Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Amazing Spider-man 2

  • Released Internationally on 16/04/14
  • Released in Malta by KRS on 16/04/14
Review (16/04/14)
3-word review: Not that amazing. 
I think superhero fatigue is starting to set in. It's the only explanation I can think of for why I was both positively impressed with many of the aspects of this film, but also bored by the whole experience. This will be an average year, by recent cinema standards - a Spider-man sequel, an X-Men sequel, a Captain American sequel, a new group of heroes (Guardians of the Galaxy) and a hero reboot (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles). That's peanuts compared to what's lined up for 2015 and 2016. So even when the film itself is great, how do the filmmakers manage to make it stand out?
Spider-man has a harder job than most at keeping us interested, given that the whole story arc was tackled successfully only a decade ago. So the novelty factor isn't too high, although thankfully the first Amazing Spider-man film managed to be very entertaining, partly due to a wonderful interpretation by Andrew Garfield. He gives us a lanky, goofy, light-hearted Spider-man who fits the costume and the persona perfectly. His chemistry with Emma Stone (as Gwen Stacy) is effortless, now also thanks to their off-screen romance. The scenes between them in this film are more impressive than many of the supposedly fancier and definitely more expensive action shots, and if this were a normal film about a guy having to choose between a career and a girl it might have been a good one.
Middle chapter syndrome
The film is longer than I would have liked, but the extra time was probably necessary since at least three new villains get introduced. But this is merely the setting up of great things to come. In a development that is just briefly alluded to at the end, the Spider-man branch of the Marvel universe is about to veer off into deeper territory, with six infamous villains (the 'Sinister Six') heading to our screens in the next film. So this second film has some introductions to do, but then ends rather abruptly with a somewhat awkward ending. Not a juicy cliffhanger, like some middle chapters thrive on; but rather a rushed 'to be continued' type ending.
Lots to see
Jamie Foxx is interesting as the introverted, working class, nobody who ends up transformed into 'Electro', Spider-man's main adversary for this chapter. The effects are nicely done, including a Times Square centrepiece action sequence that shows off his abilities. He even gets an innovative electric guitar theme from composer Hans Zimmer, working with Pharrell Williams and guitarist Johnny Marr. The 3D is put to good use, and the whole electro concept is great fodder for effects. New York serves as a wonderful backdrop, and the scale of the film is befitting of the best disaster movies.
In the end
So, all in all, it's a good film. If Spider-man was the only superhero franchise out there, I would be fawning over this second film and heading back to see it again and again. But even when the action works, the hero looks good, the romance works, and the feel-good factor is thriving, it's all stuff we've seen only a few weeks ago in some similar film with different costumes. Maybe this is why TV is on such a high and small independent films are finding bigger audiences. Maybe we're tired of superheroes for now.