‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2′ Review

Published 5 months ago by , Updated October 7th, 2014 at 1:31 am,

amazing spider man 2 review The Amazing Spider Man 2 Review

All in all, this movie feels like a step in the right direction for the rebooted Spider-Man franchise – hopefully leading to better installments in the future.

In The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) has settled into his hectic double life of battling crime on the streets of New York as Spider-Man, while keeping up with his everyday responsibilities as Peter Parker. Upon his graduation from high school, however, Peter finds this delicate balancing act to be too much, forcing him to reconcile his own desire to keep his love Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) in his life, with the knowledge that he will forever be putting her life in potential jeopardy by doing so.

Things become even more complicated when Peter’s old childhood friend, Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan), returns to our hero’s life – carrying some dangerous secrets with him. Meanwhile, down-trodden Oscorp electrician Max Dillon (Jamie Foxx) is accidentally transformed into the dangerous force of nature that is Electro, forcing Pete to yet again battle a science experiment-gone-wrong birthed by his dad’s old workplace. This leads Peter to learn more about his parents’ disappearance so many years ago, while starting to uncover the truth about what is going on behind closed doors at Oscorp Industries.

It could be argued that the first installment in Sony’s rebooted Spider-Man cinematic franchise, Amazing Spider-Man, is a film at odds with itself: one-half is director Marc Webb’s grittier retelling of Peter Parker’s origin story, while the other half is a shiny, yet empty, comic book movie blockbuster. Mirroring how young Peter has changed from gawky teenager to a more confident young adult between movies, Webb’s direction is steadier and bolder on Amazing Spider-Man 2, giving rise to an overall enthralling (and, in some regards, better) installment with elements of greatness – but, like the eponymous superhero, is still guilty of committing mistakes that are too significant to overlook.

Amazing Spider Man 2 Itsy Bitsy Song Easter Egg The Amazing Spider Man 2 Review

Spider-Man vs. Electro

Amazing Spider-Man 2 sets a new bar for what can be considered a big and splashy comic book blockbuster, forgoing a so-called grounded filmmaking approach in favor of unabashedly flashy stylistic choices and brush strokes. Here, Webb has created a world that feels like a proper live-action cinematic interpretation of a Saturday morning superhero cartoon universe – a place where colorful laboratory-born monsters feel just at home as ordinary people walking the streets. Thanks to the new addition of cinematographer Daniel Mindel (John Carter, Star Trek Into Darkness), Webb’s Spider-Man movie sequel is not just an improvement on its predecessor’s visual palate, it also offers the most impressive action shot compositions in any Spider-Man film released to date.

Between that and the brazenly eclectic score – combining Hans Zimmer’s more traditional instrumental elements with modern pop-music sounds by The Magnificent Six (a group that includes Johnny Marr and Pharrell Williams) in a way that truly does enhance the film’s storytelling – it’s pretty easy to recommend seeing Amazing Spider-Man 2 in IMAX 3D, for the larger visual canvas and heightened acoustic presentation offered by the theater-viewing format. The IMAX viewing experience might be a sensory overload for certain moviegoers, but for others it’ll pull them into the world of Spider-Man like nothing else (film, TV show, or comic book) has before.

amazing spider man 2 harry osborn The Amazing Spider Man 2 Review

Andrew Garfield and Dane DeHaan in ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2′

Story-wise, the Amazing Spider-Man 2 script – written by Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci (Transformers, Star Trek), as well as Jeff Pinkner (Fringe), with James Vanderbilt (Amazing Spider-Man) co-credited for the story – is strongest when unfolding as a parable for the responsibilities and challenges that come with young adulthood. Indeed, the narrative threads that are concerned with Peter’s attempts to navigate his complicated relationships are the most cohesive, thematically, and are emotionally weighty. However, the arcs for the film’s principal villains – especially in the case of the Harry Osborn storyline – tend to feel rushed for the sake of fitting in more world-building. In short, this film suffers a bit from Iron Man 2 syndrome.

Amazing Spider-Man 2 makes up for this by being more satisfying as a standalone work of film art. There are multiple occasions where the script juxtaposes events in Peter Parker’s home-life with his “job” as Spider-Man, strengthening the subtext of the over-arching narrative. Certain edits and visual motifs constructed by Webb (see: the ticking clock) likewise enhance the substance, feeling appropriately on-the-nose in the context of this pulpy superhero adventure. The end result: this comic book movie suffers from having to setup future installments, yet it has merits as a self-contained feature – one that’s more carefully built than you might expect.

amazing spider man 2 peter gwen garfield stone The Amazing Spider Man 2 Review

Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone in ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2′

As was the case on the first Amazing Spider-Man, the sequel boasts palpable onscreen chemistry between real-life couple Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone. Here, the Peter/Gwen romance is even further elevated by the actors having better dialogue and meatier dramatic scenarios to draw from, with Garfield and Stone both excelling as modern male and female archetypes, respectively. Meanwhile, Oscar-winner Sally Field as Aunt May continues to be the unsung hero of this series (literally, to a degree, in the story as well), as her scenes with Garfield are as much an essential part of the film’s beating “heart” as those featuring Stone.

