Check out our male vs. female perspective reviews of The Amazing Spider-Man 2, directed by Marc Webb, and starring Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone, as Josh and Violet each provide their own review of the film (with minimal spoilers)!
His Review of The Amazing Spider-Man 2:
So, I was almost “done” with The Amazing Spider-Man 2 within the first 10 minutes of the film. I walked into the Irvine Spectrum IMAX theater, with an open mind. In preparation for the film, Violet and I re-watched the first “remake” last week, and I came away from it feeling better about it than when I had seen The Amazing Spider-Man in theaters back in 2012. This gave me high hopes for the sequel, but did it live up to my hopeful expectations? Has Marc Webb failed me this time around?
For the unfamiliar (Is there anyone who is unfamiliar with Spiderman?), Andrew Garfield has taken the proverbial “torch” of Spider-Man, and started a new trilogy. Unlike the first trilogy, Gwen Stacy has a much more important role in the films so far, and is played by Emma Stone. In the first film (spoilers from 2012 incoming!), Peter Parker goes through his superhero origin story, which is slightly different than the original trilogy. The villain is Dr. Connors, a scientist who lost his arm, and attempts to regrow it with lizard DNA, and as things go in comic books, and movies based on them, things go haywire, and he turns into a mentally unstable lizard-man, bent on turning the city into creatures like himself. All the while, Peter Parker attempts to solve the mystery of his parents’ disappearance, juggle his school problems, and his new girlfriend. In the end, things for the most part work out, with the exception of the (expected) death of Uncle Ben (played by Martin Sheen) and Gwen Stacey’s father, George Stacy (played by Denis Leary) Well, finally I’ll get back to talking about Amazing Spider-Man 2, but remembering/knowing the backstory from the first movie is pretty important. The movie starts out, with Spider-Man being his Spider-Man self, rescuing the city of New York while trying to manage his high school life, and usually being “fashionably-late” to his Peter Parker duties, such as graduation. There is one big weight on Peter’s mind though–the death of Gwen Stacy’s father. This seemingly has had a “rubber banding” effect on Gwen and Peter’s relationship, as Gwen mentions in one of their fights that this has been going on for a while.
Meanwhile, on the evil side of things, in the previews for this film, we are shown three villains: Electro (played by Jamie Foxx), Rhino (Paul Giamatti), and Green Goblin (Dane DeHaan). We see all of their origin stories in this film, but the main focus of this film is Electro, followed by Green Goblin with an add-on at the end.
I hate to spoil movies, so I do not want to say too much, but suffice it to say, Spider-Man has his hands full this film. New York now loves him, but he has all sorts of person issues to struggle with. As much as this story is about Spider-Man, it is about Peter Parker, and trying to juggle personal relationships with being a hero, a common theme that recurs in many superhero storylines.
So, I guess to finally get around to answering my first question, why was I almost “done” with Spider-Man? The opening scene struck me as very cheeseball. It is a car chase, with Spider-Man swinging after an armored truck, and we first meet Rhino. Their interactions just seemed way over the top, that it was hard to take serious. Also, something with Spider-Man’s suit, as he flew around New York seemed off in the film. And finally, one of my latest pet-peeves with superhero movies (I am looking at you The Dark Knight Rises) there is just an over abundance of cops chasing this armored truck, that I do not understand how any of them planned to get anything done! Of course they don’t as there is a car pile-up of about 1000 cop cars when the armored truck crashes. Frustration settling in!
But, then something settled in for the film. Towards the end of this opening scene, probably about the time Spider-Man is juggling some highly radioactive vials, trying to prevent them from crashing to the ground, I realized what this film was, or importantly what this film wasn’t. The Amazing Spider-Man 2, like a lot of mediums for Spider-Man are meant to be fun. This is not a Dark Knight film, gritty and serious. I also get the sense that Marc Webb realized that too this time around, and the “antics” in the film seemed to be taken up a notch. Once I had the right mind set for the film, I was totally back in for The Amazing Spider-Man 2.
There is a lot to appreciate in this movie. The action scenes were simply stunning. They were fun, colorful, artistic, and just an all-around blast. They were Spider-Man being the spidey we have always known. Peter Parker’s relationship with Gwen Stacy and him dealing with the guilt of her father’s death was also tugging at the right strings. Peter Parker and Spider-Man was a man that I really could empathize with. Both Andrew Garfield and Gwen Stacy nailed their relationship.
Before seeing the film, the amount of villains was a major concern for me. We already tried the three villain formula in Spider-Man 3, and for me, that was a train-wreck. It was just way too much for the film, and none of the villains felt substantial. Happily, the juggling of the three villains in this film was handled much better, and I had no complaints about the quantity of villains this time around. Electro was a lot of fun to watch, as were Green Goblin and Rhino.
Overall, I really enjoyed the film, but it isn’t all a happy ending for Spider-Man in this iteration. There seemed to be a few scenes that dragged towards the middle of the film, and there are some flaws in the story (Where did Electro get such fancy clothes from?! If you have seen the film, you know what I am talking about). But my biggest complaint about the film, which is similar to the complaint about the first Amazing Spider-Man, and that is the villains themselves. Electro, while amazing in his action scenes, really was a one-note type of character. He had little depth, and there really wasn’t much to empathize with for him. This may not be so much a fault of the movie, but the source material however, as a lot of Spider-Man’s villains are simply experiments that have somehow made the victim mentally compromised, and they always somehow have a vendetta against Spider-Man. It is a little tiresome seeing so many villains with very similar motives.
