With Civil War’s Spiderman drawing rave reviews, who is the ultimate Spiderman? Time to look at my favourite comic book movie – here’s my Amazing Spiderman 2 review.
Not gonna lie – I thoroughly enjoyed the new Captain America: Civil War. I saw it a few days after it came out with some friends and all I can say is wow. Fantastic movie. I was one of the few people was a massive fan of the Captain America movies above the other comic book related movies. Don’t get me wrong – Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy is amazing. Nolan is a genius in all the movies he’s birthed. The Iron Man trilogy was great. Guardians of the Galaxy – brilliant, and stoked to see so much of Thanos in it. The Thor movies were… okay. But the Captain America movies always held a place near and dear in my heart, because they weren’t just about the super powers, but what it meant to be a good man.
And I enjoyed all the Spiderman movies. Spiderman 2 from Sam Raimi was and still is considered an amazing movie, and it is. It showed the true humanity of Peter Parker, and what it is to be responsible.
Now with Civil War out, all eyes and reviews are on the new Spiderman, and how he is apparently the best Spiderman that’s ever been in a movie. After watching the movie, I thought, eh he was okay. I didn’t really believe the actor unfortunately, but he did get a lot of funny quips in. That’s about it unfortunately.
Which prompted me to go back to my mainstay – The Amazing Spiderman 2. I already mentioned before this is a movie I thoroughly enjoyed, even if no one else did. I’ve also mentioned this was a movie that got me emotional. But I thought it only fitting with the renewed focus on Spiderman to go over why I love this movie so much. Here is my Amazing Spiderman 2 review.
Also, to talk about the whole movie and why I enjoyed it so much – spoilers. Seriously.
Hans Zimmer, The Magnificent Six, and that soundtrack
First up, the soundtrack to this movie is ridiculous. Every single theme is perfectly integrated into every single emotion the film makers want you to feel. Whether it’s dealing with the angst of young love, the sentiment of family, the reunion of friends, or the internal anger that exists within someone who has been overlooked for so long, the soundtrack is amazing. To compose the soundtrack for this movie, Zimmer and the Magnificent Six wrote an album for the movie, and then wrote all the themes off of that album. What an amazing way to put together a soundtrack, and it pays off in spades.
Special mention to the amazing piano theme of romance that plays every time Peter and Gwen share a moment (more on that later), and also to Electro’s crazy theme that plays whenever he’s in a scene (complete with Pharrell Williams doing those crazy internal voices).
Whenever I rewatch this movie, I’m just reminded of how real its issues are that it tackles. Peter is conflicted about his relationship with Gwen and her family after promising her late father that he wouldn’t approach her, while Gwen is conflicted with a man who seems to be too concerned with things she doesn’t feel should get in the way of their relationship. Aunt May (who is fantastic) is feeling the weight of Peter growing up, and is consumed by the feeling that Peter is more concerned with his parents who weren’t there over the mothering role she’s had in his life – “You’re my boy!!”. Any foster, step or adoptive parent can relate with that big time. Harry is dominated by thoughts of abandonment and apathy, and his father Norman feels justified in doing all he could for “the greater good”, even if it meant his son had to suffer as a result.
If you know me, you know that I love movies that explore real issues. This movie is loaded with them.
Rushing off, maddened with grief, May catches her nephew: “Peter, where are you going?”
“…I don’t know”. What a moment. When we’re disheartened, where are we running off to?
The Amazing Spiderman
As I mentioned, I’ve been really surprised by the rave reviews the Spiderman of Civil War is getting. All of them say that this Spiderman is finally quippy and heroic enough.
I feel like no one remembers the Spiderman of this movie, if that’s the case. He’s making constant wise cracks, and shows a perfect juxtaposition between his superhero persona and the man Peter who is struggling under the weight of what it costs him to be a hero. I think that’s why the Spiderman story has been endearing across so many generations – sometimes doing the right thing costs you everything. And this Spiderman is no different.
