Our review of the latest (and last) Spider-Man film from director Marc Webb and the “good” folks at Sony. It very well may have single-handedly ended its own series, forcing yet-another Spider-Man reboot upon us all. Personally, I’m hoping Miguel O’Hara will finally get some love. (He won’t.)
8 thoughts on “The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)”
good I’m glad I was not the only one who was turned off by the romance when Peter was stalking Gwen
To quote my favorite Zack Snyder film: “You are not alone.”
I gave this movie a 6/10 on my website because while it is TERRIBLE, it threw so much at the wall I can’t hate it beyond all measure of a doubt. I just hate that missing four points so very much because that’s an AMAZING amount of good will to blow–especially given that I LIKED the Amazing Spiderman. Yes, it was Spiderman Begins but Spiderman is SUPPOSED to be angsty. Gwen and Peter were cute! It was stupid but fun and they also ditched the “Peter parker is experimenting on his son” idiocy.
This movie is awful, awful in such a way because it’s not awfully made. There’s so much entertaining crap here that it’s clear this could have been a trilogy of very good Spiderman films. Well, no, not MCU good but “I have not wasted my ticket money” good. Which is very hard to do with SPIDERMAN. I am not a hater. I am the lover who unfortunately bends over backward to defend movies with spiders, men, and men bitten by spiders who turn into spidermen.
How do you screw up this movie? You have the villain bitten by a radioactive electric eel and you PLAY IT STRAIGHT.
A couple of points, though.
1. The idea Peter Parker should have left Gwen Stacy alone after promising her dying father to do so is asinine and I’m surprised you believe it. This is not the 19th century and Captain Stacy does not own his daughter nor does Peter. I do not expect Spiderman to be the champion of feminism in comics, we have Wonder Woman for that, but Gwen Stacy is a heroine in her own right rather than a Damsel in Distress. She fights the good fight for truth, justice, and all of that stuff. Captain Stacy does not get to dictate whether she will risk her life or not.
Indeed, if this movie wasn’t a parasite eating better comics and regurgitating them as Frankensteinian hybrids, they might have gone the whole way with that. Make Gwen Stacy the new Spiderwoman. She is a hero in this story and deserves to be treated as such by the film. It’s the best reversal of the original woman in a refrigerator I’ve seen in film.
The fact is, I grew up with probably the same Spiderman comics as you David. We look about the same age and I read Spiderman from the time I could walk as a toddler to the Clone Saga. The fact is, I’ve NEVER liked Mary Jane though and Gwen Stacy in the movies (if not the original comics) subverted all I disliked about her–doubly so the Dunst version who was everything I DIDN’T like in her (constant imperiled career obsessed clinginess) with what elements I did (her sense of humor, supportiveness, and pluckiness).
And they ****ing kill Gwen Stacy in this movie. All to introduce Mary Jane from what was likely a less expensive actress–only to drop her when she made Divergent.
What a a load of ****.
2. I am firmly convinced you can’t kill Gwen Stacy in a movie because of the simple fact Gwen Stacy died years after Uncle Ben died while any movie will be much-much sooner after the death of Uncle Ben. Likewise, the comics handled it wel in that Gwen Stacy’s death is a horribly traumatic event which haunts Peter Parker for the REST OF HIS LIFE. I can’t be happy for Peter Parker as Spiderman since I firmly am convinced any rationale human would be a broken mass for the rest of his life thereafter.
3. This movie crams so much….STUFF into the film which is all not BAD. As silly as Electro is, he’s kind of fun on screen for while he lasts. I liked Harry Osbourne, too. I even enjoyed the weird, “all the set up for future movies which will never come stuff.” It’s just it’s all ON SCREEN and then done. Poof.
4. I can’t really get behind Peter Parker not giving his ostensibly best friend the Spider-blood. Wouldn’t it have been MORE sympathetic for Peter to do so and Harry to become evil because of it? At least he tried. Because that IS Spiderman’s thing. He tries to do the right thing even if he fails.
Watching Gwen die was just….it is one of the times in a movie I get physically sick.