The Harry Osborn character, as mentioned before, has to progress through his journey of transformation too quickly, but thanks to yet another strong performance by Dane DeHaan (Chronicle, The Place Beyond the Pines) Harry is a more believable figure and has a compelling presence that he might’ve lacked, otherwise. Meanwhile, Jamie Foxx has fun hamming it up as Max Dillon – managing to sell the character’s tragicomical nature, as well as his drastic evolution from Spider-Man fanboy to our hero’s arch-enemy Electro. Similarly, Paul Giamatti has a blast in his few scenes as Russian mafia henchman, Aleksei Sytsevich.

The rest of the film includes fine work by various character actors (Campbell Scott, Felicity Jones, B.J. Novak, Martin Csokas, Colm Feore), who appear onscreen long enough to leave an impression, even for those moviegoers who aren’t familiar with their relevance in the comic book mythology. By and large, the ensemble cast’s performances feel organic to the movie’s cartoony universe – despite the fact that many of the characters being played are there to simply move the story along and/or lay the groundwork for developments in future Amazing Spider-Man installments.

amazing spider man 2 jamie foxx The Amazing Spider Man 2 Review

Jamie Foxx in ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2′

Having said all that: Amazing Spider-Man 2 probably won’t convince many of those who were not fans of its predecessor to change sides and get behind this new take on the Spider-Man universe – nor will it please moviegoers who would’ve preferred this sequel to buck the current trend of superhero movies going bigger and brasher.

On the other hand, most of the people who enjoyed Amazing Spider-Man should also appreciate this new chapter, and some may even find this particular superhero film to be refreshing, with regard to how much it embraces it own audacious style (while still featuring simple, yet decent, principles at the core of its story). All in all, this movie feels like a step in the right direction for the rebooted Spider-Man franchise – hopefully leading to better installments in the future – and thus, makes for a pretty good start to the summer movie season.

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The Amazing Spider-Man 2 runs 142 minutes long and is Rated PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi action/violence. Now playing in 2D, 3D, and IMAX 3D theaters.

Let us know what you thought of the film in the comment section below. If you’ve seen the movie and want to discuss details about the film without worrying about spoiling it for those who haven’t seen it, please head over to our Amazing Spider-Man 2 Spoilers Discussion.

For an in-depth discussion of the film by the Screen Rant editors check out our Amazing Spider-Man 2 episode of the SR Underground podcast.

Our Rating:

3.5 out of 5
(Very Good)

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

232 Comments

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  1. Loved the movie. The times square sequence is just amazing and Garfield is a better Spidey than Tobey ever was. Can’t wait for the next installment.

    4.5/5.

    • +1

  2. The movie is fun to watch, it has obvious issues but still very entertaining
    4/5

  3. This film was Just a complete and utter mess. Way too much crammed into a film that was ultimately way too long. A HUGE step down for this franchise. I now have absolutely zero faith that Sony can pull off thier big Sinsiter Six plan with any sort of quality. Its going to be a mess, just like Amazing Spider-Man 2. Its just a shame that Marvel can’t get Spider-Man back from Sony as Marvel would definitely do the character justice.

  4. Three “5 star super hero films” thus far (or at least pretty dern close): The Avengers, Captain America:Winter Solder, Iron Man. Very Solid “super hero films”, but not up to the “5″ rating: Thor, Hulk (first one, Ang Lee — I know, I know, I’m in the minority with this one), Captain America:The First Avenger, Amazing Spider-Man, Spider Man (Toby McGuire), The Incredible Hulk (Norton), maybe second X-Men film. Indeed, IMHO, none of the other X-Men films were anything beyond average — number three was an outrage of wasted potential. Iron Man 2 was good, but not great. Iron Man 3 was heartbreakingly awful — so wretched, if I let it, it could actually ruin the franchise for me (but I won’t let it.) First Wolverine movie was okay, not exceptional. I confess, for whatever reason I have yet to view ASM2, Thor:Dark World and the most recent Wolverine flick, so no comments yet on those three.

  5. I thought this film was awful…on so many levels. Very disappointing.

    • They finally got the costume right and Garfield is great as Peter Parker. Jamie Foxx did a decent job once he became Electro, the scenes as the bumbling Max Dillion were painful to watch. The action scenes with Electro were amazing. That’s about it.

      Seems like in the end this movie suffered when Sony so blatantly scrambled to do their own “shared-universe-thing” with the Sinister Six by using this entire movie as a plot device and shoehorning in unnecessary plot points. As a result, lot’s of weird were choices made.

