Review Rating: 7.5
Spiders have Spoilers too!
Everyone’s favorite wall-crawler is back, to tackle nerd-turned-villain Electro, a rather crazy Harry Osborne as Green Goblin, and even a crazed machine-wearing Rhino!
Whew! Why, why, why so many villains in one movie? That’s three for Pete’s sake (get it?!), even the third movie of the previous Spiderman films didn’t go there. Maybe it’s because of the manner in which the movie was laid out story-wise. Often what plot there is, is breathlessly explained before Spidey has to dash off to yet another terrific web-slinging scene where he effortlessly trusses up bad guys while swooping through the air hanging by a thread! But is that fair to Spidey? Hardly. Nor is it fair to Gwen Stacey (Emma Stone), who is quite determined to continue dating Peter, despite the inherent spider-related dangers involved. Peter loves Gwen, and she loves him, their on-screen chemistry really is great. But skipping a girlfriends-family-dinner due to safety concerns, or missing Gwen’s valedictorian speech because he’s saving New York yet again, doesn’t make for a solid story, it’s just polaroids of the stuff Spidey’s stressing over. Our beloved wall crawler deserves better.
So Peter’s (Andrew Garfield) finally graduated high school, barely. Gwen’s already working, for Oscorp, big surprise. And somewhere in Oscorp, there’s this utter nerd who’s practically invisible to everyone else, Max Dillon (Jamie Foxx). Apparently a genius at things like power grids, Max gets starry-eyed when he’s saved by Spider-man, and his infatuation turns into full-blown fanaticism when, forced to stay late on his birthday at Oscorp and fix the power grid, Max gets his poor self involved in an accident that turns him into the bitter blue pill to swallow, Electro! But poor Max is confused and lost, and when he goes to Spider-man for help, in a huge electrical bonfire of a “look at my new powers! oh crap – the police!” scene, rampant destruction is sizzling all around him, and Max decides, as Oscorp hauls him away, that yes, if he can’t be famous, he’ll be infamous. Spidey betrayed him (I had to ask, how you figure that?) and now Electro will get his revenge, just as soon as he can break out of Oscorp’s basement. Which leads us to…
Harry Osborne (Dane DeHaan) was nowhere to be found in the first Spider-man reboot. Nor was he ever mentioned, as I recall. Well, whatever. He’s back from wherever he went off too, to see his father dying from what is generally termed the Osborne curse, some sort of physical malady that literally turns them into a goblin-like creature. … Okay? Sure, we’ll go with that. Osborne Sr. has just passed on from the curse, Harry thinks he’s just going to be taking over the company lickety-split (boy is he in for a rude shock), and there’s only one thing standing in his way: Harry thinks he needs, wait for it, Spider-man’s blood in order to stop his families legacy from destroying Harry from the inside-out! Well, we can’t do that, it’s far too dangerous. Hell, Spidey even drops in on Harry in full costume and tries to explain, only to get ejected and reviled for his trouble. It’s not as though Harry Osborne is used to rejection, but his reaction is a bit much. We’re gonna…let me see if I have this right – break into Oscorp, steal the spider venom of the original spider-creatures that Peter’s own father was working on, and inject ourselves in the hopes that that will do something against the Osborne curse. Well, it did something all right. And the Goblin legacy is born, complete with outfit and flyer jacked from Oscorp on the way out! Where is he going? Why, to go confront Spider-man for yet another betrayal (boy Pete just can’t catch a break from all these betrayals), immediately after Spidey’s amazing electrical combat with Electro in the cities power grid! But wait. Gwen, being the iron-determined girl she is, has chosen to be with Spider-man in these moments of confrontation, and she pays the final price for it. Tossed off a roof that’s imploding, Spidey is desperate to save the woman he loves with all his soul, no matter what it might cost him. The manner of Gwen’s death, as portrayed in the film, can be interpreted as the same as Stacey’s original death, but a watered-down version. Which is such a damn shame, their love and her death deserved more, than just a blip of a funeral and hey it’s been a few months and everyone is still depressed, where did Spider-man go?
And that is the one thing that ASM 2 has truly going for it – Spider-man himself. Whenever Peter puts on that mask (not the outfit mind you, we see him often shucking his tights with burns, acid holes and other who-knows-what-that-was stains), he literally becomes another person entirely. The best scenes of the movie are where Spidey swoops in to save the day, and always and forever has a kind word for each and every downtrodden schmo he just rescued. Spidey makes a point of making every single last person, all those faceless saps just existing and going through the motions out there in New York, feel like they matter, and to Spider-man too. That truly is amazing. The graphics are terrific and all, and yes, watching Spidey fly through the air with the greatest of ease about New York’s skyscrapers is awesome, but it’s these small moments of Spider-mans kindness that truly get us.
So Peter is in mourning and the movie is about to end, in sadness and despair. Right? Wait! What happened to Paul Giamatti as Rhino? *le sigh* He got tacked on in a minute fourth act, that’s what. Rhino, in his badass mech-rhino suit, is rampaging down a city street, and there isn’t diddly the police can do. Where is Spider-man? He needs to be reminded, yet again, about that whole “with great power comes great responsibility” deal, but not by this method. Every little boy (and girl too, why be biased?) should emulate his hero, but not to the point of donning a costume with no powers whatsoever and stepping out to confront the mechanized monster. The Amazing Spider-man does don his mask and swing in to save the day, of course, but damn after this if he hasn’t finally earned some rest! A Heroes work is never done.
Swing along with Spidey and his Oscorp troubles in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 on Amazon Prime Video now!