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Customer Review

34 of 52 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Confessions of a Would-Be Hater, August 11, 2014
This review is from: The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (Amazon Video)
So, I have a confession to make. I actually boycotted The Amazing Spider-Man 2 when it came into theatres. I boycotted it because Sony treated me like an idiot. Turning their marketing machine into frantic overdrive, Sony assaulted us with approximately 965 trailers, TV-spots, posters, blu-rays/combo packs/special editions/tie-ins, giveaway-bundles, collectible statues...and Mysterio knows what else. I drew the line somewhere between the 46th TV-spot and the creepy cheap Electro bust they released ahead of time (no, seriously, that bust stared into your soul with haunted dead eyes), and shouted, "FREEEDOOMMM" or something to the accord of "Sony, you're not getting my money." I then laughed evilly, revelling in my illusion of power.

When I finally DID get around to seeing the The Amazing Spider-Man 2 on DVD, the film had several things working against it (not the least of which was my adoration for the Raimi films and my dislike of Webb's first effort). But I decided to lay these notions aside and see the movie with an open mind. And guess what? I truly enjoyed watching it. Most of it, anyways.

Perhaps director Marc Webb's greatest triumph is his finely-constructed cast. Andrew Garfield is a talented actor who has truly made this incarnation of Spider-Man his own. Emma Stone continues to be charming as Gwen Stacy, and her chemistry with Andrew Garfield has never been sharper. The performances from Sally Field, Colm Feore, Chris Cooper, Marton Csokas, and other talented supporting actors often lost in a truly gigantic movie, but each excellent actor imbibes his role with subtle drama. On the villainous side of things, it is Jamie Foxx who is the standout, giving the most interesting and memorable performance of the film as the pitiful Max Dillon and his glowing blue alter-ego. Dane DeHaan delivers a knockout performance as the damaged Harry Osborn, so it's a shame that he's forced to leer in bad makeup as the Goblin. Notice I have not commended Paul Giamatti. His inexplicable mugging is by far the worst performance in an excellent career.

The action deserves major commendation as well. My favourite scenes in the film involve Spider swinging through the city. Webb has made an astounding reinvention of web-based locomotion, delivering kinetic, immersive, electrifying swinging sequences. With CGI having far advanced since 2002, Webb delivers action that Raimi could only have dreamed of. The action is just as overblown and silly as you might expect, stretching the imagination like silly putty (how's that for poetic, eh?). What's this about webs flying faster than electricity again? As I said before, the action is, on the whole, awesome in the truest sense of the word.

But what impressed me most was that Webb and Garfield had actually captured something very close to Spider-Man's heart: helplessness. For all of his powers, Spidey never gets the girl; he fails, he falls, and he gets back up again. Webb still hasn't found the soul of Spider-Man, but at least he's gotten close enough to hear his beating heart.

But now let's get down to what didn't work. As I said before, the Rhino is a joke; a silly, useless Russian stereotype that adds nothing to the film. Oscorp (aka the Home Depot for villains) doesn't work either. The shadowy corporation has become little more than a plot device and a Deus ex Machina for villains. The fact that all Spidey's enemies and troubles are connected to Oscorp comes off as a lazy contrivance. But most importantly, The Amazing Spider-Man never strikes that balance between the realistic grittiness and the pulpy comic book side that defines Spider-Man. Raimi found the perfect balance of drama and wacky comic-yness in his trilogy, but Webb's web (5 points for use of phrase "Webb's web") never finds that mark. Touches like Dr. Kafka and Electro never ring true because the two sides are never reconciled. In addition, the film is far too long and unfocused, and in need of a damn good assault with editor's scissors.

In conclusion, The Amazing Spider-Man is, as far as superhero films go, perfectly adequate (it's even a major step up from Part 1). It will give you in ample share your rock-em sock-em action, dastardly villains, wise-cracking heroes, slick visuals and CGI, and even throw in some great drama and character in on the side. But poor plotting and over-eager directing lessen the impact and mean that while you will be royally entertained for 142 minutes, you will be left, upon leaving the theatre, with a distinct lack of that wonder, amazement, and awe that encapsulates everyone's favourite Web-slinger.

This Spider-Man is just not that amazing.

P.S. If this review was helpful to you, please vote Yes. And remember that the voting buttons are not for stating whether you agreed or not with the reviewer, but for stating whether the review was helpful in influencing your decision to purchase this movie (or not). Cheers!
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