  6. If they are going to combine the continuity of the Spider-man movies and the MCU, now is the time. At the end of the movie, Spider-man quits being Spider-man for 5 months. During that time, the battle of New York takes place. Spider-man was not around to help. Settled. The reason none of the Avengers show up to help Spider-man in New York during the events of Spider-man 2? They all had more important things to worry about and since it was pre-New York, they weren’t yet the Avengers. Also, Spider-man not becoming an Avenger? it could be explained the same way it is in the comics. HE just isn’t good enough or ready yet to become an Avenger. I’m just saying. They don’t have to but if they do, now is as good a time as ever.

    • The MCU and Spiderman film rights are owned by different studios. Studios aren’t known for getting along well. Spiderman will never (for the foreseeable future) be a part of the MCU

  7. Two and a half hours of Twilight love story… Ughh

  8. Too bad spidey is no longer number 1 in the box office after the first week.

    • Why is it too bad that Spidey is no longer #1? It was a crap movie, easily the worst Spider-Man film I have seen yet. It doesnt deserve to hold the top sop for more than a week.

      • possibly the greatest superhero movie to date and of course the best spiderman movie.

      • You saw the 3rd Tobey film right?? There will never be a Spidey movie that sucks worse than that. There just won’t be. It’s impossible to conceive of.

  9. Finally saw it today and I loved it. Just bummed that we have to wait so long for the sequels.

  10. I got a ‘Dr.Manhattan’ vibe in that scene when Electro kills Dr.Kafka.
    I liked the new green Goblin design & glider. Rhino was too corny for a super villain , though his mech-suit was cool.
    I agree with most reviewers that Peter & Gwen’s relationship (and her death) saved this movie from being too CBM bland.
    It wasn’t a perfect CBM, but it was certainly entertaining. I recommend seeing it in 3D, it’s worth the money.
    Gave it a 4 outta 5 stars. Can’t wait for ASM3 where we’ll finally see Mary Jane!

  11. this was better than i expected..felt like 15-20 minutes too much but the Death of Gwen was a greater than i expected…still, i think 3.5-4 is perfect.

  12. LOVED this one! 4 and a half out of 5 stars! My gosh, Garfield’s Peter Parker has come into his own and has accepted the task and it shows in this film! How he has an ease with his self and his abilities. Right from the get go, the opening, you can feel that he’s at one with Spidey and it makes the AMAZING web-slinging in the opening simply BREATHTAKING! The kid inside of me immediately sat up and couldn’t look away! I definitely recommend this, and especially in 3D if you can. Silly Godzilla had to knock it out of IMAX, *shakes head* Still check this one out and find out why Spidey is truly … AMAZING!

  13. what a mess, gwen is gone, Mary Jane is next, Sinister Six, Rhyno sucked …the end !

  14. Amazing film. The Best Spider Man film. Critics are just suckers they just don’t know how to enjoy. I give it 4/5 because the plot was a little tangled.

  15. After watching the first Amazing, I wasn’t expecting much from this one.
    This series has now been re-packaged for the Twilight fans.

    Am I wrong? I go to a comic movie for ACTION! I don’t go for 90 minutes (!) of Peter and Gwen. I indoctrinated my kids to comics, and I love that they love them, but seriously, this movie was terrible. All the action was jammed into the last 20 minutes, with Harry/Goblin crazy murder spree tossed in at the end for what? Shock?

    I wanted more Rhino. I wanted Electro to be taken seriously, not treated like a roll for Richard Pryor.

    I’m showing my age, but I have always loved Gwen, and her initial death crushed me at a very young seven years old.
    This movie awakened that seven year old boy inside. And pissed on his soul.

    Just like Captain Stacy in the last movie, Gwen’s death was given no relevance, no meaning. Just cinematic shock value.
    In the comic, Captain Stacy, a detective, knew that Peter was Spidey all along, and never told him until death. And then asked him to watch over Gwen, not stay away!

    GAH! So many problems with this film, that it is frustrating me to recall them all…

    Sony, please, I beg you. Give this franchise to Marvel. They will show it the respect it deserves.

    • Completely agree with you – this film was flat out awful… WTF did they do with the goblin? Shoe-horned him into the film like he’s a bit-player…
      Absolutely THE WORST superhero film so far and yes – that includes Spiderman 3!

  16. For me the best Spider-Man movie, is Spider-Man 2.

    Having Spider-Man stopping a speeding train with his bare hands, was remarkably the best scene in the movie.

  17. The spider man movies are so bad in the reboot marvel is probably glad it doesnt have the rights to it.Because if it did have the rights it would face critisism for not using himand he clearly is terrible character to make him into a movie. He has turned into a cash cow

  18. Why his women die whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy

  19. That is the bad thing in the movie

  20. This is a pretty old thread, but I thought I’d end the comments with the truth. I finally got around to watching this movie, as it didn’t really seem inspiring in the first place. I would have been better off just staying away. I had to force myself to finish this movie.

