Beastly Reviews: The Amazing Spider-Man 2

I asked the price of the 3D showing. When she told me the answer, I opted for the 2-D show — the peasant experience. Her eyes, drained of their sprightly customer service spark, looked down without an answer as she printed the tickets. I took them with shame.

I left the theater elated that I chose the cheaper option. What an abject waste of money.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 will do fine. We give our money to these blockbusters because they satisfy two hours of idle time that we could otherwise spend fucking or doing our taxes. Their formula pleases us. Throw CGI, pop music, bad script, bad acting, and star power in the face of American audiences and the crowds roar.

But really, this film is an insult to the old comic book reader in me, the little guy who grew up collecting action figures. I wanted Spider-Man to become real, something more than another crowdpleaser, another sell-out. And maybe the joke’s on me. Didn’t comics and action figures once belong to an elite class of nerds, the kids who got bullied, much like Peter Parker himself, in the cafeteria at school? The kids who weren’t athletes or really all that attractive? Aren’t they ours?

Not anymore. Hollywood has stumbled onto a gold mine, and in teen-idol Andrew Garfield’s hands, Peter Parker has been revamped into a smartass, too-cool-for-school punk with a coif.

The Peter of this particular franchise isn’t a brainiac. He’s not top of his class. He’s not the shy geek who doubles as crime-fighter by night. He’s just Andrew Garfield with a one-liner-heavy script, one which quickly gets silly when Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone), who looks 27 but plays a high school senior, tells Peter she “just can’t live like this anymore.” Life must be hard when you’re in high school.

Jamie Foxx talks to himself for most of his scenes. The filmmakers boldly deviate from Electro’s comic book origin story and make him another OSCORP mishap (involving electric eels, no less). Nobody should ever work at this place.

Marilyn Manson -- er, Electro -- raids Times Square, looking confused.

There are more rapid body transformations in store for you. The injectable serums that create these transformations always seem to be available via hidden chambers and top-secret clearance codes. They always go horribly wrong, and they always create super-villains. Keep to the formula!

Almost as an afterthought, moments away from the credits, Paul Giamatti yells in his ridiculous Rhino suit. He’s in the film just long enough to shout his villain name (“I’m Rhino!”) in broad daylight before charging horn-first into a convoluted trainwreck of a finale — one that can’t come soon enough.

— Beastly

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