After a successful run of Spider-Man movies directed by Sam Raimi (2002 to 2007), Sony Pictures made the decision to reboot the Spider-Man film franchise, beginning with 2012’s The Amazing Spider-Man. The movie – which took Spidey back to his origins – was a complete departure from the previous films, and boasted a new director (Marc Webb), new lead actors (Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone), and a whole new look.
The Amazing Spider-Man opened in cinemas during summer 2012 and despite some uncertainty about rebooting the franchise, the film was a box office success. This in turn led to a sequel, which arrived two years later and appropriately, The Amazing Spider-Man 2.
Other movies in The Amazing Spider-Man film series were planned beyond part 2, but The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was not as well received as its predecessor, and the series was abandoned. As such, The Amazing Spider-Man movie series exists as a duology, which some feel was cut short in its prime.
Are they right? We shall see, because today I am revisiting The Amazing Spider-Man series, with a complete re-watch of both movies. I will view each entry in turn, and discussing my thoughts in real-time below.
Obviously, this means spoilers will follow. So, if you have never watched The Amazing Spider-Man movies, and want to remain spoiler free, now is the time to stop reading.
Still with me? Good – let’s get started!
The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)
40secs – The Sam Raimi era of Spider-Man movies is over; Marc Webb’s era of Spidey begins, and it starts with…
50secs – …a young Peter Parker.
2mins – Peter is a child during the opening scenes of this movie – something we haven’t seen before – and he is played by Max Charles.
2mins 30secs – And here is something very new for a Spider-Man movie; for the first time on film, the audience gets to meet Peter’s father, Richard Parker, played by Campbell Scott, as well as his mother, Mary, who is played by Embeth Davidtz.
In the previous Spider-Man movies, both the Raimi trilogy, and the Spidey films of the 1970s, Peter’s parents were nowhere to be seen. The reason for this? Because they aren’t a huge part of the Spider-Man mythology.
Peter’s parents have featured in the Spider-Man comics from time-to-time, but the Spider-Man mythology tends not to focus on them too much. Instead, Peter’s ‘parental’ unit is largely established as Uncle Ben and Aunt May, and there’s not much call to deviate from this.
And speaking of Uncle Ben and Aunt May…
3mins 20secs – Ben and May are introduced, with Martin Sheen as Ben and Sally Field as May.
4mins – And just to recap what is happening on screen, Richard and Mary Parker have taken Peter to his aunt and uncle’s house, so that he can stay with them for a while. Something has got them spooked, and they are going on the run.
4mins 15secs – Fast forward ten years and Peter is now a teenager, this time played by Andrew Garfield.
5min – Oh, and he is a skateboarding teen!
5mins 15secs – You know, I’m not sure about the skateboarding thing. I’m not entirely convinced this fits in with the character of Peter Parker. However, Andrew Garfield is a great Peter Parker. This is a very strong bit of casting.
5mins 30secs – And to accompany Garfield is Emma Stone, who plays fellow student, Gwen Stacy. Stone is also excellent in this movie. These two are the driving force of both this movie and its sequel.
7mins – For those who can’t quite recall, Gwen Stacy previously featured in Spider-Man 3, where she was played by Bryce Dallas Howard. That was a paper-thin take on the character, whereas this one is fully formed.
9mins 30secs – Back to the story, and Peter has just discovered a briefcase which belonged to his father. This kick-starts a mystery that will run across both movies, and leads to Peter discovering that his father, Richard, worked at Oscorp.
13mins – Not only did he work at Oscorp (before his disappearance), but Richard also worked alongside Dr. Curt Connors, who in this movie is played by Rhys Ifans.
Curt Connors previously appeared in Spider-Man 2 and Spider-Man 3, where he was played by Dylan Baker.
14mins – After a quick ‘Bing’ search by Peter, more details are revealed about Richard Parker, including the revelation that Richard and Curt were working on a genetics project together, and that Richard and Mary were killed in a plane accident.
I appreciate that Peter has only just learned of his dad’s connection to Curt Connors and Oscorp, but surely at some point in the past he would have ‘Bing-ed’ his parents to learn more about them. Would that not have produced the same information about the Oscorp/Connors connection?
15mins 20secs – Keen to learn more information, Peter goes undercover as an intern at Oscorp.
15mins 35secs – A brief mention of Oscorp owner, Norman Osborn. Norman doesn’t appear in this movie, but Oscorp looms large in this film and Norman will crop up in The Amazing Spider-Man 2.
16mins 25secs – Curt Connors is introduced. He is an expert in reptiles and is working on an Oscorp project involving cross-species genetics. The project takes the strengths from one species of animal/creature and crosses it with another to help eradicate any weaknesses.
21mins – The little introduction to Connors helps to set up this next scene, which involves Peter getting too close to an experiment involving spiders. Peter is covered in multiple arachnids, but so far, none of them are biting.
