Spider-Man 2 is Not Amazing But Paul Giamatti Is
After seeing “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” we have several questions:
1. Why does Sony keep making these movies? Are they contractually obligated?
2. These people are only supposed to be 18 years old and just out of high school? Because Andrew Garfield is definitely, definitely at least 30.
3. Why does Ghost Denis Leary keep cock-blocking Andrew Garfield? That just doesn’t seem like him.
The answer to the first question is “Maybe it’s a contractual thing” and “Money, obvi.” The answer to the second question is “Jesus, this is a movie about a guy who can shoot spider webs from his wrists, and you’re doubting the veracity of his age? Pull it together.”
The final question is where our story begins. It is indeed Graduation Day for Peter Parker (Garfield) and his lovely girlfriend Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone). All is hunky-dory, except every time Gwen gets near danger, Peter is reminded that he promised Gwen’s dad that he would not date her so she could be safe. This reminder comes in the form of Ghost Denis Leary, wearing a police uniform and staring daggers at Spider-Man while he talks to Gwen on the phone or tries to go to dim sum with her. You can practically hear Leary cracking his knuckles. For some reason this is one of the most memorable portions of an otherwise meh movie, probably because it’s so unintentionally hilarious.
A lot of this movie revolves not around the three (!) villains, but the relationship between Gwen and Peter, because as a for-realzies offscreen couple they have terrific chemistry, even when they’re given garbage dialogue to work with. However, as much as we are super into Andrew Garfield, he’s not a great choice to play Peter Parker; Parker’s primary characteristic is that he’s a skinny nerd who can’t get a date. Garfield is a smoldering male model in the Viggo Mortensen category. Seriously look at this guy:
The more convincing dork, oddly enough, is Jamie Foxx, playing a twitchy Spider-Man fanatic who accidentally gets turned into a human/electric eel hybrid. This is one of the three villains, and if you think that is too many villains, you are correct. The villains don’t work in tandem or anything really, they have uneven amounts of screen time, and critical plot points are thrown in and then left there to die.
Foxx is ok as the first villain (called Electro), but he’s not nearly as interesting when he’s all blue and glowing. The second villain is Green Goblin Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan) who we are supposed to believe is Peter Parker’s BFF even though they haven’t seen or spoken to each other in ten years. He’s dying of something, acts out of desperation, is driven mad, etc.
This villain is also not that interesting.
But the final villain is Paul freakin Giamatti.
Giamatti plays a Russian mobster who in the beginning of the movie is trying to steal plutonium, and at the end is operating a giant rhinoceros robot. He has a shaved head and crazy face tattoos. He wears a tracksuit and spends most of his time screaming incoherently with a phony-baloney Russian accent. He is magnificent. He appears for only like ten minutes and has maybe five lines and they are the best ten minutes and five lines in the entire movie. Living, breathing, hilarious proof that there are no small roles, only small actors.
In conclusion, Denis Leary and Paul Giamatti forever. The end.
[Andrew Garfield photo by PR Photos]