In this section I first intend to review the Tobey Maguire Spiderman Trilogy and then take a look at the Andrew Garfield Spiderman films.
I haven't decided if I am actually going to do a Spiderman Vs Spiderman review just yet because plenty of critics have done that already. I am trying to think of a more original way of looking at the two film series...without doing a straight forward comparison between them.
Watch this space for that review, if I can think of a way of doing it in a different way to other critics I have seen
I reviewed the films in the following order:
The Amazing Spider-Man
The Amazing Spider-Man 2
Released in 2002 this film adaptation starred Tobey Maguire in the lead role as Peter Parker/Spiderman with Willem Dafoe as Norman Osborn/Green Goblin. The film was directed by the man behind the Evil Dead films, Sam Raimi, with a cameo by the legendary Bruce Campbell.
Think back to 2002 when excitement for a new Spiderman film was growing, X-Men had come out in 2000 and had shown that comic book adaptations could not only be good but they could be great. Now admittedly this film series achieved three films before being rebooted, so it must have done something wrong to only last 3 films, right?? Well, yes and no. My opinions on Reboots is going to be the subject of a "What's on my Mind" article at a later date.
But for the moment let's have a look at the first Spiderman film, cleverly called...er...Spiderman (I'm not going to include the hyphen between Spider and Man, I don't know why - I just think putting them in is - unnecessary)
Anyway, typically with this being the first of a new film series that is the webslingers origin story. Tobey Maguire is cast as Peter Parker/Spiderman, he looks unimposing and struggles with being a teenager, and it has to be said fits into the nerdy persona of Parker so well that he looks like he was born to play the role, however, it is difficult to see him as the quipping web-slinger. In this film Raimi splits from the comic in two ways - the first is that Parker is bitten by a genetically engineered spider rather than a radioactive one, and the second is that Parker has glands on his wrists that produce webbing inside his body so he doesn't have web-shooters.
So, as this is the origin story, how did Parker become Spiderman??
Whilst on a school trip to a museum, the young and nerdy Peter Parker is taking pictures for his school paper and a scientist tells his class that they have genetically engineered 15 super spiders which have combined elements of other spiders to create a new species (and lists all the powers that obviously Peter will inherit). It is this point that Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst) points out that there are only 14 spiders, the scientist shrugs saying that it must be being experimented on. Of course, it has actually escaped, and builds a web in the corner of the room. Whilst standing underneath the web the spider slides down a strand of web and lands on Parker's hand (yes I am going to flip between calling him Peter and Parker) and bites him. Peter throws it off, and decides not to tell anyone. He goes home, and goes to bed. When he wakes up he is muscle-bound, his eyesight is perfect, and is producing webbing inside himself.
Initially he decides to use his powers to earn some quick cash after his Uncle Ben tells him that "with great power comes great responsibility". He enters a wrestling match and wins but is conned out the winning amount of money he was promised. The organiser is then robbed but being petty (we'd all do it) Peter allows him to escape. Someone then steals Uncle Ben's car, killing him in the process, Peter decides he wants to find the car jacker first and when he catches up to him he realises the man is the robber that he allowed to escape earlier in the evening.
With his guilt consuming him, and his Uncle's very well chosen (almost final words) "with great power blah, blah, blah..." ringing in his ears, Peter decides that he needs to use his powers to help people in trouble becoming the costume crime fighter - Spiderman.
It is lucky that he has decided to do this because a new villain is about to emerge in the form of the Green Goblin...
I am not a comic book reader (as you may have realised as there is not a "TAC Reviews...Comics" on this site) so exactly how closely the films follow the comic books is gleamed from "reliable" sources like Wikipedia. However, I did watch Spiderman The Animated Series so I have some knowledge about different characters in his world and with such a wide variety of enemies to choose from it was going to be tricky to choose the first one to take on the new incarnation of Spiderman.
I have to say that I am a big fan of Willum Dafoe's portrayal of the Green Goblin. He is formerly Norman Osborn, the CEO of Oscorp, who is under pressure because his performance enhancing drugs are not ready to go into production, and a combat suit is also not proving to be popular compared to rival companies. So he takes the enhancers himself and develops an alternate personality, the psychotic Green Goblin. Initially going after Osborn's enemies, the Goblin then sets his sights on new superhero Spiderman.
I really enjoyed both of these characters, although, admittedly I think the Goblin steals the show. A sequence when Osborn is talking to his own reflection is done exceptionally well, because it almost looks like it is two people having a conversation rather than one person talking to himself. His descent into true madness is suitably tongue-in-cheek but is also incredibly entertaining to watch.