22mins – A key bit of information here, Norman Osborn is dying. Connors is working on a way to save him.
22mins 40secs – And now, Peter has been bitten by one of the spiders.
23mins 35secs – As Peter journeys home via the subway, it becomes clear that the spider bite has affected him. Peter appears to have gained impressive abilities, including super strength, enhanced agility, and the ability to stick to walls.
32mins – Unsure of what is happening to his body, Peter seeks out Dr. Connors, to question him about gross-species genetics. During the chat, he helps to further Connors’ work by providing him with the scientific formula that he needs.
34mins – Following his conversation with Connors, Peter is at school, where he has gotten into a situation with Flash Thompson. Flash is being an asshole to another student, so Peter steps in and uses his abilities to humiliate the bully.
I should point out that Flash is yet another character who previously appeared on screen in the Sam Raimi Spider-Man movies. There he was played by Joe Manganiello, while here he is played by Chris Zylka.
38mins – More scenes of skateboarding now, as well as an exploration of Peter’s agility. I’m here for the agility stuff, but all this skateboarding seems odd.
And just to be clear, I have nothing against skateboarding, it just seems like something that is a bit too cool for Peter Parker. Parker is supposed to be an unpopular kid, but I don’t quite see how anyone with excellent skateboarding skills would be unpopular!
39mins 30secs – After school, Peter has gone back to Oscorp to meet up with Connors. Oh, and what is this…?
39mins 32secs – The GANALI! This is a piece of technology which can disperse an antigen cloud across a city…. should anyone ever want to do such a thing.
Hmm… I wonder if anyone would ever want to do that?
41mins – Peter is so caught up in his time with Connors, that he has forgotten to meet Aunt May after she finishes work. Peter was supposed to walk her home, but he ignored a reminder call and she had to walk home alone. Uncle Ben is angry.
42mins 30secs – And now for one of the most important moments in the movie – Uncle Ben’s speech about ‘power and responsibility’. This is not only a very, very important speech in this movie, but also in the Spider-Man mythology as a whole.
Why is it important? Because Uncle Ben’s words help Peter to understand that he must use his power for good. So, getting the message across to Peter (and to the audience) right now is key.
As a reminder, in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man (2002), Uncle Ben’s speech contained the now very famous line: “Remember, with great power comes great responsibility.” The message was easy to understand, and was conveyed very clearly.
Unfortunately, Uncle Ben’s speech in The Amazing Spider-Man does not work so well. Following a discussion about Richard Parker’s beliefs, Ben says: “He believed that if you could do good things for other people, you have a moral obligation to do those things. That’s what’s at stake here. Not choice – responsibility.”
It’s a bit clunky, isn’t it? Yep, too much beating around the bush.
So, why the change? Well, The Amazing Spider-Man is not connected to any of the Sam Raimi Spider-Man movies, so naturally director Marc Webb wants to make it clear to the audience that this is a DIFFERENT ERA OF SPIDER-MAN MOVIES.
For the most part, it is working – this entire movie feels like a different take on Spider-Man. But this speech is a mistake.
The version from 2002’s Spider-Man was perfect, which is why everyone remembers it. This version – which seems to have Uncle Ben say everything but the phrase “great power and great responsibility” – is a misstep.
Hey, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
43mins – Upset about what Uncle Ben has said (and probably confused about the garbled words he just uttered), Peter has walked out of the Parker home, leaving Uncle Ben to follow after him.
44mins – Cut to Peter in a shop, buying milk. He is short on the money to pay for it and instead of letting him off, the cashier is rude and condescending about the situation.
44mins 35secs – As Peter walks away from the counter, the man stood in line behind him causes a distraction, then steals money from the cash register. Peter watches the situation unfold, but does nothing about it.
45mins – Outside the store, the cashier chases after the thief. Once again, Peter does nothing.
45mins 20secs – Running away from the store, the thief trips and drops a concealed gun to the floor, right in front of Uncle Ben, who is walking down the street looking for Peter. The thief picks up the gun and when Uncle Ben tries to stop him, the gun goes off and Uncle Ben is killed.
45mins 30secs – The death of Uncle Ben is very emotive here – perhaps more so than Uncle Ben’s death scene in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man. This could be because Martin Sheen gets a decent amount of screen time prior to his death, and it’s such a shame to see him exit the film already.
50mins 20secs – Filled with anger, Peter goes on a hunt for Uncle Ben’s killer, resulting in him beating up various thugs, before falling through the roof of a disused wrestling venue.
51mins – Seeing the image of a Mexican wrestler on a poster inside the venue is giving Peter the idea to create a mask. This will allow him to continue his hunt, while remaining anonymous.
Oh, and incidentally, the wrestling venue is a nod to Peter’s short-lived career as a wrestler – something seen in both the comics and Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man. This element of the Spider-Man mythology has been streamlined into a few seconds for this film, yet works much better here.
