Spider-Man is back in yet another film, but the results are
far from amazing.
As one would expect The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is a sequel to the first Amazing Spider-Man film, a film which was received with a largely tepid response as it was generally felt to be an unnecessary addition following the recent Raimi trilogy. None the less from the little I know of the comics it seemed to remain more faithful to the source material and whilst not amazing, it was a reasonably enjoyable film. The two leads as Peter Parker/Spider-Man and Gwen Stacy being particular highlights.
With the above in mind I whilst I was reasonably excited for how the sequel could expand on the first film. The first issue that becomes immediately clear and only becomes more irritating as the film continues is the absolutely horrid writing present. Little that happens makes any sense. The most obvious example of this is how characters are able to understand the entirety of a character back story from a few seconds of video footage to how the villain Electro comes to be (he is electrocuted, falls into a tank and gets bitten by electric eals and that's the extent to which it is shown/explained).
Packed with far to many subplots and far to concerned with setting up future
films TASM2 comes across as rushed.
This admittedly in of itself may have worked if the film didn't also fell the need to stuff a sub plot in explaining how Peter was able to survive and become Spider-Man from being bitten by a spider in the prior film. Speaking of sub plots, the film has far to any of them and is also far to concerned with setting up future films (be they direct sequels or spin offs). This results in an overcrowded series of sub plots which leave far to little time to expand on the content of the individual sub plots. The result is the compression of information from what should have been spread across several different scenes (and written far better) into singular scenes, leaving the characters felling like they are going through a check list of information with one another which as one may expect comes across as incredibly unnatural and also leaves the film felling incredibly rushed in spite of its reasonably long run time.
The absurdity of how Electro comes to be is only matched by the poor characterisation present for both himself and the rest of the cast. Characters are typically one note card board cut outs with the depth of a paddling pool. The once engaging relationship between Peter and Gwen is throughout nothing but a can they or can't they be together type story. An idea that the first film had already covered and had also done a far better job establishing and resolving in a far shorter period of time. That's not to say Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone give poor performances, rather they do a stunningly good job given the material they have to work with as does Jamie Fox. The problem is the material is simply so horrid that it borders on parody and no matter the performance the film is rarely engaging and is frequently a mundane bore to embarrassing to veiw.
Whilst the effects and action are frequently spectacular they can't hide how poorly
written the film is and how little the actors have to work with.
The exception to this is the action. When Spider-Man is swinging through New York, battling villains or similar the film changes gears and becomes an exciting and frenetic thrill ride. One particular highlight is the show down between Spider-Man and Electro in Times Square which features some excellent action accompanied by some brilliantly unique music that alone does a far better job portraying Electro as a lonely, paranoid and angry individual then the entirety of the rest of the film. The effects likewise are particularly impressive with Electro looking as if there is a storm inside of him (such a shame that this obvious statement of his mental state doesn't lead anywhere as the character is so shallow), to Spider-Man never having looked so good as he swings throughout New York. This is helped by some fantastic use of 3d in the action scenes, though it fells more tacked on in the dialogue scenes. None the less those who wish to see the film would be best viewing it in 3d if at all possible as whilst it isn't always of notable benefit, when it is the 3d is genuinely spectacular.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is a film that is far to concerned with setting up future films and in doing so rushes over its own story. This combined with some horrid writing has The Amazing Spider-Man 2 come not recommended in spite of outstanding and exciting moments of action.