Jan 102014
two reels

Hey, remember the unfinished spy stuff from The Amazing Spider-Man? It’s back. And it’s still unfinished as we start off with Ma and Pa Parker trying to make their getaway and failing. Then it’s back to Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) saving New York and whining about relationships and his parents. This time he has two super-villains to fight, Electro (Jamie Foxx) and the Green Goblin (Dane DeHaan), because that hasn’t been done enough times. He’s still seeing Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone), which means he’s seeing her father’s ghost because this film likes being overly literal. And because Raimi’s version had Peter constantly doubting his relationship and breaking up, that’s what he does.

This drab sequel to 2012’s The Amazing Spider-Man gets big points from me because its commercial and critical failure killed the franchise and forced Sony to make a deal with Marvel. But before enjoying the MCU’s version, there’s still this movie to get out of the way.

It seems 30 was the age when Andrew Garfield lost his baby face. Good thing he’s supposed to be playing a high school graduate instead of a high school student, though high school teacher would be more fitting. But that’s just a small problem in a film of problems. It’s an unnecessary sequel to an unnecessary reboot that has the problems of the first, compounded by the Spider-man 3/Batman Returns mistake of shoving in too many villains. At least we don’t get an origin, though the Green Goblin returning is almost as bad.

As bad as whatever the hell Dane DeHaan was doing as undead Harry/Goblin, it is still better than Electro. He is generic, and yet he gets substantial screen time, or maybe it just feels that way. He’s a stereotypical bullied nerd who has an electrical accident and gets electrical powers. That’s it. His lightning blasts look cool, so if we stick to that lowest common denominator, then I suppose the movie isn’t bad. But as he is undeveloped and Green Goblin doesn’t get the time he needs, if you want something more than colored lights, you are out of luck. Peter and Gwen’s story is worse. It’s a romance; they could have followed a template and made it passable. Instead their entire time-consuming relationship is made up of them breaking up and getting back together multiple times. We get nothing else besides a whimpering Peter who can’t deal with seeing ghosts.

Is it worse than its prequel? Perhaps, but that’s a distinction of no importance. Neither is worth seeking out nor worth the bother to avoid should it pop up on TV.

Spider-Man first appeared in the MCU in Captain America: Civil War (2016) and then Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017).


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