Saturday, August 30, 2014

A Ghoul Versus The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (Part 2)

Click here for Part 1!

Meanwhile, Harry strolls right into Ravencroft because I guess being fired from Oscorp has no effect on his security clearance on any of the other buildings they control. To their credit one guard does try to stop him, but Harry just kicks his ass and knocks him out with his own taser. He sneaks into Max's cell, making a deal with him: he'll free him in exchange for Max getting him into Oscorp.

Security rushes into the room, starting to drag Harry away when Max transforms into pure electricity and kills all of them. He shifts back into his physical body, somehow also forming shorts and a small power meter on the side of his head. Don't... don't ask. Don't expect ANYTHING to make any sense in this movie anymore.  Exiting the subway, Peter receives a voice mail from Gwen that she got accepted to Oxford and is leaving for England right away. Harry and Max kill their way into Oscorp tower, Max now able to form an entire bodysuit out of electricity. I don't think Kurtzman and Orci know how electricity works, I'm just saying.

Harry makes one of the Shady Executives take him to the hidden lab where the spider venom is, which naturally is located in the bowels of Oscorp. As they walk we get a brief glimpse of Doctor Octopus' cybernetic arms in the background, because why have compelling villain origins when you can just make them off an assembly line? God, this fucking movie.  The executive leads him to the spider venom, Harry shooting up a vial of it and beginning to transform immediately. He crawls his way towards the Green Goblin suit of armour, donning it but the camera cuts away before we can get our full villain reveal. Hopefully it cuts to Max furthering his power by using the Oscorp power grid- oh no, it's just more Peter and Gwen boredom.

I was positive he was going to do the whole “you CAN'T go to (insert far away location here) because I love you!” bit, but instead tells Gwen he'll go to England with her. That is pretty nice actually, that he doesn't expect Gwen to throw away all her dreams for him so I will award points for that. Their joyous reunion is cut short by all the power in the city going out, as Max is sucking it all up.  Gwen, who must have been studying the entire electrical plan of New York in her spare time, tells Peter there's an emergency reset switch at the power plant. Peter worries he'll have no way to stop Max because he still hasn't found a way to shield his web shooters, which makes his earlier attempt to do so the first montage in movie history to NOT fix the problems.

Because she's as tired as I am of all this bullshit, Gwen reads ahead in the script and discovers magnetizing his webshooters will protect them. Gwen Stacy: the REAL hero of this franchise as she gets the ball in motion and doesn't stop for nonsense!  They flag down a nearby cop and borrow his jumper cables to magnetize Peter's webshooters and I'm not even going to bother questioning if that makes any sense because this is a SCIENCE IS MAGIC kind of movie. He races off to confront Max, who is now at the city's power grid leeching all the power he can find.

Max announces he will now control everything and be like a God because he's just full on crazy at this point, so Peter just starts beating him up. Max helpfully obliges him by staying in his solid form even though he can turn into pure sentient electricity at this point, but I guess the film makers weren't smart enough to figure out how to turn that into an unconvincing CGI battle like the one we get to see.  Then it gets STUPID, and I mean ALL CAPS STUPID. Max suddenly remembers that he can turn into electricity, so he starts bouncing along the power grid and shocking Peter while at the same time playing the notes for “Itsy Bitsy Spider” each time he hits an electrode. I know I say this a lot, but THIS is the dumbest thing I've ever seen. You can't go from deadly serious to goofy serious in the same scene guys, time to go back to film school.

The greatest character in these movies, Gwen Stacy, shows up in a police car and smashes into Max to put an end to... whatever the hell we just saw. They cook up a plan to reset the power system to overload Max, Gwen running off to the control center. Peter sees Ghost Cop staring disapprovingly at him again, and is there a POINT to this anymore besides lame foreshadowing because we're all idiots? I thought Peter had come to terms with all of this by getting back into Gwen's life.  Apparently not, as Ghost Cop vanishes the second Max wakes up and attacks again. Despite his previous strategy being successful and nearly killing Peter, Max decides to return to his physical form again to give Spider-Man a fighting chance I guess? Well, can't say he's not a fairplay villain!

They rip off the Return of the Jedi as Max starts blasting Peter to death with Sith Lightning, so Gwen is all “Really? That's the best they could think of?” and resets the grid. This turns all the power in the city back on and overcharges Max, as evidenced by the little power meter on the side of his head now flashing “OVERLOAD”. How come he was able to suck up all the power from New York earlier, but now it kills him? They throw out an analogy of overcharging a battery, but after all the electricity Max unleashed trying to kill Peter he's got to be about tapped out now. This should have only made him stronger.

He explodes, which makes NO SENSE because he's made out of freaking electricity! He can just reassemble himself like he has a dozen times already, right? Or not, as we see his power meter on the ground flash and then die out. But wasn't the power meter PART OF HIM?! Like, actually made out of electricity as it kept reappearing every time he solidified? RHAARGH!  Peter and Gwen unite to end the movie with a triumphant kiss- hahah, just kidding, here comes the Green Goblin. No wait, my mistake it's just Harry wearing some really cheap Halloween facepaint and green hair dye. Why is it SO hard for them to make a Green Goblin that doesn't look like complete shit in these movies? The Green Goblin is one of the most iconic villain designs ever, but no, lame knock off of a Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers villain is A-OK in Fox's book!

Harry “Totally Not The Green Goblin” Osborn looks at the two and realizes Peter is Spider-Man, calling him out for not helping him. He grabs Gwen and flies away, Peter in hot pursuit to make the most dangerous game of Keep Away in recorded history.  You know what this is REALLY similar too? The aforementioned movie Chronicle, which featured Dane DeHaan as a young man with an abusive father that got superpowers and went batshit crazy. Not that Chronicle reinvented the wheel when it featured a character like that, but it's just really strange to see the same actor playing the EXACT same character.

