A God Named Sparkly?
The Amazing Spider-Man 2
God, this is awful. Awful, and endless. Well, it seemed endless to me at any rate. The last time my backside felt so sore after a movie was with Bertolucci’s long 1900. And this is a well-upholstered backside I’m talking about here.
There is one thing to be said for Marc Webb’s Marvel sequel, imaginatively titled The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and that is that it shows a refreshing attitude to currently fashionable and over-the-top trends of workplace behavior. Let me tell you, the company that Harry Osborn inherits thinks that such concerns as bullying in the workplace or health-and-safety issues are definitely for wimps. At Oscorps–as we already know from the first outing– doing a bit of overtime is seriously bad for your wellbeing. Jesus, that scientist fella was only trying to re-grow an arm and he ended up as The Lizard.
This time around, it’s Jamie Foxx’s turn. When he is—yeah, bullied—into working in the lab late one night* his character Max finds himself on the wrong side of a glass tank full of electric eels and becomes the villainous Electro.
Now when I say he becomes Electro I don’t mean like the guy in the comic-books. I loved that guy. Look at the great lightening-rod headgear he used to sport: sure, it was totally impractical and would have been a real hindrance to certain of the more exotic bedroom practices (not to mention walking through doorways) but it had a certain campy style. In this incarnation we have CGI run amok when Max emerges as a kind of big blue ‘Force of Nature’, as he styles himself—although I preferred Spidey’s description of him as ‘Sparkly’. Think Doc Manhattan from Watchmen without the sense of humour and you’re half-way there.
And we’re back to that ‘bullying-in-the-workplace’ thing again. Now, this isn’t the kind of bullying where you want to tell the guy to grow a pair. Max is so obviously mentally ill even before he swims with the fishes that you have to wonder how on earth he was passed to work as an electrician in a place like Oscorps. Oh, wait. That might just have made him perfect.
But Foxx plays him sort of as Jerry Lewis in The Nutty Professor; and then when he gets his super powers he turns into Tony Todd in Candyman. I swear, close your eyes and say ‘Max’ five times and you’re listening to Todd. With those velvet tones, being Evil never sounded so aristocratic.
Meanwhile, the romance between Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) and Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) is grinding on and on, thinking it’s cute when it’s just being irritating. I’m a big fan of the first film (there, I’ve said it) so what happened to the chemistry between these two? And it’s not actress Stones’ fault, she’s working with what she’s been given by screenwriters Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci and half a dozen other script doctors; but Garfield? He gurns and ‘emotes’ so much that there were times when I thought that his face was going to go into spasms. He’s like the angst-ridden love child of an early Woody Allan movie. Distracting and awful. And whilst I’m on stereotypes, where on earth did they find that guy who’s playing Dr. Kafka?
Now heaven knows I’m not a big fan of the Germans after the way they’ve run roughshod over Ireland but is this perhaps the most racist performance in a mainstream film? As a demented cross between the Dentist in Marathon Man and Dr. Mengele himself this guy should just have had EVIL SCIENTIST tattooed on his forehead.
And please don’t get me started on forehead tattoos. Paul Giamatti; Paul, Paul… you’re one of my favourite actors, you were like a God to me and not a God named Sparkly either. Did evil Dr. Kafka torture you into taking the thankless role as the Rhino? And again, forget the comic book portrayal: by the time Robo-Rhino was trundled out I was close to crying. What? Seriously? This was the Rhino?
At least I stayed for the closing credits’ teaser. I jest with ye not, this is the best part. Especially if, like me, you lust after the rather wonderful Jennifer Lawrence.
There: I’ve gone and done it now. You’ll feel the need to be seeing this eyesore after all.
Don’t. Not even for Jennifer.
*I’m not going to encourage you farther by showing a trailer. So here instead are the great Bobby Pickett and the Crypt Kicker Five ‘working in the lab late one night’ with Monster Mash. A classic. Unlike this turd of a movie.