These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
Alternative Character Interpretation: As with the first film, is Peter a sympathetic Woobie or a self-centered asshole? The movie does more to prove that he's a heroic Nice Guy than the original movie, but certain actions of his (such as refusing to help calm Electro down after he understandably freaked out when he was shot at, leading to him unashamedly hurt and humiliate the character without trying to extend a helping hand, or showing up as Spider-Man in front of Harry Osborn just to tell him that he won't give him his blood, even though attempting to get help for Harry would be the sensible thing to do regardless of what happened with Curt Connors) make him look Unintentionally Unsympathetic. However, Others argue that Spider-Man is extremely likable and sympathetic. He didn't want to give Harry his blood because the last time he tried to help someone by giving them a piece of his father's research, he accidentally created a supervillian that killed at least two people, and endangered several more. He also told Harry that he was willing to help him find another way to cure the disease, but Harry lost his temper and tried to attack Spider-Man.
Peter's casual smarminess in breaking his promise to a dying Capt. Stacy in the last movie (who, we might add, was dying because of a Heroic Sacrifice to save Spider-Man's life) rubbed some viewers the wrong way. This movie establishes early on that, even before the inevitable tragedy happens because of it, Pete knows he's wrong to go back on his word and the guilt over it is eating him alive. Of course, he also knows it's wrong to break Gwen's heart instead of moving on from his guilt. Breaking his promise isn't in good taste at all, but keeping it causes them both nothing but pain, and given they've both lost their fathers so recently, they've been through enough. At the very least, this film sensibly shows that it was a difficult choice for Peter to make.
In regards to this movie itself, the supplementary material makes amends to accusations that They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character in implies that Norman Osborn is alive and hiding, and will serve as a major antagonist in the future.
Base Breaker: Harry Osborn is either a sympathetic individual trying to find a cure for his disease that is forced to turn to crime or an entitled angst-wanking and arrogant creep. His "Strawman Has A Point" moment detailed below helps those in favor of the former interpretation, and those in favor of the latter cite the murder of Gwen Stacy as proof of the latter interpretation.
Big Lipped Alligator Moment: The trailer for X-Men: Days of Future Past in the credits. This free advertising was the only way Fox would let Marc Webb out of his contract so he could direct the film. Though the agreement only covered the theatrical run, so the DVD and Blu-ray releases got to leave it out.
Yet again, the fact that this movie isn't part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe has some fans annoyed; especially since after The Avengers came out, Andrew Garfield and Chris Hemsworth (Thor in the MCU) both shared the opinion of wanting Spidey helping the Avengers. This even extends to the X-Men film series, as Hugh Jackman has also gone on record saying he wants to see Spider-Man, the Avengers and X-Men in the same universe. The mixed reviews aren't helping matters, as it is leading some people to believe that Sony is willing to turn Spider-Man into a Franchise Zombie just to hold on to the rights.
Even the film's color scheme has caused some disagreement. Some fans think it makes the movie look cartoonish and unrealistic, while others like the fact that it averts the Real Is Brown look that most blockbusters seem to have these days.
Spidey's reason for not giving his blood to Harry to find a cure for his disease, fearing that it could do something "worse than killing him". Was it a legitimate and understandable reason, or just a jerk move on Spidey's part to create contrived drama? There are compelling arguments for both sides.
Gwen being explicitly smarter than Peter (even Emma Stone says "he's the muscle, she's the brains") has also proven divisive; some fans are delighted that it turns her into a stronger, more capable character who knows her own mind and is a genuine asset to Spider-Man. Other fans feel her upgrade came at the expense of Peter who Took a Level in Dumbass compared with the comics or even the first film where he was portrayed as a genius, and turns Gwen into a borderline Mary Sue (but then, that's always been an accusation thrown Gwen's way ever since the comics); although all things considered, Peter is still portrayed as highly intelligent in this movie, performing scientific experiments and conducting an investigation into the deaths of his parents.
Gwen's death. Even though it was in the comics, she's survived in other recent adaptations (such as the original Raimi trilogy, Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane and The Spectacular Spider-Man, and even the Ultimate Spider-Man comics resurrected her after her initial death) and some viewers think it's too predictable to kill her off (and would make an effective Not His Sled moment), while others think it's too big a part of the Spider-Man mythos to let her live. Many fans also considered the chemistry between Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone to be the best thing the Spidey reboot had going for it, so killing Gwen off might not bode well for the next installment.
The very last scene with Rhino. Even with the five month Time Skip, it can still feel jarring to have Spidey acting like his old quippy self mere minutes of screentime after Gwen's death, and there have been accusations that the scene only exists because the crew chickened out of giving the film the Downer Ending it should have had. Others argue that this is very core concept of Spider-Man, no matter how much tragedy he faces, he always picks himself up, dusts himself off, and gets right back to saving the world one person at a time. Because of that whole power and responsibility thing Spidey does.
