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Review: The Amazing Spider-Man 2 93

Posted by timothy
from the life-of-a-spider-man-is-always-intense dept.
Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "It's a weird time to be Spider-Man. Sam Raimi's 'Spider-Man,' which made its debut in 2002, proved (along with Brian Singer's 'X-Men,' released in 2000) that superhero movies could appeal to the mass market, provided they were done right. With or without his Spider-Man mask, Peter Parker (played in Raimi's movie and its two sequels by Tobey Maguire) made for an appealing presence, earnest and kind-hearted even as he punched and trash-talked villains.

A few years after the debut of 'Spider-Man,' Christopher Nolan began his 'Dark Knight' trilogy, and everything changed for the current iteration of superhero movies. Now Spider-Man's earnestness seemed a bit passé, overshadowed by Christian Bale-as-Batman's moral ambiguities and dour growl. With subsequent movies such as 'Captain America: The Winter Soldier' and the 'Iron Man' trilogy, the genre deepened still further, more willing to reflect—as Raimi's Spider-Man never had—real-world issues such as terrorism, surveillance, and drones."
Read on for the rest of Nerval's Lobster's review.
'Spider-Man 3' (2007) tried to get with the times by giving Maguire a black suit (courtesy of an alien symbiote) and a little bit of an attitude, an effort that pretty much everybody seems to view as a failure. As a character, Spider-Man needed to undergo a more careful revision—to become more nuanced and grounded, all without stripping the character of his agreeability. With 'The Amazing Spider-Man' (2012) and the new 'The Amazing Spider-Man 2,' director Marc Webb attempts to strike that balance, and for the most part he succeeds. His Spider-Man, as played by Andrew Garfield, comes off as a little more street-savvy and a whole lot less emo than Maguire, even if he does shed tears at key moments.

'The Amazing Spider-Man 2' features Spider-Man squaring off against Electro (Jamie Foxx) as well as the Green Goblin (Dane DeHaan) and, briefly, the Rhino (Paul Giamatti). If you think that's too many villains for a feature film, you're right, although Webb manages to weave them into the plot with a bit more finesse than Raimi shoving a trio of wrongdoers into 'Spider-Man 3' (and at least the Green Goblin doesn't look like a Power Ranger this time around). Webb's other thread is the romance between Parker and Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone), which benefits from chemistry between the two leads, although it's ultimately eclipsed by the inevitable explosions, super-fights, and stunts. As Gwen, Stone gets the chance to play a role with a little more dramatic weight than the standard-issue damsel-in-distress, and late in the movie she gives a speech that virtually breaks the fourth wall to call out superhero movies on their tendency to reduce female characters to little more than eye candy... a speech that's interrupted within seconds by yet another super-powered brawl.

Webb tries to give his new movie some additional weight by making time a major theme. Characters mention they're running out of it; the first shot zooms out from a micro-shot of a wristwatch's gears; much later, the final battle takes place in a clock tower (and ends on a decidedly pessimistic note). In order to prevent the narrative from tumbling into a dour hole, Webb and Garfield try to give Parker some levity, whether he's taunting a would-be super-villain with a bullhorn or engaging in a webbing-powered slapstick routine right out of Buster Keaton. "He's releasing himself into the symbol that he's created," Garfield said in an interview. "He's enjoying the hell out of it while he's doing it."

Spider-Man will never be dark like Nolan's Batman—these movies have an obligation to be colorful and bombastic. But at least this new one gives the web-crawler some shading.

Rating: 8/10"
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Review: The Amazing Spider-Man 2

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  • Is this a new movie, or a re-release of Spider-Man 2 from 2004? I thought this was just the 2004 version, run through 3D conversion.

    • by Gaygirlie (1657131) <gaygirlie&hotmail,com> on Thursday May 01, 2014 @02:26PM (#46891773) Homepage

      No, it's a completely new movie. Different director, different plot, different cast and all. You could've just read the review, though, and answered the question yourself.

