The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 PosterRelease Date: May 2, 2014

Directed by: Marc Webb

Written by: Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, Jeff Pinkner, James Vanderbilt

Starring: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx, Dane DeHaan

Synopsis:

Peter Parker runs the gauntlet as the mysterious company Oscorp sends up a slew of supervillains against him, impacting on his life.

2014review_credits

Picture, if you will, the end credits for our 2014 Year in Review. Credits rolling. Perhaps a little incidental orchestra music from the soundtrack (or if this was a romantic comedy, “One Headlight” by the Wallflowers). We’re past the soundtrack credits, and the special thanks. Here’s the MPAA logo — clearly, we’re at the end here. Then, blackness. Then, a flash of color! We’ve snuck one more end-of-the-year thinkpiece in after the credits. And to think, if you had walked out during them, you might have missed it. The post-credits stinger is changing. As of 2014, they remain ubiquitous (though there’s always a sizable section of the audience in the opening weekend of any Marvel movie that leaves as soon as the lights come up; surely you’ve danced this dance before, people). Studios are keen to throw all kinds of crap in after the movie’s over — gags, teases, bloopers — anything to give you one last bite to end your moviegoing experience on. But they’re not as keen as they used to be.

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Radius-TWC

This will probably be difficult to believe for some of you, but we walk into every movie hoping it will be the best movie. We may criticize a trailer or point out early concerns, but once we sit down and the movie starts digitally unspooling before our eyes our hope every single time is to experience something fantastic. When a film succeeds on that front we shout it from the highest virtual rooftops, but that isn’t always the outcome. The pure flip-side of this of course are the movies we leave absolutely despising. Usually the films in this group aren’t exactly surprises — think Blended, Transformers: Age of Extinction, Sex Tape, Hercules — and while we hoped for better we ended up with pretty much what we expected. But sometimes the movies we expected more from end up being major disappointments too. A quick poll of the staff revealed a pretty varied list of films fitting this description, some of which are viewed as unqualified successes by the rest of us. Keep reading to see ten of the movies that left us unsatisfied, underwhelmed and ultimately disappointed.

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TIE ME UP discs

Welcome back to This Week In Discs! If you see something you like, click on the title to buy it from Amazon. Tie Me Up, Tie Me Down! (Criterion) Pedro Almodovar’s Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! was a massive cross-Atlantic hit in the early 1990s, helping to launch the global career of Antonio Banderas. Following an obsessive but charming former mental patient (Banderas)  as he captures a porn star (Victor Abril) so that she learns to fall in love with him, the dark comedy was the import of the season on summer movie screens 24 years ago, accompanyingWomen on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown as the one-two punch that made Almodovar an arthouse fixture. While Almodovar has gone through various stylistic phases since, Tie Me Up remains a prime example of his unique propensity for comic chaos that plunges unabashedly into the trenches of sexual id. The film’s success can be credited in part to its massive controversy: its sexual content threatened its US release with an X rating, which began a lawsuit that resulted in the creation of the NC-17 rating. The story behind the film is thus as much a part of it as the film itself, and Criterion justly adorns this set with a collection of new special features that illustrate how the film changed the career of those in front of and behind the camera, with Almodovar thankfully present across all of them. Hopefully this first release of Almodovar’s work promises many Criterion treatments of the Spanish auteur to come. […]

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Female superheroes

Briefly: Hot on the heels of plenty of female-friendly news, from the revelation that Ghostbusters might be getting an all-girl makeover to our first look at Wonder Woman, Deadline reveals that Sony is looking to get going on a female superhero movie. That’s right, you read that correctly, we’ve finally got a fresh female superhero movie in actual development.  The outlet reports that Sony is launching “a top-to-bottom revamp of its most important property,” as the beleaguered Spider-Man franchise recently endured a poor critical and financial showing of its latest entry — this summer’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2 – and a pushed release date for its next installment (from 2016 into 2018). The details on this are super-slim, but we do know that the new superheroine will be tied into the Spider-Man franchise in some way. The film will reportedly arrive sometime in 2017. 

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500 Days of Summer

The best movie culture writing from around the internet-o-sphere. There will be a quiz later. Just leave a tab open for us, will ya?

