The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (Columbia-Sony/ Marvel, 2014)
The movies will never be as good as the comics. For everything that this movie gets right there are ten things that it gets wrong. The 30 year old actors portraying recent high school graduates Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy (Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone) do an okay job even if the script misses the mark of that era of the character. Peter Parker did not meet Gwen until college in the comic books, so this point has always bothered me.
Spoilers abound, so proceed with caution...
Some aspects of the character ring true in this big screen translation, others fall short. I enjoyed the redesigned (again) costume, this one being very close to the comic book version. I did not enjoy the emo-hipster version of Harry Osborn, although he did look very “Goblinesque” once he took the serum. Electro...sigh. The character was wrong on all counts. Initial fan reaction online was that they got the character wrong because they cast a black man, Jamie Foxx, in the role. Believe you me, getting the character's ethnicity wrong will be the least of your concerns once you see this film. The origin, the powers, and the character's disposition prior to gaining his powers are all so wrong that it outshines everything else. If your biggest problem with Electro is that they cast Foxx in the role, I have news for you: They could have cast someone who was the spitting image of Ditko's Max Dillon and it still would have sucked just as bad.
The whole Richard and Mary Parker backstory was so wrong that I could feel the stabbing pain behind my eyes any time that they were on screen. How hard is it to write a story and not have everything be so interconnected to Oscorp?
The pacing and tone of the movie are fine and entertaining until the end. Once Electro is defeated, we get Green Goblin II and a half-assed, emotionally bereft interpretation of the legendary Amazing Spider-Man #121. That's right, MEGA SPOILER!!! TURN BACK NOW!!! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!!! Gwen Stacy gets killed by the Green Goblin. You even get to hear the crack that no one in comics will admit to putting in the original issue. Conway blames Thomas who blames Sitek who blames Romita...it's the Grassy Knoll of comic book murders.
As if this second climax is not enough, we get a third, with the Rhino making the scene. They show the Vulture wings and Doctor Octopus' arms, so the Sinister Six is being telegraphed from a mile away. There is supposedly a movie in the works for them, too. Cripes. I went to a 12:15 PM showing on opening day and the theatre wasn't even ¼ full. We are reaching the saturation point for superhero movies, methinks. The average person is getting tired of all of these films, and there are not enough nerds like me to keep this genre afloat. I could be wrong. This movie will probably do good business both here and abroad, but there was no energy and enthusiasm in the room like there has been on past opening days. This is the fifth Spider-Man movie in 12 years, so that might have something to do with it as well.
As for a post credits scene, there sort of is one. A lame preview for the forthcoming bastardization of the Claremont/Byrne classic, X-Men: Days Of Future Past.
All in all what we have is a middle of the road superhero film that no one will ever look back on fondly. This movie is especially disappointing coming out on the heels of the brilliant Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Sony, would you please just give the rights back to Marvel and Disney so that the world can get the Spider-Man movie it deserves?
Junk Food For Thought rating: 3 out of 5.
I made the herculean effort of seeing this film back to back with The Quiet Ones. I spent five hours at the theatre. On the plus side I was able to realize a better value for my time and money by using my refills on my pop and popcorn rather than buying a second one as well as saving time not driving to the theatre twice. Binge moviegoing might be how I do business in the future.