‘Amazing Spider-Man 2′ Early Reviews: A Bigger ‘Spider-Man’ Sequel – But Is It Better?

Published 3 months ago by , Updated April 9th, 2014 at 12:42 pm,

amazing spider man 2 reviews Amazing Spider Man 2 Early Reviews: A Bigger Spider Man Sequel   But Is It Better?

[The following Amazing Spider-Man 2 review excerpts are SPOILER-FREE.]

Spider-Man 3 is generally regarded to be the weakest link in Sam Raimi’s chain of films about the eponymous Marvel superhero, though it also wasn’t so much of a comic book movie franchise-killer on par with, say, Batman & Robin. However, for reasons that had more to do with concerns about the growing cost of Raimi’s Spider-Man series than diminishing artistic merits, the web-slinger’s cinematic property was rebooted five years thereafter, with The Amazing Spider-Man.

For that reason, director Marc Webb’s Spider-Man film reboot started off on the wrong foot with a number of fans, even before they had seen a single frame of footage; that TASM was sandwiched between two bonafide superhero movie “events” - The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises - didn’t help either. Nevertheless, Webb’s movie was a success at the box office and earned an overall respectable critical reception (read our review), which is why Sony is releasing The Amazing Spider-Man 2 this year and has big plans for the future of this franchise.

One thing should be obvious by now, assuming that you’ve been paying attention to the Amazing Spider-Man 2 marketing: this sequel is far bigger than its predecessor, with regard to every aspect of the film (emotional stakes, action, villain count, etc.). We all ought to know by now that “bigger” doesn’t necessarily equate to a great blockbuster sequel, so it raises the question: is Marc Webb’s new Spider-Man installment better, worse, or the same quality as the first chapter in his take on the Peter Parker story?

The first wave of Amazing Spider-Man 2 reviews has hit the ‘Net, and so far the critical consensus is perhaps best summarized by the following spoiler-free review excerpt (click the link for the full review):

THR

2012′s The Amazing Spider-Man has its passionate defenders… but it sure took its sweet time gluing the radial spokes of its web into place. Now that effort pays off with its sequel, a more intricately woven skein of action, effects, character development and cheesy one-liners… The plot gets itself tangled up in multiple villain strands, but in the main, this installment is emotionally weightier and more satisfying than its predecessor.

The Amazing Spider Man 2 Spidey vs Electro Amazing Spider Man 2 Early Reviews: A Bigger Spider Man Sequel   But Is It Better?

Our impressions of the Amazing Spider-Man 2 footage that was shown during an extended preview were similar, in that the material that was revealed likewise pointed to a superhero movie that benefits from its director having more confidence, as well as increased certainty about what sort of film he’s making (e.g. a grand-scale pulpy yarn with costumed heroes battling larger-than-life menaces).

There is a downside to that, though, which is that Webb’s new superhero movie ends up being a little too big for its britches – at least, that’s what most of the first reviews for Amazing Spider-Man 2 would have you believe:

Screen Daily

But while this lengthy (much too lengthy in truth) sequel delivers plenty to enjoy there is a niggling suspicion that it succeeds thanks to goodwill and the charm of its leads rather than a smart script and controlled sense of direction… The Amazing Spider-Man 2 comes close to losing its way due to its overly-plotted baddies and the need for spectacular pyrotechnics…

 Hey U Guys

[Director Marc] Webb comes into his element as we approach the latter stages… striking a strong balance between frivolity and sincerity, which is no easy task. His job is made easier by an array of impressive performances, as Garfield shines as our titular protagonist… There is a brilliant chemistry between Garfield and Stone too, so natural and playfully flirtatious…

Jumping off from that point – the aforementioned “brilliant chemistry” between real-life couple Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone, playing Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy in Amazing Spider-Man 2, is cited as being the glue that keeps this stuffed superhero movie sequel together (as well as the true “heart” of the film), according to the critics thus far.

