Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Something Resembling a Review of The Amazing Spider-Man 2

I'm running behind the times, I know. Travelling has taken up so much of my time I have fallen behind on the Pop Culture front. But I finally saw The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and now I need to vent my feels at you guys. Because maybe it's not just travelling that was preventing me from watching this film maybe I just didn't want to see that thing we all knew was going to happen happen.


This film was a step up from its predecessor in a lot of ways (still not as good as the first two Rami films) but it was still completely all over the place. Alright, so I'll admit that I have enjoyed this reboot more than most, because Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone could make grocery shopping entertaining but I know it's not a particularly good film and the sequel suffered from many of the same problems.

For starters they could have cut most of the first half of the film. We get it, you're setting up the end, but apart from the fact that a large chunk of the audiences already knows what's going to happen - you really don't have to bludgeon your audience with foreshadowing. It's insulting, and puts a bad taste in my mouth.

We get it, Peter is worried that something will happen to Gwen as long as she's dating a superhero. It's a valid concern. It's also a byproduct of a sexist society. Gwen is the same age as Peter, if he can choose to fight crime then she can chose to date him. Spoiler: they break up early in the film because Gwen is sick of Peter pulling that self sacrificing lone hero crap. But it's still pointless

The break up does allow Peter to do some stalking, which is framed as sweet instead of creepy. He's just watching out for her, without her knowledge, when the reason they broke up was because he was worried she would get hurt just being around him... So stupid.

Then there's the ghost of Gwen's father, who is haunting Peter because the two men in her life - her father and her boyfriend - know better than she does. Considering what this film is building towards it's all kinds of gross. Come on they're already recreating one of the most famous fridgings in history, they really didn't need to work this hard to make it sexist.

On top of that the only POC in the whole Amazing Spider-Man universe is a essentially a plot device for the main villain who is, you guessed it, a privileged white guy. Granted, I actually kind of dug what they did with Harry's storyline apart from the Electro stuff. But still, not cool guys.  I mean come on, the poor guy had literally zero agency.

Anyway despite the fact that they are constantly undermining Gwen's autonomy with the whole father ghost/protective boyfriend crap, she's still totally awesome. I love that she doesn't even contemplate changing her plans for Peter. Normally the girl would be wavering in her decision and then ultimately the choice will be in the mans hands. But not Gwen. I'm not sure how much of that was scripted and how much of it was down to Stone's performance but I'm thankful for it anyway.

The worst part about this film is that it has all the elements to be fantastic. It kind of reads like a first draft - but instead of using it as a jumping off point they just pressed print and then filmed it as is. A couple of rewrites and a good editor and it could have been awesome.

Get rid of most of the relationship drama in the first half, cut at least half of the flashbacks (if not all of them, I really fucking hate flashbacks) and while your at it ditch the whole ghost of Gwen Stacey's father thing, it's stupid. Use the time to give Max a little agency, and maybe flesh out his character so that he's more than a cliche. I know he's just a placeholder for the main event, but we still need to care.

Finally what was with that tacked on happy ending? This is The Empire Strikes Back of this trilogy. The bad guy won. Leave it at that. Save Spider-Man's triumph return until the next film. And the kid. I want to believe you're better than that. I mean, at least you didn't introduce MJ but this was still pretty bad. The movie ends with Gwen, you're just wasting everyone's time. Let the audience mourn, let Peter mourn. Let me mourn... And I am mourning, a lot.

I refuse to let go though, if Bucky can come back then so can Gwen.