Photo courtesy of Columbia Pictures
Some movies are good. Some are bad. Some simply exist. Like a twenty-four-hour cold, they happen suddenly and then fade away into the ether. They briefly screen in theaters and then are quickly, and justly, forgotten. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is such a movie.
The film is a sequel to a movie that was designed almost entirely to help Sony maintain its hold on the copyright to Spider-Man as a property. The first film was already tediously vanilla, and this sequel chooses to double down by giving us more of the same middle-of-the-road storytelling.
For those unacquainted: Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield), a lovably geeky guy, was bitten by a radioactive spider, which has since given him the powers of a spider. He now fights crime as a masked superhero, while trying to maintain order in his personal life. This personal life mostly consists of Gwen (Emma Stone), who he has a starry-eyed, angsty, sweet romance with, and who works at the shadowy mega-corporation Oscorp where questionable experimentation leads to an unsuspecting, helplessly dorky engineer (Jamie Foxx) transforming into the walking blue electrode Electro.
The film is a giant machine of many moving parts. It is an action blockbuster, a piece of comic book fan service, a dewy romance, and a gargantuan chapter in a growing franchise mythology. Director Marc Webb constantly seems overwhelmed at making all these varied parts click together. Each element feels disconnected from the rest, and it often feels like there are two or three movies worth of material crammed into the film.
The only time the film really has a spark is when Garfield and Stone are on screen together and their insane chemistry distracts from how tiresome the script, written by James Vanderbilt, Alex Kurtzman, and Roberto Orci, is. At its core, the film has a lovely little romance that recalls Webb’s (500) Days of Summer, bittersweet but hard to resist.
The faintest praise I can give The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is that you will not hear people speak poorly of it years from now. It will be long gone from public memory.