It wasn’t a question of if I’d go see The Amazing Spider-Man 2; it was a matter of when. You see, Spider-Man was my favorite super hero as a kid and continues to be, to this day. I guess you could say that I have a soft spot for Spidey because I love underdogs and nerds. Spider-Man and Peter Parker each represent the best of their respective worlds, in that regard, and I appreciate that dynamic.
“I’ll go with you to the movies if you’re going to see Spider-Man,” said Christoph (my husband) when I asked him if he’d seen my car keys. “If you help me find my keys, maybe you can come with me,” I replied. Together, we searched the house for my keys and as soon as I found them—in a random bowl, up high, on a bookshelf—we were off. Keys in hand, we jumped in the car and sped on over to the local theater for a much needed dose of comic-book action & adventure.
Christoph and I are basically two over-grown children, so we take our comic book heroes—and their movies—pretty seriously. We were excited for this latest installment of superhero goodness and we were hoping that the magic of the movies wouldn’t let us down. I suppose, all we could do was hope, so hope we did—fingers crossed.
When we got to the theater, Christoph and I raced to find a parking spot. We were trying to make an early showing, but we also wanted to ensure that we would have enough time to find decent seats. The Spider-Man movies always bring out the crowds, so getting to the theater early, is critical to securing a good viewing spot. No one wants to develop a crick in their neck from sitting at an awkward angle and turning their head, for two hours, in order to watch a movie. No one.
Fortunately, we got into the theater and our seats, fairly quickly. The place was beginning to fill up, but Christoph spotted a couple of seats in one of the better rows and so we hopped in, excited. Everything was looking good until, The Loudest Family that Ever Lived, decided to sit next to us. Actually, they sat right next to me.
Just as the trailers began to roll, this boisterous family of about four or five people, awkwardly plopped down, next to me. “Crap,” I thought. I just knew these folks were going to be loud and not just because their kids’ idea of “conversational tone,” was shouting. Maybe it was because they all stood and discussed where each one of them would sit, before deciding to bring the noise level down a few notches.
On the positive side, the kids didn’t feel the need to talk a whole lot during the trailers, or the movie for that matter. They were actually, mostly good kids. They clearly understood that when folks go to the movies, they shouldn’t talk incessantly. Unfortunately, their parents could not grasp this same concept.
It’s not just that the parents had loud voices when they were talking to one another, either. The problem was that they couldn’t bring themselves to be silent for more than five minutes at a time. Actually, it would be more accurate to say that it seemed as if they were on a mission to be as disruptive as humanly possible, in a span of two hours.
When they first sat down, they decided to switch seats a couple of times, which was fine and normal. Then, they did it again, and again—the parents, not the kids. The kids were disruptive in a normal way. They quickly picked up on the awkward tension they were creating. Once they realized it, they stopped and it was fine. Like I said, the kids were smart—quick.
The parents, on the other hand, were the opposite of their children. They seemed completely unaware. They weren’t looking to anyone, checking that their behavior was appropriate, like their kids were. Nope. They were going to shoot the shit, like they were sitting in their living room at home. They wanted to have full-on conversations, talk over one another and laugh, heartily. Sadly, they decided to do it during a movie that other people had paid to see.
Normally, when this sort of disruptive thing goes on for an extended amount of time, Christoph starts glancing over at me. He'll wonder nervously if / when I’ll say something to the offending party about shutting up. He’ll implore me, with his eyes, not to lose my shit at strangers. That was not the case today, though.
What I did instead, was sit back and watch, astonished. At first, I was amused by the family playing musical chairs, but then the dad got up—during the actual movie—hopped over to another row, sat down and checked out the alternate view. After a few minutes, he decided it wasn’t a superior spot, and so he got up again and walked back up to where his family and I were sitting. He climbed over his kids, scooted past his wife, and sat back down next to me. Neither he, nor his wife seemed to think any of this annoying or inappropriate. Loud Dad was so blatantly disruptive that it was almost comical. Almost.
This won't come as a surprise, but in my marriage, I’m the one with the shortest fuse. It’s bad for my blood pressure though, so I try to avoid getting angry at stuff that’s not really going to impact my “long run.” As a matter of fact, I was starting to feel proud of the fact that I wasn’t becoming disoriented with rage during the movie. This family's behavior had gone from annoyingly amusing to outrageously inappropriate and I was maintaining a cool head. It was a novel and appealing experience, to say the least.
