(In honor of the release of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Eric is looking back at the previous Spider-Man films. Today we continue with the sequel to the first Spider-Man reboot, The Amazing Spider-Man 2.)
Author’s note: This one’s going to be spoilerific. You are reading a blog called Poor Man’s Spoiler; I don’t know what you expected.
You know, I thought that I would have learned not keep going back to things that hurt me, but here I am, watching this sad excuse for a Spider-Man movie…again. “Eric, didn’t you say you didn’t watch The Amazing Spider-Man because it looked bad?” Yes, person who read the previous article, you are correct. Why watch the second one and not the first? No lie, I saw the clock tower and knew how that scene was going to end. Plus, it looked so bad that I’d enjoy it. And I did–the first time.
To say this movie is terrible would be an insult to the monuments of lesser films that came before it. Again, it just feels like some aspiring screenwriter read half a Wikipedia page and put the story together from that….and they didn’t even donate after reading. There’s an inverse correlation between producer interference and the love and appreciation for the source material.
The film doesn’t start right away. The producers thought it would be cool to show you a bit from their spy thriller first. If that sounds weird and out of place, you’d be correct! Peter’s parents are being hunted down and we see how they “died.” At least in this one, they at least try to tie it in and have it make sense. We’ll touch on that later.
The film opens with Paul Giamatti reenacting the truck part of Enter Sandman while doing a worse Russian accent than the time I drunkenly pretended to perform in The Seagull. What’s silly about it, though, is that Spider-Man is just letting people get hurt and things get damaged for the sake of making some stupid jokes. I’ll re-write that scene for emphasis:
Da, something stereotypical about vodka or bears.
(Runs through like 5 cars)
Hey, I thought you guys were extinct?
(Pause for laugh. Rhino hits an old lady crossing the street)
You look no like that Tobey guy, dah
(Burps. Rams through a parade of puppies)
What’s a matter Paul? Putin on a good show to pay rent?
(Almost hits “important” character. Spider-Man stops car.)
HEY, THAT PERSON IS IMPORTANT YOU ASS!
By important, we mean Jamie Foxx, who I was actually excited to see play Electro. Unfortunately, we got Cyberpunk DJ Drop the Ball as envisioned by Skrillex. His role in this movie is the main antagonist, I think. I wouldn’t know. His motivation is literally “Spider-Man isn’t my best friend so I will destroy him”….Like he’s fucking Princess Morbucks.
Speaking of bucks, Electro and Gwen work at Oscorp. Like Norman and Harry Osborn Oscorp. I can’t wait to see what sinister plots Norman is going to have. I hope he tries to top Willem and…oh he’s dead…and the sociopath from Chronicle is his son…but I saw ads with the Goblin…oh…he’s going to be the Goblin, isn’t he? *insert string of expletives here.
Oh! By the way, Harry and Peter are best friends and have a deep appreciation for each other. Why didn’t Peter mention that before the other times he went to Oscorp?
Harry is dying of the Osborn curse, which makes you look like the Lizard from the previous film and has a plot-determined rate of acceleration ‘til death. Peter’s parents were actually helping to find the cure when they discovered that they were being funded by beings who were going to use the research for chemical warfare. Instead of just, idk creating a cure or going to the press, Peter’s parents decide to destroy their research, abandon their son, and run away… So smart that it explains why Peter be like that sometimes. Oh, and the spiders only react with his bloodline. Good thing that he left his son in the exact same city as the guy who needs his blood to cure his incurable disease. Again, at least they tried to tie it in, but it makes as much sense as someone building a replica Transformers Beast Wars Rhinox and displaying it alongside metal wings and metallic claw game arms.
Back to villains that were able to make it into this series before it was buried forever: Electro is captured and experimented on by Oscorp, and Oscorp covers up his existence somehow. There is no record that they don’t have access to apparently, and not one person besides Gwen questioned what happened….not his boss, not his landlord, not a neighbor–sure…. Anyway, he’s being experimented on by discount Hank Azaria as Dr. Frank N Strangelove from Transylvania. They want to see how powerful he is for some reason that is never disclosed (or I can’t remember or didn’t care enough to remember).
Harry and Peter talk, and Harry is just like, “Hey, I need Spider-Man’s blood or I am going to die.” They treat this like a normal conversation, and Peter’s apprehension is due to bodily autonomy and not, “Wait what? That makes no sense? Have you lost your mind?” Harry gets unreasonably upset, and Peter has to visit Harry as Spider-Man too and says no again. Harry flips out like he was told he couldn’t have the golden goose from Wonka’s factory. So like a sensible person, he breaks Electro out of the lab to regain his company and have Electro collect Spider-Man’s blood. Few things with that:
- Electricity fries people; how do you want him to get the blood?
