PG-13. But I'll tell you right now, it all comes down to two scenes mostly. Two scenes scared the living daylights out of my kids. I'm talking about how the villains got their powers. I think this might be the scariest scene in every Spider-Man movie. The villain's origin story is usually pretty terrifying. Oh, except for Sandman. It just looks gnarly. (I know that's a subjective opinion.) There's some language and violence. There's underwear. A major character dies. These are all things that can traumatize a child, especially the underwear. PG-13.
DIRECTOR: Marc Webb
I'M STILL GIGGLING! His name is Marc WEBB! Like Spider-Man's web! There's no way that the universe loves me this much to let me write an analysis of a movie about Spider-Man directed by a man named "Marc Webb." I just wrote a review for The Amazing Spider-Man, the first movie in the reboot franchise. There's probably going to be a bit of repetition. As bold of a stance that I took on the first film saying that it was better than people remember, I think I was still scared of the Internet when I wrote it. I think I dunked a little bit on The Amazing Spider-Man 2 in that analysis. But I'm a coward and I kind of want to backpedal on some of that stuff. See, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is far from perfect. (I'm doing it again!) There's a handful of things that I would completely shave off of this movie, especially considering the bloated runtime. But The Amazing Spider-Man 2 isn't a bad movie. I'd actually go as far as to say that it is pretty good.
Here's my uphill climb. It's going to go beyond the safe place with this movie. A lot of people like the costume from The Amazing Spider-Man 2 because it looks like Mark Bagley or Eric Larsen designed it. Okay, I do like the costume a lot. But I also like the other costumes, especially the one from Homecoming. There's so much more going on. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is a pretty good movie because it challenges our hero in the right ways. He has made this promise in the first film that is actually difficult for him to endure. I'm so used to the trope of keeping a promise secret. It's always so clunky. It is removed from reality. By having Gwen aware of the secret, it gives her such agency. She is an active part in the story. She sympathizes and is allowed to say that Peter doesn't have to put up with this. For being welded to the superhero genre pretty closely as a promise, I think that's how I would handle this situation. Peter kind of sucks at keeping his promise of staying away from Gwen and he hates himself for it. Knowing the mythology of Spider-Man, that is even more important. Captain Stacey's dying wish of having Peter away from Gwen becomes this weird soothsayer moment. Comic fans know what's going to happen. I'm really against fridging characters, especially when it comes to comic book properties. But Gwen Stacey is a well-developed character. Gwen's death is central to Peter's narrative and the other versions always tend to set that idea up without actually pulling the trigger (pun intended). We keep getting Gwen as a half idea and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is finally the story that completes the narrative. On top of that, Gwen isn't a push over. She isn't the frustrated girlfriend that the original run had her as. Gwen hated Spider-Man from moment one in the comic books. (If I remember correctly. It's been a while since I got to my '70s era Amazing Spider-Man books.) But by having Gwen in on the secret, she becomes Peter's conscience and motivation to be the best Spider-Man that he can be. Keep in mind, any comic fan worth his salt knows that Gwen isn't in the picture later on. Everything that is happening in this film is the motivation for Peter being caution for the rest of his career. I can't stand that Sony keeps rebooting these stories because they don't make back the expected amount of money projected. These stories are awesome setups for movies that never happen.
That's what I want. These movies are far more solid than people and Sony make them out to be. They aren't the DCEU (shots fired!). There's no need to reboot what is setup here. We keep getting Spider-Man in pieces. The whole narrative is far from being told. Instead, we have to get building blocks that get knocked down before the tower becomes truly impressive. That's not to say that The Amazing Spider-Man 2 doesn't stand on its own. It really does. It's got the self-contained story of Electro and Harry Osborn, but it does set up for future films. I'm not an idiot. Sony is desperately copying the MCU and I really don't like them for that. But from Marc Webb's perspective, he's trying to maintain a balance between making sure that his movie exists as part of a franchise and can exist on its own. It answers some of the questions from the first movie, which is what is expected from a movie like this. Sure, not a lot of people really cared about Richard and Mary Parker. I talked about that in my previous review and I stand by it. But it does its job. It answered questions. It continued in a positive way. On top of that, Peter has grown as Spider-Man. I'm thinking of another Sony property, the Bond franchise. (I'm sorry I keep drawing water from this well. It's just that it works really well as something that has lasted a long time and has clearly delineated phases.) The Daniel Craig Bond movies have the character stay at the same level of confidence. Every movie in that series seems to be a Bond Begins movie. Even the Dark Knight movies take Batman, give him two movies where he's kind of a novice, and then retire him immediately. But Spider-Man, in this movie, makes strides. He goes from being this figure in the shadows handling small crimes and mainly seeking revenge to being a brightly lit public figure. The movie starts with an insane armored car chase that is already night and day from anything in the first movie. Please, don't misunderstand me. I'm not saying chaos and action are what make a movie good. But for Spider-Man, it is an indication to how he views himself in the world. He is escalating. Since his battle with the Lizard, he knows that he is able to do bigger and more important things. For the first time, an action sequence indicates character development.
There are a few things that suck. Again, I'm a fan of this movie. But the big thing that always makes me groan is Jamie Foxx's portrayal of Max Dillon. I don't hate the later stages of Electro, but there's something way too cornball about nerdy Max Dillon. The reboot franchise tries its best to ground absolutely absurd ideas in the real world. It doesn't always succeed, but it always tries. But Max Dillon as the archetypal nerd seems almost Tim Burton-y in this universe. I don't deny that socially awkward people exist on scales that might match Foxx's Dillon, but there's no way to really relate to that character on the grand scale. The goal was to make this character sympathetic. Villains that are sympathetic are great, but he just comes across as clunky. There's no real attempt at acting so much as it is overacting. That's such a bummer because Electro is the main villain of the movie. It's an odd dynamic. Harry is the behind the scenes guy. He is pulling the strings, but Harry is also in the movie for a minority of the movie. We know that he's there, but Harry is only just starting to become the Green Goblin. So Electro as the face of the movie is important and it takes a long time to accept him as the villain. This is the movie that made me like Dane DeHaan. I wrote an analysis of Valerian and I cited this film. He's really good as Harry Osborn, especially compared to James Franco. But again, Harry gets underserved. He's being set up for sequels and his appearance in this is terrifying, but short. I'll never know what's up with that. In some ways, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is Avengers: Age of Ultron. So much of it is setting up for future franchise stuff, like that room with all of the tech, that we never get paid off. I mean, Age of Ultron paid it off in spades. But you know what I mean. There's just these moments where Webb is making demonic Sony happy and that's a real bummer. Also, and I can't state this enough, no one cares about Richard and Mary Parker. We care about Uncle Ben and Aunt May. That's who we care about.
I wish people wouldn't dog this movie so hard or gag when I say that I like it. That "Itsy Bitsy Spider" part is cute. Also, Electro is doing it on purpose and even Spider-Man comments on it. It's meant to be what it is. So leave it alone. Yeah, it's bloated and has some bad choices. But as a whole, the movie is far more watchable than people make it out to be. I would even go as far as to say that I like it. Unapologetically, I like The Amazing Spider-Man 2.
I'm waiting to get ripped apart.
Film is great. It can challenge us. It can entertain us. It can puzzle us. It can awaken us.
Mr. H has watched an upsetting amount of movies. They bring him a level of joy that few things have achieved.