If you want to read my opinion on the state of the Spider-Man movie franchise (including my opinion of the original Spider-Man trilogy), check out my review of the first film of The Amazing Spider-Man series here.
As I trotted off to the theater last weekend, the only thing I had heard about The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was that there was just too much going on in the film. Too many bad guys... Too many storylines... Too much stuff... Regardless, there was no way that I could skip out on one of the biggest films of 2014. However, I did realize that I have not actually been uber-excited about a single Spider-Man film since the very first one hit theaters in 2002. In fact, it's as if I only go watch the films out of respect for the comic book hero that I loved as a child. Growing up, Spider-Man was my favorite superhero (until Batman swooped in and took his crown), but the films have never been able to get me as excited as the plastic figures that I played with as a child. Thinking of my prior love for the web-slinger, I've decided that Spider-Man is the perfect superhero for kids, because he is young and they have a hope of being him in just a few years. But, at my age (and even as a teenager), his life is not something that I desire or really care to take interest in. I don't really understand why I don't care for the film version of Spider-Man, because I really love other films about teenagers... That's just how it is...
Other's comments regarding The Amazing Spider-Man 2 having too many significant storylines were absolutely spot-on. However, I don't agree that there were too many villains. The problem lied in how important and in need of screen time those villains turned out to be. Electro (played by Jamie Foxx) was a fantastic character, and, because of his need to be built up, the film wasn't able to focus on the building up of Harry Osborn (played by the great Dane DeHaan). The entire theme of the film was built around best utilizing the time that you have with the people that you love, and, unfortunately, the filmmakers didn't even know how to best utilize their time. To me, it doesn't make any sense to cram all of this film's stories into one film, mostly because we live in a day where a studio could put out three Spider-Man films in one year and each would make hundreds of millions of dollars. The big, shocking moment at the end of the film (which I did not expect) couldn't even be fully enjoyed, due to the fact that the rest of the film was so patchy and poorly constructed. Then, after this big event in the continual Spider-Man storyline, we were forced to rush through a process of grief, absence, and reemergence, all in about three minutes. Why can't superhero fans ever be left with a little bit of suspense?!?
As I said previously, there weren't really any characters that I think should have been omitted from the film. Actually, I loved both Dane DeHaan and Jamie Foxx in their respective villainous roles, and I am really looking forward to seeing how the Spidey-villain development process continues. In my opinion, Harry Osborn should have been introduced in this film, playing only a minor role, which would have allowed for more focus on Foxx's Electro. But, who am I to write the film?
My least favorite parts of the film involved the hugely unsatisfying answers regarding the death and legacy of Peter Parker's (Andrew Garfield) parents, Richard and Mary, played by Campbell Scott and Embeth Davidtz. The entire reboot of the Spider-Man franchise was built on the promise of Peter Parker discovering what happened to his parents, and, as you might expect, I had built up a fair amount of anticipation for the outcome of that promise. Unfortunately, I was not at all satisfied with the very science-heavy answer that just screamed Marvel. Additionally, I saw absolutely no need for Peter's Aunt May (Sally Field) to go down the road of financial struggle and finding a job. Unnecessary storylines like that one really took away from the effectiveness of this film.
In the first film, I really hated the relationship between Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy, played by Emma Stone. Thankfully, that relationship was handled a little bit better in this film and made for one heck of a scene that cannot be mentioned (spoilers!). Heck, the relationship may not have actually been any better, but THAT SCENE!!! Also, as I said, I loved Jamie Foxx's Electro, and I thought his character was so very interesting. Kudos to Foxx for playing the character well, and kudos to technology for making the visually enticing aspects of Electro possible.
For such a mediocre film, I sure had a lot to say about it!... Some critics have been overly critical of The Amazing Spider-Man 2, but I really think the film accomplished what it wanted to accomplish. The only place that it failed (in an epic way) was with the ridiculous airplane scenes that had absolutely nothing to do with anything... at all! Was the film perfect?... No. But, I still have a lot of hope for the future of the franchise. Hope that will likely be killed when the next trailer is released, but, nonetheless, it is hope! If you like superhero movies, you'll probably like The Amazing Spider-Man 2. If you don't like superhero movies, you probably won't like The Amazing Spider-Man 2. I give The Amazing Spider-Man 2 2.34 out of 5 stars.