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A Neon Powered Conduit & ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2’ (Movie Review)

A Neon Powered Conduit & 'The Amazing Spider-Man 2' (Movie Review)When I moved to Austin, TX over a year ago from Cleveland, OH I expected my change of scenery to be quite stimulating and invigorating, but you all know that whole grass is always greener on the other side thing, right?  While the skies may not be grey all the time like in Cleveland, I would take that downtown skyline any day.  However, I say this only to illustrate a point because the same comparison can be made when analyzing recent DC super hero films to Marvel ones.  Although I believe the Nolan Batman trilogy to be some of the best superhero films ever made, I can clearly see where comic book purists can get off complaining that the onscreen events are too dark, brooding and unconventional in terms of how a comic book movie should look, pop and shine on the big screen.  I can accept that, so can most people, but also many cannot.  So where am I going with all this?  Well, let me get straight to the point I am trying to make.  There’s absolutely no shortage of vibrancy and color in The Amazing Spider-Man 2.  Now whether or not this tops the first film in this rebooted Marc Webb franchise or even compares on the same level with the Raimi ones is a whole other story I plan on avoiding entirely due to excessive length and time constraints and instead I plan on just tackling the picture at hand, that being The Amazing Spider-Man 2, otherwise known stupidly as Rise of Electro.

I recently reviewed this title over here, but has anyone been able to get their grubby hands on and spend anytime with the PlayStation 4 title, inFAMOUS Second Son?  If so, you’ll get the following picture I am trying to hang with my proverbial hammer and nail.  I purposely made sure to point out in my first paragraph up above about the big, bold, comic book-like colors you’ll find in Spider-Man 2 as opposed to the mute and darker pallets in the latest DC big screen efforts.  So if you have spent any amount of time with the aforementioned PS4 title, I’m sure you have come to know and probably love the main character’s neon powers.  If you know what I’m talking about, then good.  You’ll get the picture here literally.  You know how you can run around the city of Seattle in a blur of radiant light?  Well I swear that The Amazing Spider-Man 2 stole those very same visuals from the video game’s playbook when Spidey chases down Electro, who’s running rampant through the city.  That’s EXACTLY what it looks like here!  So if you think it looks cool in the game, as I do, then you’re in for a treat as it looks “spectacular” here.  However, I digress.  We have bigger fish to fry here rather than wasting our time on comparing the special effects of the movie to a video game.  Let’s get down to basics.

Andrew Garfield dons the red and blue undies once again in his second outing as the webslinger with Director Marc Webb.  This one is rumored to be the second of four movies of the franchise with possible tie-ins to spin-off characters such as Venom and The Sinister-Six, both of which are slated to receive their own films.  I guess at this point in the game it’s still too early to know exactly what the grand plan is.  It sounds like Sony has committed to them already, but what ever happened to Ghostbusters 3?  I rest my case.  Emma Stone and Sally Field return to reprise their roles as Gwen Stacy and Aunt May.  And it’s no secret.  You have all seen the trailers.  Unfortunately there are a total of three villains biding for screen time here, Paul Giamatti as The Rhino, Jamie Foxx as “blue balls” Electro and Dane DeHaan as The Green Goblin (insert sinister laugh).

So let’s talk about what all goes down here before I dish on the good and bad.  Aw hell!  Let’s just talk about it all.  Unlike the first film in the rebooted franchise, which promises to tell you the untold story and never does, this one actually sheds some light on the disappearance of Peter Parker’s parents.  The film opens with a sequence that for lack of a better sequence of words will leave you with zero doubt about what really happened to them.  Flash forward to the present, Peter is out fighting crime (actually stopping the character which will later be known as the infamous Rhino) when he really should be at his high school graduation ceremony, especially since his main squeeze is the valedictorian.  Now let’s stop right here and get one thing straight.  First and foremost, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is a love story.  It’s almost like 50 Shades of Grey the way Peter and Gwen go back and forth.  No.  I can’t be with you.  Peter, you’re being ridiculous.  Gwen, I can’t live with out you.  Don’t go!  You get the picture.  This happens throughout.  But of course, this wouldn’t be a superhero movie without a villain, or in this case three villains: Electro, The Rhino and The Green Goblin.

