By Trevor Pacelli
One of the intended money-making hits of 2014 is the sequel to Marc Webb’s interpretation of Stan Lee’s popular webslinger, The Amazing Spiderman 2. While watching this superhero action flick, I was no doubt entertained most of the running time, and did see some depth and insight placed into the characters, unlike most teen-targeted movies nowadays. However, the numerous flaws that make up this movie are so dominant, that they almost count all of the positive qualities as insignificant.
Alex Kurtzman’s screenplay for The Amazing Spiderman 2 follows right up from where the last film took off, structuring primarily around the relationship between Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy. Since the last movie focused on Peter’s struggles to maintain a relationship with Gwen as Spiderman, the sequel centers around each of them leaving high school and facing the fear of separating for college, a fairly interesting scenario, even if overdone and unrelated to Peter Parker’s identity as Spiderman. But Kurtzman’s biggest flaw in the screenplay is the failure to present anything new and defining that opposes what other Hollywood films commonly do.
Director Marc Webb has proven by now that he defines acting as reciting lines from memory while placing a change of voice tone. Seriously, the performances were atrocious. The two leads Andrew Garfield (Spiderman) and Emma Stone (Gwen Stacy) have zero chemistry as actors, and all of the so-called “romantic” moments between the two just left me groaning repeatedly after hearing their lines delivered without any inner monologue in mind. None of the other performers helped out much either- particularly Dane DeHaan as Harry Osborn, who literally overacts every single line that he delivers. The quality of the acting is a darn shame, as there were actually a lot of moments that called for a great deal of character depth and growth. Yet there was one actress who pulled off an exceptionally convincing performance: Sally Field, who played Peter Parker’s Aunt May. She put a real sense of firmness and morality into her role that clearly was carefully planned and played honestly. Too bad Field only takes up about 15 percent of the film’s running time, though.
While The Amazing Spiderman 2 fails uproariously on the philosophical side, it achieves very, very well on the technical side, as is expected of a tent-pole blockbuster. The cinematography, done by Daniel Mindel, actually created some very beautiful and impressive lighting setups that were appropriate and fit the tone of each scene. Trust me, if Mr. Mindel was working under a more credible director, then he would grasp an Oscar nod in no time. The editing, done by Pietro Scalia, also worked excellently in pacing the story so it’s clear and linear. The makeup effects were good, if not super impressive, and the computer effects were not half bad, even if they fail to stick out from the millions of other movies of a similar genre. But would this succeed to impress those in the technical field? My answer to that is a definite yes. The Amazing Spiderman 2 is both a visually and audibly impressive experience.
So who would The Amazing Spiderman 2 be most suitable for? This undoubtedly is intended specifically to entertain fans of the original Spiderman comics. Marc Webb has made sure to incorporate all of the bright colors, big-budget spectacles, fast-paced action sequences, tensional moments, and moral values that Marvel comics have always pulled off in the 2-D format. A lot of the time, I really did feel like I was watching a live-action comic book, and the overall plot stays true to its source material. So if you are a big fan of Spiderman or just Marvel in general, then this will be right up your alley. But if you’re not a comic book reader, then a small precaution should be made. As big and impressive as the film looks, it overall is a true cookie-cutter blockbuster that may not impress you.
Would I recommend The Amazing Spiderman 2 to other audiences? It mostly depends on who you are. If you want a completely new and unique experience, then this may be a letdown. If you are a hardcore fan of the Marvel comics and wish to see a faithful adaptation of the wall-crawling hero on the big screen, then you will not be disappointed. If you are looking for something more lose in its message and does not force you to think too much, then you’ve come to what you have been searching for. And if you want something that achieves great strides in storytelling quality and worthy of an Oscar, then you will not miss anything if you choose not to see Spiderman swinging over New York yet again.
Inspiration for Life with Autism
This blog has a variety of articles about people living life with autism, and topics and ideas that can help in the journey. Guest bloggers are welcome. Inspired by Trevor, a young adult film critic, photographer and college graduate on the autism spectrum.