This month, Netflix has welcomed The Amazing Spider-Man 2 back to its lineup, and it has quickly become one of the most popular movies on Netflix. That makes this the perfect opportunity to tell you why you should watch The Amazing Spider-Man 2 on Netflix.
Now, we would never argue that The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is the best Spider-Man film or even a great one. It’s got a lot of problems, including a truly grotesque Green Goblin design, a very unconvincing performance by Dane DeHaan as Harry Osborn, and a take on Electro (Jamie Foxx) that feels like it was lifted directly from Batman Forever. This film also tries so hard to set up an MCU-style Spider-Man universe that it wildly underperformed at the box office and led Sony Pictures to partner directly with Marvel Studios for the Tom Holland-led Spider-Man flicks.
Having said all of that, there are at least three things that The Amazing Spider-Man 2 got right, which go a long way toward making this film rewatchable. And we’re going to be sharing those reasons with you right now.
Comic book-style Spider-Man
None of the three live-action Spider-Men on the big screen have been a perfect representation of Peter Parker. But Garfield’s take on the character is a lot closer to Peter’s comic book roots than either Tom Holland’s or Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man incarnations. Garfield’s Spidey is a lot faster to make a joke, even if not all of the jokes manage to land. But even comic-book Spidey has bad material at times.
The most important aspect of Garfield’s performance is that he feels like Peter Parker. That means more than just a quip and a flip. When Peter has reasons to grieve, Garfield throws himself into that aspect of his character as well. And Garfield also more than holds his own with his screen partner, Emma Stone, who plays Gwen Stacy.
Peter and Gwen’s romance is off the charts
Non-comic book readers may not know this, but Gwen Stacy’s comic book counterpart was a boring character with only superficial attributes. Women weren’t exactly well-written or even understood by the early Marvel creators. They only existed to pine over their absent boyfriends or get kidnapped by the supervillains. Infamously in Gwen’s case, she was also the first romantic love interest at Marvel to get killed off. Gwen was ultimately a throw-away character until her alternate-world counterpart, Spider-Gwen, was introduced.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2, and its predecessor, deepened Gwen’s character in part by making her a scientific genius who could match Peter’s passion for the subject, and by letting her in on Peter’s double life as Spider-Man rather than keeping her in the dark. That’s why Stone’s Gwen Stacy plays more like a partner to Peter, rather than a mere love interest. It also helps that Stone and Garfield have great chemistry on screen. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 does have a subplot about Peter potentially losing Gwen to outside forces including college in the United Kingdom. But even that conflict can’t keep these two lovebirds apart.
The weirdest thing happened in December 2021. Spider-Man: No Way Home retroactively made The Amazing Spider-Man 2 a better movie. As it stands, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 ends with Gwen’s tragic death before giving Peter some time to grieve and get on with his life as Spider-Man. By itself, that’s a little superficial and not very convincing. Garfield’s return in No Way Home revealed just how deeply Peter was affected by Gwen’s death, and he finally had a real moment of redemption and catharsis.
Now that the emotional arc of Garfield’s Peter ends in No Way Home, it makes The Amazing Spider-Man 2 a lot more engaging because we can see where he went wrong and how he failed the first time, while also secure in the knowledge that Peter does eventually overcome his trauma. Spider-Man wins in the end, and that’s what we always want to see.
Watch The Amazing Spider-Man 2 on Netflix.
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