Sunday, May 11, 2014

REVIEW: The Amazing Spider-Man 2 3D

The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone


May 2, 2014

Marc Webb

Columbia Pictures

2 hours 21 minutes



Have you ever gone into a movie, sat down, and immediately become your 8 year old self once the film starts?  Well, that's exactly what happened to me throughout the 2 and a half hour duration of "The Amazing Spider-Man 2."  For the first time in a long time, I felt like a giddy little kid in a movie theater seat, practically drooling and gazing in awe at these amazing action sequences being put on screen.  And even when there wasn't an action-packed sequence going on, there was still a fascinating narrative and relatable characters to watch that helped to carry things along.  Having revisited "The Amazing Spider-Man" since seeing it in 2012, I can honestly say that it's far from a perfect movie.

The narrative is off at times and the film as a whole felt a little too much like a cash grab despite some incredible things in it.  This movie, on the other hand, isn't off on its narrative, nor ever feels like it was made just to make money.  Everything about this movie to me felt genuinely real, even with some moments of pure cheesiness.  It seems that this time Sony and the team behind this film got what it took to make a great Spider-Man movie again, and a memorable one as well.  This may be the best Spider-Man movie to date, and I'm not just saying that, I mean it.

Spider-Man is the definition of "love it or hate it" for New Yorkers.  Despite saving countless lives and taking down bad guys, some don't seem to really believe that he is a hero.  As for Spider-Man's alter-ego, Peter Parker, he's just enjoying the thrill of life, while spending time with his girlfriend Gwen Stacy at the same time.  However, things start to get crazy in the Big Apple when a nerdy, mentally unstable man named Max gets into a freak accident involving genetically enhanced electric eels, making him a human electrical outlet known as "Electro."  At the same time, Peter's old best friend Harry Osborn comes back into his life, complicating things anymore.  Peter soon realizes that all of his current enemies now have one particular thing in common: Oscorp Industries.

As I said in my review for the first "Amazing Spider-Man," the chemistry between Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone is far superior to Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst's chemistry in the original "Spider-Man" trilogy.  Not only is the relationship between these two characters extended in this film, but the filmmakers allowed for Garfield and Stone to show how believable they are as a couple.  It also helps that they're dating in real life, but that's beside the point.  These guys in my opinion are the glue that really help to hold this movie together as a whole.  Plus, as standalone performances, this is some of the best work both Garfield and Stone have done in their career.  Both bring out emotional sides that we haven't fully seen from them, plus they're equally charming and engaging at the same time.  Plus, Garfield as the web-slinger is just flat out awesome because, like in the comics, Spidey is a smart-ass, and I loved that.  These two were absolutely great in the film, but that doesn't mean everyone else shouldn't be mentioned.

Jamie Foxx playing the main antagonist Electro is probably the most controversial casting choice in this movie.  Not because he's a bad actor, but because some were questioning whether or not he could pull off a "blue face," if that makes any sense.  Me personally, I thought he was great in the movie.  While his persona before the big transformation was a little creepy, it worked for the character, and I thought that transitioned well when he eventually did become Electro.  Dane DeHaan plays the other main villain of the film, Harry Osborn/The Green Goblin.

We don't see much of the Goblin here because his presence was merely to set up for the "Sinister Six" movie coming out soon, but as a whole, I thought DeHaan was also great in the movie.  I liked both DeHaan and Foxx for the same reasons personally, and I thought as a whole they made a great set of villains who we, the audience, could surprisingly sympathize with.  And then Paul Giamatti shows up for about five minutes in the beginning and the end as the Rhino, and his character was just there to set up for, once again, the "Sinister Six" movie.  This I didn't mind, and as a whole I enjoyed the goofiness of his character, which makes me excited to see more of him in the future.  Everyone in the film is really good overall, but if I mentioned everyone in the movie, we'd be here all day.

I applaud Marc Webb for successfully proving that he can direct a superhero film really well.  The action sequences, thanks to his eye for direction, are fun, exciting, and make you almost feel like you're there.  Not to mention, the visuals are incredible in this movie too, which work to Webb's advantage.  Also, despite the many stories in the film, I thought the four screenwriters behind this film actually fleshed out each of its characters and took time to explain as much as they could for 2 and a half hours.  Instead of feeling slow or excessive, I was invested the entire time surprisingly enough.  The creative team behind this film seemed to know exactly what they were doing, and in return gave the audience something amazing.

I seriously didn't expect to love "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" as much as I did.  Even though the original "Spider-Man" films are great on their own, the filmmakers behind this movie in my eyes have made the ideal "Spidey" film.  The action is fun, engaging, and so damn exhilarating.  The acting, particularly from Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone, is charismatic, charming, and some of the best work they've done in their careers.  And even though there are some flaws and plot holes present throughout the film, I saw past them and enjoyed the movie for what it is: a fun, serious, and awesome superhero movie that, in a way, is a homage to cheesy 90s action films.  As someone who's not a fan of "Spider-Man 3" whatsoever, I have to say that "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" uses its multiple villains to great use, and in result turns in something of a superhero marvel.  This is, in my eyes, the best "Spider-Man" movie that's ever been made.


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