Friday, December 12, 2014
The Amazing Spider-Man 2
Based on the comic by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is the sequel to the 2012 re-boot where Peter Parker deals with new foes as well as trying to protect his girlfriend Gwen Stacy while trying to uncover the secret of his parents’ disappearance. Directed by Marc Webb and screenplay by Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, and Jeff Pinker from a story by Kurtzman, Orci, Pinker, and James Vanderbilt. The film has Parker struggle with his role as superhero as he also deals with elements of his family’s past as well as deal with new foes as Andrew Garfield reprises his role as Peter Parker/Spider-Man. Also starring Emma Stone, Sally Field, Dane DeHaan, Jamie Foxx, Paul Giamatti, Felicity Jones, Campbell Scott, Embeth Davidtz, and Chris Cooper. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is an extremely messy, bloated, and very uninteresting film from Marc Webb.
The film revolves around Spider-Man not only dealing with being a superhero who saves everyone in New York City but also coping with who he is as Peter Parker as he tries to juggle a lot in his plate as his relationship with Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) begins to suffer. Especially as he sees ghostly visions of Stacy’s father (Denis Leary) which forces Peter to keep a promise that Gwen’s father has asked. When an old friend of Peter in Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan) returns to take over his father’s business, Peter begins to wonder about what happened to his parents and why they left him as he faces a series of villains that all have a grudge towards Spider-Man. It’s a film that could’ve been very simple but due to many subplots and stories revolving around Parker’s struggle in his relationship with Stacy as well as the secrets about his family ends up being a film that is very incomprehensible and hard to follow at times.
The film’s screenplay is an example of how messy the film is as it tries to put a lot into the story where it would move from one subplot to another. It’s one of the reasons why the film felt hollow and unsatisfying as it is unable to really do something. At the same time, there are aspects of the script that look like it wanted to say something but it ended up being cut out in the end due to time constraints and such. The villains in the film aren’t very interesting as Aleksi Sytsevich (Paul Giamatti) is just a crazed thief who only appears in an early sequence and at the film’s ending. The character Max Dillon (Jamie Foxx) starts off as this nerd whom Spider-Man saves but an accident involving electric eels where he becomes Electro has him end up being one of the lamest villains ever. While the character arc of Harry Osborn is sort of interesting, the payoff in having him become the Green Goblin is another disappointing moment.
There’s so much in the script that really fails to really do anything as the story involving Peter’s father Richard (Campbell Scott) does get unveiled but ends up raising more questions about exactly what was Norman Osborn (Chris Cooper) trying to do that led to Richard’s disappearance. Even as it relates to Harry who is succumbing from a disease that would claim Norman as it would play into this confrontation between him and Peter in the third act. There’s attempts to put in some humor in the film as it involves a captured Electro and a mad scientist in Dr. Kafka (Marton Csokas) which doesn’t work at all. While the few highlights in the script involves Peter trying to maintain his friendship with Gwen as well as trying to get answers from Aunt May (Sally Field) about his father. It’s not enough to really save the film from being interesting.
Marc Webb’s direction is definitely all over the place as it’s clear that he was trying to do something where he wants to give audiences everything they want. Instead, it’s a film that feels like several different movies that all feature Spider-Man but none of it really feels cohesive. The sequence of Spider-Man chasing Sytsevich that is inter-cut with Gwen becoming valedictorian is an example of what the film is going to be as it tries to be funny and exciting but ends up being very incomprehensible. While Webb does keep things simple for scenes involving Peter and Gwen as it includes a few funny moments, some of the humor does feel forced such as a scene where a security officer (B.J. Novak) tries to go after Gwen.
It’s among the many issues that the film has where Webb definitely feels overwhelmed by the scale as some sequences such as Spider-Man’s first battle with Electro in Time Square is quite bloated as would the climatic two-on-one battle between Electro and the Green Goblin. There’s very little chance for the audience to grasp into what is happening where it meanders in some places while the payoffs end up being very disappointing. Then there’s the ending which is very clear that Webb isn’t in control as it does feel over-drawn and overblown to set things up for the next film. Even as there’s parts of the film where it feels like they’ve been cut down to get things moving as it feels like they’re part of something longer. All of which is shown that it’s a studio that is in control of the film and the overall result is a film that doesn’t bring anything exciting nor anything that is remotely entertaining but rather pointless and empty.
