Monday, 26 May 2014

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (12A)

I'll be honest, I wasn't in the most positive of moods going in to this - not only had it taken me an age to get round to seeing it, but recent events have left me bewildered by humanity.

Over in America, morons seem to have decided the correct response to discovering a girl had decided - through her own free will - to start a career in porn was to hurl abuse at her on Twitter.

The fact this led to her suicide just seems to have fuelled the fire (and Twitter say they can't take her feed down, because the owner of the feed has to request that...).

And then a young man decided that the correct response to women deciding he wasn't the man for them was to go postal with a gun.

And the shock at this has been heightened by the moron fraternity crawling out from under their rock and deciding he was right to do this.

He wasn't.

And agreeing with him is so wrong it beggers belief.

And then, over here in good old Blighty, a party that supports views that should have died out in the 70s is seemingly gaining popularity.

And no one in the media is questioning this.

Instead, bigots, racists and homophobes have decided that their sick opinions now have full validation, and those of us who believe in the rights of the individual are being treated like we're the idiots.

Mad doesn't begin to describe it.

Then, to top it off, Cineworld's genius new strategy of getting rid of those pesky ticket booths and making us get our tickets from the concession stand - where today I got stuck behind people who couldn't decide which snack they wanted to bring on their diabetes - meant I missed most of the pre-credit sequence.

Cineworld - where the customer comes last.

And so do the staff, given the company's love of zero-hour contracts...

Anyhoo, I digress.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Let's talk about that.

Yes. Lets.


Where to start?

Well, let's focus on the positives - Andrew Garfield as Spidey is brilliant again, and Emma Stone (returning as Gwen Stacy) can't put a foot wrong.

After that, it all gets a bit messy.

Now, not for a second do I think I missed anything vital in the opening scene. You soon work out what was going on, so that's not the reason the film's a bit of a mess.

No. There are plenty of other reasons for that.

For a start, Jamie Foxx's Electro is less than sparkling. As dweeby Max Dillon he's pretty OK, but once the stuff has happened he just seems to lose all his energy.

Which is ironic.

And then there's Harry Osborn (played by Through The Never star Dane DeHaan).

Essentially here just to set-up Spidey 3, he swings between flat, creepy, bit weird and surprisingly well informed (clues to this lie in the trailer - editing is a real problem here).

The performance is fine, but as any fan worth his web knows what lies in store it throws the balance of the film off.

We now have two baddies, meaning neither is really allowed to be built-up in a bid to steal the show.

And while I understand the appeal of bringing him in here, it's a bit of an own goal. Not quite on a par with Tobey Maguire's third and final outing in the suit, but not far off.

Then there's the 3D element.

Not being a fan of the sunglasses, I was watching it in 'as nature intended' 2D - which meant about a third of the film was pointless showboating.

I'd imagine the endless shots of Spidey flying about New York - and the fight with Electro - worked fine in the 3D version, but did they actually add anything?

Did they enhance the story telling in any way?


Not a jot. Which means we could lose about 25 minutes off the running time and not miss anything.

And that would have been good, because an hour and 20 minutes in I was looking at my watch, wondering where things were heading and when it would all just end.

Somewhere in here is a good Spidey film. Garfield's got the humour chops and there were moments when I chuckled.

Not many, granted, but a few.

But what comes across more than anything (and this is actually hammered home when you see the trailer) is that director Marc Webb didn't really know where he was taking this one.

The fact four people worked on the "screen story", with three of them going on to tit about with the screenplay explains a lot as well.

Then there's Felicity Jones.

Without spoiling it, she's playing a known Marvel character. And she's a brilliant actress.

So why the hell is she in it so fleetingly.

I'm guessing she'll be in 3, but there's also a good chance there's some good stuff on the cutting room floor.

If there isn't, the writing team need to have a word with themselves.

Finally (sorry, this one's gone on a bit), there's the score.

Now, as a rule I like Hans Zimmer. He's done some good stuff over the years - 12 Years A Slave and Inception spring immediately to mind.

So why he's decided here to through subtlety out of the window here is beyond me.

A score should infuse a scene with emotion - it shouldn't signpost what you you are meant to be feeling with a fanfare.

The drama, the romance - all that should come through the writing. Instead, Zimmer paints over the top with garish hues leaving you in no doubt what was being intended.

Even if that's not what's actually coming across on the screen.

Now I know this film has taken a bunch of money, and I know 3 is already on the way, but this should have been a stunning film.

Instead you're left with a jumbled mess, littered amongst which are a few bright spots.

This has been a bit ranty I know, so I'd like to end on a positive note.

Early on, Gwen Stacy delivers her graduation speech in which she champions hope and then hope is something we all need.

And that, right now, given all that's happening in the world, resonated more than anything else in the movie.

Here's hoping the world comes to it's senses - and that The Amazing Spider-Man 3 is the movie Spidey deserves.


  1. Spot on re: Stone & Garfield = good / Everything else = not so much.
    Would have killed for a nice Peter Parker/Gwen Stacey romance with all the rest of the over-the-top nonsense of this installment cut out.

    Much of the film seemed like it had been badly taken from elsewhere (i.e. I'm sure Jamie Foxx was playing Richard Pryor in Superman IV), and it already seems about 25 years out of date despite only being in cinemas for the last few weeks.