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batman-v-superman-logo

Bad titles aren’t a big deal. You can have a bad title and still be a great movie. Just look at Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World. Or The Shawshank Redemption, which appears on as many lists of the worst titles of all time as lists of the greatest movies of all time. Typically, though, a bad title is assigned to a bad movie. It’s not really a coincidence, either, as a bad title is a good sign of a bad production overall. It’s a first impression of a total failure on all creative levels. So, when we see a title like Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, there’s good reason to think there’s trouble brewing with that movie. It’s not just worthy of snark and parody (although I am proud of my “Dawn of Buford T. Justice” gag). Titles of franchise installments have been getting out of hand for years, and it’s always fun to ridicule something that’s basically a double colon title (Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace and Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life) or a name that doesn’t really make a lot of sense (Quantum of Solace and Star Trek Into Darkness). But this latest offender isn’t just bad. It’s a representation of all that’s wrong with comic book movies right now.

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Amazing Spider-Man 2 - Webs

As it turns out, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is not a very logical movie. It’s not like all of it is untethered from a general notion of reality, but it’s left us with some gaps in our understanding. Burning, unanswered questions that will most likely never make sense. Granted, it’s no Oblivion (which we should all forget), but Marc Webb has left us a handful of things to scratch our head over. Spoilers for the movie abound, so if you’ve already seen or plain just don’t care, feel comfortable in proceeding.

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Electro - Amazing Spider-Man 2

The Amazing Spider-Man isn’t a good movie. It’s sloppy, has a half-baked villain, and, for a huge blockbuster picture, it lacks scope and style. In fact, a lot of Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man movies feel more modern and photo-realistic than what director Marc Webb has done so far. With every sequel you hope lessons will be learned from whatever past mistakes. Sometimes a series needs to go through a learning curve before getting to the goods. Sadly, that’s not the case with The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Webb has managed to make an even worse film. While this sequel is more polished, its script is disastrous in parts. It’s easily the most frustrating movie Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman (and co-writer Jeff Pinkner) have ever written. The wildly varying tone, the cheap character motivations and poor plotting all scream Joel Schumacher. It has some things going for it, most of which are overshadowed by all the glaring issues. Spoilers included, here are 10 things I didn’t like about The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and 5 things I did.

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The Signal Movie

The best movie culture writing from around the internet-o-sphere. There will be a quiz later. Just leave a tab open for us, will ya?

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Dogtown and Z-Boys in The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Let me start off by saying that I don’t recommend seeing The Amazing Spider-Man 2 for any reason. If Spider-Man 2 is the best comic book movie of all time (it’s not, but let’s pretend) then this Spider-Man part 2 is the worst. It’s such a mess that at one point someone says to another character that the room he’s entering is dark and that it’s for the best and that his eyes will adjust, and then the character enters that room and that room is not actually dark at all. There is bright light shining through the window curtains. That’s what little care the filmmakers had, that nobody noticed this literally glaring continuity detail. There are a lot of other things wrong with the sequel, but this is neither a review nor a place to do a lot of nitpicking. This is place for you to come if you actually did see it and are now in need of some cleansing. You’ll notice that in this week’s Movies to Watch that I recommend a couple not-so-great movies. But they’re still better than ASM2, and where they’re bad they’re at least enjoyably bad. I’ve selected a group of movies that includes past work by ASM2 talent and past works that did things that ASM2 does, only long ago and more interestingly. There are also a few titles that are directly referenced in ASM2 that you ought to be familiar with if you’re not already. As always, though, there are spoilers here. […]

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The Fly Movie 1986

There’s a lot being made of superhero science, both by me and also the rest of the world. Now that superheroes have become a regular thing in the multiplex and not just something that nerds on the fringe of society reads, it’s not uncommon for someone to ask what a real-life superhero would be like. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 marks the fifth time the Marvel web-slinger has made his way onto the modern movie screen. While some of the changes made by Sam Raimi for his series have been switched back to the traditional model (like the organic web shooters being replaced with mechanical ones), the superhero is basically the same. Bitten by a genetically-altered spider, Peter Parker is imbued with special powers unique to spiders. Watching the new movies and contemplating the powers Peter Park has and doesn’t have got me thinking… Ignoring the actual process of infection for Peter Parker, how likely are his powers really ones that realistically come from spiders? What would a real-life “Spider Man” be like?

