Revisiting “The Amazing Spider-Man 2”

Maybe it’s because — [waves in every direction] — or just that I have way more distance from Tobey/Raimi now, but every single Spider-Man movie that people hate [read: Spider-Man 3 and the two Garfields] is not as terrible as I remembered them to be and/or as terrible as everyone says they are.

Well, except for Paul Giamatti’s Rhino, but even that is now just hilarious.

So sure, there’s stupid shit in both of the “Amazing” movies because we’re addicted to making everyone’s parents super secretive and important (to find legitimate/fantastical reasons why they abandoned us). We didn’t need that with Peter Parker’s parents. His lack of parents, their absence, IS integral to his story. But hey, I get it: when you secure Campbell Scott (below), you got to use the hell out of him.

I understand they felt like they had to do something radically DIFFERENT with these Spider-Man movies, especially coming out so soon after Spider-Man 3 (a decision that doesn’t make sense to question because $ / Sony needed to make more to keep the rights to the character). But at least for me, Gwen Stacy and new [talented] actors was enough.

Indeed, Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield together make these worth watching on their own. And utilizing Ghost Denis Leary for grief jump scares is brilliant, because I never want to see Denis Leary.

But in this much derided sequel, I was most surprised revisiting Max Dillon’s origin story. Here’s a black man who literally designed the electrical guild that powers New York, a design that Oscorp stole. He is constantly shit on and ignored at work and ignored as a HUMAN BEING despite/precisely because he’s the only capable person there. Max was erased from Oscorp even before he was literally erased from Oscorp’s database to cover-up the fact that he “died” because of what should be a landmark worker’s compensation case. Oscorp is fucking EVIL in these movies. Chris Cooper’s a dick.

When Max returns (“I am Electro!”… is literally a Hans Zimmer song from the score), Max returns ANGRY. Except now he has the power to destroy shit, and I don’t blame him for destroying shit. Sure, killing people isn’t cool and I’d much rather see Electro become a Malcolm X-esque Civil Rights leader with superpowers than a vengeful mass murderer. I wish the story didn’t go so black and white with it, but it’s hardly surprising given all the Sony VAIO’s on display. And why should Max Dillon be expected to rise above all the hate and murder that is inflicted upon his race?

Despite this film’s disastrous franchise-killing status (until Marvel came calling), there WAS somehow something here.

It just got mangled by a way-too-fast Harry Osborn / weirdly literal Green Goblin arc.

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Andrew Greene

Andrew Greene

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A writer & traveler when his cat allows, located in glittering Glendale, CA.