I want to chat about the Goblin first because going into the press screening of the film this was the one character I really thought I was going to have issues with over the blue lips of Electro.  The Goblin is ultimately portrayed by DeHaan, an actor I gained much respect for in The Chronicle.  While his transformation was rushed, much akin to the likes of Anakin becoming Vader, I was able to embrace this character more than I was with both incarnations in the Raimi films.  He had a real world Nolan-like quality to him that I liked, but was ultimately dampened by the fact that there wasn’t enough development time spent on his character because they had to cram so many baddies into the film.  So that leads me to my next character, that of Electro.  Or as I want to call him Stupido.  I really don’t know what could have been done differently with him, but Foxx just had some completely awful dialog to work with.  And you mean to tell me you got this guy made up of pure electricity and he adorns black panties?  Wait until you see the suit he gets to wear by the end of the film.  Did he get that from the X-Men closet?  Electro only did two things for me.  The voices in his head are going to make for some sweet a$$ home theater surround sound moments.  And second, he certainly made the film colorful.  But really, that’s about it as he was very inconsequential to the film’s story to me and if he never resurfaces in another Spidey movie I’ll sleep just fine.  Oh yeah!  The Rhino!  Now he’s cool!

So all in all, I keep coming back to this, man oh man, did they cram a lot in here.  Not only did the love story aspect of the story play out a bit long at times, but in actuality the real purpose of this feature feels like it purely exists to set up the eventual sequel and the spin-offs that I mentioned above.  And who knows if Garfield will even be in the franchise past the third film, which is supposed to be Webb’s last from what I hear too.  Nevertheless, I still had a lot of fun with this one and that’s why the score below isn’t as bad as it could be.  For the first time I really felt what it must really be like to being flying high and swinging from building to building.  The first person point of view and visual effects really put you in the driving seat here.  I can’t say anything bad about the effects at all.  This is a big, bold comic book movie and neither the vivacious colors, stunning visuals and triumphant score of Hans Zimmer (kind of doesn’t even sound like his usual brooding works) ever lets you forget that.  So that much I can appreciate.  Everything else, well there’s room for improvement just like there was in the first film.  It’s almost like they had their fun with The Lizard and now Electro, but we’re back to ractical with real world versions of the Goblin and Rhino.  I don’t know.  I’m optimistic of what can come out of this franchise with the next flick and definitely interested in tackling this one again on the biggest screen I can find in Austin, but I just can’t help feeling this series could be so much more.  Andrew’s version of Parker/Spidey is spot on (reminiscent of the comics), it’s the villains, like in Raimi’s features too, where we stumble here (and of course that never ending love story).  But I digress because I think we have all the ingredients of something really special here in the future.  It may not be perfect, but it’s hella fun!  So if you’ve seen the new Captain America flick at least two times, then there’s no other place your butt should be than in a reclining chair this week checking out your favorite neighborhood Spider-Man in a theater near you.  Enjoy!

A Neon Powered Conduit & 'The Amazing Spider-Man 2' (Movie Review)

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Owner/Writer/Reviewer/Editor, Dreamer, Producer, Agent of Love, Film Lover, Writer of Screenplays and a Devoted Apostle to all things Ford Mustangs (the real ones with V8's!). Some of my favorite films include FIGHT CLUB, MOULIN ROUGE, THE DARK KNIGHT, STAR WARS alongside television shows such as SEINFELD, 24, SANFORD & SON and even the often loathed in the geek community BIG BANG THEORY. Outside of my three lives I live I also enjoy spending time with my girlfriend and our three girls (of the furry kind).

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