The Amazing Spider-Man 2

By Emily Cracknell

Mailed on April 30, 2014

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Dear Pietro Scalia

Dear Pietro,

Congratulations on creating something of a cohesive narrative out of this mess. I can only imagine the footage you sifted through in order to create a film of great imagination (and even greater plot holes). Director Marc Webb clearly set his sights on the tween-market, assuming that a generation raised on tweets and snapchat would appreciate shiny distraction over plot and character development.

Let me see if I can make sense of the story you were trying to piece together:

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 opens with a vague introduction of what happened to Peter Parker’s parents—and with that bit of exposition out of the way, we quickly barrel into proper Spidey hijinks: an Eastern-European loon has a load of nuclear bits and bobs in a truck! Will no one stop the Eastern-European loon! (The real baddie here seems to be the immigration office: I’m surprised at the number of wicked Nazi scientists and mad Russians they let into the country; can’t they tell from the accent, the cackle, and the deranged facial expressions that these guys are up to no good?)

While Spider-Man destroys half of the NYPD’s patrol cars in the process of stopping him, his lovely lady, Gwen, is making a poignant speech at their graduation, which he only just manages to attend.

Gwen isn’t Peter’s lovely lady for long though. Guilt over her dead father’s wishes (to keep her out of harm’s way) leads to the death of their relationship and the beginning of their epic love story.

Will they get back together? Won’t they? Wait; why won’t they again? The movie seems to lose track of this itself, but that’s understandable, see poor Spidey has a lot on his plate. If the city isn’t suffering a major electrical problem, random planes aren’t crashing, an evil corporation isn’t doing evil things, and no one’s after Spider-Man’s blood, then Gwen’s off to Oxford University! Just as one storyline seems to build momentum, another web-stream of plot shoots off in the opposite direction.

Spidey does his best, swinging here and there, helping out where he can—especially little kids who need big hugs and empty remarks. Interspersed with these empty remarks, we’re introduced to the villains…all of the villains. Besides the aforementioned Soviet Block Baddie, there’s Max Dillon, the maligned and ignored electrical engineer, whose finest work is stolen by Oscorp right before he’s involved in a major work accident involving electrical eels. He becomes Octo, a electrical blue phantom, who’s shoved in the basement with a Nazi scientist until the plot requires him later. Then there’s Harry Osborne, heir to the Oscorp conglomerate, who just happens to be Peter Parker’s best friend and is now dying of the same nasty lizard disease that killed his father. (Therefore he needs Spider-Man blood.) If that wasn’t good enough for you there’s that nasty Oscorp corporation prepared to do anything to topple Harry, their newly appointed Chairman, and keep their evil experimenting on the down-low.

While all of this villainous stuff is percolating, Peter  is struggling to figure out why he was abandoned by his parents,  his relationship with Gwen, and—oh, did I forget to mention how Aunt May is studying to become a nurse to help save money for Peter to go to college?

How you were able to cut this all together, I don’t know. The film swings wildly from plotline to plotline like Spider-Man crossing the city on his webs. And when it comes to resolving any of them, it turns out that a baddie’s real identity can be uncovered in a casual chat in the elevator, and the disappearance of your parents can be solved by figuring out that they used the subway.

Logic isn’t this movie’s strong point. Unfortunately, logic – both spatial and narrative – is the cornerstone of your profession.

So kudos, Pietro, for turning it into something that makes any sort of sense whatsoever.

Emily Cracknell

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