Is it bad that I went into this movie thinking “I have absolutely no desire to see this”? Perhaps that’s because of my bias towards the Marvel Cinematic Universe of late. Or because I’ve been displeased with the direction Sony has taken the web slinger. Or the number of scathing reviews I’ve seen already. Regardless, I wasn’t excited about this movie, and it wasn’t until halfway in that I realized I was actually enjoying myself. Yet another example of how negative reviews and bias can diminish interest. This review is spoiler free.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was anything but perfect, but it hit more than a handful of notes very well, and (in my honest opinion) was a far better film than the first installment (which I reluctantly watched thrice over attempting to get into and just ended up hating more and more). So that meant a lot for me. A sequel that outperforms it’s predecessor is always welcome, and in my book a qualified apology. Not only was this story more cohesive, but it looked better too. I’ll make the case that, even though Spider-Man 3 was a total fail, it was more aesthetically appealing to watch than the reboot Amazing Spider-Man. This film had more than a few brilliantly visualized sequences of Spider-Man flipping through the air, saving whom he must, and proving his spider-senses are just about the coolest things ever.
I must again compare this film with the much maligned Spider-Man 3 as, once again, the film made the mistake to showcase not one, not two, but yes three villains. But unlike Spider-Man 3 it actually worked (for the most part). There were two major storylines: the first being with Max Dillon (aka Electro) and the second being with Harry Osborn (aka Green/Hob-Goblin). Harry really should’ve been introduced in the first film, because his mad vendetta just didn’t hold up. Meanwhile, Electro, was given more screentime, and his evolution into villain didn’t seem as forced and as an audience member I actually pitied the villain. The inclusion of the villain Rhino didn’t add or subtract to the movie, but was actually a weird bookend. Paul Giamatti was actually kinda terrifying. I’d be terrified seeing that guy in person, with or without a metal suit. The idea to push so many villains into this film was a calculated decision by the higher ups to eventually turn the Spidey-Verse into its own movie franchise. This film’s greater purpose was ultimately to serve as the lead up to their future cinematic universe, with films like The Sinister Six and Venom in the pipeline.
The film was long, and unfortunately a lot of it was unnecessary (like the plot about the parents), but at the same time it enforced that above all else being Spider-Man takes a great toll on Peter Parker’s life. It’s a burden not many, if any, can carry without it affecting their personal lives. And of course it does affect Peter’s personal life. Throughout the movie we see a troubled and depressed teenager who’s sacrificed his life for others on countless occasions (but sometimes the film lays it on too thick. Some bits, like with the ghosts of uhhh… the past, were really unnecessary omens for the end of the film, which I won’t go into, because it involves a major spoiler from the comics in 1973 – which I will add was handled with extreme beauty.
Some stuff I really disliked? Well the only thing I can really think of was that the music really didn’t fit. It was very intrusive to the story at times, and Spider-Man even comments on it at one point; “I hate this song.” Another scene, which had absolutely nothing to do with the plot, movie, or even Spider-Man, had two planes nearly crash into each other. I thought there’d be some higher purpose for this, but instead it seemed like they had money to blow. Also the film was a tad too long, but it didn’t bother me much.
In the end, I thought the film was far better than I imagined it would be. It was no Winter Soldier, and it’s unfortunate to note we’ll never see Spider-Man battle along with Avengers, but it was a good movie, despite its mistakes.