Supporting the two leads is the damsel in distress (Dunst) and Peter's best friend Harry Osborn (James Franco) - Norman's son - who is also jealous of the fact that his father and Peter get on better than he does. But when Dafoe isn't stealing the limelight JK Simons is on hand to take over as the crusty, bad tempered editor J Jonah Jameson, the editor of the Daily Bugle who fires Peter regularly but publishes his photos of Spiderman frequently.
Bruce Campbell also cameos as the wrestling commentator who thinks that Parker's wrestling name: The human spider sucks so dubs him instead Spiderman.
Now if we are going to be nitpicky (yes that is a word) - and I am. But it does not seem like it would be hard to figure out that Peter Parker is also Spiderman. Aside from the fact that a puny teenager is able to take down a wrestler 3-times his size (during the match shooting webs from his wrists) but he also decides to keep the name the commentator gave him. Also why does no one ever really question how Parker is able to be in the right place at the right time to get photos of Spiderman close up. The Goblin figures out who Parker really is, but honestly, the wrestling organiser, the commentator and the audience that witnessed him firing, well webs out of his wrists, should also have worked out that Peter Parker is Spiderman.
Now whilst I'm on the complaint train, let me bring up a couple of other points.
Yes, Maguire is suitably cast as Peter Parker but can he really be seen as the wise-cracking Spiderman?? Not really. So considering we spend a lot of the film seeing Parker as Spiderman he doesn't really bring over the web-slinger's smart ass attitude and constant quipping. If you haven't seen it, track down the animated series The Spectacular Spiderman because in that show, Parker is able to be the cocky web-slinger but also deliberately acts like the bumbling computer nerd at school so none of his classmates suspect who he is. In this film, a scene where Peter bumps into Mary Jane and tells her that he was "in the neighbourhood" is followed by a sequence in which she is about to be mugged (or worse) by a group of thugs, Spiderman appears, rescues her, and then tells her he was "in the neighbourhood" - he doesn't change his voice and yet Mary Jane (who has been Peter's next door neighbour and classmate for years) still doesn't figure out who he is.
Is it just me who wonders if someone I know had a secret identity I would be able to figure out who they were???
Also the Green Goblin's costume is beyond ridiculous and it is really no wonder why the suit was not selling compared to those made by Oscorp's rivals. When he goes after Peter's nearest and dearest it is hard to be intimidated by him, but Dafoe's portrayal is so over-the-top that it would be very difficult not to be at least entertained. Plus his "sadistic choice" made me laugh out loud because as cheesy as he is, the Green Goblin is a great villain and I love a great villain.
Thankfully Dafoe plays this in a suitably over-the-top way (which considering his costume is not surprising) and the final battle between him and Spiderman is pretty brutal for a 12A rated film. The ending dangles a sequel shamelessly before the audience and there are subtle references to the possibility of other Spiderman characters and villains appearing in later films. But do you know what I welcomed another film because on the whole this one was entertaining, with a good cast, and promised to be the beginning of a successful big screen franchise for everyone's favourite web-slinger.
I liked this film, and looking back my opinion of it has declined, it is still a pretty fun film with a cast who are enjoying their roles, so it gets a Thumbs Up.
7/10 - Maguire is good as Parker but less good as Spiderman, fortunately Dafoe is on hand to steal every scene he is in, and when he is not around thankfully JK Simons seems to be
As you know I liked the original Spiderman film and now that the pesky origin story is out of the way, I was hoping that we would get to see a tonne of Spiderman in action using his powers to their full potential. Thankfully this film does deliver on that front, we see a hell of a lot of Spiderman, and now there is a new villain in town - Doctor Otto Octavius (played by Alfred Molina).
In the previous review I talked about the fact that there are loads of villains in Spiderman's world so Raimi was basically spoiled for choice regarding who he put into the film. Now Dafoe as the Green Goblin was a joy last time around, but to have another psychotic villain would have been a bit dull, so this film takes a stab at a spin on the mad-scientist idea.
What has Spiderman been up to then??
Two years have passed since the events of the first film, and Parker is struggling underneath the weight of being both Spiderman, and being himself. He wants a normal life but is aware of what happens if he does not use his powers to help (he fears someone else will die like Uncle Ben did). As a result Peter is seen as being unreliable at his pizza delivery job, and he rarely attends his college classes. His teachers even describe him as "Brilliant but lazy"
His love interest Mary Jane (Kirsten Dunst) has also become frustrated with him not being there when he said he would be and has started a relationship with John Jameson. Meanwhile Harry Osborn (James Franco) is becoming increasingly angry with Parker who gets close enough to Spiderman to take his picture but refuses to tell Harry who he is, despite Harry blaming Spiderman for the death of his father.
