Trailer Review: The Amazing Spider-Man 2

I have a confession to make… I like The Amazing Spider-Man. I know it’s not the most popular position to take but in my opinion The Amazing Spider-Man is a much better film than the first part of Sam Raimi‘s trilogy. Andrew Garfield is a million times better than whiney Tobey, Emma Stone is a fantastic Gwen Stacy (as opposed to Kirsten Dunst, who was just atrocious as Mary Jane Watson…), and the style and tone of it was much more in tune with what I’d always wanted from a Spider-Man film. It’s far from perfect but, for me, The Amazing Spider-Man was on a par with Spider-Man 2, which I enjoyed very much the last time I saw it… though to be fair, that was almost five years ago.

Nevertheless, I’m worried; ever since The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was announced, my enthusiasm for the series has waned considerably. Everything about it fills me with dread, from the style of the villains (of which there appear to be three… the lessons of Spider-Man 3 seem not to have been learned then) to the direction in which Webb seems to be taking the story, not to mention the casting. The release this week of a new poster simply served to enhance my concerns. Even this promotional image looks bloated, unfocussed and messy. All in all, I’m concerned that The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is going to waste all of the great potential that the reboot established…

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 - 2014

So then, where do I stand now that the trailer has been released? First, some background information; I hate modern trailers in general. They usually give too much plot information away, they rely far too heavily on major reveals (which nulls the effect of the actual film) and they’re no longer thematic or mysterious, instead relying on a chronological journey through each of the film’s main sequences. Between each snapshot we tend to get some unnecessary exposition thrown in, just to make sure you don’t miss anything. The purpose doesn’t seem to be to make people want to watch the film but to make them want to see where each of the trailer’s sequences fits in to the story. It’s a hugely irritating trend and one that shows no sign of going away any time soon.

In this respect then, I hate the trailer for The Amazing Spider-Man 2. It gives far too much away, yet suggests that the plot is relatively shallow and empty, it is full of action sequences that none of us want spoiled and it was more annoying than intriguing. Alas, that’s the curse of the modern trailer and I can’t change that. What I can do, however, is talk about what the trailer shows and what it could mean in the context of the film.

Before we begin, let’s watch the trailer…

So, from the off it looks as though the promises we were made were true. The film does look like it’ll focus heavily on Peter Parker’s background, on his family and on his Father’s relationship with Oscorp. We get numerous glimpses into what Oscorp is up to – from the creation of the Rhino suit (more on that in a moment), to the iconic goblin glider and the attempt to save the life of Norman Osborn, which is a theme that was discussed, but never really explored, in the first film. Webb has always stated that he wants this reboot to look at what it is that makes (or perhaps made) Peter Parker the man he is, and the trailer appears to bear that out.

Having said that, the film looks a bit problematic. If Oscorp is going to be presented as little more than an evil corporation that wants to surreptitiously run the World then I don’t think it’ll work all that well. For starters, Harry Osborn isn’t meant to be evil. Who knows what direction this film will take things in but if Harry turns out to be the Green Goblin this early on – as seems likely – then it looks like we’ll miss out on what has always made that conflict so intense; that Peter’s greatest foe is also his best friend. If that friendship isn’t properly established then it might well be difficult to care about their battle. Similarly, the Green Goblin is the iconic Spider-Man villain. Introducing him in a single film, when the Osborns haven’t even been introduced properly, seems foolish.

On another level, though the stakes and the action seem to have been raised considerably since the first film, the visual effects leave much to be desired. The film seems to have a video game-esque quality; the visuals are spectacular, sure, but they lack realism. I don’t know if this is just the gloss of the trailer, which obviously won’t focus on the intimate choreography of the action, but I’m not overly impressed with the look of the thing. See, for example, the Rhino costume which looks like a reject from Transformers. One of the major problems with the first film was that the Lizard looked rubbish. I hope that isn’t the case here too but, from what we’ve seen so far, the Rhino looks abysmal…

Dane DeHaan

Dane DeHaan as Harry Osborn

However, there are a lot of positives to take from this trailer. The first film got a bit of a hard time for being slow, repetitive and a bit boring (all points with which I disagree, by the way). This time, now that the origin story has been covered, it looks as though we’re going to be offered something completely new. Raimi’s trilogy went one way and Webb’s (quadrilogy?) now seems to be going in the opposite direction, which is something to look forward to. From the brief glimpses that we get of Foxx and DeHaan it appears that they’re going to be great in their respective roles, and though far too much information is given away, I’m looking forward to seeing how the film expands on its central mystery.

Furthermore, the film does look quite – and I hate this word, but it’s the only one that fits – epic. If we’ve only seen a glimpse of the action in the trailer then we could be in for quite the thrill-ride, providing that the action doesn’t drown out the already complicated story. With a wealth of great source material to plunder, I really do hope that the right balance can be struck between mindless, superhero action and a complex, character-based story.

So then, what do you think of the trailer? Is it what you were expecting or have you been left disappointed? Do you think it looks like an improvement on the first film? Leave your thoughts in the box below =)