I finally broke down and saw Amazing Spider-Man 2
. I had been avoiding it due to negative press and low expectations, but in the end, my huge love of Spider-Man as a character won out. I have to say that I was almost pleasantly surprised.
And then it broke down exactly how and when I expected it to. The best way to summarize my thoughts on the matter are this: it feels like almost one and a half Spider-Man movies crammed into a single one, with several failed attempts to make it into a single cohesive story.
Let me start with the good things, but let me throw out that I am a huge Spider-Man fan, so maybe I’m overselling the good things in a failed attempt to like the movie more. First, the main cast is great. I love Andrew Garfield as both Peter Parker and Spider-Man. I feel like he gets some flack for his Peter, but I actually very much enjoy it. Garfield and Emma Stone make for a compelling couple; I actually felt like they were a couple (which, I know they are in real life, but it translates well to film, which isn’t always a given). Stone’s Gwen Stacy is a refreshing take on the character; she feels defined, like she’s more than just “the love interest”, and I much prefer her over the original trilogy’s Kristen Dunst. New members Dane DeHaan and Jamie Foxx make solid additions. DeHaan’s Harry Osborn connects well with Peter, and please note that I am only referencing his performance as Harry and not certain alter-egos. Meanwhile, Foxx brings something new to the super villain role, and his Max Dillon is uncomfortable to watch in a good way, oozing uncomfortableness.
Marc Webb (I love that someone named Marc Webb directs Spider-Man films) is also solid. I’ve never seen his (500) Days of Summer
, but seeing his romantic Peter-Gwen scenes very much makes me want to; the man seems to have a way with Romantic Comedies. Let me put it this way: Marvel Studios has said that their goal with the Avengers is for each superhero to explore fully different genres to keep the genre from becoming stale (you know, Iron Man 3
was a buddy cop movie, Captain America 2
is a political espionage/thriller, etc.). I wish they had the rights to Spider-Man so that they could have Webb direct a Spider-Man movie that is one part superhero movie and one part romantic comedy (preferably starring Garfield and Stone, but really, I would just be interested in seeing what he turns out with a little more freedom). Most of the other stuff is good too, particularly the soundtrack; it definitely added to the film.
Also, this actually feels like a Spider-Man movie. The action is so fluid, Spider-Man quips while swinging through the city, and everything is wonderful. And let me even add that I am much less critical of the choice of subplots than most. I always love seeing other artists’ take on established characters; if Webb et al choose to explore Peter’s parents, more power to them if they do it well. I can’t say it doesn’t makes sense on some level, and as long as it seems justified on some level, why not? If they want to make it so that his dad worked on the Super Spider formula? Again, sure, fine. I am first and foremost concerned with a good story, and I think you can make those ideas part of a good Spider-Man story. The characters and ideas are still recognizable, and as long as that’s okay, I grant a lot of leeway in the narrative.
Good, all the positives are out of the way, so I can now precede into rant.