Enter into this mix, a scientist who is trying to create a miniature artificial sun, but during his demonstration his experiment is unstable and not only results in the death of his wife but also fuses four mechanical arms to his body. These arms have artificial intelligence and start to manipulate his mind as they urge him to rebuild his experiment not matter what he has to do, even if that includes stealing money or equipment. He does drop back a little in favour of seeing Peter's struggle but he is still an interesting villain that is not out to destroy Spiderman for the sake of destroying him.
There is a fair amount going on this time around with different characters getting their own subplots. Aunt May has money issues, Harry is drinking and struggling to find Spiderman, and Spiderman himself seems to be randomly losing his powers. What Raimi does well is show just how much strain it is for Peter to be both himself and Spiderman.
Former cast members return and JK Simmons once again excels as J Jonah Jameson with Bruce Campbell showing up in another great cameo role. The film also introduces the possibility of other characters becoming their villain counterparts in later films, the main example of this being Dr Curt Connors who could became the Lizard.
It has to be said that whilst Tobey Maguire is not the first choice for a wise cracking smart mouthed superhero he is an expert at showing the weight of the world weighing down on Peter Parker's shoulders. It is easy to feel for him because whilst he is doing the best he can as Spiderman, Parker is losing everything that is important to him. His best friend blames him for not turning Spiderman in, and his love interest has started a relationship with another man because he is never there for her.
This is all pretty interesting stuff but it doesn't illustrate the fun that Parker has being a costumed crime fighter - basically what I am saying is that in this film "shit's gotten real" which is a pity because Spiderman tends to be the hero that has a lot of fun with his alter-ego. I know that he has had his share of tragedy but there is not enough fun with the character. The sequence where he tries to deliver pizzas as Spiderman is brilliant and would have been funnier if he had made it by the delivery time and decided that it was a good way to deliver his pizzas. But no, he doesn't make the delivery time, cannot charge for the order so doesn't do it again.
I liked the villain and I liked the overall story but there are a couple of sequences that really annoy me. The most notable of these is when Spiderman has to stop an out of control train, he loses his mask and his face is seen by a bunch of passengers. They claim they will keep his secret but they should never have seen it in the first place, the whole point of a secret identity is that the identity is kept SECRET!!!! I get that Spiderman is supposed to be the people's hero but if he had been unconscious and the commuters chose not to take of his mask would have worked better.
In addition as Harry Osborn is getting more and more obsessed with killing Spiderman does make you wonder why Parker doesn't just tell his friend the truth. I know that directly contradicts my previous secret identity comment but stick with me. I mean I have several close friends that are more like brothers than just friends, and if one of their fathers had gone insane, killed a bunch of people, then tried to kill me and wound up killing himself - I would tell them. I would show them the proof to back up my story and hope that they would believe me because surely their father would rather they know the truth than obsessing about killing an innocent man. I get the secret identity thing but surely that would have been more interesting than just letting Harry's feelings of revenge fester and grow.
Eventually Parker does decide to throw in the towel because what is the point in being a superhero when those closest to you resent you?? I can understand the decision to do that but again if he told those closest to him who he really is then maybe they would understand why he is so often not around. Keeping an identity secret for fear of someone discovering who you are and going after your family and friends is fair enough, but there is really no reason to keep your family and friends in the dark.
This is very much a second film if that makes sense, it continues on from Spider-man obviously, and characters have changed and evolved in the two years we haven't seen them. It also sets up a number of possibilities for future film instalments, and leaves the door for a sequel wide open.
I do like the film and the idea that he loses his powers is interesting and the villain is complex and is completely different to the Green Goblin seen in the first film. It is a superior sequel because we do get a lot of Spiderman action and the cast are all at home in their various roles with tantalising glimpses of characters that have a lot of impact in the - I'm not going to say comics because I don't read those - but in The Animated Series that I really enjoyed.
A great successor to 2000's Spider-man that sets up a number of possibilities for the third film.
I'm am going to give Spiderman 2 a Thumbs Up because it does what a sequel should do, it raises the stakes from the original, and challenges the idea of what it is like to try and lead two identities as a normal guy and a superhero.