Variety

The swiftly delivered “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” finds no solution to that redundancy, but it acrobatically spins enough sound and fury to distract from the issue, while the tinderbox chemistry between leads Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone delights once more.

The Telegraph

Marc Webb, returning after the last installment, again shows a better feel for the relationships than he does for juggling all the overlapping story elements. At times, with its many villains, this one veers perilously close to the overplotted trouble zone of Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 3… The thing is, all the electricity Webb needs is right before him, in the continued perfect match of his leads.

amazing spider man 2 peter gwen garfield stone Amazing Spider Man 2 Early Reviews: A Bigger Spider Man Sequel   But Is It Better?

That Amazing Spider-Man is better at building the comic book movie franchise – laying the groundwork for later installments – than providing a satisfying stand-alone experience is a common complaint. It comes as little surprise to hear that similar issues are being taken with the sequel (see below), considering how many additional chapters and/or spinoffs to the series have already begun moving down the pipeline.

Digital Spy

[The] Amazing Spider-Man 2 seems more like an exercise in calculated franchise architecture than its does a cohesive stand-alone blockbuster… Despite the uneven nature of the whole endeavour, praise needs to go to Garfield for holding it all together.

The Playlist

Sony seems to have taken the lesson from the mammoth success of “The Avengers” that people want an abundance of characters in their superhero movies, but the script… flits around from plotline to plotline shapelessly, and the result is something bloated… It’s a film of many scenes, but not much structure, of many events, but no real plot…

On the whole, though, it sounds as though Webb brings enough in the way of innovation to the table in Amazing Spider-Man 2 that the film should win over the majority of everyday moviegoers – or, at least, those who are down with this particular rendition of the Spider-Man saga (introduced in the previous installment):

The Guardian

Marc Webb’s spring blockbuster is the sequel to the reboot of the movie adaptation of the original Marvel comic-books, which is another way of saying it’s a copy of a copy. But if the Spider-Man tale is about anything, it’s about gawky youth and surging powers. And the film-makers know this and keep the tone skittish and fresh.

Are you encouraged/discouraged by the initial critical buzz for Amazing Spider-Man 2? Be sure and let us know in the comments (and look for Screen Rant’s official review when the film opens in U.S. theaters)!

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The Amazing Spider-Man 2 opens in U.S. theaters on May 2nd, 2014.

Source: See the aforementioned links

TAGS: spider-man, the amazing spider-man 2

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  1. Basing it on the trailer this movie is all CGI and fans will be overwhelmed by it that this movie has so plenty of character to carry. But on the bright side, TASM2 will still be no.1 on the release date no doubt. Andrew and Emma’s relationship will make this movie alive and interesting. But again its just CGI OVERLOAD.

  2. By the way, just a suggestion because of the weight of the CGI their using in TASM2 looking at the trailers they released. Theaters showing this movie should put a sign “Not suitable for people with epilepsy and seizures”.

  3. Again, let me ask people. How the hell is Amazing Spiderman 2 not an amazing story?!? You got two people, who in the beginning of the film are best buds. Who genuinely admire each other, one is an electrician who personally knows Peter Parker as a role model and the other is Peter himself. (SPOILER) Then, by Act 2 you have the fact that they are now the worst of enemies…and the character played by Jamie Foxx, blames Spider Man for his entire life.

    Then at the same time, you got at that juncture the tension between Harry and Peter Parker were they are best friends….yet by act 2 they are now sworn enemies and Osborn also brings in another villain, just to have a second set of ears to hear of Parker’s crimes. We also learn the origins behind Osborn and why he doesn’t trust his father, hence showing why the guy takes over Oscorp. This sets up a very clearcut revenge element and conspiracy dynamic.