52mins – Another bit of Spider-Man mythology is introduced now, as Peter creates his own mechanical web-shooters. In Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man, Spidey could produce his own webbing, while here he uses wrist-mounted devices to produce artificial webbing.
The mechanical web-shooters are from the comics. While I personally like the idea of Peter producing his own webs, it is good to see The Amazing Spider-Man revert back to the more traditional webbing of the comics.
53mins 40secs – Time for another new character: Captain George Stacy. I know you are sick of me saying this, but Stacy previously appeared in Spider-Man 3, where he was played by James Cromwell. Here he is played by Denis Leary.
53mins 50secs – Leary is good in this role, but I must say, he does bare a resemblance to Willem Dafoe – aka the actor who played Norman Osborn in the Sam Raimi Spider-Man trilogy. If you are not familiar with Leary and Dafoe, and you just like watching Spider-Man movies, you could be forgiven for mixing the two up.
54mins – Captain Stacy becomes an antagonist in this movie, effectively taking over the role of J. Jonah Jameson, who is traditionally seen as the person who bemoans all of the good work Spider-Man does. With Stacy playing this part, it’s no surprise then that Jameson is absent from this movie.
54mins 10secs – The Daily Bugle is also barely present in The Amazing Spider-Man. A bundle of Daily Bugle newspapers is seen later in the movie, but no Bugle staff are included in the film.
55mins – Not content with a mask, and realising the YouTube generation can film his every move, Spider-Man creates a Spidey suit. It is different to the suits used in the Sam Raimi movies, but the reflective eyes are similar to those seen in the 1970s Spider-Man TV series (and movies). I don’t hate it, but I don’t think it’s great either.
57mins – Something which I’ve not addressed yet, but now seems like the perfect time, is the comics which have inspired this particular Spider-Man movie. The Amazing Spider-Man is inspired by the Ultimate Spider-Man comics, which were first published in 2000.
The Ultimate comics were created to retell Spider-Man stories from the very beginning, but by streamlining decades old continuity and making tweaks to the mythology. They were conceived as a way to get new readers into Marvel stories, without readers having to sift through years of back issues to understand what is going on.
1hr 7mins – Back to the story now, and Curt Connors has injected himself with a formula that has helped him regrow an arm. This begins his transformation into the big villain of the movie – The Lizard!
1hr 10mins – Meanwhile, Peter has just had a rather uncomfortable dinner with Gwen’s family, which included a disagreement with Captain Stacy regarding the actions of New York’s new masked vigilante (aka Spidey). Captain Stacy is really not a fan.
1hr 11mins – Peter and Gwen have left the dinner table to get some air. This provides Peter with the opportunity to reveal to Gwen that he is Spider-Man!
And I love that this reveal happens so early on. As much as the secret identity thing can be fun, by letting Gwen in on the secret it means that she can work with Peter, which makes her a much stronger character in the long-run and less of a ‘damsel in distress’ figure we see too often in super hero movies.
1hr 13mins – Connors has fully transformed into The Lizard and is causing a scene in the city. Cue: Spider-Man to the rescue.
1hr 16mins – As part of this rescue, Peter saves a boy from a burning car. During this scene, Peter convinces the boy that his super powers come from the mask that he wears, which is neat.
One of the reasons that Spider-Man is so popular here in the real world, is because he wears a mask. Fans of all nationalities and all walks of life can connect with Spidey, because when he’s fully masked up, they understand that it could be anyone under that mask.
Although his powers aren’t contained in the mask, wearing the mask is empowering.
1hr 17mins – With the kid safe, the boy’s father thanks Spider-Man. Hurrah!
This scene seems just like a nice ‘hero’ moment, to establish Spider-Man as a good guy, but it will have greater significance later in the film.
1hr 17mins 30secs – Although Spidey has become a hero to the people, Captain Stacy has put out a warrant for his arrest.
1hr 20mins – By the way, this movie has some great little Peter/Gwen moments. The chemistry is so good and not surprising really, as Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone were dating during the production of this movie.
1hr 22mins 45secs – Spider-Man movies are not known for their gore, but I feel I need to give a shout out to the moment Peter discovers a mouse-lizard eating another mouse. This scene is totally gross, and I always forget about it until it crops up. Here it is in all its gruesome glory.
1hr 25mins – Peter has come to the conclusion the mysterious lizard-man who caused trouble in the city is Dr. Connors, so he descends into the sewers to find him.
1hr 27mins 45secs – Hmm… I’m not a fan of the Lizard design used in this film. I think it needed more work. That said, I think Rhys Ifans is great as Curt Connors. He knows how to balance genius with insanity, so it’s only the CGI that’s letting him down a bit.
1hr 32mins – Peter’s plan to capture the Lizard did not go well, but he knows that he is going to have to try again. He gave Connors the formula and so feels responsible for everything that happens moving forward.
