Sunday, May 18, 2014

The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) breaks up with Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone), not because they are no longer in love or anything like that, but rather because he is still haunted by the image of her father everywhere he goes, as if asking him to keep his promise of staying away from his daughter. As he spends less time with her, he gets to deep digger into the family secrets that forced his parents to abandon him as a child. Oscorp employee Max Dillon (Jamie Foxx) accidentally falls in a tub of electric eels while clutching a live wire, transforming him into the villain Electro. Meanwhile, Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan) is back after the death if his father, taking over the company and discovering a hereditary disease threatening his life. The only way he sees it possible to continue living is if he could get his hands on Spider-Man’s blood hoping that its self-healing capabilities would suffice to make him live.

It is sad to see Gwen go. That final sequence in which she appears is simply heartbreaking to watch, not because you want her to end up happily ever after with Spidey, but because she refuses to be a mere damsel in distress. If Mary Jane dies breaking her back falling from such heights, I would not really give a damn. Gwen Stacy is a different case. Her contribution to plot development could not be disregarded, and knowing that such a useful character would no longer be around to give Spidey a helping hand is a bit difficult to accept.

Compared to James Franco’s Harry, DeHaan’s appears to be more effective thanks to the different backstory. Franco’s was driven by his quest for vengeance. As for DeHaan’s, it is the very motivation of the character to live, making his quest more of a life and death situation. When you see a character with a clear motivation to turn to the dark side, it is easier to sympathize with him somehow, or perhaps “understanding” would be the more appropriate word.

Electro seems to be the collateral damage in the war for good characterization. His only motivation for becoming a villain is his being invisible and unappreciated, which is arguably what most employees feel like every Monday morning. It is easy to understand how such a guy could hate on the world and wish apocalypse on everyone, but seriously? This is not the real world. This is a cinematic universe that is larger than life, and the reason for Electro’s grudges just seem all too shallow.

In terms of story, there is a more determined attempt this time around to involve Peter’s parents in an effort to connect everything and everyone together, a factor which seemed to be absent from the Toby Maguire version. On the contrary, maybe this is where the movie goes wrong because instead of focusing more on the superhero, they got sidetracked by the unintended family melodrama. And who really has time for that when you only have around two hours to entertain an audience, right?

Perhaps the real problem in this movie is the abundance of villains, trying to squeeze them all in a two-hour run time as if there would be no sequel. This is not The Avengers, and for a teenage superhero who could barely make ends meet, perhaps sticking to one primary villain and another one lurking in the background is more than enough. But then again, that scene with Rhino seems more like a teaser for a possible sequel, but still, this is just villain overload.

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