Seeing The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was like watching one of the original Spider Man trilogy films. In that, unlike the realistic comic book movies that have been made (like by Marvel Studios), or gritty ones (by DC Studios), we seemed to have stepped into a time machine back to the days of cliched superhero plots and motivations.
Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) continues to fight crime as your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, and during one particular chase, he manages to save an OsCorp employee, Max Dilion (Jamie Foxx). This proves to be a terrible idea because of how fixated Dilon becomes on Spider-Man. Either way, Peter decides that he needs to honor the promise he made to his girlfriend Gwen Stacy’s (Emma Stone) father and leave her out of his Spider Man activities.
Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan) returns to New York to see his terminally ill father Norman Osborn, only to learn that what his father has is hereditary. That is, if Harry doesn’t find a cure soon, he will end up becoming very sick. After an incident at OsCorp that causes Dilion to gain electric powers, Peter must find a way to stop Dilion, try to protect his friend Harry, and save his relationship with his (ex)girlfriend Gwen before everything falls apart.
This movie was long. Not to say that a two-hour and 20-minute movie is ever short, but when watching this film, you feel every minute. Throughout the majority of the film, they tell instead of show, forcing the audience to sit through what feels like hours of exposition and plot. There’s a side plot about learning about what Peter’s father did with OsCorp that, although it drives the movie (and in fact, begins the film), feels almost unnecessary.
But what was probably the most jarring aspect of the film was how we’ve apparently gone back to the early 2000s of comic book movies. Watching Max Dillion become Electro was one of the most painful, cliche things in this film. He’s a guy who is “invisible” and that everyone rags on. It was very easy to guess who was going to become the villain in this piece.
What was probably the best and worst aspect of this film was the romance. While Peter has promised to stay away from Gwen at her father’s request, the film draws it out over its entirely. We are never given the honest opportunity to believe that they will stay broken up, considering how much they stay in contact. Granted, watching the real life couple Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone act together was a highlight of the film, for the love that their characters had for each other felt true and honest.
While the script left much to be desired, the acting was actually quite good. Andrew Garfield is still an amazing Peter Parker, and Emma Stone’s Gwen Stacy is diligent and can handle her own. Which is a great path for her character to take, considering what happens to her in the comics. Dane DeHaan portrayed Harry Osborn’s disgust with his family situation very well, though he does veer into over-the-top by the end of the film. Jamie Foxx as Max Dilion was unique. While how he played him allowed him to be pitied, the story stopped that train of thought early on. He claims to want people to notice him, but by the end, he wants Spider Man to die.
Although this film had enjoyable parts, it felt like a necessary filler to get to the next film. They claim that in this movie, Peter faces “his greatest battle yet,” but in the end, the villains are either taken out without another word about them, or are locked away. To the film’s credit, the fight scenes in it were amazing. But overall, it just felt like this was another notch on the belt before the real battle could begin.