8/10 - Great sequel to a great original, and a great villain that is not just evil for the sake of being evil. Maguire is still better suited to play Parker than Spiderman but considering we are seeing how much being Spiderman is consuming Peter's life this works really well.
Released in 2007 Spiderman 3 once again follows everyone's favourite web-slinging superhero. Tobey Maguire is once again in the lead role, with Kristen Dunst and James Franco returning to reprise their roles as Mary Jane and Harry Osborn respectively. Sam Raimi also directs with Bruce Campbell appearing in yet another cameo role
Set a few months (??) after the second film, we find that Parker has managed to find a balance between being Spiderman and also having a life as Peter Parker. Mary Jane knows who he is so he no longer has to hide anything from her and he plans to propose. It is during this attempted proposal that Bruce Campbell once again steals the scene with his cameo. Unfortunately Peter is blissfully unaware that whilst his life seems perfect Mary Jane's career is failing and Harry Osborn is finally planning on his revenge after learning Spiderman's identity at the end of Spiderman 2.
As I can sense your spider-sense tingling, let me bring you up to speed on where everyone is and what is going on...and you are going to need to pay attention
So, Peter is everyone's favourite hero, and he is able to be Peter Parker too, so he is happy. Whilst in Central Park with Mary Jane in a giant spider web that is not conspicuous to any passersby at all, a meteorite crashes, realising a strange black ooze that attaches itself to back of Peter's bike as he drives away.
Later he tells Aunt May he wants Mary Jane to marry him and so she gives him a ring that Ben once gave to her so that Peter can propose. On his way back to his apartment Harry (as the new Goblin in an outfit that looks nothing like the one his father wore and a completely different glider) attacks him and the two have an aerial battle throughout the city (fortunately no one glimpses Peter's face) at the end of which Harry is knocked unconscious and when he wakes up in hospital he has lost his memory.
Meanwhile, a man named Marco Flint is running from the police when he runs into a closed off area, falls into a machine and is somehow transformed into the Sand Man. He starts robbing banks and such, coming to Spiderman's attention, but is able to escape. Parker and his aunt are later contacted by the police because it turns out that the man Peter thought killed his Uncle Ben (the man he went after in the first film) was not Ben's killer, Marco was.
A short time after that the black ooze attaches itself to Peter enhancing his powers, and increasing his aggression. He goes after the Sand Man and seemingly kills him. Harry then regains his memory and attacks Peter again who almost kills him too. Not long afterwards Parker starts to realise that his funky new black suit is turning him into something he doesn't want to be so rejects it, at which point it finds someone else that has a grudge against Parker. The Sand Man isn't dead after all so he unites with the suit's new host as they kidnap Mary Jane and vow to destroy Spiderman forever forcing the web-slinger to turn to one of his enemies for help.
If ever there was a candidate for Tried Trinity Syndrome it is this film, because it majorly lacks focus and really does not seem to be adding anything to previous films, thus making you ask what the point of it, apart from a money making exercise, actually is.
You would think 3 films into the franchise with the likes of Venom on the cards that this film would be amazing...just look at some of the screen shots we had of Venom in all his glory...
He looks exactly the way I had imagined he would look when I first saw Venom in The Animated Series, and considering he was only glimpsed in the trailer I was eagerly anticipating seeing him in the film...but it was not to be...and now we are getting to it.
Spiderman 3 is clearly trying to do too much, after the build up of Harry's revenge since the end of the first film we had to see some pay off in that regard. But it is like Raimi did not want to focus on that so the battle is very brief, and Harry is dumped to the sidelines in favour of the Sand Man being the enemy, then we have the whole thing with the alien symbiote attaching itself to Peter and turning him evil. When I say evil, I mean into an emo that...shiver...dances down the street pointing his fingers at various attractive women he strolls past and tries to make Mary Jane jealous by dancing with another woman, Gwen Stacy (Bryce Dallas Howard), in front of her.
Gwen Stacy is apparently one of Peter's love interests in the comics.
There is a sequence in which Gwen is doing some modelling when a crane goes out of control smashing into the building, she screams in terror and starts to fall when she is saved by Spiderman. The crowd cheers and the scene changes. I remember sitting in the cinema thinking, so...is Spiderman going to stop the crane that is still smashing into buildings above the gathered peoples' heads. But they don't address it, they simply move on to something else so we can get back to being overwhelmed by the amount of villains fighting for screen time.
The cast return to reprise their roles but the film is all over the place.