Norman Osborn apparently dying without doing anything has also been met with derision from fans, though some think it lets the film series step out of the shadow of Sam Raimi's movies.
Contested Sequel: People are... divided upon the quality of this movie, to say the least, with opinions ranging from considering it the best Spider-Man movie yet or the worst major superhero movie since Batman & Robin. At least four camps come from this:
Even Better Sequel: There are those that think the movie took everything that its predecessor got right and improved it exponentially, equaling - if not entirely surpassing - the Sam Raimi films.
Sequelitis: From a critical standpoint. The movie currently sits at 53% on Rotten Tomatoes, compared to its predecessor's score in the 70s, making it the worst-reviewed Spider-Man movie of all. Quite a few critics and fans find the movie to be a bit overstuffed and nonsensical (see Love It or Hate It below). While still a commercial success, the film is also the lowest-grossing Spider-Man movie, counting domestic and international grosses combined.
So Okay, It's Average: The last and smallest camp, which thinks that both this film and the original were both decent, but had room for improvement.
A question that all camps have to face is: Would you prefer Garfield's Spider-Man to be in the MCU? Those who like the film keep hope that one day Sony will sell the rights to Marvel (some say they'd prefer this after the Thanos Arc is tied up after the third Avengers movie). Those who dislike the movie hope that the film will tank and Sony will sell the rights back to Marvel due to it underperforming. Still others would prefer that Marvel start from scratch if they ever get the rights back.
Many people have noted similarities between Jamie Foxx as Max Dillon (pre-Electro) and Jim Carrey as pre-Riddler Edward Nygma in Batman Forever. Both are obsessed with the main character (though Nygma was obsessed with Bruce Wayne, not Batman, while Dillon is obsessed with Spider-Man, not Peter Parker), both are unpopular employees of a major science-focused Mega Corp. (though Nygma is unpopular because he is a reclusive Insufferable Genius, while Dillon is simply noticed by nobody; also, Wayne Enterprises is a goodMega Corp., with OsCorp is a more traditional evil one) and they're even both rather nerdy◊ in appearance◊.
Electro also shares a couple of visual cues with the cinematic Dr. Manhattan, right down to the destructive shockwave in Times Square.
The Rhino has gotten a couple comparisons to The Underminer from The Incredibles. Both of them are shamelessly hammy bad guys who use similar equipment for their villainy and basically exist solely to set up a And the Adventure Continues moment.
There have also been some comparisons to Batman & Robin: Both movies have a venom-powered, green-clad Big Bad who doesn't fight personally until the final act; both villains ally themselves to a bald, blue-skinned Heavy/Tragic Villain who controls an element of nature and is very powerful, but easily manipulated. In addition, both movies have a third bad guy who acts simply as The Brute. Both movies also have the lowest Rotten Tomatoes ratings in their respective series, though Batman & Robin is much, much worse.
Yet another comparison can be made with Iron Man 2, since both films feature two main villains- an vengeful-obsessive who is taken out at the end of the first act, only to be rescued by the second villain, who is a bitter corporate type with a rivalry with the hero-, and both are accused of being more concerned with setting up future plots than focusing on their own (though IM2 was setting up future Avengers movies, while this film is at least setting up its own sequels). In both the villain begin taken out of the picture early- if temporarily- means that the second act and much of the movie focuses on the personal issues the hero is going through as well.
Critical Dissonance: This movie has had the least warm reception from critics out of both Spider-Man series, but audiences seem to at least like the movie, though not unanimously (just like the Pirates of the Caribbean sequels).
Designated Hero: Peter Parker still has many people seeing him this way, albeit not on the same level as the first movie. Nonetheless, the moment detailed under "Unintentionally Unsympathetic" is the key cause for division.
Ending Fatigue: Just when it seems like the film's reached its climax with Peter defeating Electro, there's the entire section after with Harry showing up as the Green Goblin and Gwen's death. And even then there's one more bit after with Spider-Man facing the Rhino at the very end.
Heck, with X-Men: Days of Future Past as well, as it seems that so many people considering Marvel Studio's film franchise the best means the runner-ups owned by Sony and Fox must duke it out to determine which is second-best. Made especially odd in that this movie promoted that one (twice, if you count the trailer in addition to The Stinger), but fans still aren't content with one another.
Foe Yay: As noted above, Electro seems to have an infatuation with Spidey even before he becomes a villain.