1hr 34mins 25secs – Well, it looks like Peter won’t have to wait too long for a second showdown with the Lizard. Connors knows that Peter is Spider-Man and has turned up at Peter’s school for a fight.
1hr 36mins 45secs – While I might not like the look of the Lizard, I am a big fan of the Lizard/Spider-Man fight at Peter’s high school. It feels like something out of the early days of the comics, when a villain like the Sandman would fight Spidey at the school. Plus, it also gives Gwen the opportunity to get involved.
1hr 37mins 30secs – Stan Lee cameo! And one of his best.
1hr 39mins – The fighting has ended, and it’s back to the sewers for Peter… so he can discover The Lizard’s grand plan. Which is pretty simple: He wants to transform everyone in New York into a lizard, using the GANALI machine!
1hr 43mins – The GANALI is positioned on top of Ocscorp Tower, which is where the Lizard is heading. It is also the location of Gwen Stacy, who is currently trying to create an antidote, should the Lizard manage to use the device.
1hr 45mins – Peter is trying to get to Oscorp, but first he has to deal with police intervention – resulting in Captain Stacy discovering his identity and Peter being shot in the leg.
1hr 48mins – Spider-Man is injured. He’s struggling to make it to Oscorp, and is going to need some help.
Speaking of which…
1hr 49mins 30secs – Remember the guy from earlier? The one whose son was rescued by Spidey? Well, he’s back, he’s a construction worker, and he’s just organised all of the crane operators in the city to line up their cranes to create a direct web-swinging route to Oscorp!
I love it! I genuinely love this scene. I love any scene in which regular folk assist Spidey when he needs help.
This scene creates an unspoken acknowledgement that the people of New York City understand the importance of Spider-Man and the tireless work that he does. The media and the police might not agree with Spidey’s methods, but Joe Public understand that Spider-Man is working for the greater good, and is always looking out for them.
1hr 54mins – Time for the final showdown between Spider-Man and the Lizard and this results in another nice moment, as Captain Stacy acts as Spidey’s back up.
1hr 55mins – Sadly, the Spidey/Stacy partnership is short-lived. The Lizard has mortally injured Captain Stacy.
1hr 55mins 45secs – Despite the Lizard’s plan almost working, Gwen’s antidote has stopped all of the citizens of New York from turning into lizard-people.
1hr 56mins 30secs – And as his own Lizard transformation begins to wear off, Curt Connors proves that he is still a good man. Shame it’s a little too late for Captain Stacy.
1hr 58mins – In his dying moments, Captain Stacy admits that he was wrong about Peter. However, he wants Peter to promise to leave Gwen alone, for her own safety.
1hr 59mins – After the abandonment/death of his parents, the death of Uncle Ben, and the betrayal of Curt Connors, Peter watches as yet another ‘father’ figure slips away.
2hrs 1min – A sombre moment: The funeral of Captain Stacy.
2hrs 4mins 45secs – And as the movie enters its final minutes, a voice message from Uncle Ben plays, to draw out a final bit of emotion. It is a touching way to connect back to Ben and therefore connect back to the heart of the story.
2hrs 9mins 30secs – But the story isn’t over just yet. A mid-credit scene, featuring Curt Connors and a mysterious shadowy man, takes place to concludes this tale. Nothing much happens, but the suggestion is that someone is out to get Spider-Man.
I am a big fan of Spider-Man movies (hence this blog), and in particular I am a big fan of the Sam Raimi Spider-Man trilogy. I loved those films, and was frustrated the series didn’t continue with Spider-Man 4 and beyond.
When The Amazing Spider-Man was first announced, I was less than pleased. I was happy to be getting more Spider-Man movies in my life, but not so happy about losing Tobey Maguire and all of the hard work that had gone into creating a world around Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2, and Spider-Man 3.
So, when The Amazing Spider-Man first played in cinemas, I must admit I felt disappointed. I was very critical of the film, as I felt that it paled in comparison to what had come before.
But on subsequent viewings, I came to realise that my first impression was wrong. I was wrong because The Amazing Spider-Man is a very good Spider-Man movie. Sure, there are elements of the movie which don’t work for me (Uncle Ben’s speech, the skateboarding thing, the CGI Lizard), but there is far more that does work.
I noted earlier that Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone are excellent in The Amazing Spider-Man and they truly are. But then, so is everyone else – the cast in this movie is superb, with no one feeling out of place.
The Amazing Spider-Man is also loaded with heart. I believe The Amazing Spider-Man captures the spirit of the Spider-Man story and conveys the power and responsibility message, despite some clunky dialogue.
My initial misgivings about the movie back in 2012 clouded my original judgement of the film, and I would think this may also be the case for many fans who found the transition from the Tobey Maguire era to the Andrew Garfield era rather difficult. This probably wasn’t helped by a.) the Sam Raimi Spider-Man movies being incredibly popular during the ‘00s, and b.) this reboot coming along way too soon.
