Thursday, May 01, 2014

The Amazing Spiderman 2 review (Spoiler alert)

Hi guys, today I'm going to review a movie I've waited quite long to watch: The Amazing Spiderman 2 (ASM2). Let me said first that this is a positive review.

Granted that the reboot series comes quite fast after the Raimi series and thus has some disadvantage, either they had to portray the same story (like Uncle Ben's death and Goblin dropping Parker's girlfriend), or entirely avoid what has been shown on the last trilogy (like not having J. Jonah Jameson or Mary Jane on screen for two movies now).

After this movie, I feel like ASM 2 has earn the right to retell the same story we already know just to make the universe a bit more fair. The main reason I said that is because Norman Osborn died without having become the Green goblin first. It's obvious why the direction of the story had went this way, it's been told and done with. In this sense, it's clever for the writers to modify and yet stick to the comic books, that a goblin (Harry Osborn) killed Gwen Stacy. However, after the death of Gwen Stacy, it's about time to introduce Mary Jane on screen. Jameson got an email cameo now, but it's getting harder to avoid showing him as the series goes on. One most notable villain I want to see coming back is Doc Ock. He is simply indispensable in the Sinister Six team as well as having the tentacles on display in Oscorp secret lab helps a lot.

The plotting wise, it's very tight, with many subplots jumbled up together, jumping here and there. To me it's clear where and how it jumps, and it makes sense. Spiderman is about Peter Parker managing his normal life with crime fighting. In normal life, we tend not to focus on only one ongoing process at a time, but several of them. Peter has to deal with his strong feelings towards Gwen, his responsibility as Spiderman, his promise and knowledge that being close to Gwen would put her in danger, also his parent's mystery and Harry Osborn. Other than that, the film also juggles on how Max became Electro, how Harry hate Spiderman, and the backstory for Rhino.

It's a good jumble, mixed in just the right way for us to ride with Peter's complicated life. Now, let me go into a bit more detail about how the subplots make sense to each other. The subplot of Peter wanting to know more about his parents and Gwen Stacy leaving is that he felt that the people he loved keeps dumping him. He had lost his parents, so he doesn't want to lose Gwen too. This is why he feels so much empathy towards Harry, who just lost his father. Later, Harry had discovered the research that Peter's father had done on Spider and human hybrid (Spiders with Human DNA in it) and asked Peter for Spiderman's blood to cure his disease. Having seen what Dr. Conners had become because he rushed the testing phase, both Peter and Spiderman doesn't want to give the blood. Yet, Spiderman could not tell Harry that he is trying to find out more about Peter's father's research without revealing who he is, and also he had not yet discovered the secret train hideout yet. This lead to Harry hating Spiderman. Later, when Peter found out that the spiders hybrid contained his father's DNA, he didn't have the time nor the urgency to inform Harry about it.

First off, it is because of Richard Parker putting his DNA inside the spiders that Peter turns into Spiderman instead of some undesirable side effects, or being killed. So anyone else knowing about the research of Richard Parker and the truth would easily suspect that Peter Parker is Spiderman. Thus, Peter would still need more time to reverse engineer and make new Spiders that is suitable for Harry before being able to give Harry his cure.

Second, the timing. Harry was very impatient, resorting to freeing Electro after getting kicked out of his company just to get to the spider serum instead of waiting for Peter Parker to help him. To be fair, Peter didn't know that he could help Osborn or how before the train, thus he didn't make a commitment to do so. Spiderman's promise to find another way is empty to Harry after his refusal to give the blood. Thus, by the time Peter had discovered the train, Harry was already at the point of being injected with the serum. So even if Peter had the sense to call Harry up (what would he say without revealing that he is Spiderman anyway?) he could not had stand a chance to persuade Harry to wait for a bit longer for more research as Harry is already seeing his salvation just minutes away.

Third, the reason Peter didn't call is not just the need to protect his identity, he might conceivably give it up to save Harry, but there's a stronger reason. He was reminded about Gwen Stacy. He picked up his phone (maybe he was going to call Harry then), and there was the message. Gwen Stacy is leaving for UK now. Having been through the pain of being left behind because his father had placed responsibility over parenthood, he temporarily forgotten the lesson of "With Great Power, comes Great Responsibility" and choose to follow his emotions for Gwen instead. He doesn't want the pain of being left behind to happen again, no matter what, he could have a love life and being Spiderman at the same time, right?

No, it was a fast paced series of events during the night that ended up with Gwen Stacy dying due to Harry's involvement. Peter had webbed Gwen's hand onto a police car, but that wasn't enough to stop her from helping him. It could be said that Gwen ran into her own death, but also, Gwen would not had the chance to do so had Peter not pick her up from the bridge and say he wants to move to England with her. Yet, if he hadn't done that, Peter stand little chance in his fight against Electro. So in the end, it can be said that Gwen saved Spiderman, and sacrificed herself (even when it was unintentional). In the end, Gwen died. Peter who had a last look at Captain Stacy in the Electro fight must had felt triple guilt. First off, he broke the promise and eventually led to Gwen's death. Second, the love of his life died because of him. (In retrospection, she died to saved him during the fight with Electro). Third, he had abandoned the calling of "With Great Responsibility comes Great Power". He went a different direction that his father didn't took. His father did the right thing in the end, at least Peter was still alive. Peter's choice had killed Gwen.

Due to these triple guilt, he could not forgive himself for 5 months, no Spiderman during those 5 months. Only when he found hope again, did he come back as Spiderman, fighting Rhino, whom we had seen in the first action sequence to the movie at the end. So it was a nice wrap.

I like that despite having 3 villains, Spiderman took them on one by one. It doesn't distract from the villain he was fighting at the time and there would be enough time for simultaneous attack on Spiderman later on in Sinister Six.

There's another thing I would like to touch on. Peter's relationship struggle with Gwen Stacy is complicated, and it can be compared with a person who wants to be a celibate having to struggle with his or her hormones. I would feel that Peter's suffering is greater. The girl actually faces death and danger, not just emotional complication.

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