Directed by: Marc Webb
It was a strange decision to hire an unexperienced director, such as Marc Webb, to direct a movie completely outside his wheel house. 500 Days of Summer is a well-built relationship drama, it was a completely different interpretation of the typical relationship cliches. The major thing that Marc Webb was able to bring to the The Amazing Spider-Man was his sense for people and the relationship between characters. Outside of the relationship stuff between Gwen Stacey (Emma Stone) and Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) the first movie isn’t all that good. Whereas the original trilogy nailed Spider-Man perfectly but failed to make the chemistry between Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) and Mary Jane (Kirsten Dunst) completely unrealistic and kinda fake. On the other hand The Amazing Spider-Man nailed Peter Parker and Gwen Stacey’s chemistry it fails to make the villains and the core story interesting and really ruins this series.
The movie begins with one of the only scenes in the movie that alludes to the mystery behind Peter Parker’s parents. After leaving Peter (Andrew Garfield) with his Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen) and Aunt May (Sally Field), Richard Parker (Campbell Scott) and his wife Mary Parker (Embeth Davidtz) try to escape on a plane while uploading Richard’s research. Little did they know that the pilot has been killed and their lives were in jeopardy. Richard does his best to stop the kill only to meet his fate but not before finishing the upload. The plane crashes and then it cuts to Spider-Man chasing down Aleksei Sytsevich (Paul Giamatti), in his worst acted role. During the chase he saves loner scientist Max Dillion (Jamie Foxx).
Meanwhile Gwen Stacey (Emma Stone) is at their high school graduation. Concerned, Gwen calls Peter and tells him to get back to graduation. His duties to Spider-Man makes him late but only barely. Max Dillion, after being saved by the web slinger, begins obsessing of the superhero and wants to get noticed just like Spider-Man does. He is ignored at work and then stuck working late in a lab that he doesn’t know. This leads him to getting zapped by the power cable that was causing all the problems. He then falls into a vat of eel, you know electric eel because why not, effectively killing him. He is resurrected by the electricity that he consumed. He leaves to find a power source that can recharge him. He arrives in Time Square and start causing havoc, leading to Spider-Man showing up. He begins trying to reason with him only to realize that Spider-Man has forgotten who he was. This leads Max to go crazy and leads him to want the fame that Spider-Man has and to get that “fame” he needs to kill Spider-Man
Over at Oscorp Industries, Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan) returns to take control of the company that his father started. He is mad at the way he was treated by his father, leading to him changing some of the policies that his father emplaced. Harry learns that he has the same disease that his father has and realizes that he is starting to develop the same symptoms. This leads him on a quest to find Spider-Man and harvest his blood for his own needs. He eventually teams up with Electro to take down Spider-Man and fulfill their needs to use Spider -Man for their own good.
The story is the biggest problem that this movie suffers. It’s convoluted and doesn’t do anything new or note worthy. Harry Osborn is one note and is essentially a carbon copy of Willem DaFoe’s portrayal of Norman Osborn in the first Spider-Man. His characters evolution is exactly the same. He runs the company only to get fired from the company because he was framed. This causes him to go crazy and gets superpowers from another Oscorp experiment. It is the same evolution of the villain except condensed into 30 minutes instead of 2 hours. Electro is another problem here. His motivations are terrible. He is essentially a Spider-Man stalker who gets superpowers. There is nothing interesting about him and barely does anything to help the story. Just like the first Amazing Spider-Man, this movie promises to reveal more about the story of Richard Parker but only two scenes are dedicated to this plot point and it feels like they don’t know what to do with the material.
I gotta admit that Marc Webb handles the romance material really well. The majority of the story focuses on Gwen and Peter’s relationship, building it up so that you can get more invested in the final payoff of the film. It bogs down an already convoluted and frustrating storyline. It is an interesting look at their relationship but spending the majority of the time on it feels a bit overkill.
The action that accompanies the movie is thrilling and well done but it is so sparse and limited that it doesn’t do anything to save the movie. In the end, Electro’s plan is to steal power from the power plant running the city. His overarching plan for this is so that everyone will notice who he is. Electro isn’t given anything to do but his action scenes are well thought out.
The performances are all across the board. You have some really good performance and then absolutely terrible ones. Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone have this radiant chemistry that makes the relationships believable. Garfield uses his wit and humor to portray Peter Parker as a typical wallflower kid of his generation. Tobey Maguire always felt old in the role and his chemistry with Kirsten Dunst was a little off. On the other hand the Jaime Foxx was the only actor portraying a villain that actually tried in his role, sadly it was incredible under written. Dane DeHaan, who I usually like, was bland and unnecessary. The limited screen time of Paul Giamatti was a blessing because his corny portrayal of The Rhino was grating and really angered me. As bad as Curt Conners (Rhys Ifans) was as a villain, he looks good compared to these characters.
There were some fun qualities in this movie but all the bad things out stay their welcome and really mess up any potential that this movie had.