And it was too soon. I know the reason for the reboot – it was all to do with Sony having to produce a Spider-Man movie in a set amount of time, or Spidey’s film rights revert back to Marvel – but it all came too quickly.
At the time, I think the whole situation frustrated some fans and proved a bit confusing for casual audiences. It also didn’t help that Sony Pictures initially marketed The Amazing Spider-Man as being an ‘untold tale’ regarding Peter Parker’s parents – which is not really the focus of this particular movie.
However, it is unfair to continually malign a movie because it came ‘too soon’ after the previous one, or because the marketing material (which is not used anymore) suggested this film would heavily focus on the Parker parents. Comparisons can and should be made between The Amazing Spider-Man and other Spider-Man movies (as I have done above), but The Amazing Spider-Man should be judged on its own merits.
Based on its own merits, The Amazing Spider-Man is a strong Spider-Man movie. It offers a good starting point for anyone new to Spider-Man, has a very likeable lead, a good balance of humour and action, is respectful of the mythology (while attempting new things) and creates good foundations for the future.
I really like this film. It isn’t my favourite Spider-Man movie, but it is certainly one of the best.
But what about The Amazing Spider-Man 2? How will that shape up?
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)
1min – The movie begins with Richard Parker working in a laboratory in Oscorp.
2mins 15secs – This leads to a quick recap of the scene from The Amazing Spider-Man, where Richard and Mary Parker leave a young Peter Parker with Aunt May and Uncle Ben. This footage is from the first film, and includes the only scene with Uncle Ben – Martin Sheen does not reprise the role for this movie.
4mins – This opening, which is set in the past, is explaining how the Parkers died.
7mins – Both Richard and Mary are on an aeroplane. Mary has been shot, and someone is trying to get hold of some information contained on Richard’s laptop. After a struggle, the plane plummets from the sky.
8mins – But no time to worry about the Parkers, because back in present day New York, Spider-Man is in hot pursuit of an armoured truck carrying plutonium. The truck is being driven by Aleksei Sytsevich, as played by Paul Giamati.
9mins – As Spidey deals with the situation involving the truck, Max Dillion is introduced. Dillon is one of the main villains of this film and he is played by Jamie Foxx.
9mins 50secs – If dealing with stolen plutonium wasn’t enough, Spidey has just had to save Dillon from being run over.
11mins 55secs – Spidey is also having visions of Captain Stacy. Denis Leary is back in the role, playing a ghostly apparition that acts as a reminder to Peter to stay away from Gwen.
12mins – This initial action scene involving the plutonium is a fun way to open the movie. No need for any scenes explaining what has been going on in the two years between the movies – just straight into some fighting!
14mins 20secs – Stan Lee cameo!
16mins 25secs – One very important thing that has happened between the two movies is that Peter and Gwen have graduated from high school. Graduation means that change is on the horizon.
16mins 50secs – Peter is having another vision of Captain Stacy. This is followed by a brief clip of Stacy’s death from The Amazing Spider-Man.
20mins – The visions have gotten too much for Peter. He made a promise to not put Gwen in any danger, and he feels compelled to stick to this promise. As a result, he and Gwen have split up.
26mins 5secs – A brief mention for The Daily Bugle and J. Jonah Jameson. Once again, Jameson doesn’t appear in person, but Peter has taken a job with the Bugle as a freelance photographer.
27mins 30secs – Back with Max Dillon, who is an employee of Oscorp…
28mins – …and who is clearly a little unhinged. He has just imagined a rather aggressive altercation with fellow Oscorp employee, Alistair Smythe, as played by B.J. Novak.
29mins 50secs – Time for a couple more character introductions now, beginning with Harry Osborn, played by Dane DeHaan…
30mins 30secs – …and Norman Osborn, played by Chris Cooper.
31mins – Norman is on his deathbed, suffering from a condition which has left him looking rather bizarre. I feel that is the best way to describe it.
33mins 40secs – And now Norman has died. Well, that was brief.
35mins – Back with Max Dillon and he has been tasked with fixing some faulty electrics, which are positioned above a water tank containing electric eels. Even if this wasn’t a Spider-Man movie, this is clearly a disaster waiting to happen.
36mins 45secs – Yep, Dillon was electrocuted. He then fell into the tank and was attacked by the eels.
37mins – With Norman dead, Harry is taking over his role at Oscorp.
38mins 15secs – Another brief introduction, this time for Felicia, who is played by Felicity Jones. It isn’t stated in this movie, but this is supposed to be Felicia Hardy, who will eventually become the Black Cat.
