So, tonight was the world premiere of The Amazing Spiderman 2, broadcast simultaneously in cinemas across the UK; a pretty neat idea to help build buzz for the movie. And as one of those lucky enough to attend, the least I can do is spread that buzz. For better or worse.
So is it for better … or worse? It is mostly for better. Mostly.
Lets start with the worse. The villains, Electro and the Green Goblin (though the Goblin name is never uttered). They seem to be there as a side salad to the main meat of the story; Peter Parkers reationship with those that he loves. They give the film its most spectacular moments, but they are far too broadly drawn, and easily beaten, to be either threatening or sympathetic. Electro comes closest to gaining ones sympathy being the outsider as he is, but his treatment by others, the driving force for him becoming the villain, lacks any subtlety and is far too ‘on the nose’ to draw any real emotion from the audience. Each person who puts him down may as well be sporting a Dick Dastardly moustache. The Goblin on the other hand could have been sympathetic given more time, if his story had been spread over two movie for instance, but as it is his character arc is hugely rushed. The writers also do not know whether to paint him as hard done by or spoilt rich kid. And if the writers do not know who their character is, how are the audience meant to know?
Although the next negative doesn’t affect the movie per se, I am going to mention it anyway. The premiere was presented in 3D. It added nothing to the movie. Not even in the ‘first person’ moments in which we the audience get to see through Spideys eyes as he swings acrobatically through the urban jungle that is New York. Those scenes would have been just as entertaining in 2D.
Hopefully you have not been put off the movie at this point as there are plenty of positives. Those spectacular action scenes I mentioned really are just that. Picking Electro as one of the villains was a brave move as it required a lot of CGI to pull off, but pull it off they did. His climactic battle with Spiderman certainly eclipsed anything in the first movie, and definitely anything in the Raimi/Maguire trilogy.
The performances of Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone are probably the highlights of the movie. Garfield is perfect as Spiderman, even better than he was first time around. He is clearly having a lot of fun with the roll; hopefully Sony will see fit to pay him enough to keep him around for many more movies to come. His is a Spiderman that people can relate to; he relishes the abilities he has and the good he can do like most of us would in his position. Stone is the perfect partner for him. Her Gwen Stacy is not just a damsel in distress and is certainly not overawed by Peters abilities; she more than holds her own, joyfully reminding Peter – a character we know to be quick the science whizz – that she was the number one science student at school. Their relationship is what keeps the movie going, and keeps it funny and enetertaining even in those moments where things slow to a crawl.
Paul Giamatti. He is a plus point all on his own. He always is no matter what role he plays, and no matter what movie he appears in. His hammy Russian accent would probably sound ridiculous on anyone else, but on him it is brilliant. His preparation seems to have been Michael Bay’s Armegeddon … ‘this is how we fix things on Russian space station!’
Before this becomes a novel, a summary. I think the phrase, ‘less than the sum of its parts’ fits quite nicely. Garfield and Stone are ace. The humour is brilliant. The action scenes ‘sparkle’. But weak villains and a generally weak story let the side down.
Anyway, sound off below if you agree or disagree!