Greetings from the Odinson,
Like most comic book fanboys of my generation, my introduction to the medium and first super hero favorite was the Amazing Spider-Man. People can debate greatest super hero: Batman or Superman, mightiest super team: Avengers or X-Men, coolest anti-hero Spawn or the Punisher, but there is one singular truth in the world of comic book fandom – everybody loves Spider-Man!
This past week saw the release of the film The Amazing Spider-Man 2 starring Andrew Garfield (Peter Parker/Spider-Man), Emma Stone (Gwen Stacy), and Jamie Foxx (Electro). Now it may be just because Doctor Octopus is my all-time favorite Spidey villain, but Spider-Man 2, the second film in the Tobey Maguire trilogy, is still my favorite Spidey movie so far. However, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is definitely a close second, and in many ways superior.
I do have very minor grievances against this film, so I’ll go ahead and get those out of the way now. I just don’t think they’ve nailed the Green Goblin on the Big Screen yet. The one that appeared in the first Sam Rami film was just ridiculous and I’ll give them an A for effort, but the version that appears in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is just a slight improvement. I don’t know why they can’t seem to translate Spidey’s arch foe to the films but hopefully future installments will get a bit closer. My second minor complaint is also a compliment. I found myself bored with Peter Parker’s story. But every single second Spider-Man was on screen was utterly spectacular. I just thought the whole ten minute opening sequence of the film involving Parker’s parents, though it was well acted, shot, and executed, felt out of place and a bit heavy-handed for this particular film. It felt more like a scene out of a John Grisham or Tom Clancy novel rather than a Spider-Man film. The movie should have opened with that amazing shot of our friendly neighborhood web-slinger plummeting high above the New York City skyline.
Like I said, minor issues. Now onto the Spidey goodness. I will do this as spoiler free as I can but if you didn’t see the climax of this film coming than you are either under the age of twelve or you know nothing about the Spider-Man Mythos.
Jamie Foxx as Electro did not bother me nearly as much as I thought it would. I also went into the film worrying that it was going to be too CGI-filled and I’d feel like I was watching a cartoon rather than a live action movie. To my great surprise, I loved Foxx as the bent Max Dillon. Even the odd inner monologue of chanting voices and pounding rhythms added a nuance to the crazed villain that we’ve never seen in the movies before. The showdowns between Spidey and his electrifying foe were awesome. And there were moments like when Electro asks if Spider-Man can see him now and Spidey is perched on the side of that building, oh, man, it is right out of the comics.
I especially loved the moments when the screen would slow down or even stop to allow the audience to catch up and see the world through Spider-Man’s eyes, his Spider-Sense if you will. I thought that was a really nice touch for how else could a normal person actually follow along with a super hero that moves as fast as Spider-Man does. Also, hands down, this is the absolute best looking translation we’ve ever seen of Spider-Man to the Big Screen. His costume was picture perfect, and Spidey’s signature banter was dead on.
To address a concern that many had going into the film, the matter of too many villains in the same movie, don’t worry, True Believers, it’s handled magnificently. At no point does the movie feel overly crowded or that each character does not get his or her due. And the Easter Eggs were abound, none of which I will spoil for those who want to find them, but I will say the shadow of the Sinister Six looms large.
The climax of the movie was astonishing. Even though I knew it was coming, even though I knew that it had to happen, when the film addresses one of the most character-defining moments in Spider-Man’s history, I still audibly gasped. Hats off to the filmmakers for going for it and not pulling any punches.
Lastly, I absolutely loved the way the film ends. My hero being spectacular and unafraid and forging forth for the fight for justice must go on. It left me wanting more.
Odinson Rating: 4 out of 5 Hammers.
Though it is not quite in that league of ultimate comic book super hero movies like The Dark Knight and Captain America: The Winter Soldier, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is definitely in that next tier of films, movies like Tim Burton’s Batman, Blade, and Thor: The Dark World, that fanboys and girls can be proud of. Marvel Studios has upped the ante and other movie studios like Sony and Paramount are stepping up their game. Hopefully, Warner Bros. will too.
So definitely go see The Amazing Spider-Man 2. It is the best translation of the wall-crawler to movies we’ve seen to date.
This is Odinson bidding thee farewell