Short Thoughts On… The Amazing Spider-Man 2

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Poster

I think it’s fair to say that The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is a contentious movie. Spider-Man fans are pretty evenly divided on it, some claiming that it’s the best Spidey movie to date and some claiming pretty much the exact opposite (including high profile voices like MovieBob, Devin Faraci, and Film Crit Hulk). Its lackluster box office returns and disastrous production (you’d think Sony would learn to stop meddling with their directors) led to the Amazing series being canned and Spidey getting a new start over at Marvel Studios in their Cinematic Universe.

Pair all that with my own lukewarm reception to the first Amazing Spider-Man and I wasn’t expecting to have a good time with The Amazing Spider-Man 2. But by the time Electro was blowing up Times Square and Dane DeHaan was sleazing around Oscorp I was on board with Amazing Spider-Man 2. It’s not a great movie (maybe even not a good one) and unlike the Sam Raimi movies it doesn’t really have any goal or arc for Peter Parker besides “have stuff happen to him,” but, to its credit, it tries to fix what ASMdid to Peter Parker (albeit unsuccessfully), the villains are fun to watch, and it has a couple of legitimately great action scenes to keep it afloat.

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The Amazing Spider-Man Screws Up Its Most Important Element: Spider-Man

The Amazing Spider-Man Poster

Thanks to a wonderful comment from swanpride, this piece has been revised and updated to address Peter and Gwen’s crucial talk on the bleachers.

In its desperation to distance itself from Sam Raimi’s classic trilogy, The Amazing Spider-Man radically changes the order and details of Peter Parker’s origin story as much as it can. But, as a result of that restructuring, the actual lesson and message integral to Spider-Man’s origin story gets lost. Peter never learns Uncle Ben’s big lesson (though in this version it’s attributed to Peter’s missing father) and he spends the entirety of the movie without an ethos or proper motivation. Add to that some dodgy scripting and design around Peter himself and what you’re left with is a dull, serviceable film with a horribly broken and unlikable character at its center.

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