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Spider-Man 1967

America has watched lot of Spider-Man over the years. After all, the newly released The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is the sequel of a reboot of a trilogy of movies that are barely a decade old. The new wave of ubiquity is self-evident. Yet the superhero also spent years and years on television and in video games. The original Spider-Man cartoon series began airing in 1967 and there have been eight more iterations over the years. This is a totally different situation than, for example, that of Captain America whose cartoon life begins and ends with The Marvel Super Heroes in 1966 (which I featured here last month). There’s also been something of a glut recently. Spider-Man Unlimited aired from 1999-2001 followed by Spider-Man: The New Animated Series in 2001, The Spectacular Spider-Man in 2008-2009 and Ultimate Spider-Man in 2012. None of them were particularly successful, either critically or commercially. So it makes sense to take a look back at (and watch) that original TV series, a strange little classic created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko back in 1967.

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Aunt May Amazing Spider-Man

From the moment that radioactive spider decided to chomp down on Peter Parker, the most average boy in Manhattan’s life was never the same again. But despite becoming the flying, web-slinging defender of New York City, at his core Peter was still a teenager struggling to figure out his place in the world. Each and every one of Peter’s moves upon becoming Spider-Man depended on three crucial factors: Mary Jane Watson, Gwen Stacy and Aunt May. The three main women in his life. Though their timelines and characters have changed over the years from their depictions from comic books to film, their relevance to Peter Parker’s story remains the same. Without MJ, Gwen or May, he wouldn’t have had much to care about or many personal reasons to keep fighting.

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Stan Lee in Superheroes

The Amazing Spider-Man is one of those movies that obtained a solid Rotten Tomatoes score solely on the basis that so many reviews gave it praise that was faintly damning, but still praise. “Not as bad as it could be” was the refrain. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 looks to be even less successful than its predecessor. If you want to fulfill your superhero needs, there is no shortage of options. You could of course check out the original, far superior Spider-Man films. You could watch any of the better superhero films that are out there, or you could catch a few episodes of the excellent superhero cartoons that exist. But if you’re documentary-minded, then I suggest watching Superheroes: A Never-Ending Battle. A three-part series made for PBS, Superheroes is an excellent primer for anyone who knows about costumed crusaders from the movies or the comic books but who wants to learn about the writers and artists behind the characters. It covers the complete breadth of superhero history, starting in the 1930s and continuing on through to today. “Truth, Justice and the American Way” covers from 1938 to 1958, as superheroes were birthed with Superman and eventually made their way to radio, even as comic books were hobbled by a series of congressional hearings. “Great Power, Great Responsibility” shows how Marvel comics shook up the formula in the ’60s and ’70s, while the genre also found exposure on television. “A Hero Can Be Anyone” acts as an overview of modern superheroes, as storytellers have pushed them in new directions while cinematic success […]

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The Amazing Spider-Man 2 - Electro

Talking to himself in delusional outbursts, an increasingly mad genius develops super powers that make him finally feel as if the world might take him seriously. Or at least notice him. The eternal dweeb, he sets out to get revenge on a personal hero who slighted him (an unforgivable sin to the bullied psyche) and to find the fame he deserves. That’s how Jim Carrey’s Riddler is born in Batman Forever, and it’s also how Jamie Foxx‘s Electro is born in The Amazing Spider-Man 2. They are both brilliant losers who worship at the feet of superheroes (Bruce Wayne for Ed Nygma and Spider-Man for Max Dillon). Both are transformed by injured anger, both are crushed under the heel of asshole middle management bosses and both boil over when they don’t receive the respect they feel entitled to. Early on in Spidey’s latest adventure — especially whenever Foxx is on screen —  it’s easy to pick up on the Batman Forever DNA. Luckily, Peter Parker is the only acrobatic orphan who shows up in The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Of course the movie also doesn’t share the look of Joel Schumacher’s Gothic cartoon cabaret, and with some interesting character choices, it acts as a redemptive mulligan for one of the worst superhero adventures in modern memory.

