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TV show review: CONTINUUM season 4
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THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2

Movie Review by David Blackwell

 

DETAILS: 142 Minutes, audio commentary, deleted scenes, making-of documentary, featurettes, music video, previews, digital copy, DVD

VIDEO: 2.40:1 (Anamorphic Widescreen) 1080p High Definition

AUDIO:  English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, English Audio Description Track 5.1 Dolby Digital, French 5.1 DTS-HD MA, English Stereo (extras)

Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish

 

STUDIO: Columbia Pictures/ Sony/ Marvel

Theatrical RELEASE DATE: 5-2-2014

Blu-ray/ DVD RELEASE DATE: 8-19-2014

THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 flashes back to the events of May and Richard Parker leaving Peter with Aunt May and Uncle Ben before flashing to their moment on a private jet where they meet their fates,   That is how the sequel starts in what is a movie that is mixed with humor, action, character development, and tragedy.   Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) fails to keep away from Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) even though he made a promise to Gwen’s father (before he died) to stay away from her and not have her in harm’s way because Peter is Spider-Man.   With great responsibility comes tragedy as fans of the comic book will know what is coming in this sequel miles away, but it doesn’t make THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 any less tragic as the paths of Peter/ Spider-Man will collide with Peter’s childhood friend Harry Osborn who has returned from overseas to witness his sick father Norman Osborn die after parting a few words with his son.   Harry learns he has the same disease that affected his father and he wants to cure it.  He believes Spider-Man could cure it.   Meanwhile, Gwen gets word that she could be going to Oxford.   Peter must make some hard decisions and come to terms with the secrets of the past, but the real question will events and being Spider-Man let Peter move into a future together with Gwen.

 

THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 is as good as the first film as it continues the threads form the first film while planting seeds for the future.   Jamie Foxx is fun and tragic as the crazy Electro while Harry Osborn’s arc is a little rushed at the end, but the pre-Electro arc as Max is a really bad written train wreck.   The Electro and Spider-Man fights are well crafted and great to watch and yet I wish they had a better crafted bad guy for Spider-Man to face off against.  It seems like these new Spider-Man films are great at nailing who Spider-Man is, the romance between Peter and Gwen, and even give some good development to some of the characters turned bad by tragedy, but they just don’t know how to write the other type of super villains at all. The chemistry between the actors is amazing in addition to the fun smart alec nature of Spider-Man when he fights bad guys.   I do wish they explored Harry’s arc a little more and found a way to fit Daily Bugle editor-in-chief Jonah J. Jameson into the movie more instead of a faceless presence who underpays Peter for his photos of Spider-Man and you only hear about him (and see one email reply from J.J. Jameson.

 

 The sequel has lots of things going on as they manage to nicely weave the arcs in the movie, but I wish they could have played out the beginning arc of the Green Goblin more than what we get in the sequel.   The ending does plant seeds along with another scene for the next movie and the Sinister Six movie that Sony wants to make.  If you’re also observant, you notice Harry’s assistant is named Felicia which makes me wonder if she is Felicia Hardy (aka the future Black Cat).  I just wonder where the third Spider-Man film will take things as the movie ends on a tragic and hopeful note at the same time.   I do like how they manage to craft a Spider-Man film series I love more than Sam Raimi’s take of Spidey, but I wish they have the writing be more consistent.    Reviews have been mixed as people who hated the film sometime even attack the people who like it which I feel is just bad taste and insane.  I enjoyed the sequel even when I see the flaws in it like the fist AMZING SPIDER-MAN also had obvious flaws that stem from the writing.  I was really entertained and delighted by this sequel and the first one due to how the action, casting, chemistry, little things like the Spider-Man theme song being whistled by Spider-Man in one scene (and being used as his phone ring tone in another scene), and the small moments all come together despite how some parts are badly written.  I do hope they can craft a better script for the next AMAZING SPIDER-MAN and call it something other than the AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 3.

 

SPECIAL FEATURES:

Audio commentary for the film with Alex Kurtzman, Jeff Pinker, Matt Tolmach, and Avi Arad as they talk about the story and the scenes that were reshaped and the ones that were cut.

 

THE WAGES OF HEROISM- a multi-part 104 minute making-of documentary:

LESSONS LEARNED: DEVELOPMENT AND DIRECTION (18:59)- all about how they used the famous comic storyline The Death of Gwen Stacy for the basis of the sequel, the casting of the villains, and redesigning the suit to bring it closer to the comics.

HEART OF THE CITY: SHOOTING IN NEW YORK (12:34)- shooting on location in New York City and in the studio as this part goes behind the scenes of the prologue in the plane and the truck sequence which used Andrew Garfield and two stunt doubles to achieve the Buster Keaton slight of hand gag

TRIPLE THREAT: ATTACK OF THE VILLAINS (20:56)- behind-the-scenes of recreating Times Square in Long Island and filming in the big clock tower for the climax where both sets used CG extensions and animation (including animating Gwen’s hair).  The Times Square scene required storyboarding, previs, editing, and re-editing to get the special effects shots they needed

A MORE DANGEROUS WORLD: TRANSFORMING GOBLIN AND ELECTRO (10:10)- the visual make-up effects used to transform Jamie Foxx into Electro and Harry Osborn into the Goblin

BOLT FROM THE BLUE: VISUAL EFFECTS (17:42)- the special effects work of the sequel

SPIDEY GETS HIS GROVE BACK: MUSIC AND EDITING (24:09)-  the first half focuses on the score Hans Zimmer created for the sequel combing a film score with contemporary rock music from a jam group featuring Pharrell, Jihnny Marr, and Junkie XL.  The second half goes into the process of editing and how they paired things down and cut some scenes to up the pacing.

 

13 deleted scenes (with optional commentary by director Marc Webb) including a scene where he meets his father and extra character scenes with Harry Osborn which the director cut for pacing reasons (and I wish he left in).

Music featurette that has director Marc Webb talking about the score of the sequel

ALICIA KEYS “ITS ON AGAIN” music video

 

Digital HD Ultraviolet copy

 

DVD of the movie in standard definition with the audio commentary, the music video, and four deleted scenes

 

Bonus DVD (exclusive to Target) has a featurette called SOMETHING SINISTER THIS WAY COMES that is a 20 minute focus on the history of the Sinister Six in the Spider-Man comics and how the filmmakers are developing the Sinister Six through the last two AMAZING SPIDER-MAN films which will lead into the SINISTER SIX movie and THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 3.

 

FINAL ANALYSIS: THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 is at its strongest with the relationship between Peter and Gwen, but I wish they developed Harry’s turn into the Green Goblin more. The making-of documentary is great while the deleted scenes are a must watch to see what they cut in the process of editing the sequel.

 

This review is 8-26-2014 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission.  Send all comments to feedback@enterline-media.com

 

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