The Amazing Spider-Man 2 - Blu-ray Review

'A spider-themed smorgasbord of everything that's wrong with mega-budget blockbuster cinema today'.

Swiftly eradicating any remaining doubt about Sony's reboot of the Spider-Man franchise being a decision based solely on the studio keeping the superhero property from reverting to rival studio Marvel, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 offers up over its bloated 140-plus minutes a spider-themed smorgasbord of everything that's wrong with mega-budget blockbuster cinema today.

From the opening moments, director Marc Webb seems entirely uninterested in making a film that delivers anything new, different or indeed enjoyable. Numerous ideas used throughout are lifted shamelessly from several other comic book outings of recent years, served up in half-baked and half-arsed fashion. Keep an eye out for computer technology taken wholesale from Iron Man, corporate boardroom confrontations √† la Batman Begins, and even action set-pieces strongly reminiscent of Sam Raimi's previous Spider-Man trilogy, the very films the rebooted franchise wanted to distance itself from in the first place.

Webb clearly has no idea which of the several jumbled-up narratives present he actually wants to tell, attempting to cover them all and thereby failing to relate any story in a satisfying manner. Continuing from the sound groundwork laid in the first film, the relationship between Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) and Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) initially holds some potential as the primary storyline; so too does the expansion of the reasons behind Peter's childhood desertion by his parents. However, both are constantly sidelined by Webb's obstinate shifts onto the villainous machinations first of Max Dillon (Jamie Foxx) and then Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan), both of which lack any form of satisfying depth in either character or plot. Add into this hotchpotch unnecessary and entirely undeveloped subplots for Peter's Aunt May (Sally Field) and Russian mobster Aleksei Sytsevich (Paul Giamatti), and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 soon reveals itself as an unnecessarily convoluted mess.

Webb also demonstrates a comprehensive lack of control over tone, resulting in a film which simultaneously forces Peter to deal with a number of dramatic emotional issues whilst also giving him the Spider-Man cartoon theme as his mobile ringtone. The director largely opts for much the same haphazard approach as he applies to the narrative, never truly knowing what he wants his film to be. The transformation of Foxx's character into Electro is a key example: starting off as a bumbling nerd clich√©; then spending too little time as a sinister antagonist; before concluding the film erratically shifting between Dr. Manhattan-a-like supervillain and farcical, campy comic book foe who uses his powers to play a well-known arachnid-based nursery rhyme during the final showdown with Spidey.

The script is horrible, as are the performances from most of the cast - an unforgivable crime considering the many talented names present, with only Field providing a welcome but relatively tiny oasis of hope within Webb's Sahara of unbearable cinema. Judging by The Amazing Spider-Man 2's overwhelming success at the box office, and the way in which the director leaves matters at the end, a third film in the series is pretty much a certainty. At the very least, it surely can't be any worse than this.





By Ben Broadribb. Ben is a regular contributor to Film Intel, having previously written at Some Like It Hot Fuzz. He is normally seen in the wild wearing t-shirts containing obscure film references. He is a geek, often unashamedly so. He's also on and Twitter.

2 comments:

  1. That is without question, one of the worst films I had ever seen. I would rather watch Spider-Man 3 in the theaters all over again than see this. I don't think Webb should be totally blamed as he didn't have final cut. I blame Sony for the mess as it is clear they wanted to do so many things but it left you feel underwhelmed and to the point of indifference. It also wasted some really good actors into some bad material or just to have them there. It's shit. It's absolute shit.

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    1. I didn't know that about Webb not having final cut, so that redeems him ever so slightly. Given the option, I would watch Spider-Man 3 again every time over this abortion of a film.

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