Sunday, April 27, 2014

Diva Watched "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" - Cluttered, But More Entertaining Than The First

Red Dot Diva was pleasantly surprised when Sony Pictures Singapore e-invited her and a small group of local bloggers for an exclusive snippets preview of "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" a few weeks before the movie opens at local cinemas on May 1.

During the preview, the introduction by director Marc Webb and the specially selected movie snippets had already hinted of the spectacular 3D imaging used for the movie as well as of the exciting sequences in store. Red Dot Diva had a gut feel then, that the sequel was going to be a way better movie than the first installment.

And she was not wrong.

Based on her 3D experience of "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" media premiere held on April 24 at GV Vivo (which has an amazing Spidey promo area, by the way - see pic below!), the following consists of Red Dot Diva's opinions about the movie.

Warning: Mild Spoilers!

Take a pic w/ Spider-man props at GV Vivocity!

While "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" did not give her the WOW! feeling she had when she walked out of the theatre after "Captain America: The Winter Soldier", this movie was a more confident, more satisfying and definitely way more entertaining continuation of the Amazing Spider-man story.

To older fans (yes, like those getting creaky bones and prone to far less hipstery tendencies), the first "The Amazing Spider-Man" movie was a bit of a perception-shock. Andrew Garfield had the right look and stature for Spider-Man, but to many including Red Dot Diva, a little too hip and cool in school. The bland story-telling and unconvincing reptilian-villain screen time didn't help either. The movie was barely saved by the cute chemistry of Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone in the romantic segments.

This latest follow-up has given her renewed hope for Marc Webb and team's vision for the Spider-man reboot.

Firstly, the 3D rendition was superbly done for the Spidey scenes, better than in the previous movie. That may also probably be due to the fact that Andrew Garfield and stunt guys appear more comfortable in the superhero role. The camera/ VFX sequences showing how Spidey somersaulted and webslingged along the streets of New York City were fresh, energetic and breath-taking. The adrenaline-filled action and chase scenes were all wonderfully choreographed.

The movie works well as a whole primarily because of Andrew Garfield's fantastic acting. This time, his portrayal of Spider-man showed more action panache, sharp wit, sarcasm and undeniable charm - all the things that embodied the Spider-man comic book fans are familiar with. He seemed to be having so much fun playing the role that the infectiousness was translated effortlessly across the screen. Plus, thanks to the screenwriters and director, the nerd time devoted to Spider-man figuring out the science and mechanics of his web shooters was much appreciated.

Then, there were the heartwarming moments -- *sniff* -- so much {{ feels }}, especially so, now that Aunt May's (Sally Field) role has been fleshed out in this movie. Some viewers may enjoy the chemistry of real-life couple Andrew Garfield and a very cute Emma Stone on screen but Red Dot Diva's most favourite awwww segment was when Aunt May battled against protective love and truth.

What's a superhero movie without great villains, right? Jamie Foxx makes an interesting transformation from lonely, stalkery Max Dillion to Electro, although Red Dot Diva feels that he's being quite under-utilized. There really should be more Jamie Foxx, more Electro.

A way more formidable foe for Spider-man though was the Green Goblin aka Harry Osborn. Dane DeHaan's Harry the rich kid may appear spoilt and angsty, but put the green on him and .WHOA.

Red Dot Diva loved DeHann's version of the Green Goblin loads more than James Franco's. For one thing, his interpretation of the character was more vicious, vindictive, had the devious smarts and felt more worthy as an evil nemesis for Spidey. Hopefully, that will continue with future movie installments of "The Amazing Spider-man".

Yet, no movie is perfect and Red Dot Diva had a few key bugbears about "The Amazing Spider-Man 2". 

She felt that the storylines should have been made more compact and the pacing tightened. It wasn't actually about the number of villains appearing in the movie. There was simply too much going on in different directions, like valuable screen time being chewed up by the mystery about what happened to Peter's parents. (Did anybody's brain cells suddenly yell "The Matrix!" at one particular scene? Red Dot Diva's did. ;) ) These turned out to be more of a distraction than a smooth lead-in to some new discovery or revelation.

Which leads to her next point about the lack of real iconic moments. Many debates have been argued about Sam Raimi's Spider-man trilogy versus the current reboot, but you can't deny that despite the cheesiness of certain portions of those movies (or how pathetic you thought Tobey Maguire's Spider-man seemed), there were some scenes which still stood out in your pop-culture memory cells. So much so that Red Dot Diva is very certain she didn't even need to mention some of them here at all! 

Added to that is the lack of room for Emma Stone to really show off her acting skills as Gwen Stacey, other than looking adorable with her unavoidably anime-large eyes. Then again, in most cases, the female lead in a superhero movie is always the "flower vase". Even if she is supposed to be a really smart science graduate.

Then right at the end of the movie, when a satisfying coda was required after all those "feels", a certain show-down seemed hilarious....  in a lame overkill kind of way.

But still, all these should not stop you from spending your bucks to watch "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" on the big screen. It is fun and entertaining, and cinematography-wise, it's a beautiful movie to watch, with just enough quiet, sad-funny moments that will warm one's heart.

Watch the "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" trailer again:

PS: For those watching the premiere, there was no post-credits scene. Word on the ground is that there might most probably be one for the public screening when the movie is released on 1 May. So do stay on after the credit roll!


Thanks to Sony Pictures Singapore for all those Spidey invites :)

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