Oh god. I'm so tired. Okay, let's get this over with.
There are reviews that I like to write, either for a fucking terrible movie or for a great movie. I actually like terrible movies the most because I get to be the most entertaining even if it's painful to watch (my favorite review so far as been "The Host" which was the worst film to watch outside of "A Haunted House"). Then there are reviews that I loathe. These are actually usually few and far between because I like talking about movies.
Amazing Spiderman 2 is that review.
Let's do something unprecedented and start off by saying that I don't care if you watch this or not. This movie does not matter at all. Your life will not be ruined, the franchise isn't hurt. You will be mildly entertained for about an hour and a half and then you will take a small nap until a loud noise wakes you up. That loud noise is the movies runtime exceeding it's entertainment value.
If you are given the option just watch Captain America: The Winter Soldier if you haven't seen it. If you have seen it, just watch it again because that movie is fantastic. It's got big dumb moments but they're campy and fun so who cares. There's plotholes but nobody gives a shit because the point of the Captain America movie is to entertain the audience and it does that incredibly well. It is not a movie for thinking, it's a movie where Nazis take over a flying aircraft carrier by connecting it to a cloud service, which nobody except for like three people figured out. How the fuck didn't they figure it out? Why would you make an entirely automated global defense system that has guns pointed at the planet. I can't even get my e-mail to load properly all the time. What happens if there's a bad internet connection? Would they just stop working? Can't you use the money you spent on that in order to buy back the rights to Spiderman from Sony?
Oh god. This fucking movie.
The Amazing Spiderman 2 is a movie about Sony not really understanding what makes a good superhero movie, but it's also not a terrible movie. It's not even disappointing because Amazing Spider 1 was stupid and a little bit shitty, and Amazing Spiderman 2 is a little less stupid and a little less shitty except for the second half. It's also a movie that I enjoyed watching because I like Spiderman, but my enjoyment mostly came from small dumb moments that I don't even remember now.
The film is focused around the dramatic life of a lanky teenager who emotes using mostly his neck named Andrew Garfield. In the movie his name is Peter Parker, but this is a totally different Peter Parker than the ones in the comic book. We'll call him Gary. Gary Parker is a guy who has spider powers and wants to fuck Emma Stone even though Emma Stones dad said not to fuck his daughter when he was dying. This causes Gary and Emma to sort of half break up.
Emma Stone plays Gwen Stacy, a character who is famous for dying by falling down a building and being the only love interest most people would know besides Mary Jane. Emma Stone does a good job portraying a character that is almost entirely different from the comics, or maybe she does a poor job, I can't tell. I don't think the people who wrote the script for this movie understand Spiderman, which would make sense since it looks and feels like Ultimate Spiderman which I hate. This shit gets pushed on screen but Scarlet Spider doesn't even get a goddamn cameo. Why the fuck can't there be a movie about Ben Parker or Kaine? Scarlet Spider is a cooler version of Spiderman and he'd make a far more interesting protagonist because his character has built in tension and struggle. Oh god I'm getting sidetracked.
This movie also reunites Jamie Foxx and Leonardo DiCaprio who are most known for their roles in much more interesting films. Leonardo DiCaprio plays a weirdly serious Harry Osborn in a ,movie that is full of comedy scenes, but I actually cared about Harry Osborn more than anyone else in the movie because he has a pretty reasonable motivation behind his actions. Jamie Foxx plays an actor who is hamming up his performance and then becomes a blue guy who is called Electro for some reason, even though he looks nothing like Electro, has a different backstory, different powers, and has no motivation besides being crazy.
J.J. Jameson isn't in the movie because he would be fun to watch and would clash with this movies darker tone and more serious approach to the franchise. This is why we have scenes where Gary Parker comes home with a fish because his day is weird, or blows up a car battery.
Let's talk positive firsts. I'll actually drop the Leonardo DiCaprio joke because I actually like Dane DeHaan's portrayal of Harry Osborn. He's an asshole but it's not really comedic and you sympathize with him a lot more than you did with James Franco. He's not whiny, he's not petty, he's a kid who sort of got fucked over by his asshole dad and who is smart enough to actually move the plot along. I like the Dane DeHaan just played him like a smooth asshole.
I also liked Jamie Foxx because he's a pretty good actor, and he hammed it up. I was almost tricked in to thinking that this movie would be campy fun because his character was so ludicrous that I thought the directors finally understood how to make a Spiderman movie. Unfortunately it's revealed that they actually don't.
