Sunday, May 4, 2014

Discuss: The Amazing Spider-Man 2

WARNING: One of the comments at the end of this post contains a major plot point spoiled. If you haven't seen the film and don't want to read any spoiled comments, then unfortunately you'll have to stay away from today's comments. Our apologies.  --Karen and Doug

Karen: It's here -big super-hero film #2 of the summer! Spidey faces three foes this time, and who knows what fate awaits Gwen? Please share your SPOILER-free thoughts here -we'll run a spoiler-filled post soon.

A Bronze Age Babies Bonus Feature -
Here's a clip from the upcoming X-Men: Days of Future Past film:


Anonymous said...

I'm much more interested in the X-Men and Guardians of the Galaxy films than Spider-Man and I've only seen the Spidey trailers but the movie version of Electro looks, I've got to say, a lot better than the comics version - Electro's costume was always at the sillier end of comic-book costumes.

Edo Bosnar said...

I'm not really in a hurry to see either of these. I think I've mentioned it before, but even though Spider-man and then the X-men were by far my favorite characters/series back in my comics reading heyday, their respective movie franchises haven't impressed me so far.
So I have to say, echoing Colin (sort of) above, that I'm actually much more interested in the Guardians of the Galaxy movie - despite the fact that it's not even the "classic" team.

William said...

Saw it Friday afternoon. Overall I enjoyed the movie quite a lot. There were some things I loved, some things I liked, and some things I was like "Huh?"

So, I'll give you my SPOILER-free pros and cons.


1. Spider-Man!!
Spider-Man has never looked better in any movie ever. His costume is nearly comic book perfect, and the scenes of him swinging through the city, and fighting bad guys are the stuff of a Spider-Fan's dreams. (I highly recommend you see it at least once in 3D). Plus Andrew Garfield does an excellent job at portraying both the web-head and Peter Parker. His Peter Parker is a great combination of nerdy/cool and funny, and his Spider-Man has the perfect brash, wise-cracking personality. He's constantly spouting witty one-liners as he battles both regular crooks and super-villains. There is not a lot I'd change about the portrayal of Spidey in this film. They finally got that part pretty much right on.

2. Gwen Stacy.
Emma Stone makes a much better (and likable) Gwen, than Kirsten Dunst did a Mary Jane. Stone is charming, funny, and beautiful, and has great chemistry with Andrew Garfield. Aside from the action sequences, the scenes between Stone and Garfield (as Spider-Man or Peter Parker) are some of the most entertaining moments in the film.

3. The Villains. (Somewhat)
Though I wasn't 100% happy with the portrayal of any of the three super-villains in the movie, it was still nice to see them finally bring Electro and the Rhino to the big screen. This was much more the Ultimate version of both characters, but they were both well done. As for Green Goblin… I'll have to wait for the Spoiler-filled thread to adequately discuss that character.

4. The Special Effects.
Like I said, Spider-Man has never looked better on film. And that carries over to the rest of the movie as well. All the special effects look amazing. I usually don't like an overload of CGI, but when you're doing characters like Spider-Man and Electro, you really don't don'e have much choice. In fact they couldn't even have adequately portrayed Electro in a movie before the age of CGI.

5. The director's name (Mark Webb)
How great is it that the director of the Spider-Man movies has the last name of Webb?


1. Too much plot.
Without giving anything away, I'll have to say there is a lot going on in this movie (A LOT). There are multiple plot threads weaving throughout the story. There is the mystery of Peter's parents, the Gwen/Peter/Spider-Man relationship, the Peter/Aunt May relationship, the main Electro story, the Peter/Harry relationship, the Green Goblin angle, and that's just some of the main points. There are also multiple subplots throughout as well. In fact, there is so much ground covered in this one that it sometimes feels like there are 2 or 3 movies going on at the same time. And as a result some of the events that drive the story feel more than a little rushed.

2. Unnecessary changes.
Again, without giving anything away, it seems that they unnecessarily changed certain things just for the sake of changing them. In a movie that went to great lengths to make the main character (Spider-Man) as faithful to the source material as possible, I thought it was odd that almost nothing else was treated the same. For example, where is the Daily Bugle???

However, when all is said and done, I would DEFINITELY recommend this movie to pretty much anyone. It's a good movie for comic fans and "regular people" alike. So, everyone go see it, and then we can discuss it in more detail in a couple of weeks.

Stephen said...

I think the best things that can be said for this latest Spider-Man movie series is that Andrew Garfield is charming as Peter Parker/Spider-Man and that the CGI has advanced enough in the past 10 years that Spider-Man swinging around the skyscrapers of NY looks fluid and graceful.

Although the lead individual performances (including Emma Stone as Gwen) are good, the actors are not served well by the machinery of the overarching plot and multiple plot lines. Apparently the studio has decided to copy the serialized narrative adapted from book series such as "The Hunger Games" and "Twilight" and "Harry Potter" to create a franchise that connects all of the individual installments together.

As a result, we get a subplot involving Oscorp that attempts to create connective tissue between Spider-Man and all of his animal-based enemies (such as Lizard in the last movie). This is extended even to Electro in this latest movie, as his origin is tweaked to involve Max Dillon obtaining his powers after falling into a vat of electric eels. Based on this standard, I'm half-expecting Felicia Hardy to gain her abilities after tumbling into a box of cats.

It's a very long 2+ hours movie and yet still crucial plot points feel rushed and almost perfunctory, such as Harry Osborn's transformation into the Green Goblin and the climactic death of Gwen Stacy and Peter's reaction to it.

I honestly came out of this movie feeling like I just ingested a bag of Skittles - a sugar rush but of no substance or healthy calories. Given the melodrama between Pete and Gwen and the over-the-top histrionics of the villains (reminding me of Joel Schumacher's campy Bat-films) I feel like this story would have worked much better as a serialized TV drama on the CW. And the fight scenes were as pretty and bloodless as a video game.