The Sand Man is not a merciless killer (unlike the great Green Goblin), he commits crimes to try to support his sick daughter, so he is a more sympathetic badguy. When Parker talks to him towards the end about how his Uncle died, we get this bullshit explanation about Marco trying to rob him and Ben telling him to just go home to his family, then his partner (the guy from the first film) taps his arm so the gun Marco is pointing at Ben just goes off making his death more of a tragic accident than anything else - No, just no. I watch forensic detectives and the trigger of a gun is designed so that it can only set the gun off if a certain amount of force is applied to it, so the whole idea of it going off accidently I find very hard to swallow. Plus if Marco was torn up by guilt about killing an innocent man, why did he not turn himself in and face the music for his crimes??
There is so much going on and yet at the same time nothing is really happening.
We get the same old bullshit of Peter and Mary Jane's relationship being on again, off again, on again. Harry starts blackmailing her when he gets his memory back forcing her to split up with Peter, which she goes along with because she fears what Harry will so if she doesn't. She does remember that Peter is Spiderman right?? Surely he should be a match for Harry who as far as Mary Jane knows is just a mere mortal who hasn't taken the enhancement serum his father took in the first film. (which doesn't drive Harry completely insane for some reason)
The flaws just keep going...Venom is given so little screen time that it is really not worth his time appearing. The cast are okay here but like I said they don't seem to just be interested in developing the characters and all we get is a crap pay off for 2 films worth of build up regarding Harry. Sand Man is a whiny villain content to justify his crimes because he is trying to save his daughter...the road to Hell is paved with good intentions...anyone??
I made the crack about the Spider-sense earlier because here it does not really feature, and also Peter almost never wears his mask so he has obviously decided that his identity does not need to be a secret any longer.
I really wanted to like this film, but sadly the overwhelming numbers of under developed villains just take away from the overall experience when any one of them would have been more than enough to carry the film.
As a result my Thumb is Down and Tired Trinity Syndrome strikes again.
4/10 - This film is just an irritating waste of potential that adds nothing which effectively killed its own franchise leading to the reboot of the entire series in 2012
So despite the fact that Spiderman 3 was a commercial success, the lacklustre story, and the overwhelming numbers of villains left audiences to wonder where the future of the series lay - apparently one of the issues that Director Sam Raimi had been having was interference from the studio who had wanted to see the inclusion of enemies like Venom in the series and were responsible for the high number of villains fighting for screen time in Spiderman 3. There were plans to do another trilogy with Spiderman 5 and Spiderman 6 at one time to be filmed back to back with a single story arc, but those ideas were ultimately dropped and the original cast and director were dumped in favour of a reboot in 2012 - The Amazing Spider-Man
After any future Spiderman films with Tobey Maguire in the lead role were cancelled a new franchise was developed with Andrew Garfield taking over the job as Peter Parker and Spiderman, with Emma Stone his love interest as Gwen Stacy. The original trilogy has nothing to do with these films and consequently we once again needed to see the Web-head’s origin story.
Without future delay, lets dive right on in…
Young Peter Parker is dropped off at his Aunt and Uncle’s house by his parents who have to go away for a while, only they never return for him. Cue a few years later when social “outcast and nerd” Peter Parker is grown up and in high school. Peter finds an old briefcase belonging to his father which mentions a colleague of his Curtis Connors (Rhys Ifans) who now works for Oscorp. Whilst at Oscorp trying to find Connors Peter ends up in a room filled with genetically modified spiders, one of which bites him on the neck, and whilst on the journey home Peter discovers that he has developed spider-like powers.
Not to be put off finding answers about his father Peter tracks Connors down to learn more about his father, he discovers that Connors is working on growing limbs back, after he lost his own arm. Working with him Peter helps him develop a formula that successfully re-grows the limb of a laboratory mouse. Whilst helping Connors Peter forgets to pick up his Aunt which results in an argument between him and his Uncle Ben, Peter storms out and Ben follows but quickly looses him. A nearby deli is robbed and Ben tries to intercept the robber only to be shot in the process and dies before Peter’s eyes.
Using his new powers Peter decides to track down the killer, but after his face is nearly seen by a group of criminals he falls into a wrestling arena and decides that he needs a mask if he is to continue delving into the criminal underworld. He creates a suit and even builds devices to shoot a web-like industrial cable from his wrists as he starts his new life as a vigilante. He starts dating Gwen Stacy and has a rather uncomfortable dinner date with her family and father Captain George Stacy (Denis Leary) who is not exactly impressed with a masked vigilante in his town.