The fight scenes were fun but stupid. I almost liked how Electro produced music with his attacks and thought that was a really cool direction, but then they revealed that Electro is quite literally producing music with his attacks when Spiderman acknowledges that the song exists within the film. Why would hitting a giant generator with electricity produce EDM? They are fucking speakers. It was a really creative idea to give impact and flow to the scenes that got utterly ruined by a single line of dialogue.
That's it for the positives. When I say I enjoyed this movie its because I had my expectations set all the way down to disappointment, and the further I'm getting from seeing it he worse it looks. It's not nearly as bad as Man of Steel but it's also not amazing.
So let's talk about how this movie fucked up. There's a lot of reasons why but there's two big reasons.
When you are making a superhero movie like this you are making a movie that must be understandable to a general audience. That means you want to keep your movie simple, usually with a single antagonist who beats the Hero until the Hero discovers a way to beat him right back. This antagonist might be a pawn in a larger scheme and there may be a bigger bad behind them if you want to do sequels, but the Hero should only directly fight one antagonist for most of the movie.
In the case of Spiderman this antagonist should also have some of the characteristics of Peter Parker because aside from Venom and Carnage, Spiderman villains are almost always foils of Peter. Spiderman is actually not a story about a superhero stopping crimes but about a dude who was a fucking loser learning to live with his self and the villains are him coming to terms with his own flaws and strengths.
In Amazing Spiderman 2 Jamie Foxx is a character who is nothing like Gary Parker. He's an entry level engineer or something who is lonely. Peter was never facing the erasure of working in a giant corporation and since these movies never spent time talking about Peter being a loser in high school, there is no relation between the characters. He's some guy who becomes a villain and gets mad at Spiderman for some reason.
If they had just had a boring villain then the movie would've been manageable, but they also decided to add in so many other subplots that tied in to main plots that tied in to meta plots that I don't care anymore. Gary goes through relationship drama with Gwen because he's feeling guilty about fucking her in front of the ghost of her dead dad instead of getting off on it like a normal human, and then they sort of break up. He also stalks her which she finds romantic, which I take as evidence that the writers have never spoken to a girl in their entire lives. People in general don't like being stalked. Why the fuck would you put that in the movie?
Then they add in the fact that Aunt May is either taking or teaching a nursing class. I forget which one but it ultimately contributes nothing to the movie. Then Harry Osborn is dying and Peter won't give him his blood to synthesize a cure. Since Peter is supposed to be a super smart genius then he probably could've worked out how to isolate the gene that allows for self healing and not the one that gives spider sense, but since Peter Parker has been replaced by Gary I guess he's not going to give Harry the blood.
Also they're involving Peter's parents which means this might go the route of the clone saga and I'm not okay with this.
There's so many details to follow that may or may not amount to anything that you stop fucking caring about the plot, which sucks anyway so whatever I guess. Who cares about his relationship drama with a girl who dies? Gary Parker is a fucking uninteresting character anyway, he's just some dude that I can't relate to whose motivations don't make sense. Speaking of motivations not making sense, we've stumbled in to the second reason for why this movie is awful.
Let's go over some character motivations quick.
Gary Parker wants to fight the bad guys because they do bad things I guess. He also wants to fuck Emma Stone because he loves here, and High Schoolers are known for stable monogamous relationships that last through college. He also wants to move to London with her to fight crime in London despite having no job and no real explanation for why he's going there, and apparently no qualms about leaving his Aunt behind. I guess there'll be nobody to stop Doctor Octopus from marrying her in order to get at the Uranium plants she inherited at one point. Gary Parker also wants to stop being spiderman because he needs a nap. I need a nap too. I'm so fucking tired.
Emma Stone wants to go get an education like a normal human being. She also wants to keep her dark secrets from the rest of the world. These dark secrets allow her to not only win a scholarship to Oxford against a 14 year old but also let her dress up in fashionable clothes and keep a fashionable hairstyle in New York City, as well as maintain a love life and apparently a social life as well. Maybe my vision is colored by the fact that I've played so much World of Warcraft, but I was shitty at high school and barely did any of the work, and I barely had time to do anything, especially when I had a job. I mean shit, college was even worse and I was just trying to get decent grades and learn how to program computers. Where the fuck is this lady finding time to have this much relationship drama? Why doesn't she just wear fucking old sweatshirts and sit in here room with messy hair studying? Why is she so chipper? Her dad died like a few months ago. Yet she talks about him no problem. Shit, if my dad was dead i'd want to avoid the subject because I'd probably start crying or something. Maybe she just hates cops or something.