Overall, I give the film of grade of C. Not absolutely horrible but the overstuffed plot overwhelms the film and we now have over 10 years of superhero films to compare to and we know these things can be done much better.

Murray said...


William stated it correctly that the scenes of Spidey swinging, bouncing, ducking, dodging were great. But did not grip me. "Captain America" had me on the edge of my seat and I've never been a big Cap comic collector.

I guess it comes down to the main plot threads having no tension. Flaccid as overcooked spaghetti. A huge amount of screen time is spent with Peter and Gwen trying to sort out their tangled love life. But, anyone who knows how to spell "comic book" knows the fate of Gwen Stacey. The only minor question then is whether that fate is resolved this movie or dragged out to the next.

A close second is the large amount of time they devote to Peter and Harry Osborn and whether they can be chums again. Here, it is not only anyone who can spell "comic book", but anyone who saw the first Spider-Man trilogy of movies knows how the relationship between Peter and people named "Osborn" turns out.

That leaves Electro...and he's nothing but a collection of CGI effects with only a vague, mumbling desire for vengeance. He calls himself a "force of nature" and that's true. He's about as impersonal and non-specific as a nasty thunderstorm. Only a problem for Spidey to solve, not a foe to engage in a duel of wits and powers.

SO, wake me up when they start making Spider-Man movies with a plot that isn't rehashing what most of the English-speaking world already knows.

Anonymous said...

Uh Murray, Stephen already called it "the climatic death of Gwen Stacy". So I guess we now know it won't be dragged out to the next movie.

The Prowler (even now looking up spoilers in his pocket dictionary).

Stephen said...

Hey folks, I apologize profusely for including a major spoiler in my post. It's my own fault for not reading the heading carefully enough that this was intended to be a spoiler-free post.

If the moderators wish to excise that part of my post, or delete my post in its entirely, I understand, and again I apologize if anyone's enjoyment of the film was ruined because of my action.


Dr. Oyola said...

I haven't seen the movie and after discussing it with a close friend (who lurks here, but never posts - I SEE YOU!) I will be happy to wait for video.

I am not one to worry about spoilers, esp. for material I know fairly well (either she dies or she doesn't - don't see how that can "spoil" anything, given the source material).

Don't plan to see DoFP in the theatre either. I am most excited for the new Godzilla and GotG in August.

Anonymous said...

2+ hours? Gee I hope to remember to go to the bathroom before I see it!

It's opened down here in T & T already but I haven't seen it yet. Hmm sounds like it's good but could have been better. I've made this point before in another forum but perhaps Sony should consider giving back the rights to Marvel studios for the Spidey movies. They seem to be doing it right (e.g. witness the Captain America sequel), giving the viewers plenty of action and special effects yet staying true to the spirit of the comics.

Knowing the intricacies of Hollywood politics and not to mention many millions of dollars involved, this most likely won't happen. Too bad. I for one would love to see a Spidey movie mentioned up there in the same rarefied space as Iron Man and the Avengers.

- Mike 'Spidey vs Vulture next? ' from Trinidad & Tobago.

pete doree said...

I was really bored.
a) Andrew Garfield is smug and massively pleased with himself throughout the whole thing ( just as he was in the first movie ) and that scene where he interrupts Gwen's graduation is so far from the Peter Parker I know, it's insulting.
This guy's biggest problem is where to get a new tube of hair gel.
b) Electro walked in from ' Batman & Robin ' not just in the look, but in the tone of the character, and disappeared from a huge stretch of the movie anyway.
c) Why do we need The Goblin AGAIN?!!
c) I did like Gwen Stacy, but there were way too many scenes with her & Garfield that went on and on to no good effect.

In terms of stuff I liked, yes, Spidey looked good and moved right, and The Rhino was fun, and I guess THAT scene with Gwen worked quite well ( ' they're not going to do it in this movie, they'll wait till the next...oh, they did! Ok, that was ok ...' )

But overall, no, I was bored with the first one, I was bored with this one.
Guardians Of The Galaxy though, that looks great!

Fred W. Hill said...

I was this on Friday night with my usual fantasy/action film companions (a father & son, the former about 5 years older than me, both like films featuring comicbook characters but never got into reading actual comics). Anyhow as we were walking to the theater, I speculated as to whether Gwen would be killed off in this movie, describing to them her fate in the comics of over 40 years ago now. The film certainly began with some spectacular visuals of Spidey cavorting in the air while web-slinging. Overall, though, I agree with William's points. At about two and a half hours, I felt it was too long, and really it should have concluded with the victory of Spidey and Gwen over the Electric Eel -- oops, make that Electro! Seems they had enough plot that it should have been divided into two 90 minute films, especially considering that there were two scenes included in the trailer, which I saw again last night in another theater, but were not in the actual movie. Both cut scenes featured Harry - in one showing Peter how he is being followed by cameras throughout the city (much like in Stan's last Spider-Slayer/Smythe tale from about 1972), the other in which a bed-ridden Norman answers Harry's question about Peter, "not everyone has a happy ending." Based on the ending of the film, it seems unlikely either scene will show up in ASM III, and I didn't see any clear points where they would have been cut that wouldn't have involved other scenes that also must have been cut.
Up until "that dreadful moment" echoing the infamous scene from #121, the film was mostly fun, but of course that zapped the joy right out of the proceedings. Even knowing it was likely to happen, it was unbearably sad. And considering how much of this version of the Spidey mythos had already been changed from the original comics mythos, did they really need to do it? Something to consider in further discussions on ASM 2.

Ace Frehley Jr said...

Did anybody else notice the time on the clock tower after Gwen's death? Yep...1:21.

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