This marks the beginning of an ongoing series of posts “Time to Yell about _____”. Sometimes, I see a movie or watch a TV show and just feel compelled to yell about everything I think is wrong about it like a nutcase on a street corner yelling the end is nigh. How badly it’s written overall, how dumb the writers think the audience is, how horrendous the costuming choices are, general laziness, truly terrible dialogue/acting, or whatever the hell else is ratchet about some piece of entertainment. Here we go!
Having just seen The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and feeling spectacularly underwhelmed, I felt compelled to slap some of my thoughts and opinions on here. Now, understand that I didn’t go into this flick with absurd expectations of soul-stirring art; I’m a normal-ass human woman living on the planet Earth, and wanted to see some fun, loud action and a character I love from the comics I read as a kid. Easy, yeah? Cool. I enjoyed the first movie of this series just fine, and was looking forward to see where the story was heading.
ASM2 opens with what can only be described as a horn fanfare from the goddamned 10 o’clock news. It rang as very Movie(TM) to me and almost immediately took me out of the experience. In fact, the whole movie is reminiscent of those horrendous 1990s superhero movies we all cringe over; I kept thinking to myself, the hell is this? Joel Schumacher’s Spider-Man?
Now, I’ve always been consistently indifferent to Spider-Man’s villains. Unpopular opinion, I know, but whatever. They’ve never really grabbed me, save for Venom, whom we all saw get the shaft in Sam Raimi’s famous mess, Spider-Man 3. In ASM2, we get Jamie Foxx’s Electro and Dane DeHaan’s Green Goblin. Oy. DeHaan’s Harry Osborn on the other hand, is pretty spot on, and a real smarmy delight! Too bad his scenes with Peter reconnecting (and in general) are super rushed, but I guess that makes his turning on Peter easier to swallow since we don’t really give a shit about him. Osborn also embraces becoming a complete dick really quickly, thanks to his magnificent daddy issues.
Foxx’s Max Dillon starts off as a Lifetime Movie character trope: the obsessive manpain-plagued pathetic bookish dude who just can’t take a hint. There’s even distractingly awful “Bumbling Character Who Can’t Catch A Break” goofy music playing during his scenes! Then he becomes Electro in a pretty cool and horrifying accident, and immediately uses his powers for butthurt. Seriously. So much Jim Carrey Riddler realness, I can’t even. Once he’ s Electro, he’s sent to one of those movie mental institutions straight out of the 1940s, where a miscellaneously German Eraserhead/Dr. Strangelove hybrid doctor performs “tests” on him.
Now, let’s talk about Jamie Foxx for a second. An absurd movie done right is White House Down, a simultaneously delightful and vacuous Roland Emmerich romp with Channing Tatum’s hero guy saving Foxx’s President. Great actors like Jamie Foxx can be in otherwise silly movies like WHD and make them worth seeing, for sure; just so long as that character is at least decently written, and if not, semi-believable as a person in that world to the audience. WHD is an unequivocally ridiculous movie, but the plot is simple, well-paced, and to the point: because of that, it works. Channing Tatum has to save the President and AMERICA from Supersmart Hacker Terrorists taking over The White House for Some Terrorist Reason, it’s extremely straightforward. This is where ASM2 truly fails – the writing is a goddamned mess.
I guess the thing that confuses me the most about this movie is that the script truly sounds like a draft. Things either didn’t work, or were colossally clunky. It was like the writers took out the damn Oxford Dictionary, looked up things like SYMBOLISM and THEME, slapped some lipstick on a mule and called it a pretty lady. And then, I realised these guys were the same team responsible for actual abominations such as Star Trek: Into Darkness, Cowboys & Aliens, and the surprisingly unwatchable Transformers series. It all crystallised in that moment. Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield, however, are brilliant. Their scenes together are great – their dialogue rings true to life, and they have excellent banter and rapport. This leads me to believe that their scenes must be ad-libbed, because in comparison, the rest of the movie is really uneven and essentially tone deaf.
One simple thing that got royally fucked was the passage of time. High School Graduation Day is typically in June, or maybe even late May. What’s meant to be a few weeks/months later? Peter is watching Gwen from afar, and she’s dressed for October in a blazer and hat.. not the summer. The summer in Manhattan and the Tri-State Area is akin to a more humid version of hell, it’s absolutely foul. Even when she’s headed to the airport she’s dressed for straight up pleasant autumn in a medium weight car coat! What in the world? It’s even referenced that she got into some “summer class” at Oxford and was flying out for it that very day. Weird inconsistencies like that make me wonder what in the hell was going on in that writing room.
And I almost forgot! In a small role, Paul Giamatti has a flop forehead tattoo and a miscellaneous Eastern European accent because, ya know, Bad Guy(TM).
So.. that happened. The Amazing Spider-Man 2, though not a great movie, is perfectly adequate. It’s a thing that exists and that’s about all I can really say. Maybe see it in one of those fancy theatres where they serve booze to make the overall experience more enjoyable.
OH, and there’s also a truly bizarre X-Men: Days of Whatever teaser/blatant ad in the credit sequence. What?