The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)
What exactly would it take to convince the people at Sony Pictures that their reboot of the web-slinging superhero is just not working? Like I mentioned in my review of The Amazing Spider-Man that the new Spider-Man movie was miles away from ‘amazing’ & was simply no match to Sam Raimi’s version in almost any filmmaking department, I also emphasised that it was a needless reboot which shouldn’t have been made in the first place. The origin story was a spectacular letdown compared to what was expected from it but since those setbacks rarely affect the Hollywood studios nowadays, a needless sequel was in the works already, which finally surfaced earlier this month. And at least the one thing where The Amazing Spider-Man 2 didn’t disappoint me is in the fact that I expected it to be an utter crap & it truly lived up to that prediction.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 opens with an interesting prologue showing the fate of Peter Parker’s parents after they left him at his uncle’s place. Shot into the present, we see Parker not having much trouble when it comes to fighting crime as Spider-Man but has strange hallucinations of the deceased Captain Stacy whenever he’s with Gwen (because he promised to keep her out of it, didn’t he?). Soon arriving in town are the new formidable villains, starting with Electro; a once Spider-Man obsessed fan named Max working as an electrical engineer at Oscorp where a mishap mutates him into a living electric generator. Next comes Harry Osborn; heir of Oscorp industries & Peter Parker’s childhood friend who in his pursuit of finding the cure to the hereditary illness his father died from transforms into Green Goblin. And finally we have a dim-witted Russian criminal equipped in an electromechanical suit of armour & calling himself Rhino but the less I talk about this ass-wimp, the better it is.
Director Marc Webb tries to do so many things at once in this sequel that the movie as a whole becomes entangled in its own webbing. There’s so much of padding done in its story yet not a single one of its sub-plots come out as well as one would’ve liked. To name a few: There are 3 villains (not really), their backstories, their confrontation with Spider-Man, the Gwen/Peter love story, Peter/Harry friendship, Peter’s relationship with his Aunt May & his continued search to uncover his father’s secrets. The direction by Webb fails for the 2nd time in a row along with everything else. The script has nothing new to offer, the camerawork is more focused on the 3D experience rather than contributing to the story, the runtime of 142 minutes is felt despite its rushed pace & the visual effects is where major portion of its quarter-billion budget seems to have been expended. Hans Zimmer takes the responsibility of scoring this movie from James Horner (who scored the previous chapter) but this time even he fails to deliver.
Coming to the acting department, there isn’t much wrong with the admirable cast The Amazing Spider-Man 2 presents except for one particular problem; they all fail to deliver. With a cast consisting of Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx, Sally Field, Dane DeHaan, Paul Giamatti & others, this film had the opportunity to deliver excellent all-round performances but thanks to its undeveloped scripted characters & Webb’s lazy direction, it didn’t happen. The recurring characters add nothing new to the movie & deliver the same scale performances as the last film. Also here, it looked as if both Max & Harry turned into villains only because they considered Spider-Man as their friend but Spidey didn’t have the same feelings, thus breaking their hearts. Jamie Foxx totally hams his way through as Max/Electro while DeHaan shines more as Harry than Goblin. Still, Electro is the main villain here, Goblin is present only during the final moments & Rhino almost doesn’t even exist in this falsely advertised flick.
The few good things in the movie, however, are the new Spider-Man costume that’s little modified & now closely resembles its comic-book look, the Gwen/Peter chemistry which sometimes work sometimes fail but still moves the story forward, Peter/Harry dynamic which should’ve been explored a bit further & the prologue which opens the film on a high note. The things that go wrong are way too many, most of which I’ve already mentioned but if I’ve to add more, then it would be its aimless narrative, corny script, poor characterization, too many unnecessary or boring sequences, impressive effects but lacklustre action & Paul Giamatti’s extraordinarily pathetic performance as Rhino or whatever the name of his Russian character was. On an overall scale, the second chapter of this needlessly rebooted franchise delivers another lifeless cinematic experience & proves that the team has learned nothing from the mistakes it made in the last movie. Following into the footsteps of The Amazing Spider-Man, which was already a dull start, this sequel adds more extravagant elements into its production only to end up choking on it & just like its predecessor, it isn’t amazing at all.