Mania Review: The Amazing Spider-Man 2 -

Mania Review

Mania Grade: B

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  • Starring: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Dane DeHaan, Jamie Foxx, Paul Giamatti, Sally Field and Colm Feore
  • Written by: Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, Jeff Pinkner and James Venderbilt
  • Directed by: Marc Webb
  • Studio: Sony Pictures
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Run Time: 142 minutes
  • Series:

Mania Review: The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Your Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man is back on the case.

By Rob Vaux     May 02, 2014

The Amazing Spider-Man 2
© Sony Pictures/Robert Trate

 The Amazing Spider-Man 2 features a serious spoiler that’s been haunting me. Most fans suspect a moment that more casual viewers may not be aware of, and said moment is very important to the fabric of the film. It’s here, and they present it with grace and class. It also goes a long way towards saving the movie from some significant problems. In point of fact, Amazing 2 is a bit of an overstuffed mess, with too many villains, too many plot threads and some serious dead spots in its two-and-a-half hour running time. Thankfully, it carries plenty of good stuff too, and in the balance, that turns it into the reliable entertainment we all hoped it would be.

Central to that is the central relationship between Spidey (Andrew Garfield) – now a well-established hero to the people of New York – and Gwen Stacey (Emma Stone), who loves him but is getting a little tired about his inability to commit. He worries for her safety and remembers the promise he made to her late father (Denis Leary) to stay away from her. That becomes problematic when a sad-sack stalker (Jamie Foxx) gets reborn as the vengeful Electro and Spidey’s buddy Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan) starts dabbling in his company’s dirty secrets.

That last part ties into the secrets of Peter Parker’s parents, along with a lot of extraneous baggage that really has no place in this film. Conspiracies and voices in the shadows are all well and good, but the more they build up, the less we care about them. The film works much better when it stick to the Peter’s dilemma with his girlfriend, as well as some of the more spectacular set pieces such as a show-stopping throw-down between Spidey and Electro in Times Square.

In fact, as long as the movie sticks to what its hero does best – thwarting evildoers while trying to maintain a personal life at the same time – it soars. We’ve missed some of the sunnier moments in comic-dom that The Amazing Spider-Man 2 embraces. There’s a cheerfulness here, a certain innocence that earlier movies have all but lost amid the sturm und drang. Marvel has always been good at balancing the gritty stuff with more comedic moments, but this is the first one in a while that really seems devoted to evoking a sense of child-like wonder. Garfield and Stone play a vital role in that. Their scorching chemistry remains undiminished, and despite the fact that the two are a long way from high school, they retain the freshness and exuberance of young people just starting out in life. (Sally Field chips in her two cents as well, with a couple of great moments as Peter’s Aunt May.)

No, the problem comes when the intricacies of plot start to tangle up, and the grand mystery Peter is hunting turns into so much empty nonsense. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 spends a great deal of time pumping up the murky origins of Oscorp’s evil schemes, but nothing to invest us in its outcome or hold our interest during the search. As a bad guy, Foxx does okay for himself, but his early scenes come uncomfortably close to Jim Carrey in Batman Forever – not exactly a model to emulate – and his villainous turn works better in visual terms than personal ones. DeHaan does quite well as Oscorp’s Goblin-in-waiting, finding a scary vibe to accent his existing creepiness. But it’s actually Paul Giamatti who hits the high point, bookending the film as the thuggish Rhino and finding the right over-the-top tone to cement the film’s four-color credentials.

You can sense a little bit of Avengers envy creeping into The Amazing Spider-Man 2. It tries to find that larger-than-life feeling with a reduced cast of characters, and ultimately comes across as busy rather than epic. Luckily, it keeps the central figure close, which remains the main purpose of the exercise and which survives intact despite more than its share of bumps and bruises. Garfield makes a terrific Spidey, and director Marc Webb guides him through the film’s elephantine structure with energy and good humor. The Winter Soldier remains the comic book movie to beat this year, but despite some wrong turns, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 still makes it across the finish line in decent time.


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Shogunn2517 5/2/2014 1:26:14 AM

 It was boring.


I can't describe how boring this movie was without boring myself doing it.


