Review: Amazing Spider-Man 2 looks stunning, but is a tad too long

What we have in the end is not an amazing Spiderman, but a mildly engaging, intermittently interesting and ultimately disappointing Spiderman.

Tanushree Bhasin May 02, 2014 13:13:57 IST
Review: Amazing Spider-Man 2 looks stunning, but is a tad too long

What’s there in the Spidey tale, that hasn’t already been told? Only a few years separate Mark Webb's The Amazing Spider-Man series from the Tobey Maguire starrer Spider-Man trilogy, and there isn’t much about the superhero in question that’s shrouded in mystery. Though the creators felt that the amazing Spiderman needed a new suit, the film didn’t try much else in the way of reinvention. Not a huge fan of the prequel either, I was left quite bored by most of The Amazing Spider-man 2.

The film starts off with a rather interesting narrative jump into the reasons behind Peter Parker's abandonment by his parents as a child. We see how Peter's father, a researcher at Oscorp was forced to leave his son and escape for fear of his life and how both he and his wife are mercilessly murdered on a plane.

But upon returning to present day Peter Parker, the plot suddenly drops its pace and questions about his father are shoved (quite literally) into the closet. As sub-plots compound and explode uncontrollably in all directions, the film’s entire focus shifts to the continuing teenage romance between Parker (Andrew Garfield) and Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) – and the fact that they can’t stop their past from haunting them.

Gwen’s father, minutes before dying, had made Peter promise that he’d stay away from the daughter. And Peter’s guilt and confusion eventually leads to a series of break-ups and make-ups. But the sheer frequency of these ends up making the entire exchange a bit too hollow. To be fair, the two have unbelievable chemistry and are enchanting together. Their exchanges, which are at once goofy and charming – are quite fun to watch and they both share a wonderful sense of comic timing.

Confusion, it seems, is a part of the film’s commendable effort of harking back to the original comic book. Especially the Peter Parker–Spiderman dichotomy, which is revived brilliantly by Garfield. The prompt quips, science babble and the general friendliness of the super-arachnid is revived and Garfield even stops to help out a kid who was being bullied in an alley.

As the two teenagers quarrel, New York is left completely in the dark (literally) by Max (Jamie Foxx) an under-confident Oscorp engineer who mutates into Electro after a bizarre accident that involved him being electrocuted while simultaneously attacked by electric eels. While Electro remains the main villain in the film, the writers have thrown in a couple of other super villains into the fray, with both the Green Goblin and Rhino turning up for the party.

This overabundance was perhaps to ensure that Spidey does remain amazing, but unfortunately this isn’t the case. Peter’s former best friend, Harry Osborne returns home, jaded and dying. But eventually, he falls out with Peter and manages to convert himself to the Green Goblin. The Goblin, though an iconic Spiderman villain, is wasted in the film especially since the Sam Raimi directed trilogy had exhausted the Goblin-Osborne family of all plot possibilities. Dane DeHaan is occasionally brilliant as Harry Osborne, though his presence in the film becomes yet another subplot which is unsurprising and insufficiently explored.

Review Amazing SpiderMan 2 looks stunning but is a tad too long

The Amazing Spiderman-2 will ultimately leave you disappointed. Image from Facebook.

Depending on who you want to believe, the film cost anywhere between $200 million to $300 million. And you can tell where the money went because the film looks absolutely stunning. The carefully choreographed action sequences don’t blow your mind because of the excess – things don’t explode unless they need to, cars don’t fly about unrealistically. Instead, the fights that Spiderman finds himself in are brilliant to watch because of its unusual restraint.

But behind the gloss, the film – which runs well over two hours – stretches its narrative limits to the very final limit. In a world where the arena of comic book films have been redefined by the exuberance of the Avengers and the broodiness of Batman, this film seems to lose itself. It tries at once to be a New York romantic comedy, an action film, a film about the lonely office employee, a film about lost and absent fathers and occasionally a comic book film.

What we have in the end is not an amazing Spiderman, but a mildly engaging, intermittently interesting and ultimately disappointing Spiderman.

Updated Date:

also read

Gone Girl actor Lisa Banes in critical condition after hit-and-run accident in New York City
Entertainment

Gone Girl actor Lisa Banes in critical condition after hit-and-run accident in New York City

Lisa Banes is being treated for “substantial injuries” after getting struck by a motorcycle in Manhattan

Tribeca Film Festival 2021: Pan Nalin’s Last Film Show is an ode to how we interact with cinema as kids
Entertainment

Tribeca Film Festival 2021: Pan Nalin’s Last Film Show is an ode to how we interact with cinema as kids

Pan Nalin's Gujarati film is an ode as much to movie-going as to movie-making. He romanticises the 35mm experience but stops short of decrying digitisation as the death of cinema.

Shiva Baby movie review: Emma Seligman's satire is a compelling study on sexuality, parenthood and millennialism
Entertainment

Shiva Baby movie review: Emma Seligman's satire is a compelling study on sexuality, parenthood and millennialism

Shiva Baby has the potential of becoming the cinematic equal of The Graduate in regards that both films are the youth’s mouthpiece, reflecting a time of hopeless ennui and disillusionment.