Remember that feeling you got while watching Iron Man 2, where it seemed less like you were watching an actual, self-contained film, but instead were witnessing blueprints being laid out for a future franchise? It suffered because it was far too interested in what lay down the road. Welcome to The Amazing Spider-Man 2!
Same problem, different film. I feel like Sony is butthurt by the success of Marvel Studios, and are now trying their damnedest to get in on the action of superhero universe building. I don't blame them. That's where the serious money is. Do we as the audience suffer in the meantime? That is the question, and it'll differ from person to person.
I did enjoy this movie. It kept me entertained, and it was refreshing to see a comic-book movie truly embrace the nature of a comic book, or a cartoon series, it was based on.
Spider-Man has never been dour or serious like Batman or Superman. Spidey has always been about fighting colourful, over-the-top villains while spouting cheeky one-liners, and fantastically swinging throughout a bustling metropolis. This is the very best interpretation of Spider-Man on film, by a long shot. Finally, they have figured out what he's all about, and it's a great credit to director Mark Webb and star Andrew Garfield that they manage to deliver that character to us after all this time. Sorry Sam Raimi, you just never quite got it.
Anytime Spider-Man is on screen, it's just perfect. Absolutely bang on. Here's the problem: Peter Parker takes up the bulk of the nearly two-and-a-half-hour run time. Don't get me wrong, I like Andrew Garfield as Peter, and he has good chemistry with Emma Stone's Gwen Stacey, but I paid to see The Amazing Spider-Man, not (500) Days of Peter of Gwen. I understand that their relationship is important, but do we need to beaten over the head with it? Especially while villains like Electro, The Green Goblin, and Rhino are running around? No! Get on with the action!
There's another problem, just way too much setup for the villains, and other important characters to come. Yes, as a Spider-Man fan, it's cool to see Felicia Hardy, who will become Black Cat, as Harry Osbourne's secretary. Neat, there's Colm Feore as an Oscorp board member who I assume will become The Vulture. BJ Novak from The Office as Alistair Smythe. Weeee! Fan service is fun and all, but give me a complete movie in there too.
There are just so many moving parts here that don't all add up. And even though the movie doesn't even really have a straightforward plot to speak of, it still somehow feels over plotted. How does that happen? Oh, right. Scripted by Alex Kurtzman and Bo Orci. That explains it.
The Amazing Spider-Man does a few things extremely well, and a whole lot of that is head-shakingly frustrating. There are terrific moments of comic-book action that feel like they leapt right off the page, such as the spectacular opening sequence. Then there are moments -- too many of them -- where you wonder "what the hell were they thinking?" There's a montage sequence of Peter doing some detective work on the disappearance of his parents set to the god awful musical choice of Phillip Phillip's Gone Gone Gone. Almost as bad as the emo Peter Parker sequence from Spider-Man 3. Almost
I still ended up liking it, but was very far from loving it. I'll watch it again at some point because I love the character, and it was gleefully comic booky at times. Call this a mild Good.