Posts Tagged ‘Spider-Man’

The Amazing Spider-Man 2: What’s Good

I’m not one to make excuses for movies, but before I went to see The Amazing Spider-Man 2 I read some reviews online that were pretty horrible. And while I will admit that the film is far from one of the best movies ever made, one of the best movies of the year, or even one of the best movies in the super hero genre, it did a lot of things right. So, rather than writing a regular review, I will be sharing with you some of the things the movie does right. There ARE SPOILERS below, so I suggest you read this after you watch the movie.

 

spider-man 2

The Rhino wears a track suit and special “Super Crocs” through the whole movie that makes him run faster and jump higher. JK, but there seriously are some spoilers up ahead.

 

First of all, to enjoy this movie you need to back up off the comic books and cartoons that you grew up with. This new retelling needs to be different. Why? Well, we just had a very popular trilogy of Spider-Man movies. Beyond that, the Spider-Man story has been told over and over again more than any super hero story with the exception of Batman. Aside from the Raimi movies, we’ve had a hit cartoon in the 90’s, at least 3 other cartoons since then, video games that take their own liberties with the story, and all the weird stuff going on in the comic books. Being a big Spider-Man fan, it’s hard for me to say this, but even I am getting a little tired of the rehashing of the origin story with Uncle Ben and wrestling, and power/responsibility, and yada yada yada.

 

So yes, this new set of movies is taking liberties that other movies didn’t. It is cherry picking what it wants and is putting it together like some kind of casserole on left-over night, but can we just be honest and admit that sometimes “hamburger surprise” is pretty damn good? I mean, look at all the stuff they’re doing right: they didn’t jump right into Mary Jane, they didn’t make the web come right out of his wrists (which was super weird in the Raimi movies), and they got Spider-Man’s attitude down much better than any of Raimi’s movies ever did. Seriously, if I asked you to picture Toby Maguire as Spider-Man, you’re probability picturing this:

toby crying

Because all that guy did was turn into a bitch every time he took his mask off.

 

The stuff they are improvising about Parker’s dad and mom, and all this stuff about Oscorp basically being a super-villain factory is pretty weak, but at least the latter will serve some purpose. In most cases the first installment in a super hero movie series is the weakest because you need to explore the origin of the character and at this point we have seen most of the most interesting of these stories. No one is really going to care that much about how the vulture got his wings, and no one is going to want to watch someone try to do a better job at being Doc Ock than Alfred Molina. Sony is planning on a Sinister Six movie next, and if we needed to sit through a bunch of back story, it just wouldn’t be possible. Do I like that it looks like they’ll all be cyborg robots? Not really, but if it spares me four hours of back story, I’ll deal with it.

 

sinister six

Let’s see, one guy is a scientist, one dude can turn into sand, the other guy can turn into other people…you know the guy in green…that guy over here has wings, and that Freddy Mercury looking dude is super into killing stuff and wearing it. Done. How long was that?

 

Like I mentioned before, this new Spider-Man is much better than Toby Maguire’s version. Andrew Garfield is nailing it. Top it off with Emma Stone doing a pretty solid job as Gwen and Sally Field knocking it out of the park, and this could be the best cast Spider-Man movie ever. I know Jamie Foxx was a bit of a ham, but compared to James Franco I’ll call it a wash.

 

A big complaint about this movie is that it falls in the “too many villains” trap. I feel like people just like throwing that trope around to show they’ve seen movies before. Sure, other movies have struggled with it in the past, but The Amazing Spider-Man 2 really has one true villain. The Rhino and the Green Goblin are hardly in it at all. You can argue that before Osborne turns into the Goblin he is also a villain, and that can be true, but if you’re going to say that then I’m pretty sure most Super Hero movies have had the same kind of set up for a secondary villain. Could The Amazing Spider-Man have been better with a focus on simply Harry Osborne or Electro? Sure, but it still did a better job of balancing out the two than some of the campy Batman movies we’ve been forced to watch, or Spider-Man 3 for that matter.

toby emo

I mean, the movie itself was a monster.

Finally, my biggest point is also the biggest spoiler, so stop reading if you haven’t seen the movie. The balls of this film cannot be denied. Simply put, the death of Gwen, which was such a big deal in comic book history, is critical to the Spider-Man story. I think it is a universal understanding that the appeal of Peter Parker and Spider-Man is that we’re talking about a average kid who is given super powers. The effect it has on his life, and his need to protect those around him is always paramount. So, being unable to save his girlfriend changes everything and rocks him to his core. Being able to build on this loss gives writers that are exploring new directions for Spider-Man in the upcoming films the ability to add a layer of depth that other incarnations could only lob at us like spaghetti at a wall, hoping some of it will stick. The reason Peter Parker and Mary Jane’s whole relationship was so hard to come to fruition was because of Gwen’s death, so if that comes up in the next Spider-Man film expect something with more substance. I mean, “I love you but I can’t have you” just isn’t as strong as “I love you, but I can’t have you because my best friend killed my last girlfriend in a clock tower, and I was right there and wasn’t able to save her. I watched her die and held her lifeless body in my arms. Sorry if all this is ‘too real’ for you.”

spiderman gwen dead

“I guess you could say I’ve got some baggage.”

There is plenty you can complain about with The Amazing Spider-Man 2, but for all it omits from the stories it is borrowing from it keeps some key things going that I think will only make the next movies better. This movie had a lot of loose ends to tie up from the first movie (the Peter’s mom and dad stuff was a slog), but it feels a lot leaner moving forward, and I have a high hopes for the next few movies in this series.

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