Review by Cole Clay and Preston Barta
“The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” 142 min.
Rated PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi action/violence.
Director: Marc Webb
Writers: Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci and Jeff Pinkner
Stars: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx, Dane DeHaan, Felicity Jones, Sally Field, B.J. Novak and Paul Giamatti
A good comic book adaptation will leave you with something lasting, whether it is a villain or a memorable action sequence. Does “The Amazing Spider-man 2” do just that?
Preston: “I wouldn’t necessarily call ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2’ a super memorable experience. It’s just fun. But I’d say the best thing about this second installment is the infectious chemistry between Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone. I believe with the action scenes aside, their love story would make a perfectly enjoyable romantic-comedy, much like ‘(500) Days of Summer,’ which Marc Webb directed before tackling the Spider. In fact, it’s almost so good that it’s a shame to leave their relationship in favor of the action scenes.”
Cole: “Not in particular. There was never that moment in the film that had the potential to becomes synonymous with the franchise. I would agree that the action at times was rather distracting from the heart of the story, which is a common with many comic-book films and that is an identity crisis. That element of the story was handled very well in terms of having most of the characters motives fully realized, even though there are plenty of flaws within the framework of the narrative. However, you can tell that Webb and his filmmaking team had a little more ‘fun’ with this outing.”
Does Andrew Garfield continue to solidify his mark as Peter Parker/Spider-Man?
Cole: “Absolutely, this was perfect casting for the role. He embodies everything Peter Parker should be: likeable, witty and handsome; in short he is relatable. When he cries, you cry. When he is mad, you’re mad, so on and so forth. Unfortunately, this role will be a stigma that will follow him for his entire career.”
How do you think this film distinguishes itself from the predecessor?
Preston: “Well, I guess it’s obvious that we got three (more like two) villains this round. We get a little more of Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy’s relationship. We get a better understanding of how Gwen’s dad’s death is affecting Peter. And most importantly, we get the truth of what happened to Peter’s parents, which makes everything fall into place.”
Cole: “Like I said earlier, there was more elements to sink your proverbial teeth into; this film was just more fun to watch. True, there were moments that droned on much, which was the biggest issue of the first installment. This film clocks in at a staggering 142 minutes, so it suffers from some of the same pacing issues. But overall, it knows when to be ‘cartoonish’ and it knows when to play to the audience’s sympathies.”
How do you think the use of multiple villains was handled?
Preston: “I think Webb had a much better handle on it than Sam Raimi did with ‘Spider-Man 3.’ However, still, with multiple villains, it feels overstuffed. Multiple villains to me is something that works best on a TV show or mini-series. After one villain is done, I like to reflect on everything that just happened. You kind of get caught up in the action with the first bad guy and forget about the rest of them. So when the second one pops up, you totally forgot there are more of them. It’s just a bit exhausting. But for what ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2’ was, I think the whole multiple villains thing works. They each have a purpose in the story.”
Cole: “My colleague Preston articulated his answer quite well, however I have a bit to add. Webb comes from a music video background so he is no stranger to handling several stylized variables within just a few scenes, but it truly is a difficult task to cram all that info in there and still evoke an emotional response from the audience.”
How are audiences going to respond to this film?
Preston: “As long as you’re not expecting something on par with Christopher Nolan’s ‘Dark Knight’ trilogy, you should be fine. There’s of course a lot of cheddar packed in this arachnid: you have the campy dialogue and the 90’s-’Batman Forever’-style of action, especially at the beginning with the action scene with the Rhino (before he’s the Rhino and just a dude). But once the second half kicks in and starts getting good, it’s easy to shake it off, sit back and have a good time. It’s nowhere near the same level as ‘Captain America 2,’ ‘Avengers’ and all that, but if you saw the trailer, you should know what you’re in for: harmless entertainment.”
Is “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” the best Spider-Man movie? If not, what Spidey flick rules the throne?
Cole: “Absolutely not. That honor belongs to one of the best comic book films of all-time, ‘Spider-Man 2.'”
Where do you see the franchise going from here?
Preston: “‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2’ is undoubtedly going to do well, so they’re going to make more. I know there’s that thing about doing ‘Sinister Six,’ which is like a reverse ‘Avengers.’ It’s six villains – well-known ones too – against the web-slinger. So if that’s what they’re cooking up, should be different enough and awesome. However, I would personally like to see them work in Venom (but done right) and Carnage.”
Cole: “Where I would like the franchise to go and where it is going are most likely two completely different things. I would like Peter to go to a darker place after Gwen Stacy’s death and have him battle some more internal demons and possibly question his motives for fighting crime. I think they will try to expand the story much like Disney’s Marvel Cinematic Universe; however, any attempts at this point appears to be a cheap imitation.”
“The Amazing Spider-Man 2” opens tomorrow night.