And why in the heck they showing a random Xmen scene at the end?  People were actually leaving the theater expecting the Brotherhood of Evil Mutnts to be the Sinister Six in the next movie....  ???


Ill give it this, I liked this characterization of Spiderman much better than the first one.  This was MUCH better.  But that was like only 30 minutes total of the movie.  Peter was still a douche though.

DarthBob 5/2/2014 5:01:09 AM

Sony...give the damn movie rights back to Marvel because the last three Spider-Man movies have been very underwhelming and ASM2 is the worst of the Spider-Man films to date.  I am done spending money on Sony's Spider-Man adaptations; each new release sucks more than its predecessor.  This movie isn't even close to a B, C minus to a D plus at best.

IRONMANIAC 5/2/2014 5:32:59 AM

Wow, I think you ae being VERY generous giving this movie a B, Rob. I normally agree overall with your taste, but man are we miles apart on this one.

Andrew Garfield was great. No denying that. The kid's a star. Some of the affects were cool. But Electro's origin and character before he became Electro felt like it cam from the same people who brought us Mr Freeze. It just felt really dated and corny.

And the Rhino? My kid and I were laughing at him. Just horrible. There is also the forshadowing of another villain, and I won't spoil it for those who have not seen the movie yet, but he was so over-the-top with his performance - It was just awful.

Clearly, someone got to Mark Web and made him create this turd. It's nowhere near as good as his first installment. B=Very disappointed, as if you couldn't tell. lol

Eldogg42 5/2/2014 6:11:02 AM

Saw it last night.  Agree with everyone so far and not the reviewer.  Rgino was definately a joke. Did they even use Paul Giamanti's voice.  Couldn't tell.  As far as Garfield,  there was point in the movie when taling to Aunt May, that his accent came fully out. Or at least some type of accent... A bad accent.  Jamie Foxx as Max Dillion = Suck*ss.  Great comparison about Jim Carrey in BMF.  Elctro on the otherhand was much better.  I thought the action scenes were the thing that might of saved the movie.  The whiney sad face moping Peter Parker, was just as annoying as Toby's turn in SM3.  Enough of the crying peter parker (except for the last part of movie, thats was acceptible). 

Iron@ If its who I'm thinking of, I am a little underwhelmed by who they chose as an actor for that part.  Not really who I would picture as him.

Yeah, so in the end, me and my friends, were disappointed.  Unfortunatly, I don't think DOFP will make up for this movie.  Will have to wait for GOTG get this bad taste out of my mouth.

monkeyfoot 5/2/2014 6:19:03 AM

Not reading yet. Will see it tomorrow.

BunyonSnipe 5/2/2014 7:39:08 AM

I enjoyed big chucks of it, but it felt like a huge wasted opportunity...

Elecrtro always seemed MORE dangerous in his other incarnations!

jonniej1017 5/2/2014 7:58:13 AM

:(    So disapointed by these reviews.. i was hoping it would be a much better movie.. I am still seeing it though

lazarus 5/2/2014 8:06:48 AM

I saw this at a sneak peek Wed and was not wanting to spoil it. But how the heck can spoil something this bad anyway. Anyone catch the corny web tendril turning into a hand trying to catch Gwen?

This movie was a complete CF. The best villian of the movie and they spend like 4-5 minutes on him. Rhino's character could have been epic but instead we got a freaking joke. It was like if Iron Man was a retard with an animal fixation.

Here is question. When SM takes that full on electrical bolt to the chest that sends him into a police car, how did he survive that? Seriously? I was an electrical engineer in the military and only .1 amps is needed to kill a human being. He was cranking out way more than that.

Sorry Rob disagree with your review, it was a lame entry into the SM world. Loved the wise cracking version of him but that was far too rare in this movie.

IRONMANIAC 5/2/2014 8:45:24 AM

LOL Lazarus on Rhino: "It was like if Iron Man was a retard with an animal fixation." My son said something to the same effect.

IRONMANIAC 5/2/2014 8:49:59 AM

Monkeyfoot, go in with REALLY low expectations - unless you like corny, over the top cliche's performances. Then, by all means, expect greatness.

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