4 Bizarre Choices That Doomed 'The Amazing Spider-Man 2'
Two weeks in, it looks like The Amazing Spider-Man 2 won't simply be the lowest-grossing Spider-Man movie of all -- it will be even more critically detested than Spider-Man 3, a superhero movie about Toby Maguire saving New York by air-humping his way through a jazz dance solo.
A lot of the film's problems clearly stem from an abysmal script and the studio's presumption that fans would watch two hours of a blank screen as long as the words "Spider-Man" were in the title, but some of TASM2's decisions transcend the usual Hollywood apathy and border on intentional self-sabotage. Namely, the filmmakers apparently aspired to make the least rebooty reboot in reboot history.
It's a Bizarre Homage to the Worst Batman Movie
After that Technicolor shart that was director Joel Schumacher's Batman & Robin, every production office in the greater Los Angeles metro area framed a photo of George Clooney's bat-dong and emblazoned it with the caption "NEVER AGAIN." But instead of veering away from Batman & Robin's example -- which, oh, every superhero film has done for the past 17 years -- The Amazing Spider-Man 2 apparently celebrated it, namely the turd's villainous trio. How else do you explain these two green, venom-infused masterminds?
Or this duo of easily manipulated bald pun factories/steroidal smurfs who gained elemental powers in accidents involving their own scientific research?
And finally, how about these two jibberish-yelling strongmen who were empowered through further bullshit science, appeared for maybe 10 minutes, and did essentially nothing to advance the narrative whatsoever?
The six photos above contained three Academy Award acting nominees/winners.
The Costume Design Stepped Backward
In the original 1960s Spider-Man comic books, the Green Goblin was an insane industrialist who dressed in a latex grinning pervert suit. You can give Sam Raimi at least a modicum of credit for attempting to remain faithful to the Goblin's original look, but the final product looked like an S&M Power Ranger. Twelve years later, The Amazing Spider-Man 2's Goblin isn't all that different from Raimi's and can generously be described as "a bionic Evil Ed from the 1980s vampire flick Fright Night."
But the film's concept art didn't necessarily have the Green Goblin resembling a guy with a weird rash who fell into a bathtub full of L.A. Looks. Concept art for the villain showed him looking more like a proper monster than a tweaker. Turning him into a mutated abomination wouldn't have been an entirely crazy idea, as there's precedent for such in the comics and shit, and the bad guy in the first movie was a giant lizard who did CrossFit.
These were done back when Thom Yorke was still up for the role.
And what about that charmingly homemade costume Andrew Garfield jury-rigged together? That got scrapped for one straight out of the Raimi films in the name of making it more "Spider-Man-y," whatever that means. If the Chris Nolan Batman flicks had embraced this fashion sensibility, Christian Bale would've fought Heath Ledger's Joker with a screamingly tumescent codpiece.
He's bowing his head in shame.
The Return of the "Hip 1990s Soundtrack" Trend
Back in the prehistoric 1990s, superhero movies and Top 40 radio were easy bedmates. Batman Forever gave us "Kiss From a Rose" and Method Man rhyming about the Riddler, whereas the Batman & Robin soundtrack had R. Kelly warbling about Gotham City. Hell, Shaq rapped about being Steel, as everything Shaq did in the '90s was hilarious across the board.
Case in point.
This trend lost popularity after 2002's Spider-Man, which supplied audiences with a song by the Nickelback guy and a head-scratching sequence in which Macy Gray meets Spider-Man (thus opening the door for a gritty Macy Gray reboot down the pike).
Scene from The Amazing Spider-Man 3.
After that, this trend lay dormant for a decade -- until Hans Zimmer recruited a composer supergroup consisting of everybody from Pharrell Williams to Johnny Marr to score The Amazing Spider-Man 2. There's nothing wrong with people singing about superheroes again per se, but when your movie features Electro operatically narrating the events happening on screen in dubstep for no reason ("He's dead to me! That Spider-Man! He is my enemy!"), the audience starts wondering if your entire goddamn film is a deleted scene from Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.
The Plot Was Basically Spider-Man 3
We've already established that The Amazing Spider-Man 2 isn't beneath aping the shittiest superhero film ever, so this isn't a stretch. Spider-Man 3 had (deep breath) three supervillains with coincidental connections to Peter prior to their origins, a Peter-Mary Jane breakup, new revelations concerning Uncle Ben's death, the introduction of Gwen Stacy, and an alien parasite that makes Peter Parker act like MC Skat Kat.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 had three supervillains with coincidental connections to Peter prior to their origins, a Peter-Gwen breakup, new revelations concerning Peter's parents' deaths, the introduction of Felicia Hardy, PLUS Aunt May's financial problems from Spider-Man 2 and Denis Leary's disapproving ghost dad.
Keeping his streak of stealing from better comics alive.
Because of its overstuffed script, we got crazy transitions like Peter reuniting with his long-lost best friend, Harry Osborn, and them hating each other two scenes later, a calculator inexplicably filled with subway tokens left by Peter's dad, and a plot twist sad enough to fuel an entire sequel resolved in 10 minutes. Of course, this was all basically a 142-minute ad for the upcoming Sinister Six movie.
Look, we don't hate Spider-Man. We want to live in a world where Spider-Man sequels can compete with Dostoevsky and shit. But when you reboot a franchise, forget you rebooted it one movie in, and force Electro to sing his emotions instead of acting, that's not a popcorn flick. That's an evil scheme devised by Doctor Octopus.