After an extended period of time, as this couple’s behavior became blatantly disrespectful, my normally mellow & laid back husband, spoke up. Christoph straightened his back, leaned forward in his chair and in his deep, authoritative voice, said, “Do you guys mind? It’s just that you’ve been talking through the entire movie and you’re pretty loud.” He also made sure to maintain eye contact with the father of the Loud Crew, in order to properly convey his level of exasperation.
Talk. About. Awkward.
I wanted to burst into laughter. I wanted to high-five and chest-bump my husband; I wanted to do a lot of things, but I couldn’t. I was sitting between him and Loud Dad, so I had to maintain composure while the guy let this moment hang in the air for half a beat too long, before responding.
“Yeah…OK,” the man said, as he stared down my husband. Without moving anything on my body, other than my eyeballs, I looked over at Christoph and then looked back at Loud Dad. “Thank you,” Christoph replied and the tension finally dissipated. My husband didn’t want to be a dick, he just wanted to watch Spider-Man and so we quickly shifted focus back onto the world of Peter Parker.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 wants to set the record straight. From the opening scene where Richard Parker (Peter’s dad, played by Campbell Scott), explains what he’s been doing with his research this whole time, right through to the emotionally charged closing sequences.
We meet back up with Spider-Man (Andrew Garfield) as he’s fighting crime. Spidey is tussling with Russian thug, Aleksei Sytsevich (Paul Giamatti), flying through New York and attempting to take him down. Max Dillon (Jamie Foxx)is an OsCorp engineer and he finds himself in Aleski’s path during this early action sequence. Max is almost annihilated, but luckily, Spidey swoops in at the last minute to save the day and his life. Relieved, Max feels instantly connected to Spider-Man. By the end of this scene it’s clear that Max is more than just grateful, he's obsessed with Spidey.
Through yet another accident at an OsCorp lab, Max is transformed into a human generator. His DNA combines with that of an electric eel, converting him into Electro. As Electro, Max can move freely through the city’s power grid and destroy anything in his path.
Somewhere along the way—I won’t tell you how or when, so as to avoid spoilers—Electro / Max, loses faith in our webbed crusader and turns on him. He goes so far as to join forces with Harry Osborne (Dane Dehaan). Together, they do everything in their power to destroy Spider-Man.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is the story of Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) just as much as it is the story of Spider-Man and Electro. Peter and Gwen are trying desperately to figure out how to make their relationship work. Time, as we all know, slows for no one, so when Gwen’s life starts to move in a direction far from Peter / Spider-Man, everything changes.
Actually, that’s a lie. Some things manage to stay the same. The conflict that develops between Harry Osborne and Peter Parker, in this version of Spider-Man’s story, rings true to the original dynamic and provides a little emotional complexity. It’s nice to get that sort of thing, outside the romantic relationship in the film.
Simply put, in this version of Spider-Man’s life, he’s trying to figure out who he is. Peter Parker needs to know where he came from, who his father was and where he’s going to go with that information, once he’s figured it all out. He wants to move forward, but forward in which direction?
The chemistry between Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone is palpable throughout the entire film, which makes them both endearing and relatable. Garfield reprises his successful portrayal of Peter Parker / Spiderman seamlessly. Garfield is charming in his uncertainty and that makes him hard not to like. Emma Stone is the smart one in this dynamic duo, and lucky for us, she’s equally as charismatic as her masked counterpart.
Surprisingly, the one actor that didn’t quite live up to my expectations was Jamie Foxx. I know, I was hoping he would nail this part, but he didn’t. His portrayal of Max Dillon was a little too campy and that made him seem out of place. Foxx plays up the neurotic tendencies that should render Electro a character, which resonates with audiences, but his efforts fell somewhat flat.
The action sequences in this movie, on the other hand, hold up their end of the bargain. It’s exhilarating to swing through New York City along side Spider-Man, as he chases down Electro. Slithering through the city power grid with these two, almost feels like an amusement park ride.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 pulls at your heartstrings, making you live vicariously through Peter and Gwen’s romance. The movie also stomps on your adrenaline glands, effectively making you feel as if you’re a part of the action. That right there makes up for what was lacking in Foxx’s portrayal of Electro. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 succeeds at keeping this old, comic book story, current and engrossing.
You’ll want to see this one on as big a screen, you won’t be disappointed.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 – B+
B+ = Give this one a go for sure. You will most likely enjoy it and if /when it comes on cable, you will probably watch it through to the end regardless of your starting point.