POSSIBLY SPOILERS FOR AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 AHEAD!
Hey, remember back in high school when you had to hand in assignments for your literature class? You know, the ones requiring you to write your own short story, following the “rules of writing” you had been discussing in class for the last three weeks? And remember how you would get your short story back, with a remark of the teacher saying: “good overall story, but a piss-poor ending that made me angry enough to shout at strangers in the street”?
No? That never happened to you? Well, it might have happened to the writers of The Amazing Spider-Man back in 2012. Not in their literature class, but after hearing the opinions the audience had about The Amazing Spider-Man, director Mark Webb probably realized his writers needed some more time to up their skills and let them go. Had the new writers for the screenplay handed their work over to a literature teacher, he had probably told them that The Amazing Spider-Man 2 had a grandiose ending full of possibilities for sequels, but still had asked them to re-write the script. Why? Because the first eighty percent of it are boring, uninspired and just awkward.
Really, for a full two hours (the movie’s total running time is 142 minutes), I felt robbed. Robbed of my time and money. Where Andrew Garfield knew to surprise me as a cool Peter Parker in the first movie, he fails to convey any personality here. Even worse, the romance he and Emma Stone (playing Gwen Stacy) have to portray feels so bizarre. At the start of the movie, they break up, followed by a poor attempt to be friends (an attempt that lasts three on-screen minutes, before they start making out again) and then they are more-or-less a couple again. If the acting of this bizarre relationship had been done right, it could have felt quirky but charming. Garfield and Stone, however, make it look stupid and childish.
The lame romance is just one of the many problems in the first two hours (again: total running time is 142 minutes). Whoever said that Jamie Foxx could play a geek-gone-electric villain clearly had fried his own brain while holding a fork stuck in a power plug. Though a talented actor, Foxx just isn’t made for the kind of madness he has to portray as Electro, leaving him as nothing more than a blue-skinned madman who only contributes cool special effects to the movie. Not even his fellow villain, Harry Osborn (played by Dane DeHaan) can compensate this. While I’m surprised by how good DeHaan fills the role of Harry, his entire plot is told far too quickly, leaving no time to explore his relationship with Peter, his late father and the company he inherited. Even once Harry becomes the infamous Green Goblin, sporting a mad grin even Willem Dafoe would find hard to copy, we can only enjoy his great potrayal for a few minutes, before the plot knocks him out.
And then, just when I was about to throw my popcorn and rage at the screen, the ending comes around, throwing so many twists and developments at you that you would love to have the movie last one more hour. I won’t give away anything, but let’s just say that if everything that happens during the last twenty minutes of the movie had happened halfway through, I would not be writing this review. I would still be busy convincing comic book nerds that Mark Webb had created a Spider-Man movie worthy of the franchise, and that there was nothing to hate. Sadly, all the coolness only lasts a rough twenty minutes, before we have to say goodbye. The movie goes out with a bang, but you will still remember the two hours of boredom it forced you to sit through before reaching this explosion of coolness.
My advice to Mark Webb for a possible third movie: get the writers of part one and two to work together on the script. Have them create a story that has a great story that builds up to an even greater finale, and I promise every literature teacher in the world will give you at least a B for your work. The mark for The Amazing Spider-Man 2? A puny D covered in tears of frustration.