The Amazing Spider-Man Swings Back

By Danny Thompson

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“The Amazing Spider-Man 2” was a very enjoyable film, but it falls short of amazing. The acting and writing were spot on, but what drags this movie down slightly is that at the end of the day it is yet another Spider-Man movie. Don’t get me wrong; there’s nothing inherently boring about Spider-Man, but a movie greatly limits itself when it attempts to reboot a story almost as worn out as Peter Parker’s Spidey Suit. At the end of the day though, a few repetitive super hero cliches do little to impact the overall enjoyability of the film.

The first thing I really dug about this Spider-Man movie was the fact that at least one of the villains had some amount of complexity to them. Harry Osbourne is a very interesting character because he was at one time Peter’s best friend, but is now hunting Spider-Man, who he believes can cure the genetic disease that is killing him. This set up causes the audience to begin to have mixed and somewhat sympathetic feelings towards Harry, like Spider-Man does. Electro (Jamie Foxx), the other villain in the film, is not so well done though. Think powerless man is in an accident, gains powers from it, abuses powers and terrorizes people… I feel like we’ve seen this one before. Electro’s motivation to terrorize is also pretty shaky. He’s supposedly enraged because he used to love Spider-Man, but now hates him because he thinks Spider-Man helped the police catch him. It’s so simple a caveman could’ve come up with it. The writer obviously needed a short term villain for Spider-Man to fight while Harry Osbourne’s story line progresses, so he plugged this one in.

I also found Andrew Garfield to be a very believable Spider-Man once I got used to the image of him as the character. There has been a lot of question about whether a 30 year old British man could play a 20 year old New Yorker, but he pulls it off well. I didn’t watch the first Amazing Spider-Man, so this was my first image of the web slinger to be played by someone other than Toby McGuire, and I have to say it was weird at first, but as the movie goes along, Garfield plays the role well enough to get me to buy into his portrayal of the hero. Dane DeHaan also gave a very believable version of Harry Osbourne. He pulls off the rich kid thing in this very Leonardo DiCaprio Wolf of Wall Street sort of way that comes off very naturally.

The thing that made me finally say that I liked this movie was the ending. Stop reading now if you hate spoilers, by the way. Throughout the movie, it is almost obnoxiously present how in love Peter and his girlfriend Wendy are. They split up, come back together, split up again, make it clear that they are totally in love, and just as Wendy has been accepted into Oxford and planning to move to England with Peter, the Green Goblin drops her down a clock tower. Spider-Man shoots his web to save her, but just as it grabs onto her and tries to catch her, she hits the floor at full speed. It was a shocking and dark moment in an otherwise light film, but I think that helped it to gain credibility as a superhero film. Spider-Man’s pain is echoed by many protagonists across all super hero movies, and sort of indoctrinates this Spider-Man into the club.

I would tell you to see this movie if you like superhero movies, but if you’re looking for something brand new you probably won’t find it here.

4/5 Stars