Germans Love David Hasselhoff: In the United States, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 debuted to a $92 million opening weekend - just short of Captain America: The Winter Soldier's $95 million - and has had a much more mixed reception than the well-received Winter Soldier. Overseas, it's the other way around in terms of box office, and the movie's Rotten Tomatoes rating was in the mid-70s before the American reviews came in.
Ho Yay: Peter and Harry certainly give off a certain vibe. Their reunion scene played off like a typical scene seen in romantic comedies. The scene with Harry and Gwen in the elevator also makes Harry look like a jealous romantic rival.
Internet Backdraft: Just like its predecessor, ASM2 got this months before filming even started, largely due to the film not being part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (again) and its Ash Can Copy nature. When the movie came out and the mixed reviews came in, this multiplied tenfold.
It Was His Sled: Unless you know next to nothing about the basics of Spider-Man, Gwen Stacy's death will not be a shocker.
A weird inversion, as some people have said the scenes that simply show Peter and Gwen's relationship are the best part of the film, and with a little rewriting could probably stand on their own as a great romantic comedy, to the point that it's a disappointment whenever the superhero stuff interrupts it.
Level Breaker: After absorbing the electricity from the area, Electro really lets loose, laying waste to Times Square. His creepy theme music plays at full blast, the entire scene making him come off as an unstoppable force of nature. Then a high pressure water stream blasts into him, and we cut to Spider-Man wearing a fireman's helmet. A funny image to be sure, but perhaps not the best scene for it.
Love It or Hate It: If the reviews are to be believed, the film is very divisive. Its either a narmy, cluttered and predictable mess a la Spider-Man 3, or a well-paced, moving and enjoyable movie that corrects the mistakes of its predecessor and steps out of the Raimi shadow. Some Take a Third Option and argue that it's a mix of both.
Corrupt Corporate Executive Donald Menken took a long running jump over the MEH by framing Harry for Max Dillon's condition and subsequent treatment just to get him ousted from the company, when he knows for a fact Harry is going to die without the company's research. Menken even has the gall to mock him for it.
Not that it makes Harry as the Green Goblin setting off the chain reaction ending with Gwen's death, just to spite Peter, OK by any stretch of the imagination, of course.
The chanting in the song "My Enemy" can get a little ridiculous. Mainly due to the fact that one of the lines being repeated is "he hates on me".
The villains. Rhino is an intentionalcase, but both Electro and the Green Goblin are supposed to be serious, but it's hard to take a guy that looks like Batman & Robin's Mr. Freeze or a guy whose makeup resembles Warwick Davis' Leprechaun very seriously. Though admittedly, they do have their intimidating moments as well.
Even less subtle: when she falls to her death, the web Spider-Man throws to catch her takes the shape of a human hand...
Electro using the tones of electrical reactors to play The Itsy-Bitsy Spider. It's like Joel Schumacher suddenly took over the direction for a bit, and clashes horribly with the film's more serious tone. This one actually gets lampshaded by an annoyed Spider-Man.
"I hate this song!"
Electro's first time in Ravencroft — he's tortured by a German scientist named Kafka who puts on classical music before the experiment. If that sounds silly already, wait until you hear the dialogue.
In the beginning of the film, Max Dillon is so stereotypically nerdy that he actually becomes a more subtle character once he turns into a glowing super-villain that shoots lightning bolts.
While the original trilogy had Uncle Ben appear posthumously and actually have a role in Peter's development, this movie does so with Denis Leary as George Stacy...just standing there and staring. Or sitting in a squad car...and staring. This is the source of the "always watching" Memetic Mutation above.
Harry Osborn's borderline-Wangsty behavior during his attempts to appear sympathetic, combined with the fact that he's sporting a haircut akin to that of Peter's emo persona from the infamous third Spider-Man movie, make him come off overly dramatic to some.
Rooting for the Empire: Lots of people think Spider-Man had no reason to deny Harry Osborn his blood while searching for a potential cure.
The Scrappy: Dr. Kafka has taken flak for being just too cheesy or campy that it felt out of place even with Rhino's or Max Dillon's brand of campiness, like something out of Joel Schumacher's Batman films. Additional flak comes from the character being significantly different than the Dr. Kafka of the comics, who was a woman and one of the good guys, not to mention largely devoid of hamminess.
Strawman Has a Point: Spider-Man refuses to give up his blood because it might kill Harry. Ignoring that he was eventually proven right, Harry points out he's going to die anyway. That's actually a legit point. Either the cure works, or it doesn't but Harry at least gets to die and be free from his disease as opposed to days at best of being sick. There was literally no reason why Harry couldn't get a sample of blood and it isn't like Peter is saving him since the disease would kill him anyway.
