James M's review of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)


Welcome back, true believers. We're diving into the Spider-Man multiverse again with the sequel to 2012's The Amazing Spider Man, The Amazing Spider Man 2. Released in 2014 with Andrew Garfield in the role, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 didn't do as well as the executives expected. The situation was so bad, plans for a third film were scrapped and Andrew would never appear again for a good seven years until 2021's SPIDER-MAN: NO WAY HOME.

So, what's the story of the second and (for now) final entry in this Spider-Man duology?

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 opens up sometime after the first film with Peter swinging through New York City as Spider-Man when he hears that a police chase after a criminal with a truck is in progress. He heads to the scene and confronts the villain who is Aleksei Sytsevich, a Russian bad guy who will become The Rhino in the future. During the chase, Spider-Man winds up saving the life of an Oscorp employee named Max Dillon, who is a big fan of the web-slinger and sees him as his best friend.

As Spider-Man pursues Aleksei, he gets a phone call from Gwen Stacy, who is at the high-school graduation ceremony and tells Peter to hurry up. Peter catches the Russian criminal and apprehends him, with that settled, he heads to the graduation ceremony in time to receive his diploma and kiss Gwen. However, he's unsure about being with her due to his promise to her dying father. So, Peter and Gwen break up and their romantic relationship stops... for now.

Meanwhile, Harry Osborn returns from a school trip abroad to find his father Norman Osborn dying and assumes control of Oscorp after Norman's passing. Peter meets with Harry to console him and they discuss Spider-Man, unaware that a couple Oscorp employees are tracking them. Max Dillan later heads to Oscorp, on his birthday no less, and is assigned to fix a power generator. As he is working, Max falls into a pool of electric eels and, while in a morgue, he transforms into Electro.

Electro heads to Times Square and draws some attention from everyone, including the cops, as he tries to feed off electricity from the city. Spider-Man shows up and tries to talk with Max, however, things go south when a sniper shoots at the electrified man and chaos ensues when Max unleashes his fury. Spider-Man saves some civilians and is hailed a hero, enraging Electro, who becomes a full on villain. His rampage is short lived thanks to Spider-Man's efforts and Electro is arrested.

Harry soon fears he will die after learning he's inherited a disease from his father and asks Peter to have Spider-Man give him his blood. Peter visits Harry as Spider-Man and tells him he can't give him his blood, mostly due to the danger that Harry could die. This enrages Harry, mostly given that he's afraid that he will soon die from the Osborn Disease any day now.

This leads to Harry getting desperate and turns to anyone for help, such as Felicia Hardy (actually Black Cat and played by Felicity Jones), but ends up being discharged from power. Desperate for help, Harry heads to Ravencroft Institute and frees Electro, who is being studied. The two break into Oscorp and Harry injects himself with spider-DNA, which nearly kills him if not for advanced armor that turns him into the Green Goblin.

Meanwhile, Peter decides he loves Gwen, who is about to attend college in England, and meets up with her right as she's leaving. Just as they're becoming a couple again, Electro starts messing with the power grid of the city and everything is downhill from there. Spider-Man confronts the returned Electro at the power station and, after a lengthy battle and with Gwen's help, he defeats the villain by overloading him. With the bad guy is defeated and the city safe, all is well, right...?

Nope. Shortly after Electro's defeat, Harry arrives on the Glider and, upon seeing Gwen, figures out that Spider-Man is Peter Parker. The deranged Goblin snatches Gwen and tries to make off with her, but Peter confronts him and Harry drops Gwen. Peter catches her and they wind up crashing through a glass ceiling into a clock tower where the web-slinger and his old friend battle it out with Gwen's life on the line as Spider-Man weaves a web to prevent Gwen's fall.

The battle is intense and the soundtrack sets the atmosphere for it all as the clock gears turn, the stakes are high. Peter defeats Harry, but the clock moves and the web snaps, resulting in Gwen falling. With every bit of strength he has, Peter dives after her and spins a web to catch Gwen. However, despite managing to catch her, it is not enough as Gwen hits the ground and dies. Peter is distraught by his girlfriend's death and, let me tell you, Andrew knocked the ball out of the park with that scene.

And yes, its The Night Gwen Stacy Died brought to life in live action again. Only this time, there's no MJ in Gwen's place and neither is the action at a bridge. Following the loss of Gwen, Peter gives up on being Spider-Man for a time but eventually gains his confidence again right as Aleksei, the Russian criminal from the start of the film, breaks out of jail as part of a plot by an imprisoned Harry and the mysterious man from the end of the first film and becomes the Rhino before going on a rampage.

Spider-Man arrives when hope seems to be lost and he confronts the Rhino, who is using a robotic tank suit. The movie (and The Amazing Spider-Man series) ends with Peter swinging into battle with the Rhino as Spider-Man.

Despite its flaws, despite being a failure and the problems surrounding it, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is a not-so bad superhero movie. The plot is compelling, the action scenes are decently choreographed and there is some great acting from Andrew, Emma Stone and all of the other actors in the movie. Its too bad the film didn't get a follow up, but at least we finally get to see Andrew again years later, and it is possible that The Amazing Spider-Man 3 might happen after all with all of the fan demand out there.

So, what's my score for the film?

8/10, the film isn't as bad as people make it out to be. Just ignore the box office results and ignore what the critics said, TaSM 2 is memorable as long as you can handle it. After all, the failure of a superhero movie is not the end of the superhero genre or the end of the world. People overreact too much. Now, I swing off into the multiverse and bid you farewell. See you next time, True Believers. PEACE!

-James M

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