Directed by: Marc Webb
Written by: Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, Jeff Pinkner
Starring: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx, Dane DeHaan, Campbell Scott, Embeth Davidtz
After creating two of the greatest superhero films in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2, Sony executives meddled too much and it resulted in a disappointing third installment. After rebooting the character once again and creating a good first story, it looks like Sony did not learn its lesson considering the end product of this lackluster film. Through its lack of ambition and yet another mishmash of villains, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 shows once again that these creatives cannot get out of their own way with this franchise.
Following the events of The Amazing Spider-Man, Peter (Andrew Garfield) tries to navigate his feelings for Gwen (Emma Stone) after promising her father that she would not be involved in his vigilante life. Now, Peter must contend with more enemies that have their hatred for him for arbitrary reasons but there needs to be villains in the film.
Everything about this film just causes me to be frustrated with the end result and it shows that the creators behind it had no real imagination as to how they would build upon their previous film. They take the idea of Pete’s parents having any real importance to this whole conspiracy that ends up being so underwhelming on so many disappointing levels. The cracks in this foundation became evident very quickly through its promotional material. Not only did it reveal who the villains would be with at least one of them meaning to be a surprise, but it plainly shows the vast amount of villains in the story. Adding too many villains became the downfall of Spider-Man 3 and Sony inexplicably once again fell for the same trap. Having that many villains forced the screen time to be split amongst them, thus eliminating valuable time necessary to build someone from scratch. Instead, Spider-Man has to take on these villains with such razor-thin motivations that it snaps under any amount of pressure.
It becomes even more shameful when considering the talented cast of actors they brought on to serve as the villains. That includes Jamie Foxx, Dane DeHaan, and Paul Giamatti. Three actors that obviously got a nice check out of it but did not get the characters to display their actual acting ability. Instead, they had to make do with being generic villains with lackluster motivations that Spider-Man gets to punch throughout the story.
Fortunately for the film, Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone work incredibly well together once again and continue the relationship of Peter and Gwen. They ultimately try their best even if the storytellers did not know what they wanted after what happened in the previous film. Peter seemingly cannot make up his mind on what he wants their relationship to be and it shows that the creatives had no idea what they wanted out of it. Garfield and Stone provided the electricity that one of the villains failed to produce and their relationship becomes one worth rooting for.
Studio meddling one again negatively impacted a film that could have been much better if only it were much more focused. Everything built up in the previous film fell completely flat in the follow up. Instead of taking those pieces and advancing them, the creatives were more interested in establishing enough villains to create a Sinister Six that would appear in a sequel that fortunately never arrived.
I feel the most for Andrew Garfield, who grew up loving Spider-Man and when given the opportunity to do so, he receives this subpar mess of a story. He brought his best two each of the films, but his character arc did not receive the conclusion that he deserved. That’s how it goes in show business. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 ends a disappointing run of films only to be rebooted once again in a few years with the Marvel Cinematic Universe.