For the spoiler-free review click HERE
I want to put this out there in big bold letters. So there is no mistaking that what follows, is chock full of spoilers. If you haven't seen the movie, or just generally do not like spoilers, you are being warned here. SPOILERS AHEAD.... No... that's not enough, how about this?
AHEAD THERE BE SPOILERS!
Is that clear enough? Are we good? Let's begin. I think I want to try and do one pro for every con, so... let's keep them alternating as long as I can. Also, keep in mind, this is not an exhaustive list, this is more of me just venting about things I couldn't mention in the actual review, because I try my damnedest to not post spoilers in my review. So, this will go on only so long as I feel like venting. So, who knows how long this will go on?
PRO: The opening sequence. One of the things that the original promised that it failed at, was delving deeper into the background of Peter Parker. Sam Raimi didn't bother touching on Peter's parents, and when I had seen mention that The Amazing Spider-man was poised to offer up a deeper insight into the parents, tying them into the whole mythos, I was excited. This would add a certain depth of character that was missing from the Raimi trilogy. In the Amazing Spider-man, the ball was dropped, and Richard and Mary Parker disappeared into the ether. To have this one open with a scene giving those characters life... That was a beautiful thing. For a change, I felt that these characters were going to matter, that perhaps they were going to serve as an integral part of the story. This was an exciting tease, and it began to have an almost espionage vibe to it.
CON: The above scene was just a tease. It was a tiny morsel of an offering. It could have been expanded into more. A parallel story, tying Peter's search for answers to a string of clues left by his parents would have offered up an intriguing insight. Instead, the offering ends pretty much when the opening credits begin. This is a minor issue, and I will grant that there are still a few moments where Richard's story does intersect, but it was a squandered opportunity. If they had wasted less time shoehorning every villain they could into this movie, and had kept an underlying story of Peter's parents, this could have offered up a beautiful parallel, that would have given the movie a little more impact.
PRO: Electro. While some will argue that his look is a little goofy, and might complain that the character was not portrayed as he was in the comics, I will argue that this version is better in almost every respect to what was originally offered up in the comics. Jamie Foxx created a sympathetic, and at times tragic villain. This was a character that just wanted recognition for what he had done, and due to a horrible accident, he was left a monster. He started out wanting nothing more than to figure out what had happened to him. His villainous turning point was handled well, with a very interesting inclusion of taunting voices with the score, giving a voice to his rising madness. It was beautifully done. Honestly, it was one of the highlights of the movie for me. Add to that, that the living electricity look actually made him more menacing than the comic book yellow and green look, and I honestly think this was a well done villain.
CON: Electro's creation is beyond goofy. So... he fell into a tank of radioactive eels, while being electrocuted... and this turns him into living electricity? Did they run out of ideas? Did they just give up and say "Fuck it, Electric eels, bitches!" Granted, this is again a minor complaint. Once one has accepted the idea of a radioactive spider bite creating super human powers, why not radioactive eels? It just feels lazy, that's all.
PRO: The Death of Gwen Stacy. I love that they included this vital part of the Spider-man character in the movie. Next to the death of Uncle Ben, Gwen Stacy's death is the biggest piece of what makes Spider-man who he is. The inclusion of this story-line hints at some huge potential character growth....
CON: Unfortunately the death is squandered, like so many other things in the movie. Between the clumsy on-again-off-again "love" story, and the haphazard Goblin, this was almost as horribly cobbled together as the Venom story in Raimi's third film. It was a throw away moment that ended up lacking the emotional impact that it rightly deserved. If they had spent the movie, having Gwen and Peter together, with possibly a break up toward the end, then there would have been some gravitas to the situation. Instead, it feels like they needed to fill some time, and wanted to toss in this story line. My belief that they just randomly tossed this in for shits and giggles is compounded by....
CON: The Goblin! What the fuck? This was not a menacing villain. This made me miss both James Franco's Harry Osborne, and Willem Dafoe's Green Goblin. The make up was amusing, rather than frightening, and the overall look did nothing for the movie. The fact that he shows up pretty much out of nowhere, fights briefly, and then nothing. The Goblin should be a character that offers up a huge fight, a character that spends as much time psychologically breaking down Spider-man as he does physically pummeling him. This is not a Goblin that should be feared in the slightest. The only thing he did that was even remotely menacing thing was "kidnapping" Gwen Stacy. He is in the movie for roughly 10 minutes total, and that is a crime against the character. One thing Raimi's trilogy realized, is that this character needs his own movie. He is not a character to be thrown away, especially when you are trying to tell this major of a story.
CON: The fucking airplanes! During Electro's big black out, there is a pointless throw away bit about two airplanes that are going to crash into each other if power isn't restored within 4 minutes and 30 seconds! They could have used this time for just about anything else, because this scene adds ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to the story. Seriously, it is tossed in for no apparent reason other than to fill out the movie. It was as if some one said, "Ok... the movie is running a little short can we fill a few minutes with pointless scenes?" I kept waiting for it to have some even tangential relationship to the story. Instead, it stuck out like some kind of cancerous growth. It was a waste of time, and bloated the movie up unnecessarily.