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amazing spider-man-2 poster

**Can’t believe this review went for almost 90 minutes and I forgot to touch on one thing that made me question this movie’s sanity early on. When we first see Spider-Man, he is gliding/flying in the sky higher than we’ve ever seen him. Seriously, when did our friendly neighborhood web slinger become able to soar through the atmosphere several thousand feet above the buildings of New York? There’s nothing for his web shooters to latch onto. Case in point of style over substance.

And here’s another take from one of our newest contributors, Sartaj Singh:

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 in the context of the whole comic book movie genre, that has blossomed and reached it`s middle phase, represents an interesting quandary for the nature of films in the genre.

The question is this, what is more important in a comic book movie, the hero or the villain? Does it matter that the ratio of good representing one of these fundamentally overshadows the other. In the case of this picture, the focus is primarily on Spider-Man and his alter-ego Peter Parker, which is a great thing. However, this comes at the expense of the villains, who for the most part feel sketchily developed.

This does not spell doom and gloom for the film, as in this case I could forgive the latter problem. This is because I thought each of the villains served the thematic elements of the screenplay and story. The main idea at play being what it really feels like to be Spider-Man. This is not only from the good aspects which come in the form of a great showcase of his web swinging and power set. But also, the personal and public perception of him, which on the one hand the villains represented.

Taking aside Rhino, who just fulfils a larger ambition of the film and turns up in what is the closest thing, the Spider-Man movies will come to a Bond pre-credits sequence. Electro, who was the weakest written, represents the negative aspect of Spidey, what his example and heroism can spur of in people, with his casual misguided qiuping. Harry Osborne, represents someone who has been rejected too, in this case his very life being denied, because Spider-Man refuses to save him. This is due to a fear of his blood been exposed to his best friend and the consequence that may come from it.

Elsewhere, the screenplay feels very packed, almost looking like it is going to physically burst sometimes between scenes. There is a lot of set up with characters primed for future instalments, lurking in the background. This is coupled with a bit too many contrivances. Exactly how many creepy guys does Gwen encounter in her workplace lift, that go on to become big bads?

While watching the picture, you are almost convinced it is going to be a running joke on the part of the writers. Perhaps the worst mistake of the screenplay is with simple solution of the epicentre for all villinary and skullduggery in New York being Oscorp. It calls into question, the logic and motives of the creation of a certain team, and does not bode well for the franchise’s future.

Andrew Garfield, returns as the web swinger and true believers, the impossible has happened. With just a second turn as the character, Garfield has etched himself into the upper echelon of comic book actors, that include the likes of Bale, Reeve and Jackman. For all his time in screen, Garfield represents the pinnacle of what Spider-Man should be. This comes from his comic timing, movement in the suit and all his combustible nervous energy, as Parker is endearing to watch.

Emma Stone equals Garfields acting, with fantastic comedic skills, emotional pathos and a real inner strength. Elsewhere, Dane DeHaan plays his dual role like an out of control, rock star who is on the edge of burning out and his intensity works very well in eliciting Harry with sympathy. Jamie Foxx is commendable as Electro, with a cool vocal performance and manic energy. But his pre-transformation performance, is a little unbelievable, due to the actual casting itself which is not Foxx`s fault at all. Finally, Paul Giamatti, looks like he is having a lot of fun, feeling as though his inner five year old has suddenly awakened and decided to put on a performance that even all the backrow can hear.

Hans Zimmer took over scoring duties from James Horner and the result is perhaps his most experimental score to date. Teaming up with collaborators such as Pharrell Williams and Johnny Marr, Zimmer creates interesting themes, two of which stand out. The first is the Spider-Man theme which in its use of trumpets and natural film sounds, combine to create the youthful energy of the character. The second is Harry`s theme which sounds like a background alarm going off faintly in the distance, combined with a real melchonic edge which is illustrated with its great use of violins.

The strength of Amazing Spider-Man 2 will depend on exactly how much cheese you can take with your villains. There is a line in the picture in which Peter states that his superior pays him wages that would be acceptable in 1961, that about sums up the depth of the baddies. This is contrasted with a very strong hero journey, romance and portrayal, that fundamentally make the film worth checking out, this Easter.

And one more from Shane Dallmann:

Okay, before I rip this movie a new one (and you can rest assured that that’s exactly what I’m going to do) I’m going to talk about the things I liked about it.

Nobody in the cast gave a “bad performance,” as far as I’m concerned. They’re all talented actors and they fit their characters well. The most BELIEVABLE characters? Hmmm… I’d certainly nominate Sally Field (who has one of the best Aunt May scenes ever). Then there’s Dane DeHaan as the tormented Harry Osborn (we’ll get to the Green Goblin later) who had the best character arc going… and in quite the reverse, Andrew Garfield as Spider-Man (we’ll get to Peter Parker later).

There are plenty of individual sequences that work; especially the opening chase involving an out-of-control Paul Giamatti (more on HIM later, too). And there are welcome bits of humor (stopping the security guards, attempting to answer the cell phone) that provoke the requisite chuckles.

Some of the effects are “cartoony,” but that’s not going to bother me when I grew up with Spider-Man as an animated character in the first place… meanwhile, Electro and his visions were certainly well-rendered.