    Compare that to Eddie Brock, who basically gets tossed into the middle of the film in Spider Man 2 or Sandman who gets thrown in out of nowhere in Spiderman 3. Basing the story in TASM2 off of the original comic, it’s clear this one has more draw. Now maybe they didn’t need to bring the Rhino in, but it sets up the stage for Oscorp based on what my pal has said about this film. Again people have a right to dislike it, yet there’s no way you can say it has a crap story. These websites who just reviewed it turned around and said Man of Steel had a great story. So their opinions are already way off base as it is, since that movie had a terrible plot.

    Which is why I urge anyone on the fence just see the movie for yourselves, it ain’t that bad. And I’ve heard the introduction for the Goblin is done actually real well. These films were designed for the comic book fans and Sony has only aimed for them, I’d hate to hear it bombed financially due to film bias given the bad situation Sony is in. I just bought a new copy of Last of Us and would hope fans put aside petty third hand gossip they hear from the DC faithful about this film, and actually try it out since they’ll likely be surprised.

    • Well nobody said it has a crappy story what I’m or others trying to emply is that for a heavyweight superhero that’s being rebooted why the frick is the plot is so blah.. its like we’ve seen this before storyline but hey, kudos for the fight scene cos for sure people will line-up for the fight scene.

      Then you said it yourself they should have not bring in Rhino. I haven’t seen the movie yet but if you base it on the trailer, the Rhino kinda just popped up in the movie for the sake of Spidey could have not just 2 but 3 villains in this movie.

      • Well it was better than Venom! Say whatever you will about the Rhino, but nothing can beat the cheese of seeing some reporter show up at the Daily Bugle within a few weeks and then intanty develop a hatred of Spider Man. That was just corny beyond belief in Spiderman 2.

        My understanding is they put Rhino in this movie to tie it into Sinistr Six and their other properties, so they should have made him someone very close to Parker instead of an unknown. Even if they strayd from the source mateial.

    • I think the problem is that one, the film is so convoluted its hard to get any real substance. A story that has 3 villains in it plus a love story plus revenge plus answering questions from the first film plus future expansion will most likely have a hard time nailing anything down in 2hours or whatever. It seems Sony Fox and even sometimes marvel skips solid substance in favor of flash, Over occupancy, and in a hurry to get to the end ( getting to the jist). Without the substance the characters have no impact because any major thing that happens to them has no time to resonate with the audience. Before the audience knows it the movie is on to the next problem. Thats why a smaller story is usually more imapctful because you a have a chance to know the characters and feel for them. And honestly i think the level of issues and villains in this is quite over the top. It feels forced. Every villains coming out of Oscorp simply for convience and LAZY WRITING ala Irom MAn 3s conclusion with all the Iron Man armors at once. Its apparant that Sony wants to cram in as much villains as they can to set up a “collective franchise” which is souly a vehicle to make more money. Thats the second problem which should really be the first problem. When money is the prime motivator it seems things like story which is the most important thing for any movie, suffers. Xmen will suffer the same fate. Unfortuantly this wil not stop these films from making money. The films have a name and these studios know how to Market, unfortuantly u pay before you see it and you cant get money back when you find out it sucks.

      Question : What kind of trouble is Sony in?????

      • Sony is in major financial trouble right now due to their TV division doing terrible, their video division losing lots of money and the PS3 losing most of its relevance in the market. They can’t take another financial hit where they lose a collective of multi millions of dollars.

        They are seriously in bad financial shape right now, so that’s why I just don’t see how Sony would deliberately rush this movie. I think they did the best job on this project as they could, while still leaving it open for new movies they need to sell. I think they just genuinely didn’t like Raimi’s movies and I did not like them either since they aren’t like the comics. If this movie flops though we might not get anymore except one Spiderman film, so I really hope this film does well.