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The Warriors Baseball Furies

We all feared that The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was going to have too many villains. But the number of bad guys in the new sequel isn’t really a problem. You’ve mostly just got Electro (Jamie Foxx), who is the most powerful and most prevalent, and then there’s Green Goblin (Dane DeHaan) who joins him in the third act. Rhino (Paul Giamatti) is basically only in this movie for isolated scenes, and I’ll just keep the mention of him to that, so nobody thinks I’m spoiling too much (he’s in the ads, so his very appearance shouldn’t be a surprise). Oh, and there’s also that mysterious man seen at the end of the first movie doing whatever he’s doing somewhere in the background. It’s not that there are too many of these guys so much that they’re handled rather sloppily, though that’s par for the course of most elements of the movie. When fans worry about the multiple villain issue, what they’re really worried about is yet another movie that handles the idea badly. We’ve seen this before, in Spider-Man 3, Batman and Robin, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, X-Men: The Last Stand, Iron Man 2 and The Dark Knight Rises. The last one is an interesting criticism from people because the entire Christopher Nolan series has multiple villains for each film, with The Dark Knight championed (by us, six years ago) for being one the rare great movies to do it right with the balance of The Joker and eventually Two-Face. 

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1970s Spider-Man TV Show

Marc Webb is a lucky man. Not just because of the lucrative The Amazing Spider-Man 2 paycheck that’s headed his way. Or the fact that he has finally put an end to the hotly debated “nuh uh, Spider-Man could totally beat Rhino, Electro and the Green Goblin if he wanted to” standoffs of his childhood. Webb’s lucky that he’s even been able to make a Spider-Man movie at all. Because slingin’ ain’t easy. Not for Spider-Man, and not for the trail of corpses that dot his long and troublesome road to the big screen. Not human corpses, obviously (if there actually was a trail of bodies left in the wake of a Spider-Man movie, you’d probably hear about it on a site slightly more serious than this one), but the desiccated remains of countless Spider-screenplays and Spider-pitches, which for one reason or another just couldn’t cut it in the big leagues. Our story begins in 1976.

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James McAvoy in Filth

Don’t let the bland, bloated, and messy The Amazing Spider-Man 2 fool you, this May is chock full of quality releases to start the summer off right with. While one would be better off seeing Captain America: The Winter Soldier again this weekend for  a comic book sequel done right, there’s plenty of movies following The Amazing Spider-Man 2‘s release that promise a good season for movie-going. One of those movies may or may not be A Million Ways to Die in the West. That film likely won’t change anyone’s mind, for better or worse, on Seth MacFarlane. It will be interesting to see if his fans have any interest seeing him in his live-action work, though. He’s a talented vocal actor, but does he have the chops for a live-action performance? The trailers indicate not, but maybe this super expensive comedy will surprise us skeptics. Before we see those 2 hours of “isn’t the old west crazy?!” joke play out, there are 10 releases not to miss this May before MacFarlane’s film arrives at the end of the month. Here are the must see movies of May 2014:

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The Amazing Spider-Man

The best movie culture writing from around the internet-o-sphere. This special edition features, naturally, a lot of Star Wars: Episode VII reactions tucked prominently into other non-Star Wars editorials. There will be a quiz later. Just leave a tab open for us, will ya?

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The Hangover Part II

I love when Jeffrey Katzenberg has predictions about the movie industry. Here’s a guy who thought 3D was going to change everything. I mean, it could have, and I was with him back in 2006, but that got ruined fast (don’t even get me started on how bad The Amazing Spider-Man 2 looks, especially in the first two action scenes). He’s also a guy who seemed to have it all figured out about revolutionizing the feature animation game when he left Disney, but now of course he’s losing money on one bad idea after another (not that I ever though Shrek was a good idea). Now his latest prophecy is as silly as they get: the DreamWorks Animation head thinks by 2024 we will be paying variable prices for movie content based on the size of the screen. Yep, that would mean your Netflix subscription would monitor whether you were watching on a phone, tablet, laptop, modest size TV or big screen TV. Who knows what the deal would be on monitor and projector hookups to your computer, the latter potentially blowing up your picture to fill your wall, but then he also rattles off prices as if movie theater tickets will still only be $15. Katzenberg’s idea came up during some panel about entrepreneurial leadership on Monday. Variety quoted him as saying, I think the model will change and you won’t pay for the window of availability. A movie will come out and you will have 17 days, that’s exactly three […]

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published: 12.19.2014
A-
published: 12.18.2014
C-
published: 12.17.2014
B+


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