    This is the worst Spiderman movie so far, and easily the worst of the Marvel movies. It truly ranks down there with the bad Batman movies. It was bad on every single level, in every possible way. The movie was so bad it would tire me just to explain how many things are bad about it. A few things that I have to mention, though, are;

    1)that some of those who know the movie sucked, still thought that Harry was done well. errr Whaah?! That was some of the worst acting I have ever seen. It was completely forced and utterly devoid of talent.
    2)They completely ruined the villains.They were so far gone from the source material that they’ll never return.
    3)One thing I like about Spiderman is that he was just a random ordinary guy. But in this movie, suddenly he’s the one guy in six billion people who can harness the power of radioactive spiders, because of his special DNA? Lame. And a side-note to this point, is that Spiderman is supposed to be witty, throwing in insults as he beats down his opponents; more like Lack-wit in this one. The ‘humor’ was absent of anything resembling such. Every single quip fell flat.
    4) Extended use of bullet-time to make action scenes as boring as possible in the hopes that it might disguise how boring the rest of the movie was.
    5) Something no-one else seems to have noticed; When the power was restored, Aunt May suddenly takes charge, telling everyone to get going. Uh, she was a nursing Student..since when was she in a position of authority? Her take-charge attitude was totally contrived- it just makes you want to tell her to f*#$ off.

    Sigh. This movie just sucked; unequivocably. If you actually liked it, I’m glad your so easily amused. Have fun watching your Teletubby re-runs in between the installments in this series of god-awful tripe.

    • 1. Right. The worst acting YOU’VE ever seen. Not everyone has to think the same.

      2. Guess you don’t like a lot of superhero movies then.

      3. He was ordinary… until a radioactive spider bit him. Altered DNA or not, he was still gonna be ordinary until that bite. And I agree that the jokes could’ve been better.

      4. You thought the slow-mo in this movie was overused? Watch the Resident Evil movies and tell me this is still overused.

      5. Really? You saw significance in that? Really? Guess you saw significance in Leia calling Han Solo a half witted, stuck up, scruffy looking, nerfherder in The Empire Strikes Back, huh.

      All in all, some of your points were nonsensical and you end it with my all time favorite on the internet “You like what I don’t like? You must be 12 year old fool.” Nice. Very classy. It’s sad because I didn’t like the movie much myself. But, your arrogance makes it hard for anyone to agree with you

  21. Are you insane?????????????
    How could you possibly said “won’t convince many of those who were not fans of its predecessor”
    what the hell? this movie was overload of forced jokes, that going anywhere, where jamie foxx try to be hilarius and at the same time a bullied worked and everybody who saw jamie foxx movies knows that he can be funny, but acting like a totally dumb? god, their underestimate the audience.
    Now explain plis, plis explain, how this lovely spidey, who is eternal inlove with that non-marie jane and can make a good main character? the script was horrible, the actors where not the adecuated non of them and if you don’t belive me just look that russian boy.

    The most remarkable thing is the twist they gave to the green goblin, but that emo-loveless multimillionare and over acted harry osborne can be ever considerer as ” strong performance by Dane DeHaan”, have you ever read the comics? AT LEAST have you ever see the cartoons of the 90′s??? In wich fricking world harry osborne was a little and unestabilized emo-justinbieber goblin??

  22. It was, no pun intended, a really amazing movie. This review helped solidify in words what I felt about the movie after watching it several times. It is beautifully made, the action is incredible, and the acting is downright lovely. I thought both Garfield and Stone were much more believable together than the previous installment.

    My main problem with it was Harry’s rushed character development. DeHaan was perfect in the role, I felt that he gave Harry a sort of “hidden depth” that was hardly touched for the sake of time. My other complaint was Electro. I just didn’t feel comfortable watching the character. It didn’t feel believable, either psychologically or physically. He was just a little too goofy for my taste, and when they tried to make him menacing, it didn’t work.

    I think both of these problems could have been reconciled by eliminating Electro or reimagining him as a smaller, limited, more psychotic villain. The Peter/Harry relationship could be given more screentime. Spiderman, meanwhile, would be preoccupied with the smaller Electro or another minor villain. (I’d say Rhino but I hated what they showed of him.) Harry’s transformation could come sooner in the movie and ultimately be much more satisfying.

    • This would be pleasing for those who are interested in Peter as a character and not just Spiderman. Of course it would necessitate smaller action scenes and even more character development. It would also be very true to the spirit of most comics – in case you haven’t noticed, the majority of panels are dedicated to drama, not action. This be less of a superhero movie and more of a romance/thriller on steroids, which I imagine would be very unpopular with lots of fans.

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