A Long Line of Scenes: A Review of The Amazing Spider-Man 2

I know I’m in the minority here, but I wasn’t a fan of the Sam Raimi Spider-Man trilogy. While I can’t pass judgment on the third installment, since I haven’t seen it, I didn’t particularly care for the first two. To me, they felt too over-the-top, and never had any moments of true emotion, opting instead for what seemed like very forced character development and sometimes silly villains. The AmThe Amazing Spider-Man 2 Is Full of Scenes, but Devoid of Plotazing Spider-Man reboot, back in 2012, fixed many of these problems for me, though definitely not all of them.

While the villain was still rather silly, there was actual emotion. These were characters that I cared about–I wanted to see Peter find out about his father. I was sad with him when Uncle Ben died. There were real relationships, not just the obvious one between Peter and Gwen, but others: Peter and Aunt May, Peter and Captain Stacy. These characters were far more realistic.

And then…this one came along.

I really wanted to like this film, but it was plagued by so many problems I simply couldn’t. The biggest problem, though, is that I can’t even give you a synopsis. Primarily because a synopsis is a summary of the plot, which necessitates that a plot exist in the first place. If someone could explain to me the plot of Amazing Spider-Man 2, I’d be much obliged because I haven’t the faintest idea exactly what this film was about.

Was it about Peter trying to discover what happened to his parents? Then why Electro, and Green Goblin? Why all the drama with Gwen (which for the most part ceased being believable, sadly)? What was the point of the city turning against Spider-Man? Why all the questions about the justifiability of allowing a vigilante?

That last question actually brings up another point. This film, at so many different points, could not be more cliche. There are the villains with personal vendettas against Spider-Man, but most of them being totally unbelievable and rushed. There’s the internal monologue the villains have with themselves. There’s the evil “big corporation,” the silly scientist who stupidly tortures the villains, the dangerous experimental drug that turns people into villains–it’s all here. The one that got to me the most though was, like mentioned above, the dialog in the city about the legitimacy of Spider-Man.

In the Dark Knight Trilogy, this discussion was done well. It was a primary theme, allowing it to be fleshed out over the course of three films, each looking at a different aspect. Batman Begins examined the drive of the vigilante, and whether or not that was justifiable. The Dark Knight dealt with the concept of escalation, and what the vigilante creates. The Dark Knight Rises concluded with a discussion of the legacy left by the vigilante, and what the purpose of Batman is.

In Spider-Man, the extent of this discussion is several news reports all in one montage. Why was it necessary?

But really, you can ask that question of just about anything in the film. This is because the film has no plot–or at least it didn’t seem like it. There were multiple really good scenes. By and large the returning actors did a great job, even with the script that they had. Some of the action was fun, some of the new characters–if they had been given proper development–could have been interesting. Look, even the villains had potential. The way the Green Goblin story was executed was great, until they actually turned him into Green Goblin at which point he became boring. Many of the emotional scenes were truly emotional.

But none of it was part of a plot. It seemed like the writers said this: “Okay, so here are a couple cool scenes that we came up with. We also think it’d be cool to have these characters. Great!” And then they stuck those scenes up on a storyboard and threw in a bunch of other stuff to make it two hours. And then called it a plot. Which it wasn’t.

Like I said, I really wanted to like The Amazing Spider-Man 2, but every time I tried it was right there to stop me. The ending was well-done, and there were some truly fantastic scenes scattered throughout. Otherwise, it’s not much more than a story-board–a long line of scenes, some characters, but nothing to tie it all together. I can’t recommend the film.

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2 thoughts on “A Long Line of Scenes: A Review of The Amazing Spider-Man 2

  1. “…the dangerous experimental drug that turns people into villains…”

    As terrible as the plot of this movie was, this was my least favorite aspect of it: no drug can ‘turn people into villains’; we do that all on our own…

    Instead of focusing on darkness, they should have turned to the light. There is a safe and tested ‘drug’ that turns villains into heroes: His name is Jesus Christ.

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    1. Interesting take on it, I hadn’t thought of that before. I certainly see your point–and without a doubt in some instances it’s true. I will point out that, interestingly enough, it’s rarely the drug itself that turns the good people into villains. Oftentimes, the people are already villains, and the drug simply gives them enough power to become a threat to the hero. Or, the drug gives them power, they try to be good, and end up turning evil.

      But you’re definitely on to something there. I’ll have to think about that a bit more.

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