Sam Raimi’s third Spider-Man movie cops a lot of shit. It was panned by critics and nerds when it came out for being over stuffed and under developed. While it’s by far the worst of Raimi’s series, it’s not the terrible movie nerds would have you believe it to be. Its existence also means there’s a clear blueprint of how not to make a Spider-Man movie. Don’t fill it with too many bad guys, don’t make Peter Parker a bit of a dick, don’t rely only on effects and big fight scenes hoping no one will notice the paper thin story. Which is what makes The Amazing Spider-Man 2 so aggravating and disappointing.
Peter Parker’s got it all figured out. He’s about to graduate high school, he has his hot dream girl (Emma Stone as Gwen Stacey) and he’s pretty good at super heroing as the friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man. Then his missus gives him the ass, his mate Harry Osbrone (Dane Gehaan) goes a bit nuts and a couple of villains show up with Paul Giamatrti as Rino and Jamie Foxx as Electro (who looks like the cheesy cousin of Batman and Robin’s Mr Freeze).
There’s also the niggling annoyance of the mystery surrounding Peter’s long lost parents. I had no interest in that whole plot in the first Amazing Spider-Man and I have even less interest in it this time around. Actually, I’d be hard pressed to find a single character in this movie who is even the slightest bit interesting. And at almost two and half hours, that’s a long time to not be entertained. The only good thing in this movie is Paul Giamatti. He’s obviously having a great time hamming it up and is great fun to watch in the few scarce minutes he’s on screen.
Every review for this movie and its predecessor always mentions the supposed chemistry between Garfield and Stone because they’re shaboinking in real life. I don’t remember being too blown away by it in the first one, and in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, it’s downright awkward. Garfield and Stone are both good actors and have proven that in other movies, so I have to blame the screen writing. The fact that four people get a screenwriting credit just proves the assumption that too many writers on a blockbuster should always be seen as a warning sign.
The dodgy writing is highlighted in the movie’s second most important relationship, the friendship between Peter Parker and Harry Osborne. They meet up again after not seeing each other for a while and it’s supposed to be this big reunion between two friends who drifted apart. Instead, it looks like two actors who never met before filming the scene.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 isn’t just bad, it’s bad and boring. And it really suffers by coming out so close on the heels of Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Where that movie took a character I had zero interest in and found room for action, a few good gags, and made me actually interested in the characters, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 takes a character I’m big fan of and made me just not give a shit.