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The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (Review 2)





Released: 16th April 2014

Directed By: Marc Webb

Starring: Andrew Garfield, Jamie Foxx, Dane Dehaan, Emma Stone

Certificate: 12A

Reviewed By: Rohan Morbey

Dear reader, there’s two things I’d like to divulge here.

This contains some spoilers. Boo hoo.

My writing style is not usual filled with so many open questions and SCREAMING CAPS LOCK but this film brought out the worst in me. I blame Marc Webb.

The sequel nobody wanted to the reboot nobody wanted. A script from the creative minds behind such beloved classics as Transformers, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, The Island, and Star Trek Into Darkness. The return of a director who demonstrated he is incapable of handling large-scale action sequence in the previous woeful instalment. What could possibly go wrong?

The obvious answer would be “a lot” – but that suggests there is room for something to actually go right. In the case of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 the answer is “Everything. Absolutely everything.”

When a production is as disastrous as this it can be hard to know where to begin, but here the issues are so glaringly obvious that only a person who still needs to have their food mushed up and fed to them with accompanying airplane noises would struggle to point them out. Call me old fashioned but I rather enjoy a film, whether it has a budget of $20k or $200m, to have a plot which makes sense featuring characters which have at least a hint as to what their motivations are for doing whatever it is they do. Perhaps I’m showing my age, but I remember when Spider-Man films were the pinnacle of blockbuster storytelling back in the summer of 2004, effortlessly fusing action, story, and character together. How things have changed…

Let’s start with the ‘plot’ as it could loosely be referred to. There isn’t one; it’s just a bunch of scenes devoted to three films’ worth of storylines mashed together and pumped out as one. Think of a great film as a 1000 piece jigsaw perfectly put together by countless numbers of people to reveal a beautiful picture for which you just have to sit back and enjoy, without worrying if the pieces fit. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is like a 100,000 piece jigsaw dumped on a table by the writers and director who tell you to sort it out yourself. But if you ever managed to put it together it’d still only be a picture of a giant steaming turd.

There a not one, not two, but there villains in the film. Didn’t Sony learn from the last clusterf*ck from 2007 that three doesn’t work? Why is there the urgent rush to show Electro, Green Goblin and Rhino in the same film, and worse still, not give any of them a reason to even exist other than the need to have three villains? Moreover, what are Electro’s motivations in the film? He gets electrocuted and suddenly becomes obsessed with power grids… because in his human form he worked with power grids? So if he worked in McDonalds he’d become hell-bent on consuming as many burgers as possible, or resoling every shoe on Earth if he were a cobbler by trade? Why is he all of a sudden evil? Why does he suddenly HATE Spider-Man so much when he is OBSESSED with him as a human? Why does he feel the need to call himself Electro all of a sudden (in one of the many laugh out loud moments) and what purpose does that hope to achieve?

Then he’s obliterated with at least 30 minutes still to go with no pause for thought as in flies Green Goblin, and the questions start all over again…Why is he after Spider-Man when his only goal is to find a cure for his illness? Are we supposed to believe he is so upset Spider-Man wouldn’t give him his blood that he has to go fight him INSTANTLY? How does he know how to fly the hoverboard? WHY DOES HE GET IN THE SUIT? WHY? WHY? WHY? WHY? WHY IS ANY OF THIS HAPPENING?

There is a moment in the film which, to its credit, did take me my surprise. This moment could have been used to build serious depth in the paper-thin Peter Parker character and send the currently awful film into an unexpected but welcome direction, ending on a much darker note, with questions surrounding Peter’s ability to now put on the suit. It could have saved the film from total and utter failure if the writers dared to ‘go there’… but no, they bring Rhino in with ten minutes left (who also ludicrously announces his name) to have a shootout with cops, not kill cops when a random kid appears (arguably the worst part of the film), not shoot at Spider-Man once despite showing a proclivity to do so just moments earlier, and engaging in a slo-mo battle we’ve seen countless times before.

On to director Marc Webb, the man who manages to make modern CGI sequences look more dated than when Sam Raimi was doing it over a decade ago. Can someone tell Mr Webb that slo-mo then normal speed then back to slo-mo may have been cool in 1999 and since then was, at best, used by directors to show off then-new tricks but no one is buying it now. Add to this an obnoxiously loud and needlessly bombastic opening sequence which should have been handled in quiet, sinister manner, the needless destruction of several parts of New York in both his films (how original!), and an uncanny knack to make every scene as visually unappealing as possible despite all the money he can throw at it, and you have a catalyst for an extremely poorly directed film in every respect.

Webb is actively regressing the state of modern cinema with his ideas of action set pieces and the outstanding lack of tension and excitement he is able to make (or not, as the case is). It’s the clear sign of a man who had exhausted all ideas two years ago, a list which could be written on the back of a postage stamp.

What really baffles me are the same questions which I asked two years ago; why are Sony treating the character with such disrespect (filmically speaking) when Sam Raimi already gave us two awesome pictures and was keen on making amends for the terrible third? These films from Webb may well take lots of money, but they won’t be remembered a month after they open because, quite frankly, they are crap. In the context of superhero films these are right at the bottom, and that’s not where a character as great as Spider-Man belongs but is where he has been unceremoniously dumped. Shame on everyone involved for this is a very, very bad film.

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