Columbia Pictures via Everett Collection
As grand as the themes of good and evil, needs and deservings, power and responsibility and such forth are, superhero movies are generally pretty straightforward in premise: hero stops villain from wreaking havoc. As off-putting as this kind of simplicity might sound, it's usually the right way to go. If you pack enough substance into your characters and adhere your plot to these linear margins, you can actually wind up saying a healthy amount (and having a lot of fun). The Amazing Spider-Man 2 gets half of this formula down pat. Although Andrew Garfield's Peter Parker is still a moreover undistinguished identity, his emotional magnitude (re: his relationship with Gwen Stacy) is enough to keep him valid through the storm of lunacy that is his second feature. And it's not even that lunacy that holds him back. The problem isn't how wild his conquests are, how silly some of the action sequences feel, or how absolutely bonkers his villains turn out to be. It's all the other stuff (and yes, if you can believe it, there's a ton more going on in this movie than what I've already mentioned — that's the issue). All the plot twists, tertiary mysteries, ominous flashbacks, abject reveals, and weightlessly sinister pawns in this brooding game that, save for its fun with the baddies, takes itself way too seriously. All that stuff that The Amazing Spider-Man 2 thinks is necessary to make Peter Parker matter? It actually does just the opposite.
Peter is at his best when he's playing Tracy and Hepburn with the girlfriend he's perpetually disappointing (the eternally charming Emma Stone), or trying to win back the favor of the only remaining parental figure from whom he's rapidly slipping away (Sally Field, reminding us why she's a household name), or angling to connect with the mentally unstable engineer who just wants people to notice him (Jamie Foxx working his comic shtick with a frightening zest). We have the most fun with Peter when he's playing the simplest games, and we connect best with him on similar ground. But Peter and company, at the behest of The Amazing Spider-Man franchise's Sandman-sized aspirations, spend so much time exploring new avenues: the secrets surrounding the death and work of Richard Parker, the behind-the-curtains operations of OsCorp, the nefarious goings on in the waterside penitentiary Ravencroft.
Columbia Pictures via Everett Collection
As a result of the grand stab at world building, there is just so much stuff that Peter has to wade through in this movie, dragging the likes of Gwen and his boyhood friend Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan, mastering angst, menace, and upper-class privilege all at once) into the dark crevasses of narrative waste. With so many diversions into the emotionally vacant, deliberately joyless explorations of Parker family origin stories, secret brief cases, and underground subways — The Amazing Spider-Man 2 rivals Captain America: The Winter Soldier in complexity, but forgets the necessary ingredient of fun — we barely have enough energy left when the good stuff hits.
And in truth, the good stuff isn't really good enough to sustain us through all the duller periods. Garfield and Stone do have laudable chemistry. Foxx is a hoot as Peter's maniacal new foe, especially when paired with the grimacing DeHaan. And the action, while often straying from any aesthetic authenticity, is nothing shy of neat-o. It's all passable, occasionally worthy of a hearty smile, but rarely anything you'll be definitively pleased you took the time to see.
But beyond coming up short in the micro, the film's regal downfall is its scope. With so much to do, both in accomplishing its own necessary plot points and setting up for those to come in future films, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 doesn't seem to take time to make sure it's having fun with its own premise. And if it isn't having fun, we won't be either.
Follow @Michael Arbeiter| Follow @Hollywood_com
Actress Kate Hudson and her fiance Matt Bellamy celebrated Halloween early at the weekend (26Oct13) by staging a Game Of Thrones-themed costume party in Los Angeles. The couple opened up its Pacific Palisades home, which was decorated to look like a Game of Thrones set, for the star-studded bash and dressed up as a wildling woman from the fantasy TV series and Kit Harington's character Jon Snow.
Hudson's mum Goldie Hawn and her longtime partner Kurt Russell came dressed in traditional German attire, while the hosts' pal Bradley Cooper arrived on a motorbike dressed as a gorilla, with his girlfriend Suki Waterhouse.
Also attending the bash were new parents Fergie and Josh Duhamel, who dressed up as horror movie icon Elvira and creepy Rocky Horror Picture Show character Riff Raff.
Jessica Alba and her husband Cash Warren, Johnny Knoxville, Larry David, Martin Short, Russell Simmons and Chloe Sevigny were also among the guests.
British pop star Mollie King is turning catwalk queen by joining the same model agency as Alexa Chung and Suki Waterhouse. Bosses at Next Models in London have added The Saturdays star to their books alongside a host of fashionable faces.
The blonde beauty says, "When I was approached by Next, I was so surprised, so excited. I feel really flattered to be placed alongside the names they already have, it's incredible. I'm used to having the girls around me, so it is a bit scary to be doing things on my own, but they were all so excited for me. I'm really looking forward to the next step."
As well as style icon Chung and Burberry model Waterhouse, who is dating Hollywood star Bradley Cooper, Next Models also represents singer King's fellow pop stars Rita Ora and Lana Del Rey, as well as model Alice Dellal.
King already has connections to the fashion world - she's previously dated top male model David Gandy.
The Wanted hunk Max George has signed on as the new face of a premium denim brand. The British pop star recently got up close and personal with Sports Illustrated swimsuit beauty Hannah Davis in New York to complete a modelling shoot for Canadian company Buffalo David Bitton and the first sexy image from the new advertising campaign was released on Wednesday (19Jun13).
George isn't the only member of The Wanted to launch himself in the fashion industry - bandmate Siva Kaneswaran, who previously strutted his stuff as a teenage model, signed to Next Model Management earlier this month (Jun13), joining a roster which includes singer Rita Ora, Lana Del Rey and Bradley Cooper's new girlfriend, Suki Waterhouse.
The Wanted star Siva Kaneswaran has landed a modelling contract with top firm Next Model Management. The pop singer, who featured in ad campaigns as a teen, joins a roster which includes fellow Brit Rita Ora, Lana Del Rey and Bradley Cooper's new girlfriend, Suki Waterhouse.
Overseeing her first awards show dinner, the kitchen queen, who famously cooked for Prince William and his new bride during their visit to Los Angeles last year (11), will be on double duty creating the menus for the InStyle Viewing Dinner and the Warner Brothers' post-Globes party.
Angelina Jolie, Charlize Theron, Michelle Williams and Kate Winslet are expected to sample De Laurentiis' culinary treats, according to People.com.
She has teamed up with Beverly Hilton Hotel executive chef Suki Sugiura and executive pastry chef Thomas Henzi for the task of cooking enough food for over 1,300 guests.
Other treats on the menu include mini eggplant parmesan, sauteed shrimp cocktail, a Brussels sprout Leaf Salad and spinach ricotta ravioli.