38mins 30secs – Just to recap, this movie is less than 40 minutes in, and along with the return of Peter, Gwen, Aunt May, Peter’s parents, and a ghostly vision of Captain Stacy, the film has introduced Aleksei Sytsevich (aka Rhino), Max Dillon (Electro), Norman Osborn (Green Goblin), Harry Osborn (Green Goblin II), Alistair Smythe (the Ultimate Spider Slayer), and Felicia (aka Felicia Hardy – the Black Cat)! This is a little of characters in a short space of time. Most aren’t important to this story, but even so, this is still a lot to cram in.
39mins – Despite no mention of this in the previous movie, it is now being established that Peter Parker and Harry Osborn were childhood friends, but they haven’t seen each other for years. How convenient.
48mins 15secs – While it appeared as if Max Dillon had died in the accident with the eels, he is still very much alive. Although he looks like hell. He has also developed electrical abilities.
50mins – Meanwhile, Peter and Gwen are spending some time together. Peter admits he has been following Gwen since they broke up (bit creepy), but Gwen seems fine with this.
However, she has just dropped the bombshell that she has applied for a scholarship at Oxford, and is moving to England. I said that big changes were on the horizon.
51mins – I should point out, that the music that features throughout The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is very, very different to the music heard in The Amazing Spider-Man. Noticeably different in fact.
This is because the soundtrack for The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is the work of Hans Zimmer, Pharrell Williams, Johnny Marr, Mike Einziger, Junkie XL, Steve Mazzaro and Andrew Kawczynski. The soundtrack for The Amazing Spider-Man was the work of just one person: James Horner.
Personally, I’m not a fan of some of the music featured in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, as I find listening to it quite jarring and also quite distracting. I believe it often overtakes what I should be focusing on (i.e. the story).
This isn’t me saying the music is terrible – far from it – but personally, it is not my favourite Spider-Man score. It does something bold and very different to what has come before, so I admire its ambition, I just think there is too much going on and I don’t particularly care for it.
53mins – Back to the action, and Max Dillon has arrived in Times Square, where police have come to the conclusion he is a villain. Cue a huge misunderstanding, as police shoot at Max before Spidey steps in.
56mins – Things have gone from bad to worse and Dillon is coming across as a villain.
58mins – Unlike Curt Connors from The Amazing Spider-Man, or Norman and Harry Osborn, Max Dillon has not previously appeared in a Spider-Man movie. I believe he was set to appear in one of the numerous unproduced Spidey films of the ‘90s, but as none of those came to anything, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 marks his big screen debut.
As for his comic book debut, Dillon made his first appearance in the pages of The Amazing Spider-Man issue #9, way back in 1964. So, it took him 50 years to go from the comic book page to the big screen.
1hr 3mins – Over at Oscorp, Harry Osborn has uncovered a secret computer database, which includes various files on Oscorp-related projects. Amongst these files is a ‘Dr. Morbius file’ – a nod to Marvel’s vampire anti-hero.
1hr 4mins – While Harry is uncovering Oscorp’s secrets, Peter is working on ways to improve his web-shooters. Now that he has an electric villain to face, his web-shooters need a tweak.
One thing which I really like about The Amazing Spider-Man movies is the focus on Peter as a scientist. In the comics, Peter is very clever and will often draw from his scientific knowledge when the occasion arises. This is something which was often overlooked during the Tobey Maguire-era of Spider-Man movies, but is ever-present here. Good stuff!
1hr 6mins – Amongst the secrets of Oscorp, Harry has discovered Richard Parker’s work on cross-species genetics. This has led him to the conclusion that Spider-Man is a by-product of Oscorp.
1hr 7mins – Harry needs Spider-Man’s help. He has inherited the same condition that Norman had, and he believes that Spider-Man’s blood could be the key to curing him.
Harry is trying to enlist Peter’s help to track down Spidey, but Peter is reluctant to help. Peter is aware of what happened to Curt Connors, and doesn’t want a similar thing to happen with Harry.
1hr 14mins – Due to the nature of Max Dillon’s abilities, he is being held at the Ravencroft Institute – a specially equipped facility for the criminally insane. Ravencroft has links to Oscorp and so naturally, instead of helping Dillon, Ravencroft’s resident doctor, Ashley Kafka (another character from the comics), is experimenting on him.
It is clear that this situation will not end well. Dillon – who is now calling himself Electro – has more power than anyone at Ravencroft understands, and it is only a matter of time until he breaks free.
1hr 19mins 25secs – Over at the Parker residence, Aunt May is revealing a few details about Richard and Mary Parker. But none of what May says offers any answers to why they suddenly disappeared when Peter was a child.
1hr 21mins 30secs – As well as getting nowhere with the truth about his parents’ disappearance, Peter is finding himself in a continually frustrating situation with Harry Osborn. He visits Harry (dressed as Spider-Man), to inform him that he will not be able to provide a sample of his blood.
