In The Amazing Spider-man 2 — which has just come out as a Blu-ray/DVD combo pack, a 3D Blu-ray/DVD combo pack, and on DVD — Harry Osbourne says that Peter Parker’s life is always complicated. But someone needs to tell the people who made this movie that this film didn’t need to be complicated as well, since it’s that complexity, and the ensuing convoluted story, that ultimately undermines this movie.
Set after the events of 2012’s The Amazing Spider-Man, this sequel has our favorite webhead (Andrew Garfield) enjoying his life as both a crime fighter and the main squeeze of Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone). But it all goes to hell when Electro starts terrorizing New York City, Spidey’s past comes back to haunt him, and Gwen breaks up with him for being a schmuck.
From the get-go, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is a bit of a misfire. While it has some exciting action scenes, the initial one is rather goofy and cheesy, and has some terrible and unnecessary slo-mo. (Seriously, slo-mo should be banned by the Geneva Convention.) And, sadly, it’s a vibe that permeates the movie.
But the big problem comes later, when the film tries to jam in a bunch of different storylines, but never gives any of them enough time. In fact, when you get to the end, it so heavily glosses over yet another one that you wonder why they bothered.
Then there’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2’s misfiring score. The music that kicks in when Electro reveals himself in time square sound more Disney-ish than super villain-esque, and it’s not the only time when the score doesn’t fit what’s on the screen. Similar, the love song that plays when Gwen and Peter hang out post-breakup, like many of the tunes in the flick, is just cloying and annoying.
What makes these music issues worse is that, like many movies on Blu-ray and DVD, the sound mix of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was designed to be heard in theaters, not home theaters. As a result, when you watch it at home, even on a good surround sound system, the loud moments are too loud and the soft bits are too soft, forcing you to keep one hand on the volume control at all times.
Though on the flipside, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 looks great, especially on the Blu-rays, as the picture is bright, crisp, and clear.
What also makes The Amazing Spider-Man 2’s shortcomings worse is that other aspects of the movie work well. As with the previous one, Garfield is great as both Spider-Man and Peter Parker, while he and Stone are great together. And even though she’s a terrible Gwen Stacy — she’s way too feisty for that role; she’s much more of a Mary Jane Watson — she’s still very likable and sympathetic here.
The same can be said for the bad guys in The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Dean DeHaan is sufficiently intense and tortured by expectation, but is still a good friend to Peter as Harry Osbourne, and unhinged when he becomes The Green Goblin (even if his Goblin make-up is pretty terrible). Meanwhile, Jamie Foxx, who I normally don’t like, does a good job as a shy loser who becomes the arrogant arachnophobic Electro. The only failure of the bad bunch is Paul Giamatti, who comes across as more of a parody of a Russian mobster in a rhino-looking mech suit than a real (relatively speaking) Russian mobster in a rhino-looking mech suit.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 also has a good quippy script when it comes to Spidey’s dialog. Sure, some of his mid-fight one-liners are groan-inducing, but some are funny, and this just makes them faithful to the character’s comic books roots.
Still, at nearly two and half hours, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 still feels like its trying to cram too much in, while somehow being simultaneously sluggish and meandering in spots. It’s certainly not as bad as 2007’s Spider-Man 3, or any of the Tobey Maguire movies for that matter, but it’s not as good as the first Amazing or, for that matter, the even better Iron Man 2, Blade II, or the second Captain America movie, The Winter Soldier.
Fittingly, even the extras on The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Blu-rays and DVD are unimpressive.
First up is a running commentary by writer/executive producer Alex Kurtzman, writer Jeff Pinker, and producers Tolmach and Avi Arad. But while there are moments of insight, and it’s always good to have people recording the commentary in the same room, the absence of director Marc Webb and stars Garfield and Stone is especially glaring (doubly so for Webb, as you’ll see below).
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Blu-rays and DVD also present the music video for Alicia Key’s “It’s On Again.” It’s no “Spider-Man” by The Ramones. ’Nuff said.
Then there’s the fact that the DVD edition of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is somewhat thin when compared to the Blu-rays. While the DVD has four deleted and extended scenes (which last around eight minutes long), all which have their own optional commentaries by Webb (told you), the Blu-rays add nine more for a total of twenty-three minutes. Though these little bits don’t really add anything, since most are extended scenes that don’t expand the story in any meaningful ways, while the deleted scenes — especially “Peter Meets His Father,” and the one where we meet Electro’s momma — are so terrible that they deserve to be deleted…permanently.
Also included on The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Blu-rays, but not the DVD, is “The Wages Of Heroism: Making The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” a collection of six making-of featurettes that lasts more than an hour and a half. But while they’re informative, they’re also fairly generic, and don’t offer much you haven’t seen before on other Blu-rays and DVDs.
Then there are the things absent from The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Blu-rays and DVD. Well, okay, the only thing they didn’t include, but should’ve, are the movie’s original trailers. But as someone who likes watching a movie’s trailers before he watches the movie, it’s a bummer.
In the end, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 — be it the Blu-ray/DVD combo pack, the 3D Blu-ray/DVD combo pack, or the DVD — isn’t worth your money. Not only is the movie a bit of a convoluted mess, but the extras aren’t that special, either. Sure, Spider-Man’s life may be complicated, but making a good movie about it, and then presenting that movie on Blu-ray and DVD, isn’t.