Just in case you forgot the first film and its rampant parade of cliches, Peter yells at Harry to let Gwen go. So of course Harry goes, dropping her from high in the sky. Peter leaps up to catch her and they fall into a building that I'm pretty sure is the clock tower of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Weren't they just in the New York City power grid a few seconds ago? Why is there a gigantic tower full of gears next door to it?  Peter and Harry CGI-fight in the tower, Gwen getting knocked off the gear she was standing on. Peter catches her with a web, but before he can pull her up Harry attacks him again. Gwen falls again, Peter diving after her as everything goes into slow motion to indicate Shit Is About To Get Real. He shoots a web after her, which actually forms a tiny little hand because that's totally how webshooters work, but is just a moment too late as Gwen's head makes sickening contact with the ground below. BRUTAL shot right there.

He jumps down after her, but it's too late. We jump ahead to the Required By Law slow motion funeral, as this is now the trademark of the series. Hilarious, comical adventures with larger than life action and witty one liners? No, we'll take death and misery very much thank you. Boy, I sure am not tired of the Grim 'N Gritty era of superhero movies, no siree bob!  A montage of Peter standing in front of Gwen's grave throughout the months takes us to fall and then winter, which sadly was done better in Twilight: New Moon, which is something I NEVER thought I'd have a chance to say. WAY TO GO MARC WEBB!

This is pretty boring, let's see what's shaking at Arkham Asylum. The mystery shadow man from the end of the last movie goes to see Harry, telling him he's found “several worthy candidates”. Harry refers to the man as Mr. Fiers and this means I have to turn in my Comic Book Nerd card as I have no clue who that is in the Spider-Man mythos.  Fiers says the first candidate is Aleksei Sytsevich, the dumbass from the beginning of the movie. We see Fiers walking through the secret lab of Oscorp as we once again see Dr. Octopus' arms as well as the Vulture's winged suit and the Rhino's costume. I'm just going to start calling Oscorp tower the Build-A-Villain Factory.

Also, who is running Oscorp at this point? It's pretty obvious Arkham Asylum isn't controlled by the police, but rather Oscorp, so why are they still letting Harry have guests and set up plans?  Or how come Fiers had to physically be let into Harry's cell?  In the first film he was able to magically teleport in and out of Connors' cell.  Peter watches a news report that tells us Aleksei has escaped from prison, the latest in an escalated crime wave plaguing the city since Spider-Man vanished five months ago. He goes up to his bedroom to sulk some more, finding a flash drive with a recording of Gwen's valedictorian speech on it. AMAZINGLY it syncs right up to what Peter is going through, as it now sounds like she's talking directly to him! Now THAT'S... another horrible cliché this film is inflicting upon us.

This is just what Peter needs to hear as he suits up as Spider-Man again, just in time too because Aleksei as the Rhino is now attacking the city. Or at least as close to the Rhino as they're ever going to get, he's more like Mecha Rhino With Machine Guns. Peter confronts him, the Rhino charging at him as we're gearing up for a huge downtown battle. Peter grabs a manhole covers as a shield and LEAPS AT HIM... and the movie ends. Wow.

Cue the credits, set to Alicia Keys and Kendrick Lamar's “It's On Again”. Oddly enough, there's no stinger. HUH?! This was a Marvel movie, right? Or did DC Comics buy the character or something?

Early I compared this movie to Michael Bay's Transformers, which is the most accurate and spot of description of this film. There is NO story going on here, it's just a bunch of random and unrelated scenes clumsy edited together into a two hour plus movie.  The subplot with Peter's dad is the most baffling, as so much time is devoted to it and it does NOTHING. Peter had already rejected Harry's request for his blood, so having him learn AFTER THE FACT his blood wouldn't help his friend was completely pointless. There's this whole thing Peter had lost faith in his father, but getting his faith back didn't accomplish anything.  That pretty much sums up the entire movie: nothing accomplished anything besides killing off the film's best character.

All of the villains were pathetic, Max was just crazy for the sake of crazy, Harry was just crazy for the sake of crazy, and I refuse to even count the Rhino. I can't fault this very much though, as none of these films can create a villain that's anything besides a one dimensional MWA HA HA mustache twirler.  Once again Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone carried the entire movie, despite the whiny relationship crap they were saddled with. Stone is definitely joining Diane Kruger, Emily Blunt, and Vera Farmiga in the Ghoul Awesome Actress Hall of Fame, as she always does her best and is almost always smarter than the main lead. Garfield was a lot whinier in this movie, but was still very likeable and LIGHT YEARS ahead of Tobey Maguire's sorry ass.

All in all, this is what I like to call a “hot mess”, but not in the way Transformers was because it avoided all of the horribly inept juvenile humour Michael Bay revels in. Hollywood blockbusters are only getting worse in this era: they are WAY too long, they have WAY too many subplots, they have Godawful CGI, and their action so over the top it gets boring. This could have easily just have been any of the major movies I've reviewed on this blog, but again, MUCH better acting. Whereas the first film I could give a slight recommendation to because it was quite decent (especially now compared to this one), there is NOTHING here to even keep your attention.

One last thing, they really better start cranking these Spider-Man movies out faster because did you know Andrew Garfield is already THIRTY-ONE years old? If he gets much older Joe Quesada is going to ruin the franchise forever and tell all the fans to eat shit and die by having Mephisto appear and replace him with a teenager from Glee.