I think, before I go on, that I should point out, that I did not like the first Amazing Spider-man. I liked their portrayal of Spider-man himself, but I found Andrew Garfield's portrayal of Peter Parker to be inferior in just about every way to Tobey Maguire's. I did appreciate that they included Gwen Stacy as Peter's primary love interest as opposed to jumping straight to Mary Jane. All in all, the movie was a huge disappointment, and left me with a bitter taste in my mouth. The Super Mario Brothers Movie-esque villain did little to help. With that said, let me jump into this review.
The trailers I saw for this movie gave me reason for renewed hope. They added Jamie Foxx, who I believe is a wonderful actor, and has a great range. They tossed in a dash of Paul Giamatti, who is a great villain, adding a little spice to even bad movies. I thought to myself Rhino and Electro... this could be a good combo, something I haven't seen. Granted Paul Giamatti is a little scrawny for the role of Rhino, but... he has screen presence and with the odd mech suit it might work. Then, I saw the Goblin, and things went downhill.
The movie, strikes me as very similar to the last time Harry Osborne took to the Goblin Glider, and raised hell for our Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man... That is to say, it is a jumbled mess that appears to have been constructed not for the sake of telling a coherent and compelling story, but rather a ham-handed effort to create a franchise. They really want to get a Sinister six movie out there, so let's go ahead and introduce 3 villains in this film, and tease at two others. Oh yeah, and why not toss in Alistair Smythe... you know, so we can completely bloat this cast up and say, "Look at how many characters are in this world!"
The movie is actually fairly light on the action, tending to focus a lot on the personal relationships. We get scenes with Peter and Aunt May, that leaves Peter in tears. Scenes with Peter and Gwen, that leaves Peter in tears. Scenes with Peter and an empty room, that leaves Peter in tears. Yes, Peter cries...a lot. I actually found myself wondering if the movie might more appropriately be called "The Emo-zing Spider-Man". I would not have been surprised if Peter Parker started randomly dancing like he did in that cinematic abortion that forced Sam Raimi out of the Spider-business.
The exposition scenes, while they are a little lachrymose, show shades of greatness. They occasionally miss the mark, and drag on, or feel completely and utterly unnecessary, but in those instances where it is good, it is gripping, and offers a glimpse at the potential this movie had. The scenes where Gwen and Peter can't decide what the hell their relationship amounts to, can be clunky, and feel as if they really take away the impact of their relationship, at a point reducing Peter to a glorified super-powered stalker. Once more Peter is reduced to a second rate science student, as opposed to the genius-level intellect that would be necessary to create gadgets like the web-shooters. In fact he relies on Gwen to give him ideas on how to improve his tech... As a fan of the nerdy, outcast that Peter Parker is supposed to represent, this last part is particularly infuriating.
The action beats make up for a lot of the clumsy stumbling that is offered up as exposition. The action beats are fun, and honestly, if there had been more of them, I might have enjoyed this film a lot more. The opening chase, where Spider-man is chasing down the man who will eventually suit up as Rhino alone offers up some great comedic beats, action beats, and moments that just show Spider-man's heroic nature. That scene gave me hope, it showed Spider-man at his absolute best. It is too bad that the action was so limited, and Spider-man was not allowed to shine.
RECOMMENDATION: If you liked the first Amazing Spider-Man, you'll like this one, I imagine. It is more of the same, with a bloated cast of villains. If you thought the first film was lack-luster, this one will likely do nothing to renew your faith in the series.
IS IT THEATER WORTHY: Despite my lack of enjoyment, the movie did offer up a few scenes that were great on the big screen. I believe, that despite some awkwardness in the narrative flow, the action sequences make this something that is best seen up there on the big screen. I will leave it to someone else to say if it is worth seeing in 3D.
FINAL THOUGHTS: While the movie offers up some bad story-telling, it offers up some great action, and as much as I don't want to admit it, I think it was a step forward from the previous film. The movie approaches the greatness that I see possible, but sadly... Uncle Ben would not be proud of this.
FINAL SCORE: 6.5 out of 10