I’m not going to lie. This review isn’t going to be easy to write. I saw The Amazing Spider-Man opening night, and my head is still spinning. This review is going to be as much for me as it is for you. I’m going to use it as a way to sort out my feelings about the movie. Maybe you can use it to help you decide whether or not you’re going to see it, or whether or not you agree with me if you’ve already seen it. Alright. Let’s talk about The Amazing Spider-Man 2.
Most people were skeptical when Sony decided to reboot the Spider-Man film franchise back in 2012, just five years after Spider-Man 3. But that skepticism was proven unnecessary by the reboot film The Amazing Spider-Man. People went crazy over it. They loved the new Spider-Man and wanted to see more.
In the wake of The Amazing Spider-Man’s success, Sony announced not one, not two, but three sequels. They proceeded to announce plans to expand the Spider-Man film franchise into its own cinematic universe (similar to what Marvel has going with MCU) with new films focusing on Spider-Man villains to fill the gaps between the main Amazing Spider-Man films. Cue the skeptics again. And again, the skeptics are being proven wrong, this time by The Amazing Spider-Man 2. This film not only serves as a great sequel to the first one; it also sets up the universe that Sony is trying to create for Spider-Man, and I think it does a good job.
First of all, let’s talk about the Spider-Man himself, Peter Parker. I think Andrew Garfield is the perfect Peter Parker. I have nothing against Tobey Maguire, but I don’t feel like he captured all the aspects of Parker’s character the way Andrew Garfield does. In The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Spider-Man is very human. He struggles with ethical crises. He searches for his history and for his own identity. He makes some questionable choices. Yes, he’s still quirky and aloof as Peter Parker should be, but he also has a depth that really makes him compelling, and I think that’s why people like the rebooted Spider-Man better than the original.
We also have to talk about Peter and Gwen. The single best thing about this film is the relationship we see between them. The characters have chemistry that just makes you root for them, but they have to deal with complications that are very real and have high-stake consequences. The scenes between Peter and Gwen are awkward and adorable and just plain funny. They’re a couple you can invest in, and that really drives this movie.
Not that there isn’t plenty of cool action. Spider-Man pulls out some new stunts in this movie as he takes on Electro and other foes, and they make for some pretty neat fight sequences. You’ll be on the edge of your seat a couple of times. I think this movie has a good balance between action and plot that doesn’t make it seem too long, but also doesn’t leave the viewer feeling unsatisfied.
This movie also has some really funny moments. A few of the jokes were cheesy, but most of them were hilarious. Peter Parker is really witty in this series, and it shows. No matter what character he gets paired with, he finds a way to crack some jokes. Spider-Man could be preparing to fight his worst enemy to the death, but he would still take the time to make fun of his outfit first. And I love that. It punctuates the action just right and shows that even though Spider-Man is a superhero, he still has some edge.
Some people were afraid that having three villains in one Spider-Man film would end in disaster (Spider-Man 3, anyone?). And even some reviewers now are saying that the film spread itself too thin. I disagree. First of all, one of the villains only appears in the last few minutes as an introduction for his presence in the next one. And the other two villains are introduced well and even work together in a way that makes sense. I think they chose the right villains for this movie, and I don’t think three was too many in this particular instance.
Not that The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was perfect. A couple of characters in this one were a little bit over-the-top. Harry Osborn was very exposition-y, and his transformation from teenage billionaire to demented supervillain seemed a little sudden. But, there’s probably a lot more to him than we know, so we’ll just have to wait and see. Electro looked cool, but his personality made him seem like he belonged more in an 80s comic book film than a modern superhero movie. The whole “crazed fan turned worst enemy” thing seemed a little recycled (maybe because Iron Man 3 just did something similar), but the movie moves past it pretty quickly.
This film gets a lot of things right, and even its flaws are forgivable. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is a great movie. It takes risks, it makes you feel, and it gives us another chance to marvel at how cool Spider-Man is. It also hints at the future of the Spider-Man universe (hint: The Sinister Six) without distracting away from the main plot of the movie. I think this film is a winner, and I think the box office results are going to reflect that. Check out The Amazing Spider-Man 2, and get excited for all the Spider-Man goodness to come!