- Do you really need it if you think the spider venom will work?
- Why would you let loose a clearly mentally unstable individual with power that massive and just expect it to work out after the fact?
Nothing is explained in this movie. Not a single moment is earned or warranted, and the dialogue around it is amateurish at best. Actually, I’m fairly certain there is fan-fiction written with more character growth and earned moments than this script was able to produce. Nothing puts this more in focus than the scene where Peter goes after Gwen as she is leaving to go to Oxford. First of all, I loathe their relationship. The “will-they-won’t-they” stuff is old and tiring and only held together by the fact they had real-life chemistry. Peter doesn’t recognize her as an individual person and undermines the fact that she is being offered to go to Oxford by saying that they are on the same path. That’s not adoration; that’s self-driven dependency. He should totally be willing to let her go, as that’s what is best for her. What does he do though? He suits up, tags a bridge to say “I love you,” and swings in, takes Gwen up on top of the bridge to deliver the best ode since Shakespeare himself: “Did you see the sign? It says ‘I love you’ because I love you.”
This leads us right into the climax of the film, which is beyond convoluted and ultimately silly. Electro brings Spider-Man to him by creating a city-wide blackout when he could have just shown up. Spider-Man probably would have been concerned. You broke out of wherever you were to begin with so other people didn’t have to be put in harm’s way. What motivated him to do this? He wants to be a god to them – must mean like a Greek or Roman god. I want you to keep in mind that this entire sequence is supposed to be in less than 0:4:30 and then like maybe ten more minutes through the rest of the climax. The power goes down, so the hospital is having issues. Planes are flying blind and could be running into each other. Lives are on the line and it’s all up to Spider-Man to beat Electro in time…except he has no idea there are any time constraints…and shouldn’t an air traffic control tower and a hospital both have some sort of emergency power setup? Not only does the situation not add up at all, Spider-Man isn’t even aware of it…but we are! Miraculously, Spider-Man and Gwen are able to defeat Electro by overcharging him and turning him into dust. Spider-Man uses his web to transfer the charges between the two broken cords and power returns just in time to save everyone he didn’t know was in danger. I have more questions now:
- Why did Spider-Man kill Electro? How would he feel if someone turned him into dust?
- Canonically, his webs do dissipate. Would the current accelerate that process? What happens when those webs expire? How would they fix it if they can’t reroute it elsewhere to keep the city powered?
All this time, Harry has been running amok trying to cure himself. He injects himself with spider venom, reacts badly to it, and enters a life-preserving suit of armor to sustain him. You know what happens to most people when they inject a vial of potent spider venom directly into their bloodstream? They die…I don’t know what you expected. In any case, that’s how Harry becomes the Goblin. Why did he settle on that name?
Anyway, he does a bad Willem Dafoe impression and deduces more quickly than the anyone in the series that Peter is Spider-Man and decides to kill Gwen Stacy. Seems more rushed then Joseph Gordon Levitt on a bike, right? They fight in the clock tower, Gwen falls, and MUSIC STARTS PLAYING THAT GIVES THE WHOLE GOD DAMN SCENE AWAY!!! Really though, what are you doing?! There is no tension at the point, no hope, just sad music before she even dies. I guarantee you, with a quick edit and a removal of the music, that scene is prominently more impactful. So Gwen dies in vain and suddenly 5 months pass. Peter decided not to be Spider-Man for 5 months because Peter is sad. You know who else is sad? The people who died or were injured because you decided with great depression comes great disregard for everyone else. Check your spider privilege boi!
Meanwhile, Harry is now normalish looking and “sane,” in some sort of jail. Why is he normalish again? How did they manage that? Why do I still care? All questions that have no answer. They allow him contact with this dude who is putting together the Sinister Six…which are all Oscorp projects, despite most of them being invented by those villains themselves otherwise. So they give Paul Giamatti a Rhino Titan to go terrorize the town…because that dude is capable of doing anything well. Peter watches Gwen’s graduation speech and is inspired to continue on and keep being Spider-Man. Some dork kid decides to challenge the Rhino in a Spider-Man costume and he, being morally reprehensible, does not shoot at or kill the kid…That’s out of character in the 4 min of screen time you gave him. How do you even get that wrong?! Spider-Man saves the day, I guess, and we can all go home.
You see, this review needed to be a synopsis because not explaining exactly why this film is bad leaves you with a review that just says, “ Everything they tried was stupid and bad and they should feel bad.” I’m so glad to be done with this series, and am glad that Spidey is with Disney/Marvel again.
Written by Eric Brockett
(Eric is a millennial and thus thinks his opinion on the internet matters. Sometimes he has opinions on films too. He thinks people care. He knows they don’t.)