I saw the first act of Amazing Spider-Man 2 on one of those little screens on the back of an airplane seat in business class. All I could think about was how fake the CGI looked. I saw the second and third acts on my nice tv at home. All I could think about was how lame the story was.
Here’s the movie in a nutshell: it begins with Andrew Garfield breaking up with Emma Stone (who is wonderful in everything. I’d watch that woman burn toast.). So right off the bat, we know he’s an idiot. Soon enough, we meet proto-villain Jamie Foxx. Foxx plays a nerd as only a jock can play a nerd: a complete loser, a barely functional basket case who just happens to be an incredible genius. Soon enough, the nerd turns into a super villain and the movie loses me for good.
Why? Because Jamie Foxx is an Academy Award winning actor, and the movie doesn’t trust him to show us how he’s feeling. Instead, it gives us a horrible voice-over of his supposed inner monologue. It’s a waste of his talent and an indication of just how simplistic and condescending The Amazing Spider-Man 2 really is.
But wait- there’s more! This film boasts an Emo Harry Osborn who (a) doesn’t dance, and (b) should be wearing a t-shirt reading “B Story.” He’s there solely to pad things out and provide an additional villain. This makes no sense. The movie’s already over two hours long. They could have cut his entire arc and still had a ninety-minute movie.
There’s still more! The climax plays like it was written by some guy working from an outline provided by some other guy who not only lazily Xeroxed a page from some screenwriter’s manual, but is actually stupid. I mean, the whole thing hinges on the audience’s willingness to believe that you can punch electricity. There’s a subplot about airliners in danger that feels like it was added in post to generate extra tension, and that doesn’t even make any sense to anyone who knows the first thing about air traffic control. There’s a needless death that, while well handled, eliminates the only reason I can think of to see The Amazing Spider-Man 3. And there’s a denouement that suffers from a shockingly bad performance by Paul Giamatti, embarrassing effects rendering by the F/X department, and unearned emotional manipulation that just feels cheap.
Oh, this movie. While Raimi’s Spider-Man 2 still stands as a high-water mark for the genre, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 feels like something hastily cobbled together by people with no investment in the material.
I even liked The Amazing Spider-Man. If Sony decides to have another go with this creative team, it’ll take one heck of a critical reception to get me to so much as stream it on Instant.