Core identity crisis plagues a good, if not massive, chunk of Hollywood. Every year, films after films are so desperate to find a home with a dominant demographic that they ultimately lose all sense of inspiration and ambition, a la 3 Days to Kill, Need for Speed and I, Frankenstein. Of course, then we have films that are clearly ambitious, with inherently good stories to tell, but are so caught up in pleasing and producing an viscerally instantaneous “WHOA! THAT IS SO AWESOME” from the audience that they also fall flat on their face.
And The Amazing Spiderman 2 falls into the latter category. Looking back at the film in hindsight, what the hell was this sequel trying to tell? If the first film was the set-up and build-up to a rising adolescent with great power learning to accept great responsibility, then wasn’t this film ultimately supposed to be the driving factor of that theme? What I saw was Peter Parker still being narcissistic too-cool-for-school asshole and a sickening glorification of that too.
Regarding the first Amazing Spiderman, I let Peter Parker’s douchiness slip by me as it was the first film and this second film was supposed to be the consequence in result of the action. But when the second film never truly explored those consequences and Peter Parker was no same than he was in the first one can only be left with a feeling of “What? Really??”
Instead when we see scenes of Peter Parker swooping in late to a graduation in hip thrasher clothes to smooch his hot girlfriend or when he takes the time to throw on a firehat for style in the midst of massive destruction or when he’s dodging lighting bolts and bullets in sloooooowwww-moooooootiiiiiionnnn, it becomes all too obvious that the creators are showcasing Peter Parker’s character as a total bad-ass because that’s what the casual audience wants.
Do we really not notice the glaring flaws in which the movie constantly diverts the consequences from Peter Parker’s actions? I don’t care what peeps think when I declare this statement, but the original Spiderman trilogy directed by Sam Raimi are ultimately superior. The original movies were a character-dictated story, while the reboot is evidently a plot-dictated story. They were movies that at least understood exploring consequences and that true development came by giving Peter Parker meaningful trials to overcome. Regardless of whether the original movies were well-executed or not, their intentions were earnest and sincere. Peter Parker was a flawed character with narcissistic values and the movie was self-aware of that.
In the current reboot, Peter Parker possesses the same framework, but when he pushes away the people who seek to help him, the movie puts him in the right while everyone else is wrong. Aunt May puts reasonable restraints and restrictions on Peter Parker and yet when he sits down to confront her about these restrictions, she talks about some “I just wanted to be the best mother you could have” bullshit that shifts all the blame to her?!! And in regards to the villains, it’s completely all their fault that they’re the bad guys and only our Savior and Redeemer, Jesu- Peter Parker, can save the day.
OK, yeah. I’m not a twisted human being. I understand that in the real world that if someone does you wrong, you can’t just whip around and murder them along with the rest of the world. But is there no realization in these freaking reboots that Peter Parker’s dick actions just might have played a factor in their descent to “evil”?
In the original movies, Peter Parker admits and is perfectly cognizant that his actions might have caused some harm. There are moments of wonderful turn-around for his character where he grows stronger because of his willingness to admit those actions. Where is that turn-around for the Peter Parker here?
And speaking of the villains, I understand Harry’s role, but why in good hell is Electro doing here? Not only is an already incoherent plot provided more ridiculously convoluted because of his extraneous presence, but it contributes nothing emotionally. Really, the only God-forsaken reason he’s in this movie at all is to up the ante of destruction and thrills. Which furthers my initial problem with the whole film. If Electro is really only here for some kick-ass action sequences, then just how sincere are the creators with how they’re handling Peter Parker as a character?
Again, what story are they trying to tell? Why give us a reboot if you’re not going to improve upon what you found to be problematic with the original trilogy?
I may be harsh, but in retrospective there just really isn’t a whole lot for me to praise about the film. In grandiose action scenes, the cinematography isn’t bad. It’s quite good, actually, and during these moments, the strong, polished and sleek color palette actually renders a nice bold, yet realistic aesthetic. But this praise just backfires when the whole film is stuck in this aesthetic. There are lots of soft-spoken moments, comedic moments and heavier moments where this style goes against it. Do films not realize that tonal inconsistency stems from sticking from one aesthetic look rather than taking on multiple looks?
And the only other praise were the small slivers of genuine chemistry between Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy and even that didn’t hold up much in hindsight. There chemistry has nothing to do with a well-tuned script or an emotional tone the look of the film set. Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone are just talented people with a lot of chemistry. (They are dating too).
But yeah, that’s pretty much all I have to-
“BUT WAIT, DEADLIGHT!!! Don’t you dare end this review yet!! You nitpick Peter Parker’s character the whole time, but you’re forgetting the most integral and emotional scene of the whole film!!”
(MAJOR SPOILERS: STOP READING IF YOU CARE THOUGH I’M SURE YOU ALREADY KNOW WHAT HAPPENS ANYWAY)
For all you that have seen Donnie Darko, the male lead, in a sense, possesses the same internal problems like Peter Parker. However, while a lot of his quirks are glorified, there’s also a lot of rebuke to balance that. He’s arrogant and selfish. He pushes everyone out of the way. But slowly, he accepts the help people offer him. When he opens up to Gretchen and listens to what she has to say, his change in behavior is clear and concrete.
Without going too in-depth into its cryptic power, Donnie Darko essentially has the power to alter time and save the universe with the cost of his own life. But in an early scene he tells his psychiatrist “he’s scared to die alone”. Donnie is aware of what needs to be done but is terrified of passing on. At first, he’s selfishly willing to let everyone die along with him, but with the progression of the film, he begins to cherish his family, his friends and Gretchen. At the very height of the film, when Gretchen is run over, Donnie Darko realizes how much she was to him and so he makes the final selfless decision to carry out the act, sacrifice himself and save the world.
And so when Gwen Stacy dies in The Amazing Spiderman 2, Peter Parker goes through the same change, right?
Sorry, guys. Gwen Stacy’s death is phoned-in and one of the most hollow death scenes I have ever had to witness in a while. The emphasis the film puts on its plot and action so overshadows her arc with Peter Parker that not a rat’s ass was given. But more to the point, the movie utterly failed with the representation of her death. Isn’t her death suppose to finally open Peter’s eyes and enable him to become a better super hero?! Nope!
My God. What an awful movie. Just awful.