1.) The promises you make to the dying (unless you’re dumb enough to tell someone) are the promises only you know you’ve kept…or broken. If you break them, that should tell you a lot about yourself, and open yourself up to some well-deserved judgment. Since God is dead and no one cares, the only judgments you should really fear are those that come from within. And let’s be honest – the only judge that really matters to most people who aren’t going before a parole board is the Judge Inside. Which is one of the many reasons why my father told me never to make promises I couldn’t keep, including promises to the dying or dead. And if I’d followed it up with, “But those are the best kind!” he would’ve glared his Arctic Death Glare at me until I stopped being so damn stupid.
And this Peter Parker stands convicted of being a stupid, self-centered ass-hat. Even by the standards of other Peter Parkers! Even by his own standards! That’s why Ghost Dad keeps glaring at him. Unless that was the subtlest Mystero tease ever, Ghost Dad was a projection from that tiny part of Peter’s brain with enough blood left to function in Gwen Stacy’s presence. Yet he goes ahead and continues being a stupid, self-centered ass-hat the whole film, something I find to be the opposite of “cute.” At best, it’s the worst kind of co-dependency.
Sure, there are consequences eventually, but those were foreordained by Executive Mandate and the logic of the “story” our filmmakers were trying to tell…at one point…before the change in writers and all the other Executive Mandates.
Honestly, I was surprised they didn’t kill Gwen in the last movie. Get out in front of the inevitable comparisons to Rachel Dawes, ya know? Gwen was the first “woman in a refrigerator”…and really, no disrespect to trope namer and all-around awesome writer Gail Simone, but if we’re to award someone the dubious honor of First Sacrificial Lamb, that cliche should be called “woman dropped off a bridge.” Sometimes I think Ron Marz and I are the only ones who remember Alex DeWitt as she was in life – quite obviously the brains of her relationship. (Much like Gwen is in these movies – zing!…except when that might get in the way of their predetermined End Point. Zing’s on us!)
But, then again, I would say all this, wouldn’t I? I’m a Mary-Jane Watson partisan and have never made any bones about that. For this you can blame Fox’s Adjective-less Spider-Man cartoon, which couldn’t kill Gwen (or even have Spider-Man successfully punch anyone), so they opted to more-or-less delete her. And the fact that the first Spider-comic I ever bought was Spectacular Spider-Man #226 (July, 1995), if that tells you anything. Yes, deep in the heart of the Clone Saga…which I followed all the way through its conclusion, and beyond. There, through it all, was Mary-Jane Watson-Parker. “Living” proof that a might-actually-pass-for-healthy relationship was – in spite of constant supervillain attacks, multiple identity crises, the eventual miscarriage, the Iron Man-dated public outing, and all the horrors that followed – possible…provided you had a partner who’d not only recognize the Chameleon when he showed up, trying to impersonate you, but also beat his punk ass down.
Having said all that…when Gwen hit Electro with that police car, I felt a momentary flash of something that, I now suspect, is what you felt through most of these two flicks. I’m genuinely sorry for being dismissively snarky of a character you obviously liked. The film made me do it. Seriously.
2) After One More Day happened, in desperation, I bought up all of those Spider-Man comic book collection DVD-ROMs Marvel was putting out before the Disney merger and read them all over the course of about four years. And you’re absolutely right about Gwen haunting Peter for the rest of his life. In this, I’d argue she gained more power than she ever had. Who’s to say Peter wasn’t a broken mess for the rest of his life? Who’s to say he isn’t still, today? Other than Dan Slott? The comics certainly emphasized what a Broken Mess he is/was/could be during previous full-scale Batman-izations of the franchise. The era surrounding Tim Burton’s first Bat-film springs to mind. And no matter what era we’re in, I would rarely-if-ever call Peter Parker “rational.”
3) All that said, I’m not even going to pretend TASM-Gwen is somehow worse than Original Recipe. For all TASM-Gwen’s questionable decision-making skills, at least she’s not boring. I’m just comparing her to the Gwen in 2008’s Spectacular Spider-Man TV series.
4) Indeed, ugh.
