The most popular and loved Superhero makes his return to the screen—big or small—and whether you like the presentation or have grown past the fanboyism, you can’t help but appreciate the iconic Superhero. After the reboot in 2012, Marc Webb (500 Days of Summer) comes home with the second version in this mega budget Spider Man outing, with more action, heart-throbbing special effects, tangy angles, numerous subplots, and of course—the one, the only—Spidey is back! But one has to ponder on the consequences. Has Spider Man lived its glory? Is it time to shelve Spider Man, or may the writers and directors of Spider Man series’ be more creative and abject by giving us more of what Spider Man originally carried?
We start with the past, Peter’s (Andrew Garfield) parents—Richard and Mary Parker—fleeing away, after Richard Parker discovers the real face of Norman Osborn (Chris Cooper)—a revelation that could change the face and fate of OsCorp. Whilst a dazzling way to kick things off, it’s not until 30 minutes later in the movie, the present, that it really gets going after the electrocution of Max Dillon (Jamie Foxx), who then goes on to become Electro. During the same period, Norman Osborn passes away leaving his legacy to his son, Harry Osborne (Dane DeHann). Harry not only inherits the Empire but also the disease, which cripples him, maims him, prompts him—turning Harry into a Goblin, the Green kind. The disease starts appearing on his body and he deludes himself that the only way to survival is the blood of Spider Man. Things don’t go as planned for Harry and Electro, with them forming an allegiance against Spider Man and his lovebird, Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone).
As a legacy, Spider Man has a lot of goodwill working in its favor. The villains, the already immortal character, fan boys like yours truly and of course the financial backstopping that Spider Man is amidst a part. In itself, Spider Man remains this all assembled franchise where you needn’t ask for anything more… Yet, perhaps, you could? Whether it was Sam Raimi’s Spider Man trilogy or the current series helmed by Marc Webb, I’ve always wondered why these makers opt for a select number of adversaries as opposed to enhancing the array of Spider Man villains available in archive. Nonetheless, due to copyright matters and all the gloom, here we have The Amazing Spider Man, as it is.
The Amazing Spider Man 2 is another one of those could have been flicks. What would seem as a case of screenwriting training, the penning trio of Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, and Jeff Pinkner acclimatize with precarious plot devices, many straight from the book, in creating a perfectly textbook screenplay that becomes too methodical and fabricated as the story progresses. I’m not exaggerating when I say that any avid filmgoer could call the next scene or the next major sequence a mile before it actually happens. The range of characters, the multi-layered and intense story, and the way all these juxtapose together ends up making the movie a glorified pilot episode that would have been brilliant for television, but ends up being too much of an overdrive for a movie.
The brewing relationship dilemma and the romance between Peter and Gwen add the finer touches to the movie. The subtleties between Parker and Gwen bring up the human element, the sentimental hint, and their complex, complicated relationship; the profound depths of their predicament stand, by far, the most attractive acquisition of this installment. Having said, it might not be the silkiest road to romance and mutual understanding because there are times when these pious lovers love each other to the extent of consensual separation just because their love is far stronger than any other force in existence, which would be apt if it dared to make us empathize. Sadly not!
In an attempt to be something, The Amazing Spider Man 2 tries too hard, and at the pinnacle, crumbles apart because it has too much to say, yet very little is meaningful. Apart from the romance between Parker and Gwen; not much actually… Playing with layers and multiple subplots are some of the best tools in enhancing the experience for the viewers, which is quite a gallant intention from the writers. When you suppose it’s the writers of previous million-dollar spectaculars, the question to be raised, especially when it comes to this immortal franchise, why does Spider Man 2 seem so distraught and jarring despite having stellar special effects and a history of animation behind it? With that, I’d like to project my attention to Marc Webb, whom I feel just botches a spectacular chance in taking the series further than its predecessors did. The characters are part of a musical chair, they come and go, and chances are if you’ve watched major Superhero movies from the last fifteen years, you’ve watched everything The Amazing Spider Man 2 has to offer and more…
How many times before has lack of proper communication caused the world to fall apart? Tick. How many times has misunderstanding created rift between two superpowers? Tick. How many times has a friend felt betrayed for selfish reasons? Tick. How many times has your enemy’s enemy become your best friend? Tick. How many times… That’s right. And, none of these would have mattered, if Spider Man 2 dared to dream, as they say. In forcing a full-throttle superhero action drama, the makers have played it safe and so methodical that everything in the movie comes detached and at times, mind-boggling at the sheer stupidity of events, or the plain sadness in how Spider Man franchise has been beating a dead body over and over.
So yes… Let this spider bite you. Let the web slinger enchant you, but The Amazing Spider Man 2 isn’t the flawless reverence to the legend of Spider Man. The movie is still one heck of an experience, and for lovers of the hanging legend of Manhattan, you could give it a shot, but be assured, it’s not really worth any shot on its own merits. Probably the first time the Superhero is not the center of attraction in the movie, which could be decoded either way—positive because it is a mystery or negative because it feels like a sterile start to something else. Either way, this Spider Man edition has it all, as a paradox, and doesn’t have much… Capped by a ludicrous denouement, which we all get, the final 10 minutes was the slasher for me and summed this movie for what it deserved—something that could have been so much more, but as it stands, is nothing more than a disappointing flight from one skyscraper to the other in a trance beyond comprehension.