In an age where every film studio is trying to milk its superhero properties to the last drop, Sony might be the worst offender with its Spider-Man franchise. Original entries in Sony’s set of Spider-Man films proved to be successful (Spider-Man broke box office records and remains one of the best superhero films while Spider-Man 2 was a fantastic action film), but as soon as Sam Raimi left, Sony decided to reboot the entire series altogether. Ever since then it has seemed as if Sony has been trying to figure out what is the best way to make the most money off of this thing. While The Amazing Spider-Man was mostly able to survive the effects of this, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 isn’t so lucky. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 has some intriguing components (such as Andrew Garfield’s fantastic performance and an eagerness to develop characters properly in some cases) but they are all gone to waste thanks to a terrible script that clearly has way too many studio notes within it.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 picks up with Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) trying to find a way to keep his promise to George Stacy (Denis Leary) to stay away from his daughter, Gwen (Emma Stone), despite his feelings for her. More problems find a way into his life when an old friend with a fatal disease becomes desperate (Dane DeHaan) and a lonely man who just wants his turn in the spotlight gets caught up in a lab accident (Jamie Foxx). Marc Webb returns as director while Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, Jeff Pinkner and James Vanderbilt wrote the script.
Marc Webb is clearly a great director of young romance as can be seen in his directorial debut, (500) Days of Summer, and the first The Amazing Spider-Man film. That continues here, as the progression of Peter and Gwen’s romance remains the lone highlight of the film. The twists and turns of this storyline are truly like any other superhero film we’ve seen yet and it provides Andrew Garfield with enough material and range (it’s amazing how natural Garfield makes it look to transform from comedy to moments of extreme sadness within this film) to truly standout as a performance to remember.
Everything else goes terribly wrong. If you ever try to think about the plot it makes no sense. Like most blockbusters you have to leave your brain at the door, but the film also wants you to think about the plot with all of the hints at where the future of the franchise is going to go. This just doesn’t work. Additionally, the two main villains (Paul Giamatti shows up for a fun cameo as Rhino) might be two of the worst villains in comic book film history. Jamie Foxx is embarrassingly bad as Electro. He’s very reminiscent of Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr. Freeze except in a film that actually takes itself seriously making it all the worse. Meanwhile, Dane DeHaan struggles (which is a case with most of the roles he is somehow given) to give any depth to a character that desperately needs it now that he appears to have a major role in the future of the franchise. Sure, a lot of that has to do with the script, but he fumbles any chance at striking up chemistry with Garfield and looks lost in both the cold and calculated behavior of Harry and the over-the-top behavior of the Green Goblin.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 would easily be a contender for the worst superhero film of all-time if it wasn’t for a truly memorable performance from Andrew Garfield as the web-slinging vigilante.