But on the whole, this movie was a lot of fun. It is a movie where you will be laughing, while being on the edge of your seat, while feeling sorry for Peter Parker, and by the end of it, I was happy to have gone on the web-slinging ride. I would give this movie a 7.5 out of 10, which I am very happy to give it. It, along with Captain America: The Winter Soldier, was a great way to kick off the 2014 summer movie season!
Her Review of The Amazing Spider-Man 2:
Spider-Man swings in for The Amazing Spider-Man 2, the second installment in the rebooted Spider-Man series of films, with Marc Webb directing again, and Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, and Sally Field reprising their roles as Peter Parker, Gwen Stacy, and Aunt May, respectively. We also have some pretty big name actors rounding out the cast, with Jamie Foxx playing Electro, Paul Giamatti playing Rhino, and Dane Dehaan (Chronicle, Lawless) as Harry Osborn. But how does this film stack up against the Tobey Maguire trilogy of films and its own predecessor?
The Amazing Spider-Man left off with Spider-Man thwarting Lizard’s efforts to disperse the lizard mutating drug to the city, and he instead disperses the antidote, but not before Lizard mortally wounds Captain Stacy, Gwen’s father, who has discovered that Spider-Man is Peter Parker. With his dying breath, Captain Stacy makes Peter promise to stay away from Gwen for her safety. However, in the final scene, Peter implies to Gwen that he won’t be keeping that promise. Another big aspect of the first film in the reboot was Peter Parker trying to unravel the mystery of what happened to his parents.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 opens with us actually getting to see what exactly happened to his parents, showing us how they died, though only hinting at why. Once you get past that exciting yet depressing scene, we got a fun, humorous opening sequence of Spider-Man taking on a bad guy — while he’s supposed to be at his high school graduation. We also learn that the city still has mixed feelings about Spider-Man’s vigilantism. Peter barely makes it on time to walk across the stage, and the graduation would be a happy occasion — except that Peter keeps seeing Captain Stacy everywhere, and decides that he should keep true to his promise.
While Peter and Gwen spend some time apart, Peter sees on the news that the father of his old pal Harry Osborn has died, so he pays his friend a visit, and the two get reacquainted. In the meantime, an Oscorp employee, Max Dillon, has had an accident that transforms him into Electro, a being made up of pure electricity who consumes electricity in order to function. Spider-Man has to face Electro when he decides to use Times Square as his next source of power. Oscorp covers up Dillon’s accident, but Gwen tries to look up his employee records and finds that access is blocked, and Oscorp security isn’t very happy with her. Peter also takes some time to dig deeper into the mystery behind his parents. Between learning more about his parents, trying to un-complicate things with Gwen, and saving the city from Electro, and another villain or two, Spider-Man has a lot on his plate in this movie!
Knowing that this movie was in the low 50% range on Rotten Tomatoes, and seeing that many of my geeky Twitter friends were quite disappointed with this installment of Spider-Man, I went into The Amazing Spider-Man 2 with relatively low expectations. Despite all that, we decided to see it in IMAX 3D, because that is usually the best way to see a movie. It was definitely a beautiful way to see it. I thought that the CGI and special effects were great. Sometimes CGI bothers me if it’s poorly done or not realistic looking, but here it did not bother me in the least, and I thought everything flowed nicely. I feel like this movie was very comic book-y in that oftentimes scenes were framed, shot by shot, just how a comic book would be. There were several instances where a scene was slowed down, reminiscent of Matrix-style, so that we could see exactly what happened, instead of things happening so fast that we had no idea how it happened. I thought those scenes were really cool, and I appreciated the way they were done.
Speaking of comic book-y, it felt like a lot of the humor in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was comic book humor, and is the same type of humor found in The Amazing Spider-Man. Sometimes that can feel a bit too cheesy, but the couple of over-the-top cheesy humorous instances in this film didn’t annoy me too much.
Once again, Andrew Garfield does an amazing job playing Peter Parker and Spider-Man, and the onscreen chemistry between him and Emma Stone is great — though there might be one too many mushy scenes between the two. Actually, I enjoyed every actor in this movie. They all did a superb job.
As for what I didn’t like, well, I found that there were quite a few assumptions and jumps to conclusions that I felt were illogical and should have required more of an explanation, or a completely different explanation. How one got from point A to point B seemed a bit of a stretch in several instances. Additionally, there were one too many things that seemed like they were just too convenient how they happened. I also didn’t like how they randomly tried to insert Harry into this movie as Peter’s “best pal.” Their relationship just felt really awkward. Although I was fine with the score, some of the lyrical songs used felt a bit out of place and like something else should have been used.
However, I appreciated the fact that a couple of new villains were added into this movie, rather than just having a rehashing of the first trilogy, which was what parts of The Amazing Spider-Man felt like at times.
Overall, I did have a fun time watching this movie and really enjoyed it, especially the action sequences. It is a very emotional movie though, and sort of puts you on an emotional rollercoaster, so watch out for that (and for some awkward transitions).
Like I said earlier, I went into this movie with low expectations, so I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it. I liked it better than the first of this reboot. As for how I rank it with the Tobey Maguire ones, it’s been awhile, so I’ll have to rewatch them before I can give you a more definitive answer of how I rank The Amazing Spider-Man 2 in comparison to those.
My rating: 7.5/10
P.S. Yeah, so can we talk about Gwen Stacy’s wardrobe? More specifically, where can I get it?? I’m pretty sure I needed to have every jacket, coat, and blazer I saw her wearing! That is all.