Rated PG-13 for sci-fi action and violence
Written by Alex Kurtzman, Rover Orci and more
Directed by Marc Webb
Starring Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx, Dane DeHaan and more
Hollywood was reading the title wrong. Apparently, the real reason it’s called “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” is because it’s two movies hastily squished into one.
The movie, which continues the tragedy with amusing dialogue that is Peter Parker’s life, is an overstuffed, disjointed epic that tries to do too many things and ends up not quite being successful at any of them.
There are too many bad guys, too many endings, and too many unceasingly terrible things happening to Peter for any of them to really have the impact they deserve. It’s approximately the same length as the last “Spider-Man” movie, but it feels twice as long.
The story spins right off from the previous film, establishing Peter’s relationship with Gwen Stacy and a lingering subplot about guilt and her father’s death. That guilt, designed solely to make Peter feel more miserable, is explained in a brief recap that felt insufficient for those who hadn’t seen the first movie.
Then the bad guys start piling on, both of whom love Spider-Man at first only to decide they hate him by the end of the film. The backstories are surprisingly nuanced and heartbreaking, particularly for Jamie Foxx’s Electro, but stuffing them into the same movie took attention away from both of them. Then, just as it looked like they were starting to get interesting as a team, one of them dies.
On top of that, tying them both so closely to Peter and his choices became a lead weight that dragged down the movie. Looked at one way, every terrible thing that happens in the movie is because of Peter. Since he made every one of those decisions trying to do the right thing, the entire thing starts to feel like nothing more than a very large rock that will inevitably fall down and crush our hero.
Fans of Spider-Man know that Peter’s life stinks, and terrible things will always happen to him. But successful portrayals of the character balance that out with moments of success and possibility.
There’s no real drama when there’s no hope, and for all the movie talks about the emotion, it shows precious little of it to Peter. Instead of gasping, or crying, audience members brace themselves and waits for it to end.
Andrew Garfield, playing Peter Parker, tries hard to inject humor into the proceedings, bringing a necessary wit and charm to Spider-Man’s fights that are a key part of what helped make the character so loveable. He and Stone’s Gwen Stacy also had some wonderfully light moments, but most of the time the script demanded that they angst about their relationship. They both put their hearts into it, but anyone who’s seen a teen drama will be all too familiar with every word.
Then, just when they’re sure the movie’s finally over, it goes on for another 10 minutes that really should have been the opening sequence of the next movie. Yes, those minutes finally have a lightness we haven’t seen since the movie’s opening sequence, but it’s not enough.
In a movie that’s suffered from too much of everything, we finally run into something that’s too little, too late.
Want to know what Dan thinks of the movie? Check out his review here!