After dinner Peter tells Gwen he is Spider-Man, they kiss, and across town Dr Connors testes the formula he and Peter developed on himself, which transforms him into the Lizard (because there was lizard DNA in the formula).
Now that the story is out of the way, let me tell you what I liked and what I did not like.
Remember how I said that Tobey Maguire was well cast to play the nerdy Peter Parker but you could not really see him as the wise cracking superhero?? Well, Garfield has the opposite problem, he is perfectly cast to be Spiderman but I cannot really see him as the nerdy kid that gets picked on at school. Yes, he gets a punch from the class bully when he sticks up for a younger classmate but you get the feeling that scene was only put it to establish that yes he gets bullied from time to time. I do like what happens the morning after he wakes up with his powers, because he is now so much stronger than he was before he tears off door handles, breaks taps and generally wrecks a room because he is not used to how strong he has no become. How he gets the idea for wearing a mask and why he decides to wear a costume is also quite creative. Peter coming to terms with his powers is maintained throughout the film especially in a scene in which he throws an American football at the posts only to bend on in the process (this is done in full few of a number of classmates but naturally none of them question how Peter was able to throw the ball hard enough to bend the posts).
Emma Stone is also superb, and unlike Mary Jane, Gwen Stacy is competent, intelligent and is not just there so that she can be rescued. Also having Parker tell her that he is Spiderman straight away does save awkwardness later on when we would normally get the whole neglected girlfriend because Peter is never there because he is out being Spiderman thing. I think this works well, and the web-shooters also keep Spiderman more rooted in the comic books.
The villain is pretty entertaining and explores the scientist corrupted by his own creation vibe plus Norman Osborn is mentioned but not seen here so it opens up the possibility of him appearing in later films.
The problem with this film is the actor playing Spiderman getting “face time” but more on that in a second.
Peter Parker is supposed to be intelligent, and yet during the film he does some pretty fucking stupid things.
First, explain how this was a clever thing to do…
Peter heads down to the sewer to track down the lizard and take his picture so he can earn some money, this goes awry when the Lizard find and attacks him. Peter escapes but the Lizard finds his camera which has “Property of Peter Parker” on it, and as he knows who Parker is, heads straight to him. Surely if you are going after a man-sized Lizard you wouldn’t write your name on your camera?? Who labels stuff anymore?? These days if your camera breaks or is lost, you simply go out and buy another one – you don’t put a label on it. Maybe this was done to show that Peter doesn’t have much money or is a nerd (because nerds label things??) but for someone as intelligent as he is supposed to be this is pretty stupid.
Getting back to my previous point about “face time” after the Lizard discovers Spiderman’s identity he goes to Peter’s school to attack him. The school is evacuated and Peter changes into Spiderman so he can battle the Lizard, the fight itself is pretty entertain with both using full advantage of their powers, the Lizard’s being strength and Spiderman’s being manoeuvrability. The Lizard eventually retreats and Spiderman takes off looking through him in the schools corridors…without his mask…what if one of this classmates had been hiding in a classroom or someone from the authorities. He is still wearing the rest of the outfit, so why has he possibly taken off just the mask?? Does it affect his ability to see or something??
Generally I did like the film, and I like seeing the cocky Spiderman I enjoyed watching in The Animated and Spectacular Spiderman series. The film has its flaws and it is a shame that we had to go through another origin story but the film has gone in a different direction to the previous ones and brought another of Spiderman’s enemies to the big screen. I do wonder about the ending though, because a main character dies, and…well, there was an obvious way to save his life, check out How it should have ended…The Amazing Spider-Man to see what I mean
All in all it is a decent reboot for the series, the cast do well and the special effects are top notch so it gets a Thumbs Up
7/10 - Good reboot with a great Spiderman but not as nerdy Peter Parker as we have seen before, still a solid starting point from which to kick off a new franchise.
Released in 2014, this is unsurprisingly the sequel to the rebooted Spiderman film, The Amazing Spider-Man from 2012. It once again stars Andrew Garfield as Spiderman/Peter Parker, Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy with Sally Field returning as Aunt May.
Let me tell you the problem with trailers, they are designed to make you want to watch the film, now yes, of course that it the whole point. They are trying to entice you, and like a beautiful woman who has invited you back to her place (assuming she doesn’t live with her parents), they are a beckoning a finger to you with a sly smile playing that the corner of their full pouting lips that promises you are about to experience all the pleasures of the flesh that living in a fleshy meat sack can grant…sorry that analogy ran away with me a bit
Anyway, do you know what The Amazing Spider-Man 2’s trailer is??
