Thursday saw Sony release the official synopsis for The Amazing Spider-Man 2. I enjoyed the first film, and though it had its problems it was a solid start for the reboot of the franchise.
I’m concerned though, as the synopsis both excites and concerns me. So first, let’s see what exactly Sony has released.
“In The Amazing Spider-Man 2, for Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield), life is busy – between taking out the bad guys as Spider-Man and spending time with the person he loves, Gwen (Emma Stone), high school graduation can’t come quickly enough. Peter hasn’t forgotten about the promise he made to Gwen’s father to protect her by staying away – but that’s a promise he just can’t keep. Things will change for Peter when a new villain, Electro (Jamie Foxx), emerges, an old friend, Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan), returns, and Peter uncovers new clues about his past.”
Also credited so far are Sally Field (back as Aunt May), Shailene Woodley (as Mary Jane Watson), Paul Giamatti (as Rhino), and Colm Feore (no one knows yet). I wouldn’t be surprised if Martin Sheen reappears in flashbacks as Uncle Ben, along with Peter parents, as we are promised new clues.
On first read through you might think this all makes sense and sounds like Sony are ticking all the right boxes. My overriding concern is that they are ticking too many boxes.
Straight away you have a lot of important characters. Comparing it to the main cast of TASM (see table), you might think “but it’s the same number!” Well you’d be right, but you’re not taking into consideration the importance of each character.
Mary Jane and Harry Osborn are two of the most important characters in Spider-Man’s story. Between them and one villain (plus planting some seeds for villains in future installments) surely you have enough to fill a film. As they weren’t even mentioned in the first film they would all need introductions. What are their motivations? What are they like? Will they too find out who Spider-Man is (please no)? It would be a pretty safe bet to await a love triangle (or four way?) with the two biggest loves of Peter’s life involved. On top of that Harry will no doubt go onto bigger (and badder?) things, plus we might meet his Father. So just there you have two large plot threads.
Aunt May will always have a secondary role to play. Ratha’s involvement is left unclear, though he did have a death scene deleted from TASM. So with Captain Stacy rather unlikely to return, that really that only leaves villains.
Well we’re in luck (?), as we have at least two. You don’t hire actors of the calibre of Foxx and Giamatti to twiddle their thumbs. Foxx has already said that he won’t have the yellow and green costume, which is a good start; and I look forward to seeing another Oscar winner joining the ranks of those already involved in comic properties. But how will Giamatti become the Rhino? Will we be getting another slightly unconvincing CGI monster like The Lizard? I’m hoping that they won’t come together in a team up just as Venom and Sandman did in Spider-Man 3.
Come on, we all knew it was only a matter of time before this came up. The turgid mess that was Spider-Man 3. I don’t think TASM2 could ever be that bad, but I fear it’s approaching it, and I’ll tell you why!
Both love interests? Check.
Multiple villains, one of whom is Venom? Check. The latest info is pointing towards Harry becoming Venom, using the Ultimate comics version of the symbiote.
Peter being a dick? Check, as he continues to break his promise to the dying Captain Stacy.
That film fell apart due to there being too many underdeveloped characters, pointless tinkering of the mythos (the Uncle Ben killer ret-con), and Peter Parker going emo. I shudder at the thought.
I really hope that lessons have been learnt and that Marc Webb can spin it all together into something much more cohesive, whilst respecting the characters. Each one of them needs time and space, not only to be introduced correctly, but for us to give a damn. Shoe-horning them in because you want to get the big characters involved is not only short sighted (you’ve got at least another film) but damaging to the overall story.
With Webb already tweeting from the set we are bound to get not only some answers, but also plenty more questions. Fingers crossed it all paints a convincing picture.
I’m not on a complete downer over this film. We have great actors cast as the villains, continuity with the main cast and director, plus we’ve got the awkward re-telling of “With great power…” out of the way. So maybe it will be good, and I’m worrying over nothing. But right now I can’t shift a feeling that the film will be far from amazing. I hope I’m wrong.