Disclaimer (of sorts): I have yet to see The Amazing Spider-man. (This seems to shock people. Understandably I guess. haha) I watched the first two Spider-man films starring Tobey Maguire but none after that.
In The Amazing Spider-man 2 (henceforth TAS2 for easy typing), Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) struggles with the tricky issue of being with Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) or keeping his promise to her father by staying away from her. There’s also a bunch of villains.
That “bunch of villains” is TAS2‘s weak link. The movie has too many villains (which seems to be a chronic disease with many superhero movies – but not Thor nor its sequel nor Captain America). Harry Osborn/Green Goblin (Dane DeHaan) was set up as the big villain of the movie, but I think Max Dillon/Electro (Jamie Foxx) got more screen time and character development. This resulted in the climactic fight happening with Electro but the most dramatic moment happening with or rather, due to the Green Goblin and I don’t think that split was a good idea.
Max Dillon’s transition from somewhat creepy super fan into bad guy Electro out for revenge was somewhat believeable (on a psychological level; not a physiological one). Although he isn’t the most riveting character, I think the connection between Electro and Spider-man could have been expanded more and turned into the central hero/villain relationship of the story. Instead, they chose to build up Harry Osborn’s story simultaneously and make him into the driving force behind the last quarter of the movie. As a result, Harry’s turning into the Green Goblin felt kind of rushed and shoehorned in.
They could have and should have divided this movie into two. Yes, introduce Harry Osborn here, and go ahead and plant the seeds of Harry’s resentment towards Spider-man. But you didn’t have to turn him into a full-fledged villain here. TAS2 should have been aboout Spidey and Electro. Then the inevitable third movie could have focussed on Harry becoming the Green Goblin – or Harry as the Green Goblin; the exact how and why could have been told in flashback or across TAS2 and TAS3.
Killing off Gwen Stacy here was also a waste. Had they held off on the whole Green Goblin thing, Gwen could have lived through one more movie, and thus the three movies would have completed Peter Parker’s personal arc better. Right now it feels like they just wanted to be rid of Gwen so they could bring in Mary Jane. Plus, Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone have undeniable chemistry and the characters worked well together.
The movie was entertaining enough, saved by the charisma and chemistry between Garfield and Stone, and by Dane DeHaan’s portrayal of Harry Osborn as a young man angry and resentful from the get-go, and with sinister undertones of desperation and ruthlessness. It was slightly distracting that DeHaan looked so familiar… but it wasn’t until Eileen pointed out that he resembled a young Leonardo DiCaprio that I figured out who he looked like.
And that end credits scene was confusing , since it came from a different franchise and there’s no hint of any possible crossover…