No, it’s not the cast and it’s not the special effects. And that’s as kind as I’m ever going to be to one of the most astonishingly, appallingly WRONG-headed blunders ever made by a franchise with a pretty darn good track record up to now. At least since BATMAN & ROBIN (and I use that example most pointedly, as you will see…

NEVER have I seen a Marvel film try so hard to be a DC film–specifically, trying to mimic the Batman series… the one launched by Tim Burton, not Christopher Nolan. Let me count the ways…

1. Electro. Jamie Foxx is, as I implied earlier, a very talented actor. And I suppose the green-suited comic book character with the lightning-bolt mask would have been laughed off the screen in live action, so some sort of re-imagining was necessary. But might they at least have TRIED to be original? This nebbishy, hero-worshiping office outsider (and genius) who snaps? Why not just CALL him Edward Nigma while you’re at it? “Max” is the most shameless Riddler clone imaginable… at least up until his fateful transformation (which, as far as I’m concerned, owes a page to the Halle Berry CATWOMAN, of all things). And after that? No matter how good the special effects are, he’s pretty much Dr. Manhattan from WATCHMEN (although his pants appear miraculously before you can see too much)–or as my son pointed out, what would happen if Dr. Manhattan managed to have a son with Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Mr. Freeze! Jamie Foxx could and should have been a TERRIFIC Spider-villain, but everybody involved in this production let him down hideously.

2. Remember how Superman had a Fortress of Solitude which rose from the earth at the tossing of a magic token… and how Superman could watch pre-recorded messages from his parents within? A-het, a-het, a-HEM…

3. The fateful climactic fight in the tower? Straight out of Burton’s original BATMAN complete with the near-misses and falls. And the character we take to be the Green Goblin (though I missed it if that name was ever actually invoked) is trying his best to act like the Joker (even though he looks like nothing more than Peter Pan on a bad hair day).

Okay, moving past the DC comparisons. As for “fateful?” I suppose I should avoid spoilers for the sake of the completely uninitiated, but yes, for the first time a Spider-Man film dares to invoke one of the most profound events in comic book history. Unfortunately, nothing in the buildup moves us to CARE. Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) spend the entire film spouting the most hackneyed, old-school “break-up-make-up” banter as poor Peter anguishes over his dual identity and the promise he made to Gwen’s dead police captain father. And no, nobody gets a pass for making the characters ACKNOWLEDGE that they’re acting out cliches, either.

Oh, and when I said “climactic,” I didn’t mean FINAL. In one of the most grievous miscalculations ever to visit the franchise, THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 just doesn’t know when to quit. Perhaps it doesn’t suffer as badly from “too many endings” as RETURN OF THE KING, but this film just doesn’t know when it already HAS the best possible ending. It just can’t bear to wrap up on a downbeat note (gee, for something that pilfers so heavily from DC, SOMEONE on the team might have remembered that it didn’t exactly hurt THE DARK KNIGHT), so it wastes SO much potential emotion on a final ten minutes that should have been withheld and enhanced as the first THIRTY minutes of the THIRD entry. Mark my words… a careful buildup like that would AUTOMATICALLY guarantee that viewers would have placed THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 3 well above its predecessor. Yes, that finale was quite good. But now that they’ve “hot-shotted” it (in the parlance of pro wrestling), it’s too late.

Which brings me to Paul Giamatti. It was a HUGE mistake to let people in on the fact that the Rhino was going to be part of this movie. Lord knows I spent enough distracted time waiting for him to show up. And again, I don’t particularly care about the re-imagining of the character. It’ll work in this context and Giamatti’s going to be great fun in the role. But they should have saved his re-emergence as a credit cookie. Case closed.

Oh, and SPEAKING of credit cookies??? Don’t get me STARTED on the commercial for the new X-MEN movie that we’re offered as an “extra scene.” Hey, the movie’s probably going to rock. And I’ve heard plenty about how they’re planning to fuse the Spidey/X universe and start new franchises with Venom, the Sinister Six, what have you. But there is absolutely none of the clever planning that marked the pre-AVENGERS movies in evidence here. Yeah, maybe it will all coalesce one day. But what we have RIGHT NOW is a blatant, glaring plug for an unrelated movie (with its own copyright notice, even) plunked in the middle of A.S.2’s end title sequence. Tired of commercials in movie theatres? Well, now we have commercials in MOVIES outside of the already-rampant world of product placement (want another diversion during this mess? Count the Sony plugs).

Okay, time to try to wind down (and cool down). Most of the action sequences are either hyper-fast or super-slow and place too much emphasis on the “Look! This is in 3-D!” (which I didn’t plunk down for… in fact, my family won free tickets and we certainly got what we paid for) appearance. The slo-mo worked ONCE (when Spidey was saving innocent victims from Electro’s first rampage). But that brings me to another point… do you REALLY expect anybody to believe that nobody ELSE was hurt or killed during ANY of these events?

Deep breath… deep breath…

And the SOUNDTRACK? Feel my pain.

Look at all the dollars. Look at all the pedigree. Look at the quality that came before. What the hell happened?

This movie is GARBAGE.

But Mick liked it. So there you go.