      • by operagost (62405)
        Kind of points out the absurd state of Hollywood that they have about a 5 year reboot cycle. I imagine a new set of Batman movies are due next year.
        • by nicolastheadept (930317) <nick&redfern,org,uk> on Thursday May 01, 2014 @02:35PM (#46891891)
          It's more about the absurdity of the specific rights to make Spiderman films. Sony loses them if they don't make any, that's why we had the reboot
        • I don't mind reboots when they bring something worth it to the table. I totally love Christopher Nolan's Batman-movies, for example, as they don't even try to present Batman as some high, respectable, totally-sane, funny and colourful superhero of the 90's -- *cough* George Cloney *cough* -- and they really bring out more what Batman is like. Man of Steel also tried to make Superman a deeper character than just a flying boy scout and while it wasn't all that good as a movie it at least tried to deviate from

        • by Anonymous Coward

          This has more to do with the state of the contracts. Sony and Fox are a bit scared to let the francises they have with Marvel comics characters slip back to Marvel and that is just what the contracts say if Sony and Fox aren't using the franchises they have.

        • by NotDrWho (3543773)

          I'm just waiting for a studio to announce a remake of a movie that hasn't even been released yet, or a reboot of a franchise that isn't even finished yet. They've come close a few times.

          • by tragedy (27079)

            'm just waiting for a studio to announce a remake of a movie that hasn't even been released yet, or a reboot of a franchise that isn't even finished yet.

            That's already happened. See the _Fantastic Four_ movie. Not the one with Jessica Alba. The one from 1993?

    • by MightyMartian (840721) on Thursday May 01, 2014 @02:27PM (#46891777) Journal

      All these reboots and reboots of reboots are making me dizzy. Actually they've reached the point where I could care fucking less.

      • by timeOday (582209)
        I think reboots are for successive generations of moviegoers, moreso than for lifelong fans of a given franchise. If that were not true, the characters and plots would age and mature. (And by "generation," I just mean "people too young to see the previous iteration when it was new", not necessarily the children of the people who watched it new).
        • Yes, it's exactly that.
          A quick cash-grab to attract a few kids who don't know any better at the cost of diluting the franchise/brand/over-arcing story.

          Seriously, the new Star Trek is a nice action flick, but it's a giant clusterfuck for people trying to make sense of the setting. You know, those fans who would one day grow up and actually produce new Star Trek material. The term "canon" is now contentious depending on what universe you're talking about. This exact sort of problem is why DC had a crisis on i

          • The reboot Star Trek movies, particularly the last one, are just plain baffling films. The quick cuts, the brainless dialog that serves no other purpose than to push the plot along, they rob the franchise of its soul. Watch the interactions between Kirk, Spock and Bones in ToS or the ToS films, and you have rather incredible chemistry (I'd argue that Star Trek would have died around 1967 if it hadn't been for Shatner, Nimoy and Kelley's onscreen chemistry). Now watch Pine, Quinto and Urban, and while they m

        • I think reboots are for successive generations of moviegoers, moreso than for lifelong fans of a given franchise. If that were not true, the characters and plots would age and mature. (And by "generation," I just mean "people too young to see the previous iteration when it was new", not necessarily the children of the people who watched it new).

          Thing is that there's no reason to do a reboot. The people already know the character. They don't need another origin story. They don't need to have things rehashed any more than they need to have things based on previous movies. Just do a new movie with a new take on the character already if you want. The only reason to do a reboot where they retell or change the origin story is for somebody to piss all over it and call it theirs. Probably because they can't otherwise come up with a memorable script otherw

      • Well then go ahead... care less.
      • by i kan reed (749298) on Thursday May 01, 2014 @03:42PM (#46892759) Homepage Journal

        When a sequel is made absolutely terrible by awful writing, they don't go "Maybe we carried this series on too long, and shouldn't write without respect to the quality of the underlying plot, counting on the name to do everything"

        Instead they go "Welp, we drove off all the people that liked the series and another sequel will have a smaller audience. Solution? REEBOOOOOT with more bad writing!"

        Comics are a uniquely suited format for adaptation to film, because they have the same (lack) of depth of characters, plot length, complexity, ratio of action to dialog, and flashiness as your typical action movie. So... that's just too easy a train to ride. We'll find a new gimick within another 10 years.

        • by AK Marc (707885)
          Part of the "fun" of the comics is the serial-ness. Even picking up one in the middle of a longer story, they can be followed. The bad guys never die, they just get lost in a river or volcano, and come back later with some story of being saved by mutant porpuses or a rare gas pocket that blew him harmlessly out of danger.

