Movie Review: The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)

Title: The Amazing Spider-Man 2
Release Date: April 18, 2014
Director: Marc Webb
Production Company: Columbia Pictures | Marvel Entertainment | Arad Productions, Inc. | Matt Tolmach Productions

While not quite the steep dropoff in quality of Spider-Man 3, this sequel is mediocre compared to its predecessor and for many of the same reasons.  To wit, there are too many antagonists competing for screen time and a lack of focus and pacing to deal with them.  Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) has to deal with the arrival of Max Dillon/Electro (Jamie Foxx) after yet another accident at Oscorp (this one ludicrously involving falling into a tank full of electric eels!). Meanwhile, Peter’s old friend Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan) makes his debut in this series and immediately adopts the Green Goblin persona (instead of dragging it out over three movies like James Franco).

Max is more of a sad figure than a threat so there’s not much pleasure derived from seeing Spidey fight with him.  Meanwhile, Harry is so obviously a creepy ass villain that it seems unlikely that Peter would be friends with him.  Gwen (Emma Stone) has a good role in the movie, helping Peter as much as he helps her, but she’s [SPOILER] dead by the end of the movie [/SPOILER] which feels very fridgey to me.  Plus the finale of the film is overwhelmingly hokey.  Why do people in New York in these movies stand around watching superheroes battle supervillains with their small children anyway?

Rating: ***

Movie Review: The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)

Title: The Amazing Spider-Man
Release Date: June 13, 2012
Director: Marc Webb
Production Company: Columbia Pictures | Marvel Entertainment | Laura Ziskin Productions | Arad Productions, Inc. | Matt Tolmach Productions

Despite only five years passing Spider-Man was rebooted in a new franchise with Andrew Garfield taking over the lead role of Peter Parker.  This move goes even harder into the origin story by including Peter’s parents and a younger Peter in the prelude and flashbacks.  Once again, Peter’s transformation into Spider-Man and the creation of his main antagonist, Dr. Curt Connors/Lizard (Rhys Ifans), happen nearly simultaneously at Oscorp.

Despite the fact that this seems to be way too soon after the Tobey Maguire Spider-Man trilogy for a reboot AND the fact that I’m generally not interested in origin stories (AND because the Lizard is a really silly monster), I actually feel that this is a quite good Spider-Man movie.  Garfield brings a more modern feel to Peter without losing the anxious outsider feel of the character.  Luminaries like Martin Sheen and Sally Field bring more gravitas to their roles as Uncle Ben and Aunt May.  And Emma Stone, who I always like, plays a more interesting and capable female lead as Gwen Stacey.

Of the pre-Tom Holland era Spider-films, I’d say that this is the best one alongside Spider-Man 2.

Rating: ***1/2