reviewed by Tom-Tom
I’ve waited for this film for a while. It opens with some juicy info we all having been wondering about concerning the fate of his parents. It segues to a nicely balanced scene with Spider-man chasing Russian mobsters who have seized radioactive isotopes and Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield reprising his role) , who we all know is Spidey’s secret identity, trying to make it to his High School Graduation. Among the police cars swarming towards the mobster’s truck (driven by Paul Giamatti who adopts a funny Russian accent) he spies the glowering ghostly countenance of Captain Stacy to whom he promised to protect his daughter Gwen from falling victim to those who would target Spider-man. Got that? No one can leer like Denis Leary so this haunting eventually leads Peter to want to keep the promise he broke at the end of the first film.
Enter Jamie Fox, an awkward scientist with an even more awkward comb-over. Right away with the cheesy break-up and the goofy villains to be, (Paul Giamatti isn’t just here for the hell of it, you know), the film seems to have gotten off on the wrong foot. Some of the dialogue Peter shares with Gwen (played again by Emma Stone) has that same old feeling from the first film and some of it falls flat. Peter’s bromance with Harry Osborn, whose father Norman passes away, mostly seems genuine as well. The story is a mess, part origin story for three villains, part mystery of Peter’s parents. The unlikely alliances are a bit cheesy and villain speak even more so. Along the way, we get introduced to Electro’s truly awesome power and even get a hint at future Spidey baddies (were those prosthetic octopus arms I spied?) but seriously, a battle suit that emerges after a transformation? C’mon, that’s just lazy. What made the first film so successful was that everyone was fully realized from the school bully to the Lizard Doctor. Their back story wasn’t just some one line quip or scene, it was part of the infrastructure of the entire film. The danger and suspense of Peter, the high school boy pitting himself against an honest to God lizard are absent here despite Electro being infinitely more dangerous. The fear we feel is more for innocent bystanders which, albeit an improvement on Man of Steel. Similar to Man of Steel, however is the “It’s not over yet, hero” element of more and more enemies coming at Spidey when the movie should have been over. I was happy to see that it stayed true to the comic book storyline as this is to be a major growing up vehicle for him. The coda at the film’s end just seems so tacked on. The speech Peter listens to was enough for me.