          The only exceptions to that are the ones that are reality-based (300) or time traveling (Terminator) to where you arne't allowed a reboot, or a reboot is one paradox away. At the end of
      • Agreed.

        Reboot. Remake. Redesign. Reimagining. *yawn*

        Retarded.

      • by ThatsDrDangerToYou (3480047) on Thursday May 01, 2014 @04:17PM (#46893195)

        All these reboots and reboots of reboots are making me dizzy. Actually they've reached the point where I could care fucking less.

        I feel like I'm back on Windows Vista or something!

    • by mwvdlee (775178) on Thursday May 01, 2014 @02:38PM (#46891927) Homepage

      It's exactly the same movie. Different costumes, differently named villains, different actors, exactly the same plot.

  • Viewing recent superhero film development as a dialogue between "light and fun" themes and "dark and heavy" attitudes is overly simplistic. These films were not greenlit based on such factors. Decisions like including the black Spider-Man suit in Spider-Man 3 were also not made for such reasons. Nerval's Lobster is out of his depth here.
  • by Daetrin (576516) on Thursday May 01, 2014 @02:35PM (#46891887)
    I'm judging this based almost solely on the trailers, but the new Peter Parker does not seem dorky enough. He looks like they tried to make him into a hipster instead. The CGI in the trailers, especially for the second movie, makes me think "video game" more than "action movie". And all in all i just don't see the point of Spider-Man reboot so soon.

    I've seen all the Marvel movies (great.) I saw Man of Steel (okay movie with significant problems that have already been hashed over.) I saw Wolverine (not perfect, but a lot better than the Origins movie). And i'm going to go see Days of Future Past. I have almost zero interest in seeing the second take of Spider-Man 2. Nothing this review has said really changes my opinion (i don't think Spider-Man really needed that much shading) and some of the things i've read in other reviews have helped bolster that opinion. (Rewriting Spider-Man's backstory via his parents to make him a "destined child" kind of strikes me as wrong.)
    • I love superhero - movies and I've seen pretty much all of them, including all the Spider-Man - ones. That said, I never found Spider-Man an interesting character in the first place, he's just so damn dull and predictable. "The Amazing Spider-Man" certainly was better than the earlier movies, but still, I rather watch movies about other heroes. That said, I would like to see a real-proper movie of Deadpool -- he's insane, as far away from politically correct as ever possible, he really doesn't give a flying

      • by Daetrin (576516)
        Well tastes differ of course, but Spider-Man is supposed to be the "everyman" hero. And not even a regular "everyman", a smart but kind of dorky and awkward "everyman" who just lucks into his powers.

        Superman is born with his powers (but doesn't consider himself "special" despite that.) Batman develops his "powers" through hard work and dedication. (Obviously being rich helps a lot, but also obviously not every rich person can become a superhero.) Captain America is, generally speaking, rewarded with his p
    • by blackraven14250 (902843) on Thursday May 01, 2014 @03:54PM (#46892941)
      AFAIK, Sony has to keep making movies to retain the rights to Spiderman, otherwise they revert back to Marvel. The same goes for Fox and X-Men. Sony would be foolish, from a business standpoint, to let the rights revert back to Marvel or to sell them back sooner, since they do make substantial money.
    • You're correct. I love the actor, he's been great in other roles but he was terrible at pulling off the geekiness that Toby Macguire handled so well. This Peter Parker is more like a privileged frat boy. I thought the 3rd original Spiderman sucked, but I had zero interest in the 2nd new entry after seeing the first.

      And, I REALLY hated the change to his origin story. I don't know if that's in the comics, but that's typical comic melodrama. Cyclops couldn't just be an Orphan of a plane crash. Now, daddy

  • No idea whether I should listen to Nerval's Lobster... but I've come to trust Moviebob, and I've never heard him pan a film like this, ever...

    http://www.escapistmagazine.co... [escapistmagazine.com]

  • Edgy black suit (Score:4, Informative)

    by Culture20 (968837) on Thursday May 01, 2014 @04:05PM (#46893069)

    'Spider-Man 3' (2007) tried to get with the times by giving Maguire a black suit (courtesy of an alien symbiote) and a little bit of an attitude, an effort that pretty much everybody seems to view as a failure.

