Monday, April 3, 2017

'Amazing Spider-Man 2' retro-review

To coincide with the release of the second "Spider-Man: Homecoming" trailer (reviewed here for you CCC'ers!), check out my review of the unrelated "Amazing Spider-Man 2." I found it when doing a Google search and decided to have it posted here for the first time.

My "Amazing Spider-Man 2" review was part of a round-up of the 2014 summer superhero films — titled "X-Men, Spidey and Cap — oh my!" — which I wrote for my then-blog, "The Cape and Cowl Crowd," which was exclusive to The POP! Shop. 

As part of this Cary's Comics Craze flashback/retro-review, I've only included my review of "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" (which I only slightly amended). You can read the other two reviews by clicking on the following titles: "X-Men: Days of Future Past" (one of my favorite "X-Men" films; I ranked each movie just after "X-Men: Apocalypse" came out) and "Captain America: The Winter Soldier." (LOVE that flick!)

June 16, 2014 — Andrew Garfield gets Spider-Man.

His neighborhood friendly wall-crawler is a mouthy smartass, but Spidey thrives on doing the right thing (the end result may be a disaster, but you gotta credit ol’ Webhead for at least trying …!).

As Garfield’s still socially awkward Peter Parker tells Harry Osborne (the overly intense-to-the-point-of-annoying Dane DeHaan), Spider-Man gives hope to the city. Now, if there were just some hope for “The Amazing Spider-Man 2.”

In short, the sequel to the suprisingly outstanding original film tries too hard, lasts too long and never really finds its legs.

That’s not to say there aren’t some enjoyable aspects to the sequel: Emma Stone’s Gwen Stacy remains as appealing, breezy, spunky and loveable as ever.

Her tumultuous relationship with Parker is made even more complicated since Parker is haunted by spotting her late father at inopportune times — a reminder of police Captain Stacy making Spidey/Parker promise to keep away from his daughter. If Parker can’t help but be with the woman he loves, what will his dangerous double-life mean for her fate?

Versatile actor Jamie Foxx truly delivers as Electro’s quirky, overlooked and misunderstood alter ego, electrical engineer Max Dillon. Unfortunately, we’ve seen Foxx do a more memorable variation of that same role in “The Soloist.”

After Electro’s first face-off with Spidey in Times Square (one of the best sequences in the film), Foxx goes too broad with his acting, as does DeHaan as Osborn and later, the Green Goblin,. That villain suffers further from a poor design and ugly makeup job.

Their pairing to take out Spider-Man is illogical — which is saying something for this lifelong comic-book fan who knows you have to suspend your disbelief in this genre.

Aside from having one too many villains, the sequel simply starts out on unsteady footing.

Director Marc Webb seems to have wanted his opening sequence to work much like the prologues from “The Dark Knight” and “The Dark Knight Rises” do, but like “Rises,” the second “Amazing” movie would have had a much more powerful opening if it had started with the subsequent, far more engaging scene.

The pay-off of the climactic scene with Spider-Man, Gwen and the Green Goblin doesn’t compensate for the overwhelming feel of “Oh, by the way, these other scenes need to come before we roll the credits.” The Spidey vs. Green Goblin battle is rushed and feels and looks too much like a video game.

Garfield tears your heart out when Spider-Man reaches his girlfriend's body and realizes he's accidentally snapped her neck in an attempt to save her life. And Webb delivers a punch to the gut with a touching montage in which it's obvious that Garfield's Parker goes to Gwen's grave every day for months.

"The Amazing Spider-Man 2" has some wonderful moments — and for my taste, the finale with the kid facing off against the Rhino perfectly touches on what what the web-slinger means to the people of New York.

Overall, there are some interesting and exciting moments, but there’s no cohesiveness — and certainly not enough great moments to make this installment anywhere close to “amazing.”

Grade: C+

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