Aside from Vince, pretty much everybody, us included, hated The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Audiences agreed; apparently it’s believed the movie will quickly fade. And some are even whispering it’s the next Batman & Robin. But is it really? We’ve conducted a scientific inquiry to find out.
Well, “scientific”: We watched the two back-to-back to compare them. We also made a sincere effort to be as charitable as humanly possible towards the movies, setting aside any preconceptions we had about them and just analyzing them based on what they tried to do. Whether we succeeded or failed will be up to you.
Any movie is only as strong as its weakest actor, and both these movies had major stars as their worst feature. Jamie Foxx’s Electro starts out an annoying and creepy character before turning into a supervillain, and Arnold Schwartzenegger… he… well… he… made a lot of bad puns. Like, so, many bad puns. Schwartzenegger, to his credit, tries, but he’s miscast. Uma Thurman, Alicia Silverstone, George Clooney, basically the whole cast should never have been in this movie.
Give this to The Amazing Spider-Man 2, at least Electro is a credible threat. Dane DeHaan at least has something to work with. It may not be a great movie, but seeing a genuinely awful one puts its quality in rather sharp relief.
One of the integral problems of Batman & Robin is that everybody in the movie has a speech gimmick. Mr. Freeze talks almost exclusively in bad puns. Poison Ivy talks like what somebody who only knows hippies from old TV shows thinks a hippie would talk like. Batman and Robin talk like they’re in the ’60s TV series. And none of it sounds like they’re actually speaking to each other.
Worse, it makes no sense. The infamous Bat credit-card is just the start of how terrible the screenplay is; we joke about Hollywood scripts being written while on a coke binge, but for this movie it might be factually true.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is a mess, screenplay-wise: The studio wants to cram in every possible character, and it’s a movie that glosses over pretty much everything despite being nearly two and a half hours long. So it’s pretty bad, but still watchable.
Joel Schumacher may go down as one of the most frustrating directors in film history. When the man cares, he can deliver everything from crowd-pleasers like A Time To Kill to underrated classics like Falling Down. When he is presented with a terrible script and a cast dictated by executive mandate, he coasts.
There are points to recommend this movie. Clearly knowing nothing he could do would salvage it, he decided to make it as visually garish and absurd as possible, bringing the ’60s TV show that obviously inspired this movie into the ’90s, and it actually kinda works. If nothing else, it makes it clear from the start that you’re in for a shlockfest.
Marc Webb actually does pretty well with the action scenes, and honestly, he isn’t going for the over-the-top nearly as much as Schumacher is.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is a bad movie. That’s undeniable. What’s also undeniable is that Batman & Robin is worse by every conceivable measure of quality. So, no, it is not nearly that bad. And Thank God.