The Amazing Spiderman 2: less than amazing
It’s hard to believe that seven years have passed since Tobey Maguire portrayed web-slinging superhero Spider-Man. It’s almost harder to believe that in those seven years Hollywood has learned nothing from the backlash fans had to Spider-Man 3’s decision to have three villains in a single film. To quote Rust Cohle from HBO’s phenomenal series True Detective, “Time is a flat circle.” The Amazing Spider-Man 2 certainly makes a strong supporting case, as once again Spidey is threatened by not one, not two, but three separate villains. Oh my!
The film picks up more or less where The Amazing Spider-Man left off. Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield), Spider-Man’s alter ego, is graduating high school. His girlfriend, the beautiful Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone), is valedictorian and a strong candidate for an accelerated program at Oxford. But that’s all the way in England! How will their relationship survive? Well, hopefully you find that question incredibly enthralling because most of the movie revolves around it.
Audiences like their superheroes to be mopey, lovelorn teenagers, right?
Heartbreak is hardly the only villain Spider-Man must face, however. Following the most obvious sequence of events in the history of filmmaking, low-level Oscorp employee Max Dillon (Jamie Foxx) is electrocuted and falls into a tub of electric eels (seriously, he does) and is granted with the power to control electricity. This, logically, means he is now a super villain. He has no clear motives to hate Spider-Man, who he has spent most of the movie idolizing, but decides to declare a vendetta on him anyway after Spider-Man attempts to save his life.
Oh, also, he hates everyone in the city and wants to kill them as well. That reasoning is less clear.
Luckily, appropriately named Director Marc Webb (who's best cinematic achievement remains 500 Days Of Summer) decided that one villain’s origin story just wasn’t enough to satiate fans’ desires to see the same story a hundred times. The film also gives us the origin of the Green Goblin, Harry Osborn’s (Dane DeHaan) evil alter ego. The Green Goblin, of course, was already adapted to the big screen in the 2002 film Spider-Man and played to perfection by Willem Dafoe. DeHaan has enormous shoes to fill in this role, and he does not fill them out.
Those keeping count will realize that I have only listed two villains (unless you count Gwen Stacey) and three were promised. Rest assured, there is a third, though to reveal that identity would ruin some of the fun, and fun is something this film is in serious lack of.
With the cavalcade of baddies Spidey faces one would imagine an enormous amount of action sequences, especially given the film’s 142 minute runtime. Sadly, that is not the case. Instead Webb focuses on angsty teens dealing with relationship issues, origin stories so obvious and trite that they put audiences to sleep, and, of course, training montages.
With the exception of Garfield and Stone’s obvious onscreen chemistry, and their considerable talent to turn such pedestrian dialogue into believable emotion, the film falls flat on its face. However, a third film is all but inevitable. Better luck next time, Spidey.