Jamie Foxx's motivation is to suck Spiderman's dick. Dane DeHaan wants Spiderman's blood, and he directly asks for it from Spiderman which makes him sound crazy. Both characters are actually crazy, but only Harry Osborn is justifiable crazy because he's dying.
You see, when you give a villain motivation to fight the hero, that motivation needs to be clear to the audience and something that they can empathize with even a little. In the case of Harry Osborn the empathy comes from the fact that he's dying. Nobody wants to die and while we understand why Gary doesn't give him the blood - because he's stupid - we can also see Harry's point of view. The problem is that the Green Goblin is in this movie for fucking 10 minutes. The main villain is Electro.
Electro wants to fight Spiderman because Spiderman embarassed him in public. He also got shot at, which I guess would freak someone out, but he doesn't actually get hurt by the bullets so I don't think it'd be that big of a deal.
I guess this is the thread that forces this whole movie apart. Upon getting his powers, Electro tries to feed on electricity because I think he needs it to live or something. He's then confronted by the police and told not to do anything crazy, and then he accidentally does something wrong. I forget what it is, I think he accidentally hits a car or something. Whatever.
His character up until that point was a cowardly office worker who obeyed authority to a fault. Why the fuck would he argue with cops? Especially since he doesn't actually know what happened except that now he can see electricity. I would be like "Yeah I got in to a accident at Oscorp because of unsafe working conditions and now I look like a freak and can power my cellphone without having to use a charger. I would like to sue the company for several million dollars. Also while I'm at it, they stole a bunch of my ideas."
Also, if he doesn't understand how to control his electric lightning blasts, why isn't it going off all the time? Why does he go to the middle of the city in order to take power from the grid? I'd just grab a landline somewhere. Also how does he learn to control his powers? It just sort of happens. Does he just get used to it?
I know that power has weird effects on people, but he never seemed like a bitter person. He seemed obsessive and sad, but why the fuck does he hate everyone in the city? What's the point of making him a fan of Spiderman if his hatred of Spiderman isn't from his hero not living up to his expectations but from embarassing him on T.V.
In a city as large and as weird as New York, why would a cop pull a gun immediately upon seeing a guy who is blue? There's no dudes in blue bodypaint in New York? Fuck. I don't care. This movie was bad. The minute you think about it its shitty, but I guess it's better than the first one.
I just want a good Spiderman movie., with campy costumes and constant dialogue during the fights. That's the whole point of Spiderman's quips. It's not to entertain you it's to advance the plot and give Spiderman a better understanding of the villain. It's also to make the villain mad so that they slip up and let Spidey win. That's actually why Spiderman is such a cool and fun hero, because he's often underpowered compared to his enemies and he has to win by lying, cheating, and stealing his way to the top.
I guess if I had to redo this movie, I would have made it a story about a dude who was a big fan of Spiderman but had never met him. Peter Parker would actually be an intellgient science-minded guy, and he would've been going through relationship trouble and off his game. Electro would've also been infatuated with Gwen Stacy and she'd constantly spurn his advances because she's in a relationship. And then one day he calls her to the office to show her a surprise and it's like a weird electrical set up he made to impress her, but she's super uncomfortable with it and he tries to explain before Spiderman comes to rescue Gwen and in the process causes the accident that creates Electro.
He's then sent to prison on sexual assault charges and gets super pissed that people don't see his point of view, and his electric powers build up while he's in prison until he escapes by killing all of the guards. He laments that Spiderman isn't the big hero he thought he was and goes to be a "better hero" but also kills cops and is way to severe with how he operates. Then he kidnaps Gwen in order to try and make her love him and Spiderman has to fight to get her back. Then he admits that he can't live without Gwen or something, and at the end of the film you tease the audience with a shot of Harry Osborn driving in from an airport.
A nice, simple story with a character arc is all I want. I don't need CGI to blow me away, nobody does. Nobody fucking cares. We want a good, entertaining solid superhero movie. What is so fucking hard about this? Yes, it can be cliche, yes it's been done, but it's what I want and it's what makes the movies fun. We like to see the hero because we like the hero already, just make a fucking good movie already jesus christ.