Spider-Man is back and this time his ‘greatest battle begins.’ One thing the new Spider-Man franchise should stop – is using adjectives like ‘Amazing’ and ‘Greatest’ because neither is fitting for this film. Average Spider-Man 2 is a hodgepodge story with no character growth and weak motivations. The film has a lot of ideas crammed in and as a result has far to many plot lines to keep track of for a fulfilling resolve. From the trailers/advertising one might think Jamie Foxx is the lead villain…think again. One might also think Paul Giamatti’s the Rhino plays a substantial part as well…think again. One might also think there will be a reasonable motive for our hero and villains to explain what they are doing…think again.
Gwen and Peter’s Relationship. The last film ended with Peter and Gwen breaking up and then that final line ‘Don’t make promises you can’t keep.’ ‘Those are the best kind’. So it was clear that Peter wasn’t going to leave Gwen alone. Well, we return to see they are still dating but he’s troubled by his guilt and decides that they definitely need to break up. Peter then spends the rest of the film struggling with his emotions for Gwen – not being able to commit to her while also wanting to commit to her and also dealing with news that she is going to study in Oxford. Despite them not being a couple during the film they didn’t play it as if they broke up which made their storyline feel rather redundant.
Peter’s Parents. – As assumed from the tidbits in the first film we learn a bit more about Peter’s parents and his father’s experiments with Oscorp. And low and behold yes – Peter’s dad used his own DNA with the mutated spiders which is why Peter was able to become Spider-Man. So it wasn’t the interesting accident. To be honest – I spent most of the time wondering how Peter’s dad got his hands on a Vaio laptop in the mid 90’s that had the ability to link up to a satellite mid-flight.
Electro – A wasted character. Awkward and friendless scientist is saved by Spider-Man who then idolises him, becomes a mutant, then spends the majority of the film in jail only to break out at the end for one last quick battle. Average Spider-Man 2 is definitely a film that lies in it’s marketing. Electro should never have been sold as the main villain as he is far from that. His character is about as strong as Venom in Spider-Man 3.
Harry Osborn – Much like his character in Raimi’s films – he’s the un-loved son, the betrayed best friend, desperate for Spider-Man’s blood, and teams up with one of Spider-Man’s enemies in order to get it. Yes, his plot is basically that same structure as Spider-Man 2 and 3 with the added twist that he is dying. Harry returns to the company after his father’s death. When he learns of the experiments his dad had been doing he goes looking for that super secret spider-juice that will, for no reason at all, definitely heal him on the spot no questions asked and not turn him into the Green Goblin. The friendship between Harry and Peter did not feel genuine at all. It felt rushed. While the films marketing sold Electro as the main villain more time is centred around Harry. What confuses me, in all the trailers there’s a scene between Harry and Peter where Harry explains that Oscorp had Peter under surveillance…of course this is completely cut from the film. What happened to it? Don’t believe me? Here’s the trailer:
Rhino – What a joke! This was the worst use of a villain in the history of comic book movies. You cast a big name like Paul Giamatti and you give him no audible lines and about 3/4 minutes of screen time? Yes, Marc Webb was correct when he said the film wasn’t overloaded with villains – that’s because he didn’t give any of them much screen time so he could tell his whiny indie love story.
The film crammed everything and yet did nothing at the same time. Peter learns the secret about his parents, Norman Osborn dies, Harry Osborn, who is dying and wants Spider-Man’s blood to cure him, is introduced. Battling three classic villains while introducing and foreshadowing a host of other villains like Vulture, Doc Ock, & Alistair Smythe, Black Cat, plus the major death of Gwen Stacy, and a brief montage of Spider-Man No More. There are so many half-baked plot lines it is hard to say what the central storyline is. Narratively it is a disjointed mess. It felt more like watching a series of mini-sodes that ends well-before any pay-off can happen. One thing is very clear: Sony does not know how to manage the Spider-Man franchise. Multiple plot lines and more villains than can be handled; you’d think Sony would have learnt from Spider-Man 3 but everything that didn’t work with Spider-Man 3 was done in Amazing Spider-Man 2, and guess what…it still didn’t work.
Honestly, the film felt troubled from the very start. The fact that they cast Shailene Woodley as Mary-Jane, filmed all her scenes, and was then able to completely cut her out of the story completely with no effect at all to the overall narrative shows how weak the story already was. As well with the studio announcing plans for several more Spider-Man films before this one was even finished it felt like their focus was not on the story at hand and it shows. This film is shocking superficial. If you ask me, Gwen Stacy got the better deal by being killed off.
Marc Webb isn’t telling stories about Superheroes and Super-villains, He’s telling stories about Super-Hipsters and their painful existence and search for quirky love, acceptance, and friendship, but only half-assed.
The score was another mess of confusion created by Hans Zimmer. The James Horner score for Amazing Spider-Man might not have been the best but it had some nice motifs and was certainly far more fitting than this by Zimmer. No only does Zimmer’s sound like listening to the opening intro to the 6 o’clock news, but it didn’t fit the scenes. Scenes that were meant to be dark, contemplative, or dramatic were ruined by chipper and bright melodies which had you feeling, ‘oh, there’s no real danger – okay good.’
I was also not a fan of the pop/indie songs that came on whenever Peter was thoughtful or trying to work something out. It felt incredibly distracting and far to indie/500 Days of Summer-ish.
Average Spider-Man 2 is a swing and massive miss. Much like Iron Man 2 was a big promo for the Avengers and Marvel Studios shared universe. Average Spider-Man 2 is the exact same – a 2 hours plus promo for a Sinister Six film.
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