The Surprisingly Decent Spider Man

The Amazing Spider Man 2 - Photo 2I MUST confess I went into The Amazing Spider-Man 2 with low expectations. Not only did I find the first film tedious and boring due to it being another origin story; I also felt that it just did not have the sense of being part of something bigger, unlike the films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (which in my view is one of the best things going for them). However this sequel very quickly met and exceeded my expectations, taking a lot of bold steps and ultimately being a lot of fun.

Great performances

The story continues not long after the end of the first film, with Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) dealing with the events of the first film, continuing his relationship with Gwen Stacey (Emma Stone) whilst at the same time fighting crime as Spider-Man, despite the wishes of her Father who died in the first film. At the same time Parker is still living with his Aunt May (Sally Field) trying to make ends meet. The strongest part of the first film, the returning cast again gave some great performances.

New entries into the franchise were also great, such Dane Dehaan as Harry Osborn, a childhood friend of Peter’s who returns to New York due to his Father dying. However even more importantly, Jamie Foxx plays Electro/Max Dillon. As someone who has played strong characters such as the title role in Django Unchained, seeing him play someone socially awkward was an interesting change from the actor. However whilst the portrayal of the villain was admirable, ultimately the mass of stories in this film left the character being rather two dimensional and not as fleshed out as villains in other Marvel movies.

The Amazing Spider Man 2 - Photo 1

That is not to say however that other storyline and characters weren’t fleshed out. The interactions between Garfield and Stone and Field’s characters respectively have some really touching and very human moments that you can help but feel your heart warm, particularly in a moment regarding Peter’s parents and their departure from his life. However this sub-plot arc in the film was almost unnecessary in relation to the main story other than exposition that was missing from the first film.

Sequels planned

The greatest strength of the film was its boldness in what it took on. The film goes so far as to kill a major character, deliver further back-story, and present three villains and their origins. With 3 more sequels planned in the works, Sony clearly want to establish their own corner of Marvel. An interesting thing this new franchise also did was how they made their mark on the story regarding Harry Osborn a.k.a. the Green Goblin. Being a significant antagonist in the previous Spider-Man trilogy starring Tobey Maguire, it was refreshing to have a completely new take on this character and history. Having this, Rhino and Electro all in one film was a great way to see these characters and their powers and abilities being used in interesting ways.

However this confidence is also its own weakness. Despite being thoroughly engaging throughout, there were just so many different plotlines going on at the same time, and I can’t deny it when hearing people compare this film to Iron Man 2. The overall plot was very condensed and probably had enough for it to be stretched out to multiple films, especially the plotline involving Harry Osborn which sadly took the limelight away from Electro. This was however, at the cost of introducing the beginnings of the Sinister Six, a league of super-villains, confirmed to have their own film in the coming years. Whether this mess is to pay off will be down to the future films of this franchise.

Poor delivery

The Trailers for the film promise that Spider-Man’s “greatest battle begins” here. This is certainly true with Electro, The Green Goblin and Rhino being present. And while it is true that you get to see each of these iconic villains in action, the combined set up and inclusion of all of these villains at once leaves their development rather poor. We see Spidey develop his webs to combat Electro, but we don’t see how Electro learns to manipulate his powers in the cool ways that are shown, and The Green Goblin has his signature pumpkin bombs merely for the sake of plot. It is ‘amazing’ to see all this, but unfortunately it is delivered sloppily, and thus lowers its standard.

The more I think about this film, the lower I rank it, as I feel like it fails to deliver the entire plot effectively. Without a doubt there is a lot of enjoyment to be taken from its action and its message, it stands on weak foundations, and its plot is tied together in very weak web.