With the news out that Spider-Man will be rebooted and recast again, it’s safe to say The Amazing Spider-Man films are the most depressing films of Spidey’s Hollywood run. Sure, Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone captured the emotion of an embattled relationship and made it feel real. Yes Marc Webb did an exquisite job directing the story to where you were emotionally involved with the characters to where the original Spider-Man trilogy paled in comparison. But not getting into the numerous plots of the second film that breached the point of overwhelming, taking a look at what The Amazing Spider-Man 1 & 2 brought as a whole, it’s just downright depressing.
In the first film, Peter Parker is a punk kid torn inside about his parents abandoning him when he was little, and later the death of the only fatherly figure he had – Uncle Ben. Then, as he establishes his brand, he takes to the streets(or sky) to help the citizens of New York; only to have the father of his long-sought-after girlfriend(Gwen Stacy), hate his alter ego. Obviously about to burst inside, Peter reveals his secret to Gwen in a way only Forrest Gump will understand. But now with the huge weight off his chest he seems to retain an old peace he hasn’t felt since his first swinging escapade through the city. With the support of his girlfriend, he has the resurgence that he’s doing the right thing, only to be brought down to reality by the revelation of Doctor Conners being the lizard terrorizing the city. Bummer. He really liked being around the one armed chap because he knew his father. But now since Conners wants to kill him his list of ally’s is brought back to one person again: Gwen. Swinging to the end of the film (SPOILER) Peter is with Gwen’s dad while he’s on his death bed. With the all to real deja-vu moment of leaning over his dying uncle, the pain resurfaces as he’s watching another father-figure die. But before he takes his last breath he makes Peter promise to leave Gwen alone because she’ll be in danger. “You’ll make enemies”, he tells Peter and the only way to keep Gwen safe is for Pete to stay away from her. So with the emotional, not to mention scarring, pain of reliving his uncle’s death while experiencing another, the thought of losing Gwen is soul breaking. With that Peter misses the man’s funeral only to have an emotionally distraught Gwen show up on his front porch. (Storyline aside the porch scene was my most favorite, visually shot scene of the movie.) As she gives him an earful he has to hide his true feelings. And to everyone who has to watch the one you love experience pain, you know how gut wrenching it is to not be able to help. But after she gets done venting, she figures it out by herself what her father told Peter before he died. When school is back in session(yeah they’re still in high school), Peter subtly tells Gwen they’re back on by responding/not responding to his teachers comment about keeping promises. The End… of movie 1.
In the beginning of the second film we quickly discover that Peter is constantly tormented by Gwen’s dead father. I mean who wouldn’t be after all Pete’s experienced? After missing Gwen’s graduation speech that we initially think is a time filler, Peter shows up just in time to receive his diploma and give Gwen the vibes that another break up is soon to happen. Whilst in China Town that evening the two lovers talk outside a restaurant and before Peter can spit it out, Gwen firmly tells him she gets to break up with him this time. Most people do this to maintain some sort of dignity and to protect their feelings for future public gossip. However I don’t think anyone really knows or cares if they’re together or not. But alas Gwen is still just as heartbroken either way. And thus sets the tone of these two’s relationship for the first half of the film. On the other side of things Peter’s long lost friend, Harry Osborn, shows up with some severe father-son relationship problems. In an attempt to let the audience know where Harry was this whole time, they cram his life’s story in a two minute conversation with his dying dad, Norman. Not just that, but they include vital information that Harry is dying because of an Osborne curse. Are you catching on to why these are the most depressing films in the franchise? If not, allow me to further my blog. Harry was sent to boarding school when he was 11, and in an awkwardly honest conversation with Peter, he tells him he was one of the things Harry tried to forget about. But no matter they’re friends again, if we can call them that. Putting these dramatic elements on the sidelines for a moment, Peter is activity trying to figure out what happened to his parents all the while saving citizens from evil doers. One of these evil doers is Max Dillon. A.K.A Electro. Max is alright at the beginning and is obsessed with Spider-Man after being saved by him. Spider-Man also tells Max that he is needed. Que the drama back in. Max is a worker at Osborne who apparently lacked the attention needed as a child and grew up to to be overjoyed whenever someone gave him attention. The moral lesson? If anyone is not given the proper attention as a kid, after growing up, even the slightest thing can set them off on a murderous rampage. And so it is here. He nearly dies and then is somehow still alive through the electrical current of the city. After a confrontation with Spider-Man, he vows to make him suffer. To add to Peter’s problems we have Harry begging for him to get Spider-Man’s blood. Spider-Man/Peter refuses therefore Harry wants to make Spider-Man pay. These people are so passive aggressive it’s not even funny. In the back of Pete’s mind he’s still struggling with his feelings for Gwen. He doesn’t want to lose her but he’s essentially not even with her. So he meets up with her. After a brilliantly cute sequence between the two, they basically are back together. Elsewhere during their rekindled and budding romance, Harry is blackmailed by the shareholders of his company. He then breaks into a secret laboratory of Oscorp and joins forces with Electro. The glue holding them together? Spider-Man’s destruction. Then Harry takes the drastic measure of injecting himself with a syrum his father helped cook up, ultimately transforming him into the Green Goblin. In the final act of the film, Spider-man defeats Electro with the help of Gwen. But then comes Harry/The Green Goblin, and he discovers Spider-Man is Peter by the presence of Gwen. Now driven to make Peter suffer as much as possible, he grabs Gwen and flies away. Spider-Man chases after him and the epic final battle ensues in a clock tower. Suspenseful and tense, Spider-Man defeats The Green Goblin and quickly shoots a string of web to catch a falling Gwen Stacy. Slowed down to draw out the anticipation we see the web form into small fingers, thus making the next scene even worse. The web attaches to Gwen, counteracting the speed of which she is falling, only for her to bounce off of the ground…killing her. Peter quickly precedes to the ground to gather her lifeless body into his arms. Repeating her name, Peter(and us) see blood drip out of her nose revealing to Peter she is in fact dead. Now for the third time, Peter has had to experience death first hand. In different shots we see Peter morning his lover’s death as we see the seasons come and go. Back in his room, he listens to Gwen’s graduation speech that she recorded for him. Giving him the motivation he needs to return as Spider-Man and giving us another ounce of soreness in our throats. Spider-Man does return and gives a knock out blow to the “Rhino”. And as he does so, the screen goes black and the movie is over.
As you mull over everything I just wrote, keep in mind that there were some positive elements to these films. However, The Amazing Spider-Man Two finished with the reliance of a third film to make Peter’s story satisfying and complete. The third film, that would have made this a trilogy, would have introduced Marry Jane. Thus filling(but not replacing) the emptiness that was Gwen. Also giving us the viewers a satisfaction justifying the depressing end to the second film. But since there won’t be a third film and final conclusion, we’re left with two movies that presents tragedy and pain more than triumphant super-hero films. One could argue that this will go down as the two movies that show the sacrifice a hero really goes through. But for a fictional sic-fi flick we don’t want that. We aren’t inspired by that because they’re not real. We can’t go up to Peter and thank him for the service. As a drama, yes I loved how Marc Web, Andrew Garfield, and Emma Stone went about making the characters feel real and authentic; not to mention relatable. But without a final conclusion we are left with the onscreen pain of loved ones being ripped from a superhero for whom we are rooting. With so much of that happening in real life, I don’t think people want to watch the depressing life of ours penetrate the fictional walls of Spider-Man and endure Peter Parker experiencing it too.