1hr 31mins – Harry is angry, but thanks to a tip-off from Felicia, he has discovered a ‘special projects’ file on Oscorp, allowing him to learn the truth about what is currently happening to Electro. Meanwhile, across town, after digging deeper into the mystery surrounding his father, Peter has uncovered an underground lab containing Richard Parker’s research.
1hr 34mins 5secs – A recording made by Richard reveals that Oscorp has been working on biological weapons. After Richard got too close to the truth about what Oscorp was up to, Norman Osborn made him a target.
But Richard knew something like this could happen, and he made his DNA part of his work with spiders. Therefore, no future experiments can be a success without his blood.
He disappeared to stop Norman Osborn from using his research for nefarious purposes. Little did he know, that his work would be the reason that Spider-Man exists.
1hr 36mins – Over at Ravencroft Institute, Harry Osborn is breaking Electro out of confinement.
1hr 39mins 30secs – Hurrah! Gwen Stacy got into Oxford, and is preparing to leave New York. She still loves Peter, but things just aren’t working out at the moment, and she feels it is the best thing for both of them right now.
1hr 40mins 30secs – Oh dear… Harry and Electro have teamed up. This leads me to one of my main criticisms about this movie: The lack of character development for Electro.
I can’t say I have been a huge fan of this character at any point during this movie, but now that he is working with Harry, any potential personality growth for Electro has ceased. From here on out, he is effectively just a blue bad guy who can shoot electricity from his fingertips.
1hr 42mins – Harry is at least getting something to do, leading to the discovery of the ‘Special Projects’ lab, which contains: The Green Goblin suit, Doctor Octopus’ mechanical tentacles, and some spider venom.
1hr 44mins 20secs – Having been injected with the spider venom, Harry has begun to mutate. Enter: The Green Goblin!
OK, I’m stopping the movie for a moment to comment about the sheer excess of The Amazing Spider-Man 2. It was a common criticism during the time of its release, and it is a criticism I feel I need to share now.
There is simply too much going on in this film. Way too much.
Having the likes of Aleksei Sytsevich, Norman Osborn, Alistair Smythe, and Felicia Hardy included in the movie is one thing, but trying to balance Electro’s story, Harry’s story, the Parker mystery, as well as the Gwen/Peter relationship is something else entirely. On top of this, shoehorning in some nods to future villains, as well as a couple of scenes for Aunt May AND visions of Captain Stacy, all makes this a little over-stuffed.
And to think, at one point, this movie also featured Mary Jane Watson! MJ was cut due to the film containing too much material, and I have to say it is a blessing – there’s no room for anything else!
Now I must be clear, the excess on display in this movie, does not derail the story in the same way as the excesses of Spider-Man 3 brought the second half of that movie crashing to the ground, but the two films still walk similar paths. And it is so frustrating, because after a very promising start with The Amazing Spider-Man, Sony Pictures seem to have forgotten the problems of the past, and have tried to push too much into one movie, too soon.
1hr 45mins – On a more positive note, the Peter and Gwen chemistry continues to play out very well, and this is something which this movie nails. Both characters have declared their love for each other and it all feels very believable.
1hr 48mins – There is still another 30 minutes to go, but the film is now moving into the finale. Eagle-eyed comic book fans will note that Gwen is dressed in a green coat, very similar to how she was dressed in the comics… the night she died.
1hr 51mins – Electro’s big plan is to take over the city’s power grid, so that he can control everything in the city. As evil schemes go, it’s pretty lame.
1hr 53mins – Despite telling Gwen not to get involved during the fight with Electro, Gwen has joined in any way. Once again, this allows her to be just as important as Spider-Man at saving the day, which is great to see, although this is going to end in tragedy.
1hr 53mins 50secs – Oh dear, Spider-Man has just had another vision of Captain Stacy. Yep, tragedy is most certainly just around the corner.
1hr 54mins – Although Electro’s masterplan is a bit rubbish (honestly, who thought this up?) the action scenes between Spider-Man and Electro are well choreographed.
1hr 56mins – Spider-Man has defeated Electro!
1hr 57mins – Well, with the threat of Electro extinguished, I guess things are about to wrap up neatly. But, wait – is that the Green Goblin I see on the horizon? Oh dear.
1hr 57mins 15secs – I remember the first time I watched this movie, and when the Green Goblin showed up at this point in the film, just as things felt like they were wrapping up, I knew that I was in for a dramatic, emotional, and potentially devastating finale. I’m more than familiar with the Death of Gwen Stacy storyline from the comics, so I was convinced this was about to play out on screen.
1hr 57mins 25secs – The Green Goblin looks terrible, by the way. I really don’t like any of the villain designs in these movies.
1hr 59mins – Using his Goblin Glider, Green Goblin has flown Gwen high above a clock tower…
1hr 59mins 5secs – …and has dropped her.
1hr 59mins 10secs – But Spidey has caught Gwen!
