Amazing Spider-Man 2: A Mishmash for Teens
By Sandra Olmsted
The new Spider-Man film a few things going for it, mainly the chemistry between the leads, Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy and Andrew Garfield as Spider-Man/Peter Parker. Director Marc Webb, who helms again for this second installment in the franchise, also pays a lot of attention to the emotional connections and development of the characters and their back story, which isn’t really new information for anyone familiar with the history of Spidey.
Three of the big problems with this version of Spider-Man is that the pacing feels forced, the motivations for the villains are flimsy, and the good chemistry between Garfield and Stone has all the charm of the Twilight movies, which, by the way, is not intended as a compliment.
While Garfield and Stone real embody the emotions of the characters, the way their intense emotional scenes are shot has them all but sparkle like Twilight vampires and has the often over-exaggerated angst of the Twilight characters. This over playing of Peter and Gwen’s relationship relies too heavily on the actors’ talents to carry too much of the film although they do rise to the challenge admirably. The length of the film and the amount of information covered, however, makes the film a less than stellar theater experience. Also, I won’t recommend the 3D IMax version because a tilt of the viewers’ head or beat up pair of glasses, and the experience will not be worth the extra cost. The 3D version will probably provide the same things falling out of the screen as the IMax version, if one must have that.
While it was interesting to experience another take on how Peter came to live with his Aunt May (Sally Fields) and now deceased uncle and what happened to his parents, it only added needlessly to the length of the film. This slow start to the main action made the first half of the film feel very long. While there are many action scenes, and terrific ones at that, especially the opening one, they aren’t related strongly enough to the main action of the film, which is the introduction of Electro aka Max Dillon (Jamie Foxx) and the Green Goblin aka Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan). Furthermore, too little effort is spent developing the of Dillon and Osborn’s motivations for becoming villains and making them believable. The finally problem with the action scenes verses the exposition scenes is that that seem to come at predictable intervals — talk for X number of minutes and insert action scene; repeat. It doesn’t flow naturally or make for much suspense.
In addition to solid performances by Garfield and Stone, the acting is good all around. Jamie Foxx does an excellent job infusing his character, Dillon, with a likeability that makes one wish he could have been transformed into a super hero instead of a villain,, DeHaan, who seems a skilled actor, just doesn’t have much to work with as the character is written and mostly spends his time drunk. Fields continues as the hardworking, can’t get ahead, devoted mother-figure to Peter.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is blatantly aimed not at existing fans of the film, but at the next generation of fans, who maybe aren’t familiar with the Spider-Man comics, graphic novels, and earlier film versions. By evoking Twilight and retelling the Spidy’s origin story as a teen search for identity, Webb and the studio obviously hope to reel in a new generation of fans. A Columbia Pictures release of Marvel Enterprise’s.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is in theaters as of May 2 and runs 142 minutes. (More of Olmsted’s reviews are available at <www.thecinematicskinny.com>.)
Spidey returns in The Amazing Spider-Man 2
opening at area theaters on Friday, May 2
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