Early on, a character in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 says:
“Don’t just follow the path, make your own trail.”
The film should’ve taken its own wise advice.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2
Running time: 142 min.
Stars: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx
Instead, from minute one, Mark Webb expresses the antithesis of that quote with derivative filmmaking with hardly an ounce of originality.
We pick up with Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) saving a New York City in peril. While attempting to juggle a girlfriend and high school, Parker still surreptitiously moonlights as the infamous Spider-Man, slinging from skyscrapers to lampposts protecting the citizens of his city from the dangers around them.
Before Webb delivers any sort of antagonist, the film focuses on Parker’s romance with Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone).
In the previous picture Parker vowed to leave Stacy out of his life, fearing that his work as a superhero could potentially put her in harm’s way. They argue and bicker about their lasting love for each other, and how they’re old enough to make decisions on their own.
For those who have a passing familiarity with the comic-books, we know where this relationship is inevitably headed.
Still, Webb is hellbent on bringing this romance to the forefront — almost as if he’s working from the script of his first feature, 500 Days of Summer.
Unfortunately, Garfield and Stone lack any sort of chemistry and spark. Their scenes together — which should radiate with energy and passion — are lifeless and bland.
It’s not until the second act that Webb introduces the villains: Electro (Jamie Foxx), a once reclusive technician and ardent Spider-Man fan, and Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan). Both antagonists have mutated into unnatural beings, and both have a reason to be angry.
Osborn as the Green Goblin doesn’t want to share the same fate as his father, who prematurely died from a disease Harry has genetically inherited.
Electro, now a powerful beast who looks like he could be a member of the Blue Man Group, simply wants to be noticed.
When Electro and Spider-Man face off in the middle of Times Square, the villain takes a few moments to let it all soak in, still taken aback by the idea that people finally see him. “They see me. They see me!” he exclaims, until the city backs Spider-Man, at which point Electro goes haywire.
What proceeds once these characters are thinly established is something not too dissimilar to what we received in Spider-Man 3 back in 2007: a cornucopia of discordant action, accompanied by an inundation of antagonists.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is only amazing in the sense that it has somehow managed to spend $200 million on seemingly nothing of value.
Everything presented in this movie looks sleeker, shinier and modernized. The glistening CGI work completed for this film is astonishing, but also intensely overwhelming — especially when viewed through clunky 3D bifocals.
Replete with quick, jagged cuts, frenetic combat, and bright colors, the film delivers a sensory overload. This is all to the tune of one of the worst soundtracks in recent memory.
The song selection in this flick is laughably abhorrent. Especially in a scene where Parker is attempting to unravel the mystery of his father’s disappearance in which some ungodly alternative-rock joint begins to play.
That a Kendrick Lamar rap ends a Spider-man film should give you a pretty good idea of how baffling this project turned out to be.
Though The Amazing Spider-Man suggested that this would be a different sort of Spider-Man, this sequel feels like more of the same.
Webb’s second entry into this tiresome franchise amounts to little more than a case study in superhero movie banality.
In fact, the film is so resoundingly incompetent — from its tonal ineptitude to its non-existent tension between characters to its perplexing focus on an airless romance to a Hans Zimmer score that sounds frustratingly similar to what he produced for Inception — you get the impression the film was written by seven different people. Oh wait, I spoke too soon.