    No, Spider-Man 3 was a near-faithful movie version of the alien-suit saga, a pivotal point in Spider-Man's career where the suit was making Peter stronger and a better fighter, but also more callous and brutal. To say the black suit was the director's attempt at an edgy Spider-Man is like saying the death of the witch king in Return of the King was Peter Jackson's attempt at feminist ideology.

    • by Dutch Gun (899105)

      'Spider-Man 3' (2007) tried to get with the times by giving Maguire a black suit (courtesy of an alien symbiote) and a little bit of an attitude, an effort that pretty much everybody seems to view as a failure.

      No, Spider-Man 3 was a near-faithful movie version of the alien-suit saga, a pivotal point in Spider-Man's career where the suit was making Peter stronger and a better fighter, but also more callous and brutal. To say the black suit was the director's attempt at an edgy Spider-Man is like saying the death of the witch king in Return of the King was Peter Jackson's attempt at feminist ideology.

      Agreed, it stayed pretty close to canon, from what I can remember. I was a youngster subscribing to the comics during the course of that sage, and it was definitely taking a darker edge to the story.

      Unfortunately, the director had this bizarre tendency to have the actors suddenly break out in song and dance - what, three times over the course of the movie? In a previous movie, it was cute once, so they tripled down, slowing the pacing of the movie and breaking the suspension of disbelieve (which is alrea

    • Correct. I was referring to this in my post "Bad Premise for Review" above, but for some reason that's been modded down.
  • by wonkey_monkey (2592601) on Thursday May 01, 2014 @04:33PM (#46893369) Homepage

    Sam Raimi's 'Spider-Man,' which made its debut in 2002, proved (along with Brian Singer's 'X-Men,' released in 2000) that superhero movies could appeal to the mass market, provided they were done right.

    Really? That was the movie that proved superhero movies could work?

    *ahem* http://www.imdb.com/title/tt00... [imdb.com]

    C'moooon. I don't really think anyone's looking back on Spider-Man as a classic now, let alone in another 24 years' time.

  • So where the hell is the Civil War [wikipedia.org] arc? The boring old "let's fight the villain and save Earth" storyline is played out.

    It's time for internal strife to rip apart our loved ones and reflect the EXACT sort of conflict going on in America right now. The two party system is tearing us apart and causing complete dysfunction. The storyline itself is just as hard hitting now as when it came out. Do we believe in individual freedom or do we clamp down on potential dangers.

    And what do the good-guy super heroes do w

    • by AK Marc (707885)
      I was hoping for more mutant concentration camps and Sentinals running around and killing X-Men and other Mutants. There were some of those that weren't X-Men specific, so we could have a crossover.
  • Umm, didn't Superman I from 1978 do that?
    (Heck, you could probably make the argument that the Batman movie in the 1960s did too.)

    • Correct. This review is terrible. The pretense of a professional critical voice, the authoritative tone, the complete lack of accuracy.
  • What is it with America and superheroes? I don't think any other nation has ever produced quite such a concept. I suppose the nearest thing in UK would be 'super detectives' like Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot or Lord Peter Wimsey, who were intellectual and self-ironic. Or in Scandinavian tradition, the god Thor - who was rather short, red-haired, choleric and not a little stupid, unlike the American re-invention.

    The American superheroes all seem to be overgrown teenagers with inflated egoes and shaped lik

    • I wonder if that is because Americans are obscessed with youth - or perhaps fear of getting old?

      The image? Probably. But more important is your first question...

      What is it with America and superheroes?

      The superhero is America's myth - the idea that with the right combination of luck, hard work, and/or good-heartedness, miracles can be achieved; that these miracle men (and women) will eventually overcome whatever evil is unleashed upon the world; and that, because of this, order is sustained and the world

  • Sam Raimi's 'Spider-Man,' which made its debut in 2002, proved (along with Brian Singer's 'X-Men,' released in 2000) that superhero movies could appeal to the mass market, provided they were done right.

    As opposed to, say, the $400 million brought in by Tim Burton's original Batman?

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