Thursday, 17 April 2014

The Amazing Spider-Man 2

I have been dreading seeing this film for a while, being a huge fan of Spider-Man as a character, I was let down by the 2012 reboot of the franchise that I had a lot of high hopes for. For the sequel I made sure I wasn’t going to be disappointed and I didn’t get too excited when Sony spewed out a dozen trailers or so for the film. However it still didn’t stop me from watching the sequel on day release to find out if they had dug an even bigger hole for my favourite superhero to climb out of. Thankfully with my expectations being quite low I left the cinema happy knowing that Spider-Man was on the right track once more in his surprisingly decent sequel. Read on to find out my whole verdict on the film that will be as usual SPOILER FREE.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 follows a now more experienced Spider-Man then what we saw in the first film. Like his new (excellent) suit this film has stripped away all the darkness and gloom from the first film to make this film more on tone with The Avengers rather than trying to be the next Batman Begins. We find Peter Parker as his busiest, mixing his superhero lifestyle with graduating and being in two minds as to whether to get together again with Gwen Stacy after he promised her dying father to keep away from her. Whilst this is all going on Max Dillon is on his way to becoming the villainous Electro whilst Harry Osborne is back in town facing a tough moment in his life. Thankfully Sony has learnt from their mistakes in Spider-Man 3 and this time juggle the many storylines well throughout the film.

One of the redeeming qualities of The Amazing Spider-Man was the casting and it has continued to get better in the sequel. Jamie Foxx as Electro is brilliant, he plays the character really well and truly looks and sounds awesome when in full blue mode, the visual effects crew did a lot better job with him then they did with The Lizard. Dane DeHann is one of the best new actors out there and the chemistry between him and Andrew Garfield’s Peter Parker is great, I would have loved to have seen a lot more scenes with the two of them together. It was great to see Paul Giamatti take on role of Aleksei Sytsevich as he has wanted to play him for quite some while even if he was very stereotyped, but with him only playing a small part in the film it would be great to see him improve on that in the next one. Also the character of Dr Kafka from the comics has been awfully turned into stereotypical male German scientist, thankfully one of only a few stupid decisions in the film. As with the first film Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone steal the show with their brilliant performances and amazing on screen chemistry. They look and sound the parts even if this Spider-Man is taking more of his roots from the Ultimate Comics rather than the 616 Universe. Garfield gets Spidey perfectly with the way he moves and quips constantly during the action. Added with the perfect suit, this is definitely one of the best Spider-Man performances we have seen, though having no explanation for the change of suit does grind my gears a bit.

Visually this film looks great, when Spider-Man is swinging around New York it is exactly how I imagined he would and many of the scenes were pretty breath taking and gave me goose bumps throughout. Along with the great new score from Hans Zimmer who puts a new unique take on the generic superhero soundtrack, this Spider-Man feels like a breath of fresh air in a crowded market for comic book films. There is the odd scene where the music choice feels out of place but overall the film sounds great, especially the main themes for both Spider-Man and Electro.

Tonally every now and then a scene feels disjointed but not as much as some critics are saying. The film isn’t just a random bunch of scenes thrown together, there is a lot more care put into the editing of this film. The design of the characters may not be to every fans liking but I only had a problem with the look of The Rhino. In terms of faithfulness to the comic books there are certain aspects that are great but a lot of it is being rehashed into new scenarios but with a great sense of familiarity especially with some iconic scenes. I don’t mind this as much as I did in the first film but I am annoyed that character of Uncle Ben is more of an afterthought in this film rather than being strong icon in Peter’s life that ultimately makes him the person he is. Overall the script works pretty well even though there is the odd bad line throughout, Electo's 'It's my birthday, time to light some candles' springs to mind.

My favourite thing about this film though, that is a huge improvement on the first, is the fact that you get a sense of what Spider-Man means to people. He is just a good guy who thinks about other before himself, there is many a scene of him saving bystanders before taking on the main threat, he has a sense of responsibility even though the famous line has yet to be said. Spider-Man is a true hero and this is shown throughout the film, he saves lives in more ways then one. There are scenes involving kids that could easily come across as cheesy but in the end they are some of the best scenes that signify why Spider-Man means so much to so many people in and out of the film universe. People like myself, who is now happy that the Spider-Man I wanted to see on screen is back and stepping in the right direction. With the world building and foreshadowing to a Sinister Six showdown, bring on The Amazing Spider-Man 3!

Finally a step in the right direction for the web head, I am rating The Amazing Spider-Man 2 a 3/5.

What are your thoughts on the Spider-Man sequel? Are you as happy with it as I am? Let me know in the comments below.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Before Sunrise/Sunset/Midnight Survey

If you have ever seen all or just one or two of Richard Linklater's Before Sunrise/Sunset/Midnight Trilogy it would be great if you could take a couple of minutes to fill out this survey for a study I am doing for my university degree.

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey , the world's leading questionnaire tool.

Thank you.