        • Ic well that does put them in quite the situation doesnt it. Im really not a fan of what Sony has been doing with the character, Yes Raimis version definatly had some flaws, Tobey remaining a huge Wuss was one of them but you cant blame Raimi for the Venom Fiasco, taht was Sonys doing. Whatever can be said about Raimis take is understandable but i will say that as a whole it beats Webbs versions anyday, Webbs versions have no feeling and no sense of what spiderman really is, If you watch Raimis version you can see he captured a bit of that, where web is all flash and not making sense, it seems to have more of a “Twilight” vibe to it. Sony and Fox are collectivly screwing up these characters big time. No offense but i hope this movie tanks big time and sony sells it to disney, but i know it will make money. If Michael Bays tranformers can sell big i guess anything can.

          • Oh wow, I was just talking to a friend about that last night and he compared Webb’s TASM to Bay’s Transformers but in reverse roles. One franchise did everything to change up the comic/cartoon characters, installed a human element and the other did everything most of the comic fans want but both failed to produce actual compelling storylines. Both are rather basic and yet both produced profits. Loved that comparison because when I asked a huge Spiderman fan at work, they agreed somewhat. His comparison is more towards the line of Raimi’s Spiderman is more geared towards LOTR in which some people hated it but for the most part the majority of the fans loved it whereas TASM is like The Hobbit. Like with the Hobbit, fans will stay loyal to a lower product no matter what it presents.
            It’s still amazing to me how much there is a division when it comes to this franchise. I love Webb’s version of Parker but love Raimi’s version of storytelling. If they were both combined it would be perfect but it’s not. I still check out Webb’s version but it just might be on DVD instead of the big screen

          • Sorry, but just a reality check for everyone.

            Sam Raimi’s version of Spiderman just really is a bad version, it literally destroys what I know about Spiderman.

            metacritic.com

            For example, Peter Parker is a depressed doormat in Spiderman 2 and that was just so corny and stupid….Raimi’s decision.

            Eddie Brock barely knows Peter Parker in Spiderman 2…Raimi’s decision.

            Marvel thought they were good films, that’s why they only sold the Spiderman rights of the ultimate & amazing series to Sony. But man oh dear, were they terrible.

            Another thing to take note of, Raimi did not pay any attention to the fact Peter Parker’s dad is Richard Parker. And as a scientist, it was really Parker’s dad who developed the venom suit and other advanced weapons.

            Again, Marc Webb is just a better director overall.

            He’s done more films than Raimi.
            Raimi made Doctor Octopus into a teacher of Peter Parker’s which doesn’t even make any sense, he was jost tossed in there!

            I just have to agree with others when they say, at the least this series will do Venom right. It will be better than Sam Raimi’s series if they split up the canon, because the issue here is Venom never got his own film.

            Now Sony is giving Venom his own film, with a nice and slow introduction, which believe it or not is all what the fanbase wants so we can see Maximum Carnage finally in the theater. It may seem different to you, that the Oscorp suits are used, but it IS better and is more grounded that they were suits.

            • first off…you cite metacritic but failed to see that Raimi’s Spider-Man 1 and 2 have higher scores than Webb’s Amazing Spiderman.

              2nd…The original venom symbiote did not come from Parkers did. The symbiote attached to Parker when he was off planet during the Secret Wars.

              3rd. In the comics Doc Ock was a nuclear physicist and lecturer. A lecturer is a teacher. In the movie Parker is fascinated with Ock’s work in nuclear physics and is introduced to him by Connor’s (Lizard) so he can interview Ock for his thesis paper. Either way, Doc Ock wasn’t portrayed as Parkers school teacher. only a mentor cause of Parker wanting to get to know his research.

      • Ahem…

        Every villain is coming out of Oscorp, not because of lazy writing but because that is how the writers did Ultimate Spiderman.

        If you read the Ultimate Spiderman series, that is the Amazing Spiderman storyline. And some of the story decisions in Ultimate Spiderman aren’t fan favorites, one of them was how every villain came out of Oscorp. Yet if they paint it the right way it could do real well, but might as well blame the comics if that’s your issue.