1hr 59mins 25secs – Spidey and the Green Goblin are fighting it out inside the clock tower, while Gwen is trying to make her way down.
2hrs 20secs – During the fight, Gwen falls again, but is hanging onto one of Spidey’s web-lines.
2hrs 40secs – The line has snapped, and Gwen is falling for the third time.
2hrs 1min – Spider-Man has jumped after Gwen, shooting out another web-line to catch her.
2hrs 1min 25secs – The line catches Gwen before she hits the ground… *dramatic pause* …but there is a ‘snap’ and her body goes limp. She is dead.
2hrs 1min 45secs – Gwen’s death is heart-breaking.
2hrs 3mins – Peter breaks down in tears. This is tough to watch.
2hrs 3mins 30secs – Another sombre ending, as friends and family gather for Gwen’s funeral, and Peter and Aunt May watch on. This is a truly sad way to round out this movie.
2hrs 5mins – Time has moved forward a few months, and Spider-Man is nowhere to be seen. Harry is locked up at Ravencroft, where he is visited by the shadowy figure (aka the guy from the credit scene of The Amazing Spider-Man). There is talk of Harry setting up a villainous team, using tech from Oscorp.
2hrs 5mins 50secs – Cut to a scene with the shadowy man entering the ‘Secret Projects’ lab. Once again, the tentacles of Doctor Octopus are on display, along with the wings of the Vulture, and the Rhino suit. Speaking of which…
2hrs 9mins 45secs – Aleksei Sytsevich is back and he’s wearing a weaponised, mechanical Rhino suit. It looks truly awful.
2hrs 11mins 25secs – With New Yorkers facing the threat of the Rhino, Spider-Man returns.
Since the release of 2002’s Spider-Man, I have watched every Spider-Man movie in cinemas during opening weekend. The only exception to this is The Amazing Spider-Man 2, because it opened the weekend I was out of the country on vacation.
Because of my holiday, it was at least a week (possibly two) before I got to see The Amazing Spider-Man 2 on the big screen. During my wait, I caught sight of a number of reviews which were less than enthusiastic about the movie.
Going into the film, I was aware of the underwhelming press that the film had received. It wasn’t awful, but it was clear that critics were not happy with this offering and it did mean I was feeling less excited about this entry.
At the time, I couldn’t be quite sure if the criticism was to do with the quality of the movie, or the general feeling that after a quick succession of Spider-Man movies (i.e. the Sam Raimi films from 2002 to 2007 and The Amazing Spider-Man in 2012) critics and audiences were suffering from Spidey fatigue. But as I sat down to watch the movie, and I let the events of the film play out before me, I could tell that it was a mix of both of these things.
For me, this movie was not as well written as its predecessor, and it wasn’t as well cast either. I wasn’t a huge fan of Jamie Foxx’s Electro (I’m still not) and I didn’t believe that Dane DeHaan was right for Harry Osborn (and again, I’m still not).
As previously discussed, there was also a lot thrown at the screen too, and I felt it was a total overload. This is what I thought back in 2014 during this initial screening and having re-watched the movie today, I still feel exactly the same.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 isn’t a terrible movie. However, it is a misfire.
The reason for the excess in this picture is because back in 2014, Sony Pictures wanted to get multiple Spider-Man projects off the ground, including a Sinister Six movie. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was designed to help pave the way, by creating seeds for the future, effectively doing the leg-work for movies to come.
Sony’s gamble didn’t pay off, and despite doing fairly decent business (The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was the seventh highest grossing movie of 2014), the response to the film was fairly muted. As a result, Sony jettisoned its plans, dropped Andrew Garfield, and moved forward with yet another reboot – this time in partnership with Disney/Marvel Studios.
Was this the right thing to do? Well, it meant we finally got to see Spider-Man in the MCU, which is a positive, but I must admit that I don’t feel The Amazing Spider-Man movie series got a fair stab at things and I do believe it is a shame these films were canned after just two entries.
I make no bones about this, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is my least favourite of the Spider-Man films so far, but it has a lot going for it. And looking at this entry all these years on, I do believe its strengths outweigh its weaknesses.
Had Marc Webb tweaked this film, and had Sony not insisted in including so much content, this would have been a stronger picture. As it stands, it is fine.
I would have liked a little more from the Parker family secret, as it still felt half-cooked, but I guess more would have been explored in the next movie, had that happened. But combined with The Amazing Spider-Man, there is plenty to appreciate in this duology.
If a third movie had been made, I would have been there to watch it. Instead, I get to simply revisit these two films, and despite some criticisms, I have enjoyed the experience.
Thank you for taking the time to read this post about The Amazing Spider-Man duology. If you’re a fan of the movies, or you have issues with them, please feel free to join the conversation by adding some comments.
And for more Spider-Man-related content, be sure to check out the recommended reads below.