendrick Lamar, plus the Neighborhood and others in bonus tracks, create the sound that this flick deserves. They truly are "The Magnificent Six", although the numbering might be wrong. Besides, I am not the biggest Kendrick Lamar fan, but his rap verse in "It's On Again" was great!

Story, Dialogue and Flow = (3/5)

Spoilers. Duh!

Remember way back when,... when I said that the story of the flick is its heart and soul, and when the plot is terrible, the movie being reviewed might be in serious trouble? I do not know the exact time I said that, or posted about it, but let us just say that the plot of the movie is the biggest flaw that unfortunately weighed the movie down to the ground.

My main problem with this is the overabundance of foreshadowing that makes the average viewer question if there is even a story to tell at all. There are Easter eggs here and there, to the point that it just gets really irritating after you name drop every single character being teased in every single shot. This is exactly why Avengers: Age of Ultron, Iron Man 2, and some parts of Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice is disappointing for a lot of people. Every movie should have a story to talk about, one that focuses solely on the main characters' central conflicts, and this has just a lot to juggle through, and overall, the narrative structure is as unresolved as your solutions in your unfinished Mathematics examination. Add a lot of world-building concepts, and the story is left to rot in cinematic hell. Seriously, there is not a scene in OsCorp that goes by without an Easter egg, probably, like that part showing Harry reviewing OsCorp files, a brief shot of the Vulture's and Doctor Octopus' harnesses, cameos from other future villains like Felicity Jones as Felicia Hardy, and BJ Novak as Alistair Smythe, the inclusion of disposable and unrelated plot device, and etcetera.

And like I said, the movie is trying to tell a huge bundle of sub-plots, and with the overcrowded canvas, a lot of the characters, especially the villains, are left either underdeveloped or rushed to oblivion. One noticeable rushed character development is, as previously mentioned, Electro's, who simply goes from clumsy outcast into a wannabe God in less than a few minutes just because all the cameras are pointing at Spider-Man during the Times Square face-off. Another shoehorned plot point would have to be Gwen Stacy's decision to leave for Oxford in England. You know, if her character was going to die anyway, why is there even a need to explain that she is leaving? And why is the Rhino even here? Oh yeah, "world-building".

Also, as CinemaSins, I believe, pointed out, Spider-Man and Harry Osborn could have teamed-up in helping him find a cure for his disease, given that Harry has access to state-of-the-art technology. His transformation as well is forced, as he only transformed into the villain by the climax.

Despite this, I am mostly intrigued by some of the story concepts, namely the fact that OsCorp is the source of much of the problems New York City faces on a regular basis. It would appear that OsCorp might just be more than just your average shady scientific organization, but rather a criminal empire in the making, and it really just shows as much of a devious power player OsCorp really is in the underworld. Hey, at least its is better than explaining that Spider-Man's rogues gallery came from random origin stories, but that would be nice serving as a break from the OsCorp story arc at times.

The inclusion of Gwen Stacy's death is a nice touch, which beats the usual "damsel-in-distress" cliche out of the park, although like much of the movie, it feels forced.

Ending, Originality and Story Fulfillment = (2/5)

While I was patient with much of its bigger flaws, it is the ending that made me feel a little bit hollow.

I was expecting a three versus one kind-of battle, similar to Spider-Man 3. Say what you want about that movie, but the final battle was great. So when all we got was a one-on-one battle, with Electro coming first, then Green Goblin, then finally Rhino in the forms of separate and nearly unrelated fight scenes in terms of circumstance, I was disappointed. Yeah again, I know you guys were trying to start a franchise, but please, please, please focus on the story a little bit more.

In addition, the fact that the ending had no payoff to any conflict in the story at all, and even Electro's death felt empty, even though it was a fun fight, except for the electric music in the background, made this conclusion really disappointing. All we got was, yep, a set-up for a now canceled third movie, and a Sinister Six movie. The highlight of the ending is no doubt the death of Gwen Stacy, but if it were not for the performances, this movie could have been a total disaster.

Also, what is up with the X-Men: Days of Future Past teaser?

Overall, this movie is not the worst comicbook ever, but it is one of the most disappointing.

Overall Evaluation = (3/5)

Sony Pictures learns the hard way that "more villains", and "more foreshadowing" does not mean better, as this crowded and unfocused movie ended up being a feature-length teaser for movies that will never come.

TOTAL = 16/25 (Pleasant Entertainment)

Fun story concepts, engaging performances, and impressive cinematic elements, including soundtrack and cinematography, sadly cannot save The Amazing Spider-Man 2 from trying way too hard to be a franchise launching pad.

It really is a good thing Spidey is back where he belongs in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and just so you know, I am glad that The Amazing Spider-Man 3 never happened. Why? Three words: Zombie Gwen Stacy. Yep, you read that right. And with that Sinister Six movie, they planned to have dinosaurs in it? And now, they are making a Venom movie with Tom Hardy, outside of the MCU. Come on, Sony. And that is a wrap for our review of The Amazing Spider-Man 2, and before you leave, jam to Nerdist's Spider-Man themed parody of Bruno Mars' "That's What I Like" song. Stay tuned for more Dateline Movies!



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