The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)
May 16, 2014 1:16 PM - Subscribe

Peter Parker runs the gauntlet as the mysterious company Oscorp sends up a slew of supervillains against him, impacting on his life.

A second film with Andrew Garfield, aka Not Toby Maguire.
posted by mathowie (18 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
To expand a bit on what I said in the thread on the blue, I thought everything about this movie was good to outright awesome, except the script. Garfield and Stone are perfectly cast, Sally Field is the best Aunt May ever, Dane DeHaan is nicely creepy, and they all play off each other well. (Foxx was a cut below the rest, but still did perfectly well with the material. “With the material” being the key phrase.) The fight scenes are cleverly staged and play to the uniqueness of Spider-Man's powers – I really like how they showed the Spider-Sense in that first Electro fight. The directing and editing even manage to keep a feeling of momentum going through the stretches when the story, by rights, shouldn't have any.

All of which is good, because the script is so, so bad. So little of what happens makes sense! So little of what makes sense has anything to do with the rest of the plot! Why show Aunt May in nursing school – and why is a nursing student ordering doctors around in a crisis? Peter and Gwen break up and get back together so much I thought I was watching Fushigi Yugi. Why did Harry need the spider-serum so badly when he just started showing symptoms of a disease his father managed for 30-40 years past that point? Why did Peter turn his friend's plea for life-saving (though risky as shit) medicine down flat instead of offering to do actual research on the idea? And did they really use the “pump the bad guy full of his own power until he explodes” thing in a movie that had a nine-figure budget in the year 2014?

The grand prize of pointless and dumb writing, though: The whole subplot with Peter's parents was built up for almost two entire movies and doesn't pay off at all! Seriously, the big revelation is that Richard spliced his own DNA into the spiders, implying that nobody other than Peter could have become Spider-Man. Which, well, first, that is a really long-winded way to explain something that no one in the history of the franchise has ever cared about before. (In every other version, the spider scuttles away and gets stepped on. Done.) But then Harry takes the venom and gets superpowers anyway! So not only way the Secret Of Richard And Mary Parker dumb, it doesn't matter one tiny iota. Which, on the whole, is still better than making it super important going forward, but what a waste of time.

The crazy thing is that despite all of my Spider-Man Feelings, I liked watching the movie. The cast, the chemistry, the action and the overall style carried it through. But damn, the more I think about the plot the madder I get at Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman and Jeff Pinkner.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:50 PM on May 16, 2014 [2 favorites]

I had exactly the same feeling and thought I was going crazy. I loved the CGI and basically wanted more comic book and a lot less of this stupid unbelievable relationship and less backstory-that-didn't-matter even though I think those guys have good chemistry (did you see the SNL skit goofing on it, it was funny) but I just didn't buy it "Her dead dad told her to not hurt her and in trying to do it and breaking up with her making you both miserable you managed to kill her totally dead? Nice going."

Also I sort of bought wiseass kid Spider-man in the last movie because it's all new and he's a goof and whatever but watching him be really blase about fucking people up and then being all mopemopemope and sentimental and other realish feelings was just weird. The writing was awful, the movie was too long, Jamie Foxx was underutilized.

I think the best part was that it did seem like a schlocky comic book from back in the day, but not nowadays where we have better comics and better movies.
posted by jessamyn at 2:18 PM on May 16, 2014

What did people think about Hans Zimmer's score? Electro's baroque dubstep was...interesting. It was an experiment that shattered the test tubes. It was really good, but also really bad, but also really good, but also really bad, and yet at the same time it was also very HE LIED TO ME HE SHOT AT ME HE HATES ON ME HE'S USING ME FRAGILITY ELECTRICITY AFRAID OF ME HE'S DEAD TO ME
posted by Sticherbeast at 7:56 PM on May 16, 2014 [3 favorites]

I like that Electro had an overpowering, crazy-making soundtrack in his head. I feel like whether the music was any good is entirely secondary.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:39 PM on May 16, 2014

Ok so I'm not the only one who noticed the Electro Supervillain Musical in the middle of my Spider-Man movie, that part was pretty bonkers honestly. I think it was so weird that most people (all the other folks I went with for example) just flat out obliviated it from their perceptions, like how people never really notice Death even when he's ordering a curry in Ankh-Morpork.

They also completely squandered Paul Giamatti. And for one of the most overtly "here let me just yank the ole heart strings with my industrial winch" scenes I have ever seen.

That script, oy. It really is a testament to the professionalism and competence of all involved that the movie is still so fun. Garfield is a much better Spider-Man. He's got that scrappy goofiness so essential in the character.
posted by Doleful Creature at 11:42 PM on May 16, 2014

Oh yeah I couldn't even tell that was Giamatti without IMDB and he could have been sort of great. Like why bother having an actor of that caliber if he doesn't get to do something. And there was another female in the script who even filmed scenes and she got cut completely? I did like the weird music stuff although it added to the overall length of the thing.
posted by jessamyn at 2:49 PM on May 17, 2014

I find it pretty striking that they went so far as to film her, and then they went so far as the cut her. It seems like a missed opportunity, to not develop both characters within the same movie?

