Written by Yasemin Kaplanbasoglu, courtesy of ShowFilmsFirst
I love a good comic-book adaptation any day of the week, but even I was apprehensive about the latest Spider-Man. Let’s face it, sequels have the reputation of resembling the awkward uncle in the family who everyone would rather ignore. But I have to say, this film is no slump compared to the first Amazing Spider-Man. It ticks all the blockbuster boxes – epic visuals; fierce fights; it’s serious; it’s funny, romantic and chock full of ghoulish villains. Sure, it sounds great… on paper that is.
Let me break down why I think the Amazing elements in my blockbuster didn’t translate to the big screen. And let me warn you now, this next list is longer than the first (sorry Marvel!).
The film begins with a bang; it’s seriously up there with my favourite openings to any superhero film. The film ends with a bang – the kind that leaves you feeling pumped long after the lights go up in the cinema. Yeah, those were two great scenes…What happened to the rest, Marvel?! Don’t get me wrong, the meat of the film is not bad, it’s just that the film lost its momentum somewhere after the first scene. I know, I know, the film’s over two hours and has a lot to cover, but still, why open with your grandest scene and then make your audience sit through a two-hour-and-counting long anti-climax? And let’s face it, the film is more of a romance with a few superheroes running around every now and then – I didn’t come for that!
It’s killing me writing this because I love Marvel, but I’m going to plough through to my third point: the tone of the film bugged me half to death. I know there were kids watching, but did they really have to include that many kiddy slapstick jokes? I was hoping for a more mature film than the first, considering Spider-Man’s out of high school. And for a minute it did seem to have taken on a mature tone, but most of the almost-laugh-out-loud jokes in the film seemed overdone and dare I say it, cheap. It’s disappointing because I’d expect Marvel to have respected its audience a little more to be able to handle either a) a serious film, or b) better jokes, which brings me onto my next point.
Why is the film so darn condescending? I have enough empathy to figure out what a villain is feeling without them constantly saying so, thank you very much – heck, even the soundtrack spells out word-for-word what the villain’s motives are: We get it! I’m sure the kids got it, too. And that’s another thing, what is with the soundtrack? I often wondered why the score was there half the time, and the other half it just didn’t fit the action. I feel like they just plugged in an overbearing soundtrack just because it had electronics (you guys will know what I’m talking about after you watched the film).
Now let’s talk about Jamie Fox. The cool, slick Jamie Fox – as a nerd? I don’t know one person I’ve talked to who didn’t say the performance was cringe worthy. I don’t want to see him as a nerd (a highly stereotyped one at that), and judging by his performance, I don’t think he did either. Heck, I don’t even think he knows how to be uncool! Why they cast him, I’ll never know.
Having said that, there are moments of terrific acting, courtesy of Andrew Garfield and Dane DeHaan. Not to mention chemistry between the leading man and woman that’ll give Rob and Kristen a run for their money any day of the week. The villains were a bit over-acted but what the hey, I’ll take it – it’s Marvel, a side order of cheese comes free of charge.
I know I’ve given this film the bashing of its lifetime, but I don’t want anyone to go to the cinema thinking it’s poorly made or worthless. I know many people that found it entertaining. Plus, the film is gorgeous. They’ve really outdone themselves with the effects this time around. Some shots are nothing short of beautiful, which is refreshing to watch and makes it worthwhile watching it on the big screen. The 3-D was awesome and sustained throughout the whole of the film, so I recommend you go and check it out for the effects if anything.
Like I said, it looks great on paper, it’s good-looking and has a few laughs thrown in. Did it live up to the first film of the franchise? Sure, I wouldn’t say it was any worse, it’s just that it’s barely good enough to stand alone as a memorable movie. Considering its cheesy cast and the fact that the film talks down to its audience every once in a while, my verdict is that The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is more O.K than Amazing. Enjoy!
*Pictures courtesy of Columbia Pictures and Marvel Entertainment.