Movie Review: The Amazing Spider-Man 2

All last week, reviews for The Amazing Spider-Man 2 have been trickling in at a steady pace. Just off the bat, the movie is notable as it kicks off the summer movie season, an event that has generally been held by a Marvel-themed character for the last few years. Despite that, most of the early reviews have been lukewarm at best, disastrous at worst. The tone of these reviews had gotten me a little nervous for the fate of the movie, which I took to heart as Spider-Man is pretty much my favorite super hero and I hold a lot of love for the first Amazing Spider-Man. Some reviewers were even going so far as to call it "the Batman & Robin of the Spider-Man movies". (Not to mention this review in particular from someone who seems to hate comic books, movies, and life in general. How does one get to be so miserable?)

After getting the chance to see ASM2, I must say that whomever compared this movie to Batman & Robin is clearly a moron. Or just unnecessarily hating on Amazing Spider-Man 2 for some reason. The only comparisons that can be made between the two films is the inclusion of three of the hero's Rogues Gallery; Mr. Freeze, Poison Ivy, and Bane in the Batman case, Electro, Green Goblin, and the Rhino in Spidey's.

For starters, my favorite part about Amazing Spider-Man 2 is the character arcs that each of the villains went through. To a lesser extent with the Rhino, each of them has a satisfying introduction and an understandable breaking point. Both Electro and Green Goblin (who is never actually referred to by that name) have had everything taken away from them and both felt spurned by Spider-Man after reaching out to him for help. Clearly, Spider-Man draws both of their rage. It's a simplistic way to work them into the Spidey villain-hood but it was effective.

What's great about ASM2 is that it makes Peter Parker as important to the movie as Spider-Man. Equal time, if not more, is given to Peter's life: his relationship with Gwen Stacy, with Aunt May, and with his parents. Peter and Spider-Man are both still haunted by the ghost of Captain Stacy, who gave his life to help Spider-Man in the first film. Breaking his promise to Captain Stacy, Peter has continued to date Gwen and his guilt manifests itself in visions of Captain Stacy everywhere. I loved how director Marc Webb handled this aspect of their relationship as it was a visual reminder of why Peter is so indecisive about being with Gwen, which mirrored the Peter/Mary Jane relationship of Sam Raimi's Spider-Man films. However, in Raimi's version, Peter just couldn't seem to make up his mind without the psychological reminders of why.

But my favorite part of the movie was Peter's parents. Hinted at in the first film, this one delves into the project that Richard Parker was working on when he was forced to leave Peter with his brother and disappear. Peter's interest in finding out what happened to his parents leads to an amazing (no pun intended [OK, well, maybe a little]) scene with Aunt May, pouring out her heart to Peter and venting her anger at Richard for what he did to his son. It's a really touching scene, one that elevates Aunt May from "doting aunt with a heart problem" to "loving guardian, care-giver, and surrogate mother". One aspect of the Peter Parker character is his devotion to Aunt May (even going so far as to make a deal with the devil to save her life in the comic storyline "One More Day"), and this scene perfectly illustrates the believability of that relationship.

The film makes so many good choices with its story and characters but that doesn't mean it's perfect. Like anything else, it had its flaws, like the Rhino. For the most part, I was pleased with how the Rhino was worked into the movie but I didn't care for the suit itself. From the early trailers I thought that it would be a decent take on the character but seeing it in full glory was less than stellar. Also, the design for the Green Goblin left much to be desired. Dane Dehaan did a great job with Harry and his emotional breakdown which carried over well to the Goblin, but the look of the Goblin was just... It wasn't good. Another thing that bothered me was the setting. The entirety of the film takes place just after Peter and Gwen graduate from high school. In New York, schools get out in late May to mid-June, so just before the summer. Meanwhile, every scene features Peter and Gwen in full jackets, with Peter often wearing his wool skullcap. That's a bit of a nitpick, I'll admit, but it was pretty distracting.

Though The Amazing Spider-Man 2 worked pretty much by the numbers, it was an excessively fun ride. The CGI was on-point and the 3D was very impressive. The story took a few turns that I wasn't expecting and the film offered quite a few guest stars that any fan of the comic would appreciate. It was apparent that Sony was setting up their spin-off films to rival the continuity Marvel established in their films but most of them felt natural enough. There was a bit of shoehorning and I lost count of how many times they said the word "venom" but I'm willing to overlook that. At the end of it, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is a well-crafted film with great emotional impact and offers 130 minutes of fun, which is more than I can ask for.


  1. It's a very fun movie, even if it can get terribly bloated and confusing at times. Good review Michael.

    1. Thank you! Yeah, it wasn't perfect by any means but not nearly as bad as some reviewers are making it out to be.

  2. This was a good review. I can argue a few of your criticisms, but at least your points are legit. To me, the ASM2 is the best in the franchise. The reason for this is the atmosphere to the movie as I thought it was perfect for the character of Spider-Man I thought there was plenty to like about the movie, and if anything, it was just a fun summer film. I really don't understand the hatred towards this film, though everyone has an opinion on a movie. Still, I want to see more from this franchise, and even this film is a bump in the road, I still think it's a step in the right direction. Anyways, great review Michael.

    If you want to read my review, head here:


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