Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The Amazing Spider-Man 2: Reanimated

*Be advised, this blog is dark and full of spoilers.*

Against my better judgement, I rented this movie on OnDemand last weekend. I wanted to give this movie another chance, just like I did with Spider-Man 3.  And like S-M3, it just reaffirmed my dislike.  Two minutes in all I could think was “oh well, there goes my 5 bucks renting this thing” and “I picked a hell of a week to quit sniffing glue”.

Before I delve too deeply into the many negatives, let me start with what was right about this movie and TASM1 - casting Andrew Garfield as Spider-Man.  

Andrew Garfield has the look**, the wit, and the emotional range to play Peter Parker & Spider-Man.  He's at his best in the full costume taunting bad guys and encouraging the good guys.  His talk with the kid at the end of the movie almost made me forget about the rest of the movie.  Almost.  It did make me forget about emo Peter in S-M3.

The rest of the cast was very good too.  Emma Stone is great in every role she plays. Jamie Foxx did his best Jim Carrey impression at the beginning of the movie, and I enjoyed Dane DeHaan’s version of the Green Goblin.  I even enjoyed Paul Giamatti’s overacting and wacky accent as Rhino.

They nailed casting these main characters, which unfortunately made this movie even more frustrating.  If the casting was as poor as the editing, then Amazing Spidey 2 would be a funny/enjoyable bad movie.  Instead, I’m left with what could have been.

I mentioned editing because I think this movie could be saved, and maybe a fan *coughDanPoolecough* might want to officially take a crack at it one day.  Let see what needs to go.

First, what is this plane crash opening doing in a Spider-Man movie? It’s a thematic foreshadowing of the film we’re about to watch, so get rid of it.  There! I saved us at least 5 minutes of runtime too.  In fact, pretend his parents never existed in this movie.  Cut out the scrapbooking project on his bedroom wall and the trip to the subway.  There goes another 10 minutes. Now we’re closer to a bearable runtime that’s more focused on our hero.

Yeah I know the Parkers had this backstory in one of the comic storylines, but I paid money to see Spider-Man!  I don’t care about his folks, and in fact neither does Peter by the end of the movie. That story arc ended with a whimpering climax before Act 2 was even over.  If I wanted to see a superhero spy movie that’s actually good, I’ll watch The Winter Soldier Again.

Ok now we need a new opening. On that note, riddle me this- how in their right mind did Marc Webb and *shudder* Transformer boys Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman think starting the movie with Peter and Gwen back together was a good thing?  Especially since in their second scene together they’re breaking up again!  It’s complete nonsense!  We just now got semi-accustomed to seeing them together in an incredibly awkward graduation scene, and now they’re split again.

So here’s what we’re doing.  Our new opening shows Spider-Man, not inexplicably skydiving, but modestly perched on top of a building. He’s looking down at Gwen visiting friends at that Korean meatball or whatever-the-hell-it-was place.

Without one line of dialogue we see he still cares for her and is trying to keep his distance while being protective.  Then what happens, he hears the same police call as he did in his existing intro, and he’s off to the races to take down Rhino.  How would this not work?!?  Her phone call and their subsequent meeting later in the movie will be just as random, and we pick up where we left off from TASM1.

Alright, we have a tighter opening, but what about the rest of the movie? I think we can fix it, but we’ll have to completely remove yet another talented actor.  

The whole Harry Osborn illness thing, and needing Peter’s blood, to the recycle bin with you!  Let Harry’s motivation for becoming the Goblin be the fact he just lost Oscorp after his father’s death. Spider-Man foils Harry's plans, with the use a scene or two I’ll pretend were shot, and now Harry wants Spider-Man and Gwen dead.  Chris Cooper is now relieved of his acting duties for this project.  We can probably ditch the whole walk in the park, rock skipping scene too.   Hey, now we might be down to a lean and mean 100 minutes of runtime!

I know this is turning into a reboot of either S-M1 or S-M3, but it’s still better than the existing film.

We can keep Electro’s stuff as is, even his get-out-of-jail-free scene.  Now without his illness, Harry suddenly morphing into Jason Bourne and breaking into Ravencroft to release Electro makes a little more sense.  It’s a simple deal- Electro gets Harry into Oscorp, and Harry gets the Goblin gear.  

The rest of the movie, I think we can keep.  It’s now paced fast enough that we’re more focused on what comes next, as opposed to wondering what happened 3 scenes ago.

What else do you think could be fixed with this movie, if it’s even fixable?  If you’re at the Baltimore Comic Con this Friday, come find us and let us know.  We’ll post a picture from our twitter handle @thephotoneffect so you know who you’re looking for!

**Community actor Donald Glover campaigned for this role and I think he would’ve been great as well.  More on superhero origins and race in a future blog entry.