        • My bad, i have not read the Ultimate universe and really care not to. Ive been told by someone that the writing was really good but given these movies the concepts to me are not. It seems way too conveinient for every villain to come out of Oscorp, and just plain silly. I could see it if this was a brand new thing but given the the last 60 years of spidey in the 616 universe, those stories and getting to know those villains, it seems unrealistic. to think Otto Octavious would work for Norman Oscorp with out changing his character completley is ubsurd. And why would you change his characeter, To see these characters is the reason anyone goes to see these movies. I dont go to see teh “Brand” and a stranger in the costume. Should of Called it “Ultimate Spiderman” then because its very very far from Amazing.

          • That ain’t the only thing Ultimate Spiderman changes. They also use the suits for creating Venom, he’s an advanced weapon done by the army as well as Richard Parker who is Peter’s father.

            Also during the story, Gwen Stacey becomes Carnage. And there are a large amount of Parker clones that show up. Now thankfully based on the feedback, Sony won’t be using these elements. But the idea of Venom and Carnage being created from a suit is a lot more grounded, has real US Military applications, and is better.
            If Webb brings it to the screen right, it will be better than Raimi’s without trouble.

  4. hi i can’t wait tell SPIDER-MAN 2, X-MEN 4, MICHAEL BAY’S teenage mutant ninja turtles, all come out to the movies this summer

  5. I agree with the above. It is hard to take lots of these early reviews serious, given that many of these critics loved Dark Knight Returns or Man of Steel.

    I admire the way Marc Webb crafted a more clever story in this one for sure compared to the campy way Raimi gave us Venom. That is also why I’m telling people about it this week. He should have left out Rhino though, unless he could tie him closer to Parker and Electro as it would have been way easier to digest for movie buffs.

    • You have to remember that Raimi didnt give us Venom, he didnt even want to use him. Sony gave us Venom and yes it was aweful. It was forced and put in by the studio at the last minute. Sony is giving us Venom again but as Harry Osborn, This isnt wrong to you??? There is no reason for venom to appear until spiderman has gone through many classic villians and Honestly Venom needs a whole movie. Yes Raimis venom was bad but it wasnt raimis idea it was Sonys. Sony is the reason Spidreman 3 was a flop. Raimi had some cheese to it but he atleat got a feel for spiderman thats completely missing in Webbs. Webbs films feel completely empty and void of mojor source material.

      • Amen to that brother !
        Thats a point many people seem to forget these days !

      • Yes, exactly. We can all agree that Spiderman 3 was just bad. Now I do like Webb’s version of Peter Parker/Spiderman. I feels like it’s more towards what the comics are but that’s pretty it. The storyline for TASM was basic, bare, and at times felt like it was written by the same people of Sharknado. Raimi for all the issues he’s had at least provided some great storylines and focused on the overall story rather than, as one reviewer put it, “pyrotechnics”.
        I also still to this day keep laughing about people who associate Venom to Raimi. They keep forgetting that Raimi was forced into putting the Venom character in the 3rd movie. He never wanted to bring that character unless it was a fully dedicated film for that specific “villian”. Sony forced his hand and also the writers of the movie(just a couple of months before shooting if I recall).

        • Maybe they force his hand because they thought Venom would attract more audience and sales. But it’s still Raimi’s job as director, he could have refused on artistic merits and Venom would not have gone in the movie.

          Raimi, or the director is who is in charge of a movie and if he wanted the franchise to succeed he could have compelled everyone to look at his own suggestions. It is his job on whether a movie goes well or not. After all Jurassic Park would never have been a hit if not for Steven Spielberg, so most fans still blame Raimi for cramming Venom in.

