FILM REVIEW: The Amazing Spider-Man 2

The Amazing Spider-Man 2: Rise of Electro (Marc Webb, 2014)

Nawww... young love. But now I gtg save some peeps.
Nawww… young love. But now I gotta go save some peeps.

Spiderman (and I WILL spell it that way because it just seems right) is my favourite superhero. When I expressed this on Facebook last week I was told by a friend of a friend that they felt sorry for my “deprived life and sheltered worldview” where I was “forced to grow up believing that Spiderman is the best superhero or that he even is a superhero”. (Meanwhile his favourite superhero is one that the average person has never heard of, YA NERD). I didn’t actually “grow up” loving Spiderman – I grew up playing with Barbies and Sylvanian Families. I’ve never read a comic book in my life. I don’t know who the hell ‘Goku’ is, and quite frankly, I don’t care. Spiderman is my clear favourite out of the few superheroes I actually know of. The most recent Batman trilogy by Christopher Nolan was AMAZING (and much better than both ‘Amazing’ Spider-Man films) but in terms of the character, I’m Spidey all the way. Some solid, well-thought out reasons why:

– He makes spiders less scary. And more hot. (Not that I find insects attractive…)
– His alter ego Peter Parker is a nerd, but a cool nerd. Just the slightest touch of arrogance but still adorable.
– He’s a young’un. High school/college kids are way more fun than ADULTS, gosh. No political crap, just high school angst and a good lack of facial hair. Well actually I guess most superheroes are clean-shaven. There’s a reason for that by the way. (THE REASON IS BEARDS ARE GROSS).
– Andrew Garfield is hotter than everyone else who plays a superhero.
– OK so Tobey Maguire wasn’t that hot but he was adorable in that nerd way.
– They made a Spiderman musical. It was crap but that’s not the point.

Oooh yeah TAKE IT OFF... Oh I just meant the mask
Oooh yeah TAKE IT OFF… Oh I just meant the mask

Okay so maybe they’re not the greatest reasons but whatevs, I’m sticking with Spidey. Superman’s costume is lame, Batman is too serious, Iron Man’s alter ego is not enough of an ‘everyman’, Thor just has a big hammer (IS THAT A METAPHOR? But seriously that’s a lame power), Captain America: I don’t even know what he does, Wolverine has a beard (ew), The Hulk has bipolar or something, the guy who shoots arrows from The Avengers (Joss Whedon, 2012) – I mean, who even are you?, Scarlett Johansson in The Avengers – I can’t remember, was your superpower just being hot?, and really that’s about all I know.* Thus my conclusion is: SPIDEY RULES. And yes, clearly he’s a superhero: he shoots cool webby stuff out of his wrists, scales buildings, and wears lycra/spandex. What more is there?

Not as good as Dreamgirls
Not as good as Dreamgirls

I really enjoyed the first three Spider-Man films directed by Sam Raimi (2002, 2004, 2007) and I was so excited to see the first reboot of The Amazing Spider-Man (Marc Webb, 2012) a couple of years ago. It was decent enough but it wasn’t quite as good as the earlier ones. I went in to The Amazing Spider-Man 2 expecting as much and I was right. It was good, but it wasn’t great. Andrew Garfield is great as Spidey (god he’s gorgeous) but the newer films just don’t go as deep. Even when it should be really emotional it’s just not. A major character died… Oh well. This is in fact the longest Spiderman film to date clocking in at 142 minutes. It tended to drag in parts that went on too long for no reason. Is this just because they were building up to the third and final instalment? Here’s hoping they will up the amazingness for that one. It seems so wrong that the lesser quality trilogy gets the ‘Amazing’ brand.

Damsel in distress
Damsel in distress

One obvious reason why The Amazing Spider-Man films don’t quite cut it is that there’s no Kirsten Dunst. SHE was my childhood superhero. So many great teen films… Bring It On (Peyton Reed, 2000), Drop Dead Gorgeous (Michael Patrick Jann, 1999), Get Over It (Tommy O’Haver, 2001), Dick (Andrew Fleming, 1999), The Hairy Bird (Sarah Kernochan, 1998). All such better films than any superhero film ever… *wait for the comic book nerds to get out their pitchforks* But honestly, I miss Kirsten Dunst as Mary Jane Watson. Her character was meant to be in the current film (played by Shailene Woodley) but was cut due to time constraints, which is sort of a shame (surely there was other stuff they could have cut instead). Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy is no match for Mary Jane (I mean Mary Jane was ON BROADWAY – she ALWAYS WINS). And please, Emma Stone, eat something. To be fair she was decent, as was the whole cast, though again, Dane DeHaan as Harry Osborne is no James Franco. And much less attractive. And I still hate him for murdering Dexter in Kill Your Darlings (John Krokidas, 2013) (that’s not a spoiler because it’s a true story). Felicity Jones, girlcrush, had a pretty minor role but apparently she gets more to do in the next one. Jamie Foxx played a decent villain but he’s better in Dreamgirls (Bill Condon, 2006). Dreamgirls is awesome. Jennifer Hudson can be another superhero.

Not as hot as James Franco
Not as hot as James Franco

There was ACTION of course, but, meh. It wasn’t that exciting. Some cool scenes in Times Square, and a satisfactory villain birth in the lab, but no edge-of-your-seat-HOLY-CRAPPOLA-THIS-IS-INSANE vibe. If you’re a mega-superhero fan (as in, the kind who likes the well-known superheroes, not random Anime stuff no one else has heard of) then you might get a kick out of it. But for the rest of the population who don’t get hard at the mention of the newest superhero trailer, you won’t really be missing much if you sit this one out. Except Andrew Garfield’s adorable face. It really is a shame Spiderman covers that up. Maybe his costume IS flawed. And so is this film.

3 stars

*DISCLAIMER: This reviewer knows nothing about comic books or superheroes. I’m sure I hid it well.

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