It is a beautiful woman, dancing tantalisingly in a low cut top and short skirt, grinding their hips as they move to music, that you finally manage to get alone and then you find out that they don’t use any of that potential to give you an unforgettable experience, instead they lie flat on their back, leaving you to pound away unenthusiastically, yes…you still blow your load but in the end you are not satisfied and all you can think was what a massive waste of potential that experience was.
THAT is what The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is like
Okay, here’s what’s going on…
We start off with Peter’s father recording a message that explains why he and his mother have had to leave him behind and flee New York. They are onboard a plane when the co-pilot tries to assassinate them, this go wrong (or right from the assassin’s point of view) and the plane ultimately goes down killing everyone onboard.
In the preset, Peter Parker is dating Gwen Stacy despite promising her father that he wouldn’t at the end of the last film, and as a result he is being haunted of visions by him as he continues to fight crime as Spider-Man. He bumps into an employee of Oscorp Max Dillon (Jamie Foxx), a man who idolizes Spider-Man and is overwhelmed that the web-slinger stopped to save his life and starts to believe the two have a close friendship.
Meanwhile, Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan) has returned to visit his terminally ill father, and is told by him that he [Harry] has the same illness so he is also going to die soon. It turns out Peter and Harry have been friends for years (despite Harry not being seen or even mentioned before this film) and the two spend time together catching up.
Peter finds the message from his father in which it turns out that his father experimented on himself, and passed some of his unique genetic material onto Peter, so the spider that bit him didn’t kill him, when it would have killed anyone else if it had bitten them. Harry also figures out that Spider-Man’s genetic makeup may hold the cure to his condition so sets out to try and convince the web-head to give him is blood. Also Max falls into a tank of…sigh…say it with me boys and girls…genetically modified electric eels that seemingly kill him but in fact grant him the power to control and generate massive amounts of electricity within himself.
Due to her father continuing to haunt him, Peter breaks up with Gwen to protect her, and attempts to continue his life without the woman he loves, whilst confronting new villain Electro, and wrestling with his conscience about whether to give his closest friend his blood despite that fact that it will almost certainly kill him.
Let me just go back to that trailer for a second (don’t worry I’m not planning on doing more sex analogies – and just for the record I have a rich and varied sex life…so…er…moving swiftly on). In the trailer you see glimpses, glimpses of Doc Ock’s mechanical arms, the wings used by the Vulture, a guy on a glider that is obviously the Green Goblin, as well as a guy in a huge mechanical suit with a horn on the front which could be none other than the rhino and of course Electro. Could this mean that potentially they are setting up a Sinister Six type scenario?? Are these villains going to be introduced and developed in later films?? No, they are not, and including them in this trailer is nothing short of a dick move designed to give the impression that the film makers are setting up something epic.
I know I have mentioned it a few times in these Spiderman film reviews, but I am going to mention it again, The Spectacular Spider-Man animated series. In that show a villain called L Thompson Lincoln/Tombstone/Big Man notices that when Spider-Man was busy battling big named villains like the Rhino or the Sand Man, his attention was so focussed on them that he [Spider-Man] will not notice the more mundane crimes that Lincoln is involved in, such as robbery and the like, so he [Lincoln] is free to run his criminal empire without fear of Spider-Man interfering. Now, that is a great idea, and as a result Lincoln pays Norman Osborn and Oscorp to test out their experiments and prototype equipment on willing criminals who all want to have a go at the web-slinger. The idea of villains being created solely to battle the web-head is a great one, and I ask you…why didn’t they do that here??
