The Amazing Spiderman 2 Review
The Amazing Spiderman 2 doesn’t live up to the adjective in its title – but it’s pretty good.
I’ll admit that I’m a little biased because I love both Spiderman and Emma Stone, so this movie is obviously right up my alley. But at the same time, I’m a bit of a nerd, so nobody likes to be outraged by a bad comic book remake more than me.
Luckily, it’s a movie that’s pretty faithful to Spiderman. There are obviously plenty of minor deviations, but Garfield’s rendition of Parker is faithful in the ways that are important. Spiderman is a hero that exists in contrast to the rest of the Marvel universe because of his relatability. He’s not a billionaire playboy in a super suit, he’s not a Norse god, he’s a nerdy kid from New York who is tasked with bearing an enormous responsibility. The Amazing Spiderman 2 does a good job of focusing on the emotional effects of living with such an awesome burden. Garfield doesn’t reinvent the wheel here, and I don’t expect him to receive any awards for his acting, but he’s consistently likable and sympathetic, which is more than I can say for Tobey Maguire.
I was initially skeptical when I heard that The Amazing Spiderman 2 planned on including multiple villains, a concept that was permanently ruined for me when Sam Raimi took a massive shit, labeled the turds “Venom,” “Sandman,” and “Green Goblin,” and gave us Spiderman 3. Fortunately, the hilariously named Marc Webb handles multiple villains a little better, inserting them into the story frequently enough that they never fade from memory, but still managing to focus most of the movie on Peter Parker’s struggles. Webb’s Electro and Green Goblin are not particularly compelling villains, but they don’t need to be. The emotional core of this movie is Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone, so the villains don’t really need to be carrying any dramatic weight. They need to be shooting lightning and throwing cars, two tasks at which they excel.
Plus, the Garfield and Stone storyline is actually pretty good. There’s nothing revolutionary here in terms of romance or conflict, but the two leads are so likable and bounce off each other so well that it’s hard to not root for them to be together – and once you’re rooting for them to be together you’re pretty much hooked into one of the central conflicts of the movie. It’s an old hook, but one that is used effectively in Webb’s film.
Even if you don’t buy into the love story that drives most of the film, there’s plenty of great action to be enjoyed here. Watching Spiderman swing around the city is great fun. His acrobatic ease is so impressive it’s hard to not enjoy every scene, even if many of them end up using basically the same tricks. The film also does a good job of inserting action scenes throughout the film, rather than dumping all of them at the end. There’s a nice alternation of scenes that focus on plot exposition, scenes that further the romance, and scenes that feature Spiderman kicking ass.
The movie’s shortcomings are not focused in any particular area. There’s no central weakness to the film. There’s just a lot of things that are sort of “meh.” It’s a movie with a mediocre plot and passable writing that is salvaged into something worth seeing through the virtues of great action scenes and likable leads. It’s not going to win many awards, but it’s an entertaining superhero blockbuster, and worth the price of admission.