Averted, when it was revealed that Spider-Man's costume was changing to one more closely resembling the comics, as well as the one from the previous trilogy, winning over more than a few Sam Raimi fans in the process.
Played straight, at least with some fans, when it comes to Green Goblin, with some of It's the Same, Now It Sucks since his armored suit looks much like Willem Dafoe's suit from the original 2002 film, minus the mask (although few seem to think it's worse than Dafoe's infamous "Jet Jaguar" look).
A number of people think that Electro's Character Development doesn't make any sense after his first fight with Spider-Man - specifically, the fact that he goes from a mild-mannered (if eccentric, unstable, and paranoid) nerd to a man who is understandably confused by gaining superpowers to a sociopathic murderer with a God complex - and that he would have been better as a villain if the transition wasn't so jarring. There are also those that believe the film would have been better if the Green Goblin and the Rhino hadn't siphoned screentime from the character.
Norman Osborn. He only has a single scene before his death when the trailers implied he would be serving as a Bigger Bad, and the previous movie implied that he would have a large role in the franchise. He doesn't even get to interact with Peter, which is widely considered to be a hugely important part of his character. The only thing that would have alleviated this in the movie was the original post-credits scene revealing that his death was faked and he was preserved cryogenically, but this was cut out of the original film. Nonetheless, it would appear that an Author's Saving Throw is in play here.
Comic fans seem to think that the movie's In Name Only version of Dr. Kafka was a waste of the character that appeared in the comics, and that said character would have been good for building the universe that Sony is trying to set up.
The Rhino. Despite getting a fair amount of coverage in the promos, he has about five minutes of screen time and doesn't even get a fight scene with Spider-Man. While most of his time was for setting up the Sinister Six movie, most fans wondered why they even bothered including the Rhino if he wasn't going to do anything.
One of the most common complaints about the movie is that it tries to set up too many plots too quickly, and the more interesting plot threads get lost in the web of all the storylines and the unresolved questions set up by said storylines.
One such storyline that people seemed to have missed, however, was the introduction of Mary Jane to the movie franchise. Given that Gwen's death impacted her as much as it impacted Peter in the comics, her presence in the movie could have made for a more compelling ending instead of setting her up as a Replacement Goldfish.
Unintentionally Sympathetic: It's clear that Electro was supposed to be sympathetic up until he freaks out and goes stir-crazy with the electricity. However, that Spider-Man showed no interest in Electro's well-being after he'd been taken down - even though it was obvious he did what he did because he was scared and confused - can make Spidey come across as a jerk and Electro come across as the one worthy of sympathy.
Though he's much better about being a more selfless individual this time, Peter Parker falls into this in the eyes of some viewers. Peter's decision to not give Harry his blood is understandable the first time as he fears that he may create another violent supervillain (like what happened with Curt Connors). However, showing up at Harry's mansion as Spider-Man just to tell him that he can't give him blood comes across as a dick move, no matter how well-intentioned it may be.
Also, many reviewers have cited that the attempts at making Harry sympathetic just don't come off due to how creepy, entitled and arrogant he is. And then he sets off the chain of events that ends with Gwen Stacy dying. Not quite as unintentional that time, eh?
People have claimed that the Green Goblin looks a lot like both Beavis and Butt-Head in a number of shots.
The Rhino costume got flak for having Aleksei Sytsevich look like he's in a baby carrier.
While Electro's appearance in the movie is the most praised costume for any villain in the movie, the lightning bolts on his costume have gotten some derision.
The Tie-In Game for the 2014 Film
Alternate Character Interpretation: Let's see: Spider-Man steals the Shocker's gauntlets (which he knows full well belong to Oscorp) and steals a high-tech Oscorp suit from the Russians for himself, and when his buddy Harry asks Spider-Man to kill him after the boss fight, Spider-Man essentially tells him to spend the rest of his terminally ill and brief days making up for his attacks on the city. In short: Spider-Man is an asshole. And that's without the player deciding to ignore the petty crimes and let citizens die so they can collect comic books...
Broken Base: Carnage is in the game, with the only sign of Venom being Carnage's place in the "Venom Project".
Narm: Most of the rescuing civilians side missions involve lifting debris off them... debris that is sloped completely over the civilian and not trapping them in any way. It looks less like they're in danger and more like they're too lazy to get off the ground.
Scrappy Mechanic: The Hero or Menace morality system sounds cool on paper, but when you learn that there's no benefits to becoming a Menace and if you fail to stop crimes - which can occur across town and simultaneously, with more cropping up all the time - your rating will go down. If your rating does go into the 'Menace' region then you'll have to deal with a task force of flying goons able to keep up with your web-swinging at it's highest speed. And the game will also drop your rating down to Menace at certain points of the story, regardless of how high it was earlier.