Fanboy Flick Pick: The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Sucks Only Slightly Less Than You Expect

By Luke Y. Thompson in Comics, Movies
Friday, April 25, 2014 at 8:00 am

Ain't that a true statement. Just not the way they mean.

The first question you need to ask yourself is this: were you pining for the days of pre-Christopher Nolan Batman, when comic-book movies were structured around big setpieces and only really gave lip service to the source material?

And then know this: the setpieces in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, especially in 3D Imax, are indeed as spectacular as their protagonist has been known to be in comic-book titles. With big swoops and drops, villains who can levitate or fly, and judicial use of bullet-time spider-senses, the major battles of the movie are immersive and literally do make you feel like you're on a motion simulator ride. If you like that sort of thing, you'll be happy...periodically, anyway. Unfortunately, they're part of a larger movie which isn't very good otherwise.


There have been many interpretations of Electro and the Green Goblin over the years (Rhino has about as much influence in this movie as The Underminer in The Incredibles, so he's not really worth talking about). And indeed, it's hard to point fingers and call anything stupid without acknowledging that one of the characters you're dealing with originally wore green spandex and a giant yellow star-shaped lightning-bolt thing on his head. So, without any judgment whatsoever (for the moment), let me set one particular scene for you, that happens early enough in the movie that it's fair game to mention.

Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan) enters a darkened room to meet his dying father Norman, lying in bed. See, daddy dearest (Chris Cooper) has a terminal disease, and it's genetic, so Harry's gonna end up getting it too.

A disease that makes your skin turn green and warty, and turns your fingernails into claws.

Let that sink in. Read it again. THE GREEN GOBLIN LOOKS LIKE THAT BECAUSE HE'S SICK WITH SOME KIND OF GREEN GOBLIN SYNDROME THAT APPARENTLY OCCURS IN NATURE. Also the city's richest man can't spare the cash to procure a nailclipper.

"My name iss Freeze. Lyuhn it well, for it iss da chilling...Wait, wrong movie."

Then Max Dillon (Jamie Foxx) becomes Electro by falling into a vat of mutant electric eels while holding a live power cord. And you're all, like, Marvel managed to make fucking Thor credible, but Sony can take a guy in a scary mask and a costumed dude who shoots electricity, and actually make them stupider than they ever were on the page. Okay, maybe not ever - there have been some dumb Spidey stories. And I can hang with the idea that once you go with the pure energy version of Electro, he can disintegrate and reappear.

But how do his rubber shorts do that? And where does he suddenly pick up that snazzy bodysuit with the lightning bolts on it? Oscorp just had that lying around in case they ever made an electric person?

"It's meaningless. A hydrogen atom would be more appropriate."

All that said, Jamie Foxx and Dane DeHaan do the very best with what they're given. Foxx is convincing both as a pre-villain neurotic nerd and post-transformation demigod, while DeHaan does the desperate, angsty thing real well at this point, even if director Marc Webb clearly did saddle him with cheesy directions along the lines of "Flip over that table! Everyone will really know you're mad when you do that!"


But this isn't called The Amazing Electro and Green Goblin Jr. (though a movie with that title is surely coming at some point, given Sony's plans to milk this thing like it's a seventeen-tittied dairy cow). It's The Amazing Spider-Man, and Spider-Man kinda sucks. Wait, no, scratch that. Spider-Man is cool. Peter Parker sucks.

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