          • Maybe, but if I do recall, with S3, there were disputes over creative differences right off the bat. I do agree that if Raimi wasn’t given free range then he should have walked away but he stuck it out. The whole Spielberg comparison would be true but Spielberg was never really in danger with Universal as he had the rights to JP and he worked not with Universal but with Crichton to make the movie. It’s not the same with Raimi as Sony has rights to all that is big screen Spiderman including creative rights. Yes, the whole Venom issue could have been handled differently and Raimi could have walked if Sony didn’t agree to what his vision was for the movie but there again, it was a last minute addition, preproduction has already begun, contracts signed and most likely meant that Raimi was stuck(much like how the producers/writers were stuck with Dexter in which they purposely made the finale bad to upset the studio for creative differences)

            • Actually it’s a pretty dead on comparison because Spielberg did give up the rights to it in Jurassic Park 3. And Jurassic Park 3 and even Lost World suffered as a result, he was barely involved in those at all.

              Also as a result he can’t even creatively direct Jurassic Park anymore, so in my opinion it does lie with the director for a movie’s success. Jurassic Park wouldn’t be in the shape it is now if it was really important to Spielberg. If a director is good enough like Marc Webb is for example, he can persuade anyone (and the execs) about film decisions. Again that’s why many people still pass the buck to Raimi.

              • Understandable, but persuading execs don’t really do anything if overall you still lack in overall storyline which is why soo many people are divided on the Raimi/Webb versions. On the one hand Webb’s version of Peter Parker is a better representation of Spiderman but on the other Raimi’s version had a better overall storyline. There are pros and cons to both sides which is why I suspect it’s a big dividing issue

                • Right, that part is down to opinion so maybe it’s a lost cause. But still you can’t tell me Amazing Spiderman 2 has a crappy story, just because they go for something different in order to build up drama for a Sinister Six movie.

                  Remember, Amazing Spiderman 2 is introducing new villains from Oscorp like Doc Ock’s suit, Electro and Kraven the Hunter. It is giving them leverage in the story with a lot of mystery, in order to draw you in to the Sinister Six.

                  This is the first Spiderman movie that leads basically into a spinoff about the villains, so if you watch their feature on the movie you see why they chose that road.
                  mtv.com

                  This isn’t like Raimi’s really half baked version of Venom. They are tying this movie into bringing in the Sinister Six symbiote, and Carnage and Venom, so finally the Venom story gets done properly in its own separate movie. So while they do have a lot of characters, a few of them are really important to Webb’s new movie.

        • I can understand opinions, but this is just way off base.

          “The story was just basic, bare and at times feel like Sharknado.”

          There’s no way in heck the story in Amazing Spiderman was bare, basic or contrived.

          The emotion laden scenes of how Peter Parker met Gwen Stacey’s father, the way he had to save his life and in turn her father saved his own?

          The first time they sat down at dinner?
          The way the entire command post of the police and construction workers looked up to Spiderman, who saved their lives?

          Or not to forget, the very clear and dynamic relationship between Dr. Connors and Parker. And the slow, methodical build up to where Connors breaks down and becomes Lizard…desiring to destroy Parker.

          No, no. Marc Webb is just a much better director; the storyline in Amazing Spiderman was really well done. It was better than the older Spiderman films, because it had emotion and real tension build up.

          Even if you hated it, it’s better.

  6. I had a nagging feeling about the abundance of villains overwhelming story and plot in this sequel, and that seems to be happening just as predicted.

  7. Just saw the film today
    Definitely worth seeing in IMAX/3D

    Bigger – yes
    Better – absolutely

    Right now I think it’s better than Cap 2 (which I thought was brilliant) but I think I need to see both again to be sure – can’t wait for the DVD releases so I can watch these films as many times as I want without having to fork out the cash for a cinema ticket
    GotG and Xmen DoFP have a seriously high bar to meet based on how good the first 2 films based on Marvel characters coming out this year have been

  8. I’m one of the oddballs around here who really enjoyed TASM1, Dark Knight Rises, and Man of Steel so I’ll probably really like it. It’s blasphemy but I really liked Thor 2 and IM3 as well. The only comic movies I haven’t liked are X3, Raimi’s SM trilogy, any Super Man before MoS, any Batman between the 1989 version and Batman Begins, and Iron Man 2.

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