Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Was It Really That Bad?: Amazing Spider-Man 2

Hello there. Been a while. Did you miss me? No? Well tough shit, I'm back with another riveting look at a movie that may or may not be complete and total garbage. You got a problem with that, you yell at the editors! In fact, yell at the editors anyway, I love giving them a hard time!

If you've been living under a rock for the past few months (and if you have, Leonard Nimoy died... grieve with us) then let me tell you that Spider-Man is about to enter the Marvel Cinematic Universe for the first time in a land mark deal between rival movie studios. Something that I never thought would happen, proving that, yes, even I can be wrong once and a while. With the Web Head's inclusion into the MCU, we will be getting a brand new actor to play Spidey and a new movie set in the MCU continuity. It was a little shocking to me that Sony/Marvel/Disney would be moving on from Andrew Garfield and Marc Webb so soon, but it's not a secret that the Amazing Spider-Man movies weren't well loved by fans and critics despite the fact that they made loads of money. So I wanted to go back, as I do, to see if that treatment was warranted or not.

I decided to skip Amazing Spider-Man 1. Not because I think the movie is so crappy that I couldn't bring myself to sit through it. If I can sit through Spider-Man 3, I can sit through anything. I just feel that ASM1 was really not given the tools to succeed, having to retell an origin story that was extremely fresh in our minds already. I actually think its a pretty decent Spider-Man movie, but that's neither here nor there. I decided to go right to The Amazing Spider-Man 2 because wow, Internet, you really hated this movie. Seeing how this was the end of the stand alone, Sony Spider-Verse, I thought I'd take a look at it directly.

So, was The Amazing-Spider Man 2 really that bad? Well, it's far from a perfect movie, but the answer is a resounding NO. Let's take a look at three of the main points that people usually hate on with this movie, and how they hold up to the actual film in question.

"Electro is the WORST Villain EVER."

Ok, I can't really argue with you on this one. "But wait!" you must be saying "Isn't this the part where you call us all idiots and then tell us why?" and usually you'd be right, but Max Dillion's story "arc" in ASM2 is really, really weak and I think they very much wasted a terrific actor like Jamie Fox in the role. He's also not really the villain. The real villain of ASM2? Peter Parker.

Go back and read the comics. All of them. I'll wait. What's that? There's thousands? Alright, fine, but if you read the best Spider-Man stories you'll notice that Peter Parker is often his own worst enemy, and that's what they are going for in ASM2. His guilt over the death of of Gwen's father and subsequently breaking the man's dying wish causes him to ruin his relationship with Gwen, which is probably the best thing he's got going for him. His obsession with the disappearance of his parents causes his Aunt May pain. He's so self absorbed in his own situation that he can't see that his "best buddy" Harry is in deep physical and emotional pain and does very little to help him through it.

Electro is just an obstacle thrown in to further muck things up for Peter. He's Spider-Man's villain, not Peter's and this movie, as with ASM1, is a story about Peter. Could they, and should they, have done more with Electro? Yes, absolutely. Webb and Co could have done a lot to make Max Dillion's story a little more compelling, but the movie was never about him even a little bit.

"Gwen Stacy was the Best Part of the Movie! Why did she DIE?!"

When I was researching internet gripes about ASM2, I was really surprised that this kept coming up because, well... SPOILER ALERT GWEN STACY DIES. It's one of the most important things that's happened to Peter Parker, right up there with Uncle Ben dying and getting bit by the freaking spider in the first place! Her inclusion into this planned trilogy was all a giant setup for her death, did none of you see this coming? Really?

Look, I love Emma Stone as much as the next person, and not simply because I find her highly attractive. She seems like a down to earth human being and she is an exceptionally talented and charismatic actress. Not that she had to do much acting in this movie because she's actually stupid in love with Andrew Garfield, but that's not the point!

I was on the edge of my seat when her death scene was taking place. I knew it was coming, and I was still hoping that Spidey would some how save her and spit in comic book continuity's face. But it didn't happen, and I was incredibly sad. It was a brilliant performance from Andrew Garfield. It's sad that we will not be seeing more fallout from this event in the MCU or maybe the new Peter Parker (if that's who we get) will exist post Gwen dying.

"Lot's and Lot's of Little Bullshit! "

This is the first article I've written where I've gone back to watch the movie, and didn't really understand all the hate. I mean, people rank this up there on the crap level and I've even heard some people call it worse than Spider-Man 3... which it's not, trust me. Yeah, that's right, I've linked to that article twice, Spider-Man 3 sucked and it needs to be known!

But I couldn't really get a consensus on why people thought ASM2 sucked so bad. Again, this is hardly a perfect movie (the "villains" are a major problem) and I understand that everyone has their own taste, but you've all made up some pretty silly reasons not to like this movie.

A common complaint was that the new Spider-Man costume was almost identical to the first trilogy. Well, Spider-Man has had a lot of different uniforms over the years, but nothing as iconic as his red and blue duds. On top of that, you all hated the suit from the first movie because it wasn't ENOUGH like the original Spider suit! I mean, can't a guy catch a break?

You also all complained that there were too many "villains" (I'm going to keep putting that word it quotes, get used to it.) There really wasn't. Yeah, Rhino made an appearance (sorry Paul Giamatti, it looked like you had a lot of fun though) but just in glorified cameos. Electro was center stage, and then Harry Osbourne becomes the Green Goblin at the very very end of the movie. So no, there were not too many "villains."

Your only legitimate complaint is the side plot about Peter's parents... It's poorly conceived and just plain dull and doesn't really have any sort of lasting impact on the character.

Going back, I really enjoyed this movie. Andrew Garfield has amazing chemistry with everyone on set, Sally Field is a great Aunt May and I'm going to miss her. The action is some of the best Spider-Man action I've ever seen, the score gives me goosebumps and, unlike the Raimi movie's, this captures Spider-Man's other super power: insulting his foe until they get so pissed off they make a mistake. I mean, this movie has one of the best Spider-Man one liners ever.

Electro: I will be like a God to them.
Spider-Man: A god named Sparkles??
So there you have it folks. I come back from a long hibernation to give you a movie that, in my not so humble opinion, that doesn't completely suck. Are you surprised? I sure am.

Kyle Johannessen is an Independent Film Maker in the Boston area and has no need for Bios, as he is a man of mystery and unbridled laziness.

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