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IN SHORT: yech [Rated PG-13 for sequences of action and violence. xx minutes]
We still own our original copy of "The Amazing Spider-Man #121" in which something major happens that wrecked young Peter Parker's life. That event occurs in a slightly different form in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (because putting a SNAP! in red letters on the big screen would make the film look too much like the dreadful Batman television series of the 1960s.) You can Google the reference. We're not going to spill the beans but (what happens) is probably all over the internet by the time you read this.
Which is too bad, for most of the film sets out a story that could radically change from comic book continuity and still work in the overall cinematic Spider-Man story (which means the first trilogy which, chronologically, will follow this set of films). That our fanboy mind was rewriting the story of Amazing Spider-Man 2, even as I was watching the film, is not a good thing. Heck, anything we say will have absolutely no impact on what this film will do at the box office, but we're still going to express our disappointment that -- and we cannot believe we are about to write the following words -- comic book continuity has been followed.
We are disappointed because the two films seen so far have not, in our opinion, developed a certain relationship to anything to a point close to making us care if one character is removed from continuity. . . [in an old review we noted] we should look at our old reviews to see if we put down in text how angy we got when Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) called Mary Jane Watson (here played by Shailene Woodley) his "one and only true love." In The Amazing Spider-Man 2 we get to see why. If that hasn't given away what you've already learned from the rest of the 'net, well, sorry.
We're really gonna miss Aunt May (Sally Field) . . . .
The Amazing Spider-Man 2, like the monthly comic book it is named after, picks up its continuity from its predecessor. That's a terrible thing for a critic that watches close to 300 films a year to deal with, given the [one or] two year gap between episodes. Certain references are made to the first film that we just don't remember and some major storylines are tossed to the wind with the death of a previously off-screen character. But if this trilogy is to stay in context with the next (previously released) set of films, a resurrection will have to take place in the next movie, and that will take AMS outside the realm of print continuity.
And, no, Aunt May doesn't die in this film. She died in the comic book and that decision was revoked pretty darn quickly. But I Digress . . .
A villainous Aleksei Mikhailovich Sytsevich, aka the Rhino (Paul Giamatti), described by writer as "famously one of Spider-Man's dimmest villains" (and certainly one of his strongest) is dispensed with, quickly, as this film begins. This will leave room for a special effects friendly bad-guy, called Electro (Jamie Foxx) to waste the rest of the film's screen time. What passes for this would-be trilogy's plot develops Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan) into something we won't talk about and pretty much obliterates the important roles Norman Osborne (Chris Cooper) and Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) should have if this set of films is to reach a trilogy.
Dear G-d, please let this thing die here and now.
On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Ten Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to The Amazing Spider-Man 2, he would have paid . . .
Cranky is just not buying in to this new (would be) "trilogy" but we love Sally Field as Aunt May
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