Web hero bottles three superhero villains
Andrew Garfield is back as the wall-crawling, web slinging Spider-Man and challenged by some of his greatest foes in “The Amazing Spider-Man 2.” And if you have watched any of the movie trailers heralding the web head’s return, then you have seen just about every action scene in a summer blockbuster movie that is as exciting as watching paint dry.
Okay, that may seem a tad harsh coming from this 50-year collector of Marvel Comics but the 2014 presentation of Spider-Man is not going to have anyone anxious for the inevitable “The Amazing Spider-Man 3” coming in 2016.
With the exception of a great opening sequence with Peter Parker’s mom and dad trying to get away from the bad guys from Oscorp Industries and two action sequences pitting Spider-Man against with his newest foes: Jamie Foxx (“Collateral”) as the electrifying Electro and Peter Parker’s best buddy turn baddie, Dane DeHaan (“Chronicle”) as Harry Osborn turned Green Goblin, there is nothing but soap pouring out of the screen as moviegoers are presented with one montage after another of young adult angst.
Wait, wait—yes there is another villain with Paul Giamatti (“Parkland”) as the Rhino, one of Spider-Man’s classic rogues which has less than 3:34 of screen time. Blink and you will miss him.
Otherwise “amazing” this Spider-Man this isn’t and as the film was playing out, it was more akin to watching George Clooney sleepwalking around as the bisexual Batman in “Batman and Robin.”
This Spider-man script is equally as stupid with both Garfield and Emma Stone (“Zombieland”) as his lady love, Gwen Stacy, stand around with no idea what to do except to read the cue cards. There is enough “I love you but I can’t love you” to choke a hippo.
Then, there are the villains.
Foxx’s Electro does to Times Square what no interior designer would have the gumption to do and the Green Goblin only shows up in the last 15 minutes, another classic character totally wasted. What you don’t get from Electro or the Goblin are the real reasons why they want to pulverize Spider-Man into submission. The desire to crush, destroy and otherwise create mayhem in downtown New York City is stretched at best and Electro and the Goblin are–pardon the pun—merely comic book versions of their true potential.
What we do have is a terrific kinetic performance by Garfield who does with web slinging that his predecessor Tobey Maguire never seemed to connect—the pure love of sailing through the air with only a thin stand of fiber linking Earth and Heaven as our hero flies through the urban New York City landscape and saves countless native New Yorkers from disaster.
That is what heroes like policemen and firemen do. They save people. Superheroes do the same but with spandex and a cape. Garfield is totally in his element when a truck filled with plutonium careens through the city streets in the movie’s opening. This wall crawler has never looked better–think of Jerry Lewis in spandex–totally frantic but totally in control.
Then the movie dies, slouches like zombie for 40 minutes of dribble before its Spider-Man vs Electro; their battle in Times Square alone is worth the price of admission.
Director Marc Webb (“The Amazing Spider-Man”) must have had a gun pointed at his frontal lobe to crowd in three super villains to satisfy his studio bosses and the seven people credited with the screenplay.
The story is a fog-shrouded bog filled with tar to wade through. For parents, the comic book “violence” is age appropriate for anyone over 15 and Garfield’s Spider-Man has never looked better. Just don’t expect too much—Macbeth this ain’t folks!
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