1. Forgive me, David, as much as I’m not the biggest Mary Jane Watson fan in the world, I don’t mind her fandom or her existence. I also know her as the wife of Peter Parker after Gwen Stacy’s end. I mostly came to like Gwen Stacy post-mortem as well through both the Spectacular Spiderman, Ultimate Spiderman, and (yes, god help me) the Amazing Spiderman. The eternal question of Betty or Veronica displayed with the odd fact that Gwen and Mary Jane have exchanged the role of who is the Betty and who is the Veronica depending greatly on whichever one is meant to be the Girl Next Door (which MJ LITERALLY is) versus the dazzling beauty (which MJ is as well).
You’re also not alone in remembering Alex Dewitt, who’s status as the victim of Major Force is doubly-horrific for the fact that in a number of issues, she managed to establish herself as a genuinely likable character with an INTERESTING romance with Kyle. Which, I suspect, is why she’s so damned memorable in addition to the horrific nature of her death–that they struck gold in a sea of horrible cliched romances only to toss it away for cheap pathos when Kyle already had an entire dead Green Lantern Corps and insane predecessor to do that.
2. I suspect part of why this movie angers me so damn much is that the Amazing Spiderman was actually, if you look at the skeleton of the house rather than its appalling wallpaper, fairly well structured. It was different from Sam Raimi’s Spiderman and Gwen was a part of it cultivating a distinct identity. No, it was never going to be that good or great, but I found out I could mention stuff I liked about Peter Parker part Deux’s performance and material. All of which got thrown out the window in a desperate attempt to do three films in one.
The first being the Electro/Rhino movie where Peter learns the valuable lesson that if you taunt your villains and treat them like crap, they will come after you. Electro as the Spiderman stalker could have been done any number of ways in a movie with more than 15 minutes devoted to him such as Electro trying to BECOME Spiderman by assuming a heroic identity himself, only to be really-really bad at it. The Rhino being a mobbed up murderer who decides to get revenge–and has the means to do it. While Stalker boy would never be “Kraven’s Last Hunt” you could easily do the “villain as reflection of you” thing Venom wasn’t allowed to but peripherally in 3.
Contrasted, of course, to the Harry Osbourne movie. Contrasted to whatever arc they intended for this movie. I’m reminded of the 1970s Three Musketeers where they filmed two movies and then released them without telling the actors it wasn’t a single film. They could have easily done the same with a bit of contractual jiggling since god knows, this movie feels like it’s Kill Bill part 1 and 2 with just a third the talent.
3. Regarding the issue of the reboot, though, I can’t help but think they might as well since there’s really nothing more to say in this incarnation. Peter has lost his love interest, has no supporting cast to speak of, and there’s no sign his Harry Osbourne wants anything to do with him other than murder the hell out of him. He will continue to Spiderman despite all human life being sucked from his existence–because that’s who he is. In short, the story of Peter Parker 2.0 is done.
Which is exactly the OPPOSITE of what this movie intended but achieved quite handily.
4. Respecting the promise to a dead man is to be commended and I shall not argue otherwise. I just point out what “How the Amazing Spiderman should have ended” is correct that maybe-just maybe Gwen Stacy needs her boyfriend with the sudden horrific murder of her father. That being Spiderman doesn’t really put Gwen in danger anymore than the other members of the city of Lizard People New York almost became and other issues which, of course, never get addressed. Even worse, that the Ghost of Captain Stacy convinces Peter to break up with her in the most emotionally traumatizing way possible for her–and Peter DOES leave her alone after she’s going to England.
Only for her to die in largely unrelated circumstances.
Oiye. In any case, I’m glad you’re back to reviewing these movies with all your wonderous fuel and venom.
I look forward to whatever next film you like or loathe comes up next. May I recommend “Guardians of the Galaxy”?
Bravo Sir! That was a truly hilarious roasting of this execrable film! I especially love the Pimp Hand sequence and your reaction to Felicia… just priceless. I have enjoyed all your Spider-Man reviews but this is the funniest by far.
On an unrelated note, I do hold out hope for the next movie since Marvel is supposed to be involved on a creative level to link the film up to the overall MCU *crossing fingers*. And they did say there will be no more origin stories in the MCU and that implies the inclusion of the Sony Spirder-Man.
Thanks, Bob. I’m just worried Feige’s recent distaste for origin stories also implies that, going forward, they’ll be shoehorning them into other people’s movies…like a certain Sony franchise tried to do in this one.
I am 90 percent Director Mark Webb was hired cause of his last name.