You see it all in 3-D
It's your favorite foreign movie
-"Peg" Steely Dan
|The Amazing Spider-Man 2|
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was a revelation. A marvelous breath of fresh air into a flagging brand, a flagging icon. Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker/Spider-Man is utterly charming in a way that Tobey Maguire could never achieve. And I found myself falling deeply and mysteriously in love with Emma Stone as the tragic Gwen Stacy. Their onscreen chemistry is real and cheesy and everything you secretly want for your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. Dane DeHaan is a fantastically entertaining Green Goblin/Harry Osborn. He's captured as a simultaneity of doe-eyed young man-child on the cusp of his sinister inheritance. As Stan Lee has suggested, Spider-Man's greatest foe is Doctor Octopus, but Peter Parker's greatest foe is the Green Goblin. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 treats us to a fine portrait of Peter Parker qua Spider-Man and the Green Goblin as his mad nemesis. The best villains of course are those we can empathize with. Which brings me to the unexpected star of the show, Jamie Foxx as Electro.
|Jamie Foxx as Electro|
But as mentioned, the film at several points adhered to facile Hollywood predictability. When I first glimpsed the ecstatic power of Max Dillon's channeled rage I knew he would not be allowed to live. I knew there was no way he could be detained. The first, I suppose, of a handful of disappointments. The next blaring disappointment came in the character of mad German R&D scientist, Dr. Kafka.
Like being stopped while making love to that most beautiful and fleeting of partners, I was taken out of the film for a moment and allowed to peer into its short-comings. The fact that the mad doctor experimenting on Electro was Dr. Mengele-esque made me cringe. The joy of the film so far had been the satisfyingly comical portrayal of each character, but this one went so far over the top that my fan-boy boner went immediately limp. "Dr. Kafka", a heavy handed allusion in a film that got it mostly right, would have been satisfactory with a standard American dialect. He would have been most affective as a white American male. But perhaps this would have been too political, too confusing for the audience. Dr. Kafka is in fact interrogating and torturing this black-and-blue anti-hero and a white American male at the helm of this experiment, I suppose, would have been too obvious. When the white world needs a villain they turn to...well >>> this trope of modernity. My Mother and I exchanged "wtf" glances at each other, thereafter biding the minutes until Dr. Kafka met his untimely demise.
Then too, for those of us familiar with the comic, Gwen Stacy's demise was appropriately tragic. I was so invested in their love that by the time she passed away I felt like I had lost my own lovely and singular partner. Alas, my lady is a rouquine, not a blonde.
Predictability aside, the real joy and treat of seeing this film in 3D (an apparatus I typically despise) was having the thrill of swinging along behind the ol' Web Head. It was a fun, fast-paced ride and I didn't care where it went, because it was just my speed. The Amazing Spider-Man 2's production values are exemplary among a roster of 21st century films saturated with digital effects/CGI. It never pulled its visual punches and I, the central scrutinizer, found nothing to gawk at. The last film I wish I saw in 3D was Life of Pi, and this film rivaled it in terms of real/unreal graphical achievements. Perhaps it should have been The Spectacular Spider-Man, because it was surely spectacular.
All in all, the film was a treat for this fan-boy. I cried several times, and even now, thinking about the heroic conclusion of this imperfect, but oh so charming comic-book movie, well...It was good while it lasted. I knew where it was going. I knew I couldn't hold on to it forever. But I'll always remember it as a damn pretty and very special film. I wanna see it again.