Just over a year ago, the entire future of the Spider-Man franchise was mapped out. After The Amazing Spider-Man 3 in 2016, the franchise would launch a whole glut of spin-offs including Sinister Six, Venom and Black Cat, turning Spider-Man into a massive cinematic universe to rival Marvel’s. 14 months later, and a new Spider-Man has just been cast; 19 year old Tom Holland will play the third iteration of the webslinger on-screen. This time, Spider Man’s finally in the Marvel Cinematic Universe after Marvel and Sony struck a deal, with Holland debuting briefly in next year’s Captain America: Civil War.
What changed everything? Simple answer: The Amazing Spider-Man 2. The foundation on which the entire franchise would be built, the movie was stuffed with Easter eggs and hints for sequels and spin-offs aplenty. However, it ended up being the movie that gave Sony’s plans a solid kick in the nutsack, with extremely mixed reviews and lukewarm box office returns, leading Sony to eventually press the reboot button yet again and team up with Marvel. With a new Spidey on the way, I decided to take a look back at the movie that ended it all, via the medium of desperately trying to type up bad jokes and keep up with the story at the same time. Yep, it’s another one of these things – my notes and thoughts on The Amazing Spider-Man 2 as I watched it.
Spoilers, of course, lie below.
7.48pm – It’s cute how the movie, right off the bat, expects us to care and invest in the story of Peter Parker’s parents with a major opening flashback, as if they’re actually interesting and engaging characters (haha).
7.53pm – The first action scene is a plane rash, which works decently as a metaphor for this movie.
7.55pm – Meet Rhino, the cartoon man. Got to hand it to Paul Giamatti for staying committed, and matching the dreadful script he’s given with an equally dreadful performance.
7.59pm – There’s many things to dislike about this movie, but Peter and Gwen’s relationship is not one of them; Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone are excellent actors, and they really manage to be convincing as an actual couple.
8.01pm – Gwen is giving a speech about the preciousness of life. This could be foreshadowing something, but the writing is so subtle that it’s really hard to tell.
8.08pm – It’s nice to see Spider-Man’s minor acts of kindness, such as saving vulnerable kids from bullies. For all its faults, this movie really gets Spider-Man’s character in places.
8.12pm – This introduction to Max Dillon aka Electro’s character is awful in every way. It’s so violently cringeworthy that I had to go to hospital for cringing so hard. Uh… yeah. You know. Not a good scene.
8.16pm – The first appearance of the Magical Convenience Elevator, in which only major characters are allowed to ride in (everyone else is rejected) so they can chat about important plot details. This time, it’s Gwen and Max!
8.20pm – Uh, why is Harry Osborn already dying of a disease that took like 30 years to kill Norman Osborn? I know it’s just for plot convenience, but in my head it’s because Harry existed for two years solely on a diet of Burger King, and now has various medical conditions, which exacerbates genetic diseases. They should pay me to write the script.
8.25pm – It’s Oscar nominee Felicity Jones, entirely wasted in a minor role that exists mainly to set up a future Black Cat spin-off! I suppose that makes the first dead Spider-Man universe project that’s set up here. This count could end up getting quite high.
8.33pm – Peter walking through traffic without looking to get to Gwen is portrayed as cute, but to be honest, with his reckless behaviour he really deserved to be run over. It would have been quite funny in a dark way, and it would also have ended this movie early, so it’s almost a pity that he survived.
8.37pm – As this movie shows through Peter, stalking’s fine is it’s just once a day (sometimes more) and you like the person you’re stalking. This movie teaches morals, too!
8.40pm – Electro may be a villain, but as this movie shows, he’s also bringing sick dubstep (listen to the soundtrack) to Times Square, which is technically public service if you think about it.
8.44pm – The writers actually do a decent job of making Electro look like a sympathetic and reasonable villain initially. However, Electro then goes and tries to murder a shit-ton of innocent civilians because Spider-Man took his place on the Times Square cameras and one police sniper took a pot-shot at him. Oh.
8.46pm – ‘It’s my birthday. Now it’s time for me to light my candles!’ This is both a terrible one-liner and an actual line of dialogue worked on and rewritten by several writers who are paid to do this for a living.
8.51pm – Aw yeah, paranoid and obsessive evidence gathering about dead parents montage! I love these kinds of montages!
9.02pm – The Magical Convenience Elevator strikes again. This time, it’s bringing Gwen and Harry together in its plot-specific magnetic field. What a helpful elevator.
9.04pm – Ah, ja, ze eevel German doktor! Another of The Amazing Spider-Man 2‘s one-scene-abominations is Dr Kofka, a cackling mad German scientist who probably belongs in a black and white silent comedy movie.
9.08pm – The movie has lost almost all momentum, parked its main villain in captivity and has barely set up the Green Goblin. But we’re learning more about Peter’s parents, so all is forgiven!
9.11pm – A lot of people online have complained about Spider-Man’s refusal to give Harry his blood, but to me, it actually makes some sense (it could create a horrible mutant creature). So I’m actually giving a free pass to what people call the movie’s biggest plot hole. I am a maverick.
9.14pm – Andrew Garfield is demonstrating limited knowledge of England. Andrew Garfield was brought up in England. Does not compute.
9.19pm – Colm Feore, who plays Menken, was also in Gotham, proving that he has horrible taste in superhero adaptations.
9.22pm – I’ve complained about the subplot about Peter’s parents earlier, but, to its credit, it was kind of the filmmakers to give the viewer an ideal chance to catch up on some sleep at the halfway point.
9.29pm – Electro has now brought his sick beats to Oscorp. I love typing sentences like these and knowing that they actually make sense in context.
9.31pm – Harry now only speaks in villainous one-liners, which is a somewhat jarring character shift. Still, it’s worth it for the chance to see Dane deHaan saying ‘Welcome to the bonus round!’ to a guy who just got brought back from the dead.
9.35pm – About 25 minutes before the end of the movie, and Harry’s just become the Green Goblin. His transformation is quite effective, but oh dear.
9.40pm – Gwen accidentally calling out Peter’s name is genuinely funny; the sort of thing superhero adaptations should do more of.
9.43pm – The moment where Electro literally pukes electricity onto Spider-Man is comedy gold. Hang on, that’s not meant to be funny?
9.45pm – Electro update: now composing sick nursery rhyme beats. These sentences still make sense.
9.50pm – It was kind of Green Goblin to wait in the queue until Electro was done, and then move in. What a polite and courteous homicidal maniac.
9.54pm – Okay, so Gwen’s death, for all the crap surrounding it, is almost perfectly done; Andrew Garfield’s performance and the scene’s tragic direction combine to create something genuinely effective and moving; a brave, bold and unique storytelling choice, even if it was ripped from the comics.
9.57pm – Ah, yes, the Sinister Six set-up scene. It was kind of exciting on release, but with the franchise now dead, it’s a bit of sequel bait that’s kind of adorable in its eagerness, like a dog convinced he’s about to be taken out on a walk.
10.05pm – The last we see of this franchise is Spider-Man swinging into battle against Rhino – but as the franchise isn’t continuing, we’re free to invent out own continuation. Here’s mine; Spider-Man fought valiantly for a few seconds, before being blown to pieces by a rocket in front of a large crowd.
So, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 – a muddled, messy sequel that fails to set up a franchise stylishly, and fails to effectively tell its own story. There’s plenty of good things in there, some of which I didn’t mention, but it’s an unfortunate misfire of a sequel that was actively worse on this viewing.