The Amazing Spider-Man 2 review

I was invited to a special preview of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 a few weeks ago, and Sony Pictures Singapore invited me for the premiere of the movie in Singapore last night!

I really enjoyed the movie, and here are my (spoiler-free) thoughts. You can skip down to the TL;DR version if you don’t want to read them.

The good:

It has a breathtaking theatricality. Theatricality is probably the wrong word, but it’s the only one that can adequately describe that moment when your breath catches in your chest as you take in the true scale and just marvel at what you see.

Where Sin City was faithful to a particular style of comic book art, the climax of ASM2 is a masterclass in translating a double-page action spread to cinematic form.

 ASM2 uses 3D and bullet time properly. They’re not just an effect; they do really make the film stronger. Bullet time is used generously to give the viewer time to breathe in the most action-packed parts, while the 3D really brings out the true theatricality of the fight scenes.

 I went in thinking that ASM2 would be crowded with villains, but I guess that old adage is true: don’t trust a trailer, a poster, or a tagline. Suffice it to say that there isn’t a villain overload, and there’s more than enough space to breathe.

 I really enjoyed the soundtrack. Some of the songs are a bit hipstery, in general it’s really great fun to listen to.

 It’s genuinely funny and cheeky. There are also numerous nods to Spidey’s long history, and they’re all quite funny. But if you don’t know Spidey, that’s okay; it’s still funny.

The not-so-good:

Just about all the emotional relationships felt flat and hollow. The Peter-Gwen romance in particular felt like pandering to audience expectations. At its core ASM2 is a movie about relationships, so this was rather glaring. They were going for an emotional punch. Sadly, to me, it felt more like a light smack on the arm when it should have been a devastating uppercut.

I enjoyed the villains, but their motivations quickly become cliche. Electro could have easily been genuinely frightening not just because of his powers, but because of what drives him. Definitely a missed opportunity.

Should you watch it? A resounding YES! In 3D, if you can; give it a chance and I think you’ll find that it’s the better for it.

TL;DR – What it lacks in emotional punch, ASM2 more than makes up with a truly stunning comic book aesthetic that moved me to joyous tears.

Many thanks to Sony Pictures Singapore for the invitation to the premiere! The Amazing Spider-Man 2 opens on May 1st, 2014 here in Singapore.

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