The fight in Times Square
Oh my goodness. One of the best action pieces in a movie. Electro, a villain driven by electricity, enters one of the greatest hubs of electricity in the world, and all hell breaks loose. Complimented by a seriously amazing part of the soundtrack, this scene is ridiculous. I love watching the behind the scenes here which shows how they built a Times Square replica and were able to do a lot of the effects practically, while intermixing some spot on CG effects. Watching Electro melt down as he discovers his powers fight the veteran Spiderman while cops are shooting him and Spiderman is trying to save as many people as possible is a spectacle and a half. When Electro gets blasted into a billboard and drains the entire square, culminating in a huge blast of his power and anger, is such a memorable scene.
I’ve mentioned the soundtrack here, but a special mention to the sound design in this segment. Every sound effect is meaningful and weighty, and if you have the right sound system, the sound echoes around in perfection.
The best Harry Osborne?
I loved James Franco as Harry Osborne in the Sam Raimi films, don’t get me wrong. But Dane is creepy. I remember the first time I saw it in the cinema (out of the 4 times I did so, including once in Japanese), and my brother and I were instantly captivated and creeped out by the entrance of Harry. This is the Harry I remember from watching the Spiderman cartoon that aired on Fox Kids when I was growing up. Psychotic, but tangible. A kid brushed over and ignored finally lashing out at life for all that life has done to him.
And when the Goblin finally makes a memorable appearance, Harry’s inner turmoil finally manifests in that crazy transformation.
Hey, a special mention here as well to the friendship dynamics between Harry and Peter throughout the movie. Dane and Andrew perfectly capture the mateship that exists between two friends. Every time I see them interact with each other, I’m reminded of moments with some of my closest friends. Brilliant.
Don’t you know? I’m Electro
Okay, when everyone says they don’t like this movie, it’s usually because they feel like Electro, the main advertised villain of the film, ends up playing second fiddle to Harry Osborne. I don’t feel like this is the case at all. Every scene Electro is in, he dominates. Whether it is Foxx’s excellent portrayal of the overlooked and distraught Max Dillon struggling to accept himself, or when Electro takes over the entire city’s power grid for a final showdown, Electro always feels dominant.
Yeah okay, Harry ends up giving him orders towards the end, but it plays into the fact that Harry runs Oscorp and that the two villains are in league with each other. Hasn’t anyone ever read a comic book? This is exactly how they work. It’s not usually one villain at a time, it’s usually heaps of moving parts, multiple characters to explore, and a lot of bright and brilliant flashes.
Electro. Salute, sir.
Peter and Gwen
You know how I mentioned that this movie can be too real? The love story of Peter and Gwen here fits that bill completely. The chemistry between the two is unreal, probably attributed to them dating in real life during the movie’s duration. Every conversation they have, every moment of heartbreak or joy they experience, you feel like you’re there with them. She’s going to England. Really? He doesn’t know how to reach her behind his internal conflict. And when they finally find each other again, it’s a really special moment.
We are all more familiar with Mary-Jane and Peter, but this was the story of Peter’s first love.
On that note…
“Let her go”.
Oh Peter, you didn’t ask him to do that.
The ending. As the source comic of this storyline boldly proclaimed when it first came out, this movie is ultimately the tale of “The Death of Gwen Stacey”. Watching the behind the scenes features, you find out that Andrew and Emma hadn’t seen each other for a few weeks, or really been told much about what this scene would entail. They told him what had happened in the scene, and just hit record as Andrew masterfully gave his first reaction to the news, like someone close to him had really been stolen from him.
And the audience feels the same way. Gwen was a character we all grew to love over the two movies, and her death was deeply felt by the audience. Well done team, well done.
It just makes you more annoyed thinking that The Sinister Six movie followup may have been scrapped after the brilliant build up this movie sets for it.
Ultimately, the ending shows us that the cost of doing the right thing means you don’t always get what you want. But perhaps that what it really is to live a selfless life for the benefit of others.
So there you go. My Amazing Spiderman 2 review. My favourite comic book movie. I don’t want to understate how much I really loved this movie, and still do. It’s just… man, too good. And there’s always some new element of it on a rewatch that really just stands out to me.
How about you? Did you love or hate The Amazing Spiderman 2? Did you think the Spiderman of Civil War really is the best incarnation of the webcrawler? Comment below.