Despite the fierce intimacy shared by Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 falls into the same trap as Spider-Man 3 except it doubles down on misguided character motivations and incoherent storytelling.
There are a ton of terrible storytelling decisions that play out here and the movie would honestly be in complete shambles if Garfield and Stone weren’t so committed to their characters. You can feel Garfield’s complete dedication and adoration for Peter Parker as you can sense his level of fun playing the character whilst delivering in the emotional moments. Stone is equally as compelling as she absorbs herself in the intimate moments while demonstrating the character’s urgency in key moments. As for the story… well, not a whole lot of it makes sense. Firstly, the creative choice behind Peter Parker being the only one who could have ever been Spider-Man due to DNA in the spiders is incredibly against the character. It makes Peter’s journey feel far less special and if Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse taught us anything – it’s that anyone can wear the mask. The introduction of Harry Osborn is extremely rushed and is a complete disservice to the lengthy pop-culture history between these characters as his motivations are bizarre. Electro/Max Dillon had me intrigued from the opening, despite the weird character design, as it visually shows the mistreatment and loneliness the character feels. The problems with the character arise when he turns evil because Spider-Man forgets his name and while I can buy this being the breaking point for the character, it just feels too sudden. Akin to Spider-Man 3, the film is juggling too much for all of it to be compelling but there is a huge bright spot. The relationship between Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy is the film’s heart and it works beat by beat, only to be lifted by some of the best chemistry I have seen in a superhero film. The story works really well as Peter continues to battle the guilt from Gwen’s father who he promised to leave her out of his life due to the dangers of being Spider-Man. The build-up of this dynamic relationship between the two leads only adds further emotional weight to the climatic moment of this film – you all know what I am talking about.
Arguably the best looking Spider-Man film – the visual effects are electric and crisp as it blends beautifully with interesting set-designs. The costuming is immaculate and it easily feels like the most tangible costume designs for Spider-Man. The composed score from ‘The Magnificent Six’ is dynamic, unique and interesting – naturally be polarizing but for me, it really worked.
I’d stress there is more good in this film than bad, if you can get over the missteps the film makes then you may come across an enjoyable experience. It may have been Garfield’s last Spider-Man film (yet!?) but he closes out his journey with the character on an absolute high.