Cinematographer Daniel Mindel does some nice work with cinematography for some of the scenes in New York City but it never really does anything to stand out visually as it often feels like it‘s dominated by visual effects. Editor Pierto Scalia does terrible work with the editing as it plays into too much fast-cutting for the action scenes while some of the montages of Spider-Man doing his duty is comically bad. Production designer Mark Friedberg, with set decorator Susan Bode and supervising art director Richard L. Johnson, does excellent work with the set pieces from the look of the Oscorp building and its main office as well a few places in the city. Costume designer Deborah Lynn Scott does good work with the costumes as it‘s mostly casual with the exception of the corporate clothes of the people at Oscorp.
Makeup designer Ve Neill does some OK work with the look of Electro in his electronic state though the look of the Green Goblin ends up being very silly. Visual effects supervisor Gregory L. McMurry does some superb work with the visual effects for the way Spider-Man moves around with his webs though some of it is very bloated such as the scenes involving Electro with all sorts of electricity that just looks dumb. Sound designers Eric A. Norris and Addison Teague do some fine work with the sound though some of the sound effects feels like they‘re trying to create sounds for dubstep records which were unnecessary. The film’s music by Hans Zimmer, Johnny Marr, and Pharrell Williams has some worthwhile moments in its orchestral score from Zimmer with some guitar flourishes by Marr yet much of the contributions from Williams as well as Junkie XL, Michael Einzinger, and a few others are awful as it ranges from bad dubstep electronic music to other bombastic moments that are terrible while some of the music contributions from Phillips Phillips and OK Go is just crap.
The casting by Kathleen Chopin definitely has some moments though many of the actors that do appear in the film definitely are wasted in some uninspiring parts such as Felicity Jones as Harry’s assistant Felicia, B.J. Novak as an Oscorp securities officer, Campbell Scott and Embeth Davidtz as Peter’s parents in the film’s opening sequence, Colm Feore as an Oscorp executive who tries to cover things up from Harry, and Denis Leary in a very silly performance as Gwen’s late father who continuously haunts Peter about keeping that vow. Marton Csokas is hilariously awful as Dr. Kafka who is this mad scientist that seems to be from another film as he’s playing music from A Clockwork Orange as it’s a performance that is just mind-numbingly stupid to watch. Chris Cooper is OK in his brief role as an ailing Norman Osborn who warns Harry about what will happen to him as it’s a good performance but definitely under-written considering Norman’s history with Peter’s father.
Paul Giamatti is horrible as Aleksi Sytsevich as this Russian criminal who battles Spider-Man early in the film as he sports a bad accent as he isn’t seen until he is part of the film’s over-drawn ending as Rhino. Sally Field is excellent as Aunt May as she is trying to cope with being all alone and caring for Peter while admitting that there’s some dark truths in relation to Peter’s father that she doesn’t want Peter to know about. Jamie Foxx is alright as Max Dillon/Electro as this nerd who thinks he’s special when he meets Spider-Man only to get into an accident as he becomes this very lame villain which doesn’t do anything for Foxx. Dane DeHaan is pretty good as Harry Osborn as this old friend of Peter who learns he is dying from a disease only to go crazy as DeHaan does goes overboard with being over the top while looking very stupid as the Green Goblin.
Emma Stone is wonderful as Gwen Stacy as Peter’s longtime girlfriend who copes with him being the superhero as well as the vow he made with her father as she tries to uncover the things that Oscorp is hiding. Finally, there’s Andrew Garfield in a fine performance as Peter Parker/Spider-Man as Garfield has some moments where he is being cool and anguished but some of the humorous moments feel awkward as well as some of the very emotive scenes as it’s really due to the script that doesn’t do him any favors.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is a film that doesn’t live up to its amazing namesake. In fact, it is an absolutely horrific and extremely lifeless film that doesn’t offer very much other than elements of boredom and too many storylines that it is hard to follow. It’s a film that showcases what happens when a franchise gets re-booted for the wrong reasons and in the hands of people who don’t know a thing about films. In the end, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is a horrendously bloated and nonsensical film from Marc Webb and the people of Sony and Marvel.
Spider Man Films: Spider-Man - Spider-Man 2 - Spider-Man 3 - The Amazing Spider-Man
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