The sequel to the 2012 reboot, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 returns Marc Webb in the director’s chair and Andrew Garfield as the web-slinging superhero. In this installment of the franchise, Peter Parker fights with three undeveloped super-villains, tries to discover the truth behind his father’s death, and deals with some excruciatingly painful relationship drama with Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone). The tagline to the film is “His Greatest Battle Begins”, but you’re left wondering if the movie is just a teaser for the sequel, because there’s not much in this film that screams “great”. It’s not fun. It’s not campy. It’s just hard to sit through.
In a superhero movie, it’s important to have memorable villains, and what The Amazing Spider-Man 2 lacks in quality, it makes up in quantity. Paul Giamatti plays The Rhino, Jamie Foxx plays Electro, and Dane DeHaan plays The Green Goblin. While it looks like all three actors were trying their best and having fun, the villains lacked realistic enough motivation to carry any weight. Despite promises from the trailers, The Rhino is barely present in the film. Everything about The Green Goblin’s development is rushed and haphazard. And Electro’s backstory is created almost entirely off of clichés, while the film seems to have no self-awareness of this fact.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 substitutes actual emotion for blatant manipulation. There is a young child who is inspired by Spider-Man and subsequently does stupidly brave things. In slo-mo action sequences, random citizens are singled out that Spider-Man saves. And a supporting character dies (in an incredibly stupid fashion) that Spider-Man ALMOST saved. It’s all incredibly forced, and it all just seems lazy.
By the time I reached the third act of this 142 minute chore, I was just looking to be done with the movie, and could excuse the rushed villain exits. However, one thing that stuck with me was the lack of conclusion to the subplot involving Peter’s parents. The opening sequence of the film shows their death, and Peter spends a good chunk of the movie trying to figure out what happens to them, but after an anti-climatic sequence where Peter finds out the truth, nothing is done with it. Despite the time spent, it holds almost no weight in the film. It’s as if the writers decided that they needed to talk about his parents more, but couldn’t figure out how it fit in with the rest of the story.
Overall, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 feels like a filler movie. It’s especially disappointing because the first film in the franchise felt like a filler movie as well. Walking out of the film, I didn’t feel anything but apathy. I felt like I watched a 2+ hour trailer, rather than an actual film. To add insult to injury, the after-credits scene to the film isn’t even Spider-Man related. It’s a teaser-trailer for X-Men: Days of Future Past. I feel like that simple fact sums up the quality of this film pretty well. 3/10.