The Amazing Spider-Man 2

It’s safe to say The Amazing Spider-Man 2 has the biggest explosions of the series. Huge, colorful explosions complete with streaking bolts of electricity. If that’s what you look for in a film then you won’t walk away disappointed.

The web-slinging action is mostly the same as we’ve seen in the previous four movies. That’s not such a bad thing, but there’s really nothing new to it except for more frequent slow motion, which detracts from the very thing that makes Spider-Man action exciting in the first place, the lightning-quick speed. (It also allows more time to notice that it’s almost all computer-generated.)

Jamie Foxx’s talents are wasted on a two-dimensional, almost imbecilic character, while the casting of Paul Giamatti as an utterly mindless thug with a bad Russian accent reinforces the notion of a studio having money to spend for all the wrong reasons. As has often been mentioned, there’s too much story twined together for a single movie, but more problematic is that it just isn’t told very well, with rushed developments and plot holes so plainly obvious that it’s clear the story was nothing of a priority.

Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone were the anchor of the reboot’s first episode, and they remain this sequel’s one saving grace. Garfield mixes strength, vulnerability and teenage quirkiness well (even at 30), and Stone is nearly impossible not to like. But while the first movie showed the two’s relationship develop, here it’s a simple back-and-forth between “I love you but we can’t stay together” and “I love you so let’s stay together anyway”. Both actors do well with what they’re given, but the dialog often has a soap-opera-like expository tone without the nuance of real conversation.

Despite the numerous flaws I was content to write this one off as another mediocre Spider-Man movie to follow the previous one, until in a vain attempt to turn the franchise into a villain-heavy Avengers-killer they hastily destroyed the one good thing about the series, moments later returning to big-budget action as if nothing happened.

Astute viewers may notice the product placements for Sony’s Trinitron and Vaio lines in the film. It seems symbolic that both are dead or dying brands.

The Amazing Spider-Man

A remake of an iconic movie should be better than the original, or at least different.  This is neither. Aside from a less innocent, more brooding Peter Parker, it’s surprising how similarly this reboot plays out to the original of only ten years earlier. That includes both the good (sweeping, dynamic action, though little we haven’t seen already) and the bad (a shockingly silly-looking villain and a fair bit of the cheesiness of the later installments).

The one area this new version possibly wins out is in Emma Stone’s turn as the love interest, but even with her mesmerizing eyes and believability at work, the original has a better love story. And far more charm.

Spider-Man 3

Like the second movie it has some spectacular action sequences, and like the second movie some of its story elements wear a bit thin. To say nothing of the ridiculous second-act emo antics.  Still it makes a decent end to the trilogy if they’ll just leave well enough alone.