I remember that Gwen Stacy was briefly in Spider-Man 3, but I forget exactly how her had character fit into things into that one. (Speaking of memorably weird musical segments, Spider-Man 3, everybody...)
posted by Sticherbeast at 3:51 PM on May 17, 2014

And yes, that was certifiably weird about Giamatti. I presume they intend to return with him? But it's not as if the movie wasn't already a bit overstuffed - why give him essentially a glorified cameo? Maybe because his character is lighter than Goblin, but still different from Electro? Seems like a huge problem from a screenplay structure standpoint, even if I do understand the rationale underlying it.
posted by Sticherbeast at 3:57 PM on May 17, 2014

I presume he's slated to return in the Sinister Six movie Sony is developing.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 3:59 PM on May 17, 2014

Seems like a huge problem from a screenplay structure standpoint

This movie had a huge screenplay problem. It's like the only thing they didn't empty the bank account for was writers. The script is a mess, the plot is nonexistent, the moral arc is upside down (what exactly does Peter learn?) and it displays zero awareness of the general gestalt of Peter Parker as a character.

I had a suspicion this movie would suck when I saw the preview that had not-Toby voice over, "What do I like about being Spiderman? EVERYTHING!" Because that is the exact opposite of the impact of every single Spiderman story ever told. The whole point of Peter's story is that while it looks cool being a superhero, especially a teenage superhero, SUCKS because every time something bad happens you know you could have stopped it, but you're still mortal and limited and the world is too big for you to fix. So you end up making a lot of decisions that hurt, and no matter how many people you save there are always more you didn't.

Despite killing the heroine this movie managed to completely fail to get that.
posted by localroger at 7:46 PM on May 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

It's about a man gifted with extraordinary powers who, through hard work and perseverance, finally manages to get his girlfriend killed.
Despite calling itself a FAQ, this article from io9 does a really good job of dissecting the multiple issues with the screenplay.
posted by Ian A.T. at 1:13 AM on May 18, 2014

I presume he's slated to return in the Sinister Six movie Sony is developing.

This whole mess of clumsy foreshadowing disguised as a Spider-Man film was pretty much an extended advert for the Sinister Six movie. I'm not holding out much hope that it'll turn out to be anything other than an astonishing clusterfuck. Which could be fun but, cinematically, I'm a glutton for punishment...
posted by peteyjlawson at 1:34 PM on May 18, 2014

The movie became dead to me when they showed the recently-captured Electro in some loony bin and who steps up to muck about with him? Oh, it's a creepy guy with a German accent. Of course. The old German Mad Scientist trope ... except I guess that's not enough nowadays, we have to put some lipstick and eye shadow on him to show that only a creepy German who is "confused" about his sexuality would be enough of a deviant to perform experiments on someone.

Barf. Barf all the barf.
posted by komara at 9:02 AM on May 19, 2014 [2 favorites]

I watched both of the movies basically back-to-back, which exposed a lot of the overall issues with the films. The actors are great, and I love them, but man these films are not written terribly well. Spider-man is an asshole in the first movie, particularly to Aunt May. Constantly coming home late and injured with no explanation, not even thinking about how she might feel.

Why end the first movie breaking up with Gwen, because of a promise, and then start the second movie together, only to instantly break up with her again? I guess it was meant to show that he's constantly sabotaging their relationship, but it did a terrible job of that.
posted by graventy at 8:55 AM on May 25, 2014

I don't know why the fuck they didn't just make the creepy German scientist guy Otto Octavius. I mean, dude basically had Otto's job anyway, doing Mad Science for Osborn, and they had the Doc Ock arms RIGHT THERE in the Oscorp vault! They were sitting right there! If they wanted to make this movie a big setup piece for Sinister Six (which they clearly do), it seems like a waste to have to tread that ground again later on.
posted by maqsarian at 9:05 PM on May 25, 2014

The only thing I liked about this movie at all is that it seemed the most comic bookish and the least movie-like of all the superhero comics that I've seen lately. Like the terrible writing seemed like it had been taken straight from storyboards and the 2D characters like the creepy German scientist were the same. That was such a weird dumb stereotype of a character (it was a weird dumb stereotype when they had it in Dr. Strangelove) you could basically not even get away with it except that it was in a comic.
posted by jessamyn at 9:52 AM on May 26, 2014

The bizarre thing about that character is that you could have changed nothing but the name and come away with a perfectly serviceable Otto Octavius, but instead they used "Dr. Kafka," who in the comics is an American, female, ally of Spider-Man.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:23 PM on May 26, 2014

Watched this nearly eight years after everyone else, because of Garfield being in Spider-Man: No Way Home, and yeah, we can totally see why it ground Sony's Spider-Verse to a dead halt until Tom Holland helped resurrect the character a couple of years later in Captain America: Civil War. The first Spider-Garfield movie had its faults, but worked reasonably well, considering who and what it ditched (Mary Jane Watson, J. Jonah Jameson, most of the previous villains); this one, although it's got more villains and teases JJJ, is just an unholy mess, for all the reasons listed in that io9 article.

Plus, of course, fridging Gwen. It's kind of amazing, and not in the good way, that the first Sam Raimi Spider-Man movie both lampshaded and averted that with Mary Jane, and yet someone here thought that it would be super-cool to rerun that old bullshit again. Two slim silver linings to that cloud: it inspired Catherynne M. Valente to write The Refrigerator Monologues, which is quite good, and maybe, if there's some live-action iteration of Into the Spider-Verse, imagine a grown-up Spider-Gwen being played by Stone. (Hailee Steinfeld has another MCU gig now.)
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:44 PM on April 23, 2022

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