What we have here is like boring missionary sex with a woman who spends her day job as a contortionist…you have glimpsed their potential but they do nothing with it (seriously I don’t know where all these sex references are coming from in this review…it might be time to resume therapy)
Max Dillon starts off as a stereo-typical nerd, and when I say stereo-typical nerd I MEAN Stereo-typical nerd. His had goofy teeth, his hair is in a side parting, he has pens in his top pockets, wears his trousers pulled up to his chin, and of course is completely invisible to those around him. Spider-Man rescues him, and speaks to him for a few seconds so Max’s obsession with him only increases. Later when he falls into a tank of genetically modified electric eels - seriously why are you humans not genetically engineering stuff and dumping people into their tanks or letting people to get bitten just to see what would happen?? - Max wakes up on a slab in the morgue, and discovers that he can see, feel, and control electricity. He wanders around seeking help and ends up in Times Square inadvertently causing a blackout. This brings him to Spider-Man’s attention, after trying to talk him down, the isolated and desperate for attention Max turns on the web-slinger and is quite quickly subdued and ends up in the nuthouse to await his return to the plot later in the film
I can honestly say I am a fan of Jamie Foxx, he was brilliant in Collateral and he gives the character of Max some depth here, unfortunately he give him amount as much depth as a paddling pool. Him turning on Spider-Man after idolizing him is so fast it is meaningless, when he is rescued, Spider-Man tells him that he is very important, and when he confronts him is Times Square not only does Spider-Man remember him, he tries to help. But as the news cameras attention switches away from Max who Spider-Man dubs “Electro” before remembering who he is, Max suddenly flips out and attacks. The following sequence is very impressive with the special effects top-notch but the transformation is so quick it makes no sense. If Spider-Man had not remembered him and Max had realised that saying he was special was simply something the web-slinger had said to him without meaning it, then you could understand why Max turns on him so fast.
It is a shame you cannot see me rubbing my forehead weakly with my eyes closed, because I really wanted this film to be good. The ideas that I had in my head were way better than anything that the film has actually done.
The idea that Peter Parker was the only one who could have survived a bite from the spider in the first film at least answered the question of why no one else had ever stumbled into that spider-room without a protective suit, got bitten and didn’t wake up with superpowers. It is an idea with great potential, specifically, when Harry asks for a sample of his blood in the hopes of curing himself of the disease that killed his father. If it was me, and my closest friend was going to die and I knew that my blood might cure him or might kill him, I’d make it clear if he used it chances were good he would die anyway, but then I’d give it to him, because why wouldn’t you?? The guy is dead either way and if there is a remote possibility it’ll cure him then so much the better, but no, Spider-Man refuses to give his blood to Harry (despite the fact that it is painfully obvious that Harry has figured out that Peter and Spider-Man are one and the same) leading to Harry to start hating his supposed friend.
Would it not have created a much better story arc if Peter had given Harry his blood, Harry had used it to cure himself but the process created a split personality which lead to the persona of the Green Goblin?? You could then have had the fights between the Goblin and Spider-Man but also the internal battle between Harry and Goblin within his own mind because as the one who saved his life Harry has nothing but gratitude and admiration for Peter who saved his life but the Goblin sees Spider-Man as a threat?? Or could you have the Goblin wanting to harvest more of Peter’s blood to create more like himself or other super villains, the way I see it the possibilities with this idea are limitless…as it turns out the spiders that gave Peter his powers were destroyed by Oscorp and fortunately a vault contains a sample of their venom. A vault which also houses all the things glimpsed in the trailer that have nothing to do with anything, and so Harry injects the venom into himself anyway, it doesn’t kill him for some reason as he is able to get into the Goblin outfit that somehow cures him…because the suit is genetically modified…???
I have to admit that I do like the cast, Emma Stone is still the intelligent, strong woman Gwen Stacy was in the first film and after Peter breaks up with her, she decides to get on with her life. In fact in the end it is Peter who realises that he is the one who needs to be more flexible if he is going to be with her. This is a great idea so we don’t have the usual damsel in distress that is in constant need of being rescued as she helps him figure out a way of defeating Electro when he returns to the plot. Her chemistry with Andrew Garfield is also very good (apparently the two started dating in real life) which carries over onto their onscreen chemistry. You really do feel the desperation of Peter even behind his Spider-Man mask to save her when the pair are attacked by Harry as the Goblin in the film’s climax and the tragedy of the consequences of that battle are really felt by the audience…but ultimately the consequences are meaningless as Peter decides to continue being Spider-Man (spoiler I guess)
The actors are all really good and I did enjoy watching them, but it could have been so much more…if I hadn’t seen the trailer and built it up so much in my mind I would probably have been kinder to it.
My Thumb is still Down because the special effects are goods, the actors are believable which are positives, but the story was not what it could have been and that is what drags my opinion of the film down. Andrew Garfield is a good fun Spider-Man, unfortunately, the tease of the trailer hangs heavily over the proceedings and whilst we do get to the see the Rhino it is for about 30 seconds at the end including him seems to only be so the footage could be used in the trailer.
5/10 - My Thumb rating aside, this film is not bad, it is just not what it so easily could have been. It could have been Amazing and I wish I could bring myself to rate this film higher but it just didn't give me what I wanted and so I cannot rate it as anything other than average.