Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Amazingly Flawed Spider-Man 2

   Spider-Man made money, but people were mixed on the story from Sony's reboot. I loved Garfield, but thought the movie lacked the heart of Raimi's first effort. It promised a story we hadn't heard before, but we didn't exactly get that. Director Mark Webb has brought Andrew Garfield and  Emma Stone back for another spin. The trailers show more villains, a great looking costume, and the promise of Spidey's greatest battle. Does it deliver? Yes and no. The film is a good movie that has a lot wrong with it.

We pick up after the last one. Spidey is more comfortable as a super hero and has broken his promise of staying away from Gwen Stacy. We watch Peter struggle with his parents disappearance, his relationship with Gwen, and his problems with Oscorp. He gets reacquainted with Harry Osborn and learns of his secret motives. In the middle of it all, Electro is born and threatens the city and Spider-Man is the only one who can save them all.

 Let's start with the good....

 The Green Goblin. It was a great take on the character. The costume lacked a bit, but Dane Dehaan delivers and was a great Harry Osborn. He plays a good crazy. His Harry has plenty of issues and Dehaan really does a good job of taking us on Harry's journey. I am interested to see where his story evolves in the next chapter.

  The villains in general were OK. There are a lot of the in the movie. Spider-Man 3 made the mistake of villain overload. It didn't play well,but Webb did a great job of keeping them balanced. The fight scenes with all of them were fun and VERY well done. The mechanical Rhino makes sense and fits into this world. I plays well with the different take on Goblin. There are Dr. Octopus and Vulture hints as well and rumors of a Sinister Six film.

 Electro has a different look than the comic. They chose a more modern route and the effects were pretty cool. The battle scenes with Spider-Man and Electro deliver on all levels. Electro's new look again fits better into this world than a big lightening bolt mask would. Electro was decent, but we will cover the alter-ego in a few.

   The story is about Peter and Gwen. Their relationship. She was Peter's first love and the promise he broke. Garfield and Stone have chemistry and it is definitely a bright point to the film. The only problem I had is that it's too much. The on again off again makes the movie drag. I understand the need for emotion, but it was already established. Comic fans know the arc of Gwen's character and it is handled very well. Slightly different than in the comic, but it plays very well. The call to cut Mary Jane from the movie was the right one.

All of the above worked, but a lot didn't.

 Jamie Foxx is the biggest flaw. He is a great actor, but the story does him no favors. It literally takes the Riddler story from Batman Forever, changes a couple of things, and throws it into Spider-Man. The obsessed nerd with anger issues. The actor, the character, and the fans deserved more. Jamie is capable, but isn't given much to work with beyond some cool C.G.I.

 I appreciate that they followed up on the story of Peter's parents, but there is so much conflict let's start with some chronological fact.  Peter graduates in 2014 making him at maximum 18 years old.... His parents crash in a very advanced jet for 1997. They upload files on wireless/ in flight Internet that wasn't created until just a few years ago. The Sony Vaio product placement lap top was too advanced for circa 2001. Minor flaws, but I hate when people don't correctly research things.

 Aunt May goes to nursing school? She starts taking classes and at one point looks like she has been the head of nursing for years.

 Chris Cooper is wasted as Norman Osborn. Love the concept, but we get Harry too quickly in the Goblin role.

Peter sells photos to the Bugle, we see the Bugle, but we don;t get J.J.Jameson. Disappointing.

The suit is fantastic. The web singing is top notch. The film is better than the first and Andrew Garfield is a great Peter Parker. It is 45 min too long and needs some continuity help, but isn't bad. It will make money and I am happy with the direction the Spider-Man is swinging in. Give us J.J. Stop trying to make us feel sorry for the bad guys. It's close, but we are just not there yet.

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