It was then I found myself recalling how I felt after Spider-Man 3 from before the reboot. While I didn't love that movie, I liked it better than everyone else who saw it (with reactions such as "What the hell was that?!") and felt the need to explain it, even if it didn't redeem it. But the difference is I think Amazing Spider-Man 2 really IS amazing, and I can see it years from now, appearing in "Why didn't we appreciate it more back then?" lists.
One common complaint I've seen is that the story is too complicated, or "overstuffed" or "unfocused." But everyone loves Game of Thrones, which has like 12 different stories going on at the same time? This is really the complaint I understand the least. It's not like I'm great at following convoluted storylines but every segment of the movie made sense to me and they all seemed to tie together nicely. Why did A happen? Ah, for B to happen. Why did C happen? Ah, for D then E to happen...
Other complaints are with the style. Some say the slow-motion scenes are too slow or jarring/confusing. A few people, however, understand it's meant to simulate Spider-Man's spider sense, and how he uses his abilities to pull off impossible stunts that you're not even sure Spider-Man can pull off. Others complain about dubstep existing in any form at all in the universe, and you know what? Deal with it. Too much of anything is bad but I felt it was used well here, with the electrical nature of Electro's powers.
"Too many villains? Guess they didn't learn after Spider-Man 3 yuk yuk!" No, it really only has two villains. They may have had separate goals but did have plausible motivations for teaming up (UNLIKE Spider-Man 3). There may be guys lurking in the shadows, but they're not the main antagonists and are more for setting up the plot of this and future movies (and one was present in the first Amazing Spider-Man). You might count Rhino as the third villain, but he's more fodder than anything else: someone for Spider-Man to seem powerful against in the beginning of the movie, and someone disposable to make him seem powerful again at the end.
But I guess, to be fair, I probably enjoyed the film so much because I was already a Spider-Man fan. I don't think you need to have been a fan of the comics to enjoy it, but it's probably the reason why I liked it so much. I had the "Aha! I recognize that name!" moments. I liked how it stuck to the source material at times, but I actually enjoyed the changes they made for the movies. It was especially powerful how it ties in with the first movie, resolving the issue of Peter's parents, giving their disappearance more (immediate) meaning than in the comics.
What did I love about the movie? Spider-Man. While I enjoyed the older movies, this felt like the first time the comic book actually came to life. It was almost as if the comic could've been still frames taken from this film. Spider-Man is seen at his zenith, spinning circles around common criminals, cracking jokes, cavorting with citizens, and truly enjoying his secret identity life as a release from his complicated ordinary life.
All the characters and actors were great, which is one thing critics can seem to agree on, at least. People love the chemistry between Peter and Gwen and the performances of main villains. Every character felt perfect to me.
The villains were another thing I loved -- they were portrayed less as bad people and more victims of circumstance and misunderstanding, like the Lizard from the first movie. You see people who are similar to Peter, obtaining power in unusual ways, but who may not be as strong and end up making poor decisions. They may all have lead rough lives, but Peter shows us how to channel it into something positive rather than take the easy road and be destructive. I truly felt bad for Electro and how he almost couldn't have done anything to improve his situation, bullied by fate until the end.
Harry is a little less easy to forgive, but with his tragic misunderstanding, it's easy to see how he became what he did. In other incarnations, he hated Spider-Man for killing his father... Here it's even more personal as he sees Spider-Man almost trying to kill him personally. In fact, the word "tragic" could apply easily to all the characters in the film...
Like the first film, I enjoyed the IMAX 3D effect employed to the fullest with Spider-Man's acrobatics swinging around the city. As some reviews have touched upon, it's just plain fun following him around like some sort of freestyle roller coaster... And the battle in Times Square just gave me chills! Aside from the dynamic of watching the crowd cheer on Spider-Man as they jeer Electro, just seeing things unfold in such an iconic location was breathtaking...
And finally, as a Spider-Man fan, the movie immediately got me anticipating what the next movie would have to be like. Aside from hinting at future villains, they also seemed to be setting things up for new love interests. I later learned Mary Jane was supposed to have been in this movie, but (wisely) cut. And it's hard to imagine the Felicia character being anyone other than Felicia Hardy, the Black Cat... In the comics, Peter Parker has to choose between Mary Jane, who loves Peter but resents Spider-Man, and Black Cat, who loves Spider-Man but is disgusted by Peter. The thought that future movies might explore this aspect of the story really had me excited!
I just really want to see this movie again. I might be able to go with friends to see it this weekend, but if that doesn't work out, I'll just go by myself. I loved it that much. With Spider-Man 3, I just think to myself "Did I used to think this was okay?" when it occasionally shows up on weekend cable TV.