Wednesday, April 30, 2014

"The Amazing Spider-Man 2" MOVIE REVIEW

The Amazing Spider-Man 2, it's action-packed, drama-heavy, (one of) the best teen-rom chemistry and pure comical adventure. Put them altogether and it's quite a mess.

I must say this one of, if not, my most anticipated movie of 2014. Been waiting for this sequel since the first movie came out in 2012, but before we proceed to my review of this film, let me first discuss my thoughts on the first film.

The Amazing Spider-Man was the re-boot of the franchise that came out way back in 2012. The film had an excellent cast, a good story with a really good twist to it. I ended up enjoying the movie, thinking this is the superior Spider-Man movie. But for some reason, the film isn't staying on me on home video. I started to see the flaws of the film that bothered most of the film's naysayers. 

First off, while the film did have clever fight scenes, but none are as memorable as the ones we've seen before. The film also brings up many question we all hoped will be all answered, but most aren't, which serves its purpose to build up for future sequels. And, the film is just too gritty and dark for Spider-Man. I get that they're trying a more realistic and practical approach to Spidey and even if they delivered well, it just feels odd the more you watch it. 

Now that I have covered the first film in three paragraphs, we now proceed to the matter at hand. 

Right off the bat, let me say that this is the coolest looking movie I've seen so far this year. By any means, the film is a lot more colorful than the first one. This film feels alot more confident about being a Spider-man movie, whereas the first film tries to live under the shadow of Nolan's The Dark Knight Trilogy. It almost feels like a re-boot of a re-boot. It doesn't feel like a sequel to The Amazing Spider-Man at all, until someone mentions Dr. Curt Connors and the trouble he caused as Lizard. 

The film features Peter Parker, played by Andrew Garfield, who is at the prime of his career as Spider-Man. Granted, the actor never looked 19-20 years old to me or to anyone at the theater, but he has perfectly portrayed a young man who has to deal with his double life as an ordinary college kid and superhero, even if life gets more "complicated". Andrew Garfield IS THE quintessential live-action Spider-Man. This is probably one of the biggest praise I could give to this movie.

Emma Stone's Gwen Stacey is also another hit in terms of acting and as a well written character. Thank goodness she's more than a damsel in distress, and even on a few occasions she is the hero, which makes her even more likable as a leading actress and probably one of the best in all comic book movies. 

The chemistry between Peter and Gwen are actually better than ever. We're talking about some really good teen romance chemistry that has ever been put to screen. There on and off relationship might be one of the reasons this movie drags up a bit, but you just can't get enough of seeing this two together on screen. 

Jaime did a good job portraying Spider-Man's super stalker, Max Dillion. Who then falls victim to an accident which will transform him to the electrifying freak show Electro. Serving as the main antagonist of the film, Electro has showcased his power, and by that, I mean he's absurdly powerful. He has imposed a real and great threat not only to Spider-Man but to the entire island of New York. Seriously, this guy puts whatever Lizard has up against Spider-Man to shame. 

Another great performance was from Dane DeHaan as Harry Osborn. He's definitely a better Harry Osborn than James Franco, seriously. And, him turning into the Green Goblin? Way different beast than William Dafoe. This guy is definitely killing it. 

The film does have some iconic fight scenes. Especially the fight scene at Times Square, were Spider-Man and Electro head on the battle of full on power and character, as both characters are portrayed perfectly in the scene and the collision was just brilliant. And, they are really colorful and brighter than ever, not like the first film where you could barely see the light. 
The film's story itself, however, feels bloated, not because it had too many characters, but it had too many plots. The film is goes into different directions, from one plot point to another, it's just all over the place. Sometimes it forgets the importance of each plot points to the point that things just fall short in terms of execution. 

Take the villains for example. This film is two hours long, and with three villains you feel like that length of time should be enough to cover the buildup of each villains. But nope, Rhino was only in the movie for like four minutes, Electro somehow completely disappears from the film in certain point in time and Venom had more screen time in Spider-Man 3 than Green Goblin did here. 

And as I have mentioned earlier, this films does drag. With all these drama, tension and build up, it's really hard to not miss Peter put on that Spidey suit and do his Spidey stuff. It would have been all good all these fillers captures our interest so we wouldn't realize that it is killing our time. But it's hard to not notice that almost have of them are repetitive. 

Would it be better if Peter and Gwen just break up in the first film and this film had Peter struggling to win Gwen back, instead of the on-and-off again route they went that is undeniable cute but repetitive? 

And with all this time killers, it's really disheartening to see the villains be underplayed. Taken, they are really good villains and they are well portrayed, but there's just not enough explorations to these characters to make us invested to their sudden twisted faith. At one point they are troubled souls and in a blink of an eye they are full on hateful super villains, no questions asked. Where's the buildup to these characters? Give us time to actually believe they have good reason to hate Spider-Man.

But with all these troubled build up do come together perfectly in the third act. The film just became more exciting during Spidey's last fight with Electro and then everyone just had chills when Green Goblin comes to take down Spider-Man. The "final fight" was thrilling, even if it was horrendously short. 

And talk about build up, we all know why certain characters that could have been in the movie, shouldn't have been in the movie are in the movie. That is their purpose was to build up for future sequels. This film also feels a bit like Iron Man 2, the film strays away from the actual story to focus on a buildup that contributes nothing to the story, as if the movie would have been better without it. That's marketing crap, you know, when you show 75% of the film in trailers? 

And yes that one scene we all knew coming. Even though we've read it in the comics, even though if it was hinted many times in the trailers, when everything came down, it still hits you hard like the first time. Especially if you're unfamiliar with the comics or trailers, I can hear people at my theater crying and I teared up a bit. Yes, this is the first time it happened in any comic book movies to me. It was a bit different, but perfectly portrayed, yet it still hits you in your gut, really hard. 

The movie is filled with iconic shots, looks like Director Marc Webb learned a thing or two from Zack Snyder. He's also very attached to soundtrack of this film. He wanted the music that would feel as contemporary and kinetic as Spider-Man, and composers Hans Zimmer and the Magnificent Six has come up with the perfect soundtrack for the film. It surely isn't Zimmer's best work compared to others, but it's definitely a step up the previous score of the first film. This film is definitely a must-see in 3D, no questions asked. 

If you're expecting a mid-credit scene, just go when the credits starts rolling. It's just another marketing crap that doesn't really make sense. 

Final Verdict 

If there's one thing we've learned about The Amazing Spider-Man 2, is that whenever you make a sequel of something, you always go bigger. But sometimes, bigger isn't always better. If you can look past its obvious short comings and its messy buildup, this film can be something truly Amazing.  

It's disappointing I couldn't give this movie an A, because it doesn't deserve an A. However, I'm relieved that this film will never get my lowest grading. Because no matter how scruffy the story is, this movie is just visually amazing and I loved every single bit of its visual extravaganza and I just can't deny that. That's why I have to give them credit for that. 

You can check out my original fan-made poster I used for this review on my DeviantART account by clicking HERE

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