This sequel to 2012’s enjoyable reboot is a surprisingly paint-by-numbers entry that is saved by a shock ending.
It doesn’t suffer from Spider-man 3 syndrome – which had so many villains its critical mauling ended the last Tobey Maguire franchise – but fails to particularly excite unless Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone’s chemistry is working on-screen.
This second film seems more of another build-up story – at least four movies featuring Garfield’s latest incarnation of the Webslinger have been announced – with Oscar-winner Jamie Foxx (Ray) underwhelming as electricity-wielding villain Electro.
As Peter Parker’s (Garfield) and Gwen Stacey’s (Stone) relationship meanders between love and break-up – with Peter/Spidey still guilt-ridden over the death of her father – the mysterious Oscorp continues to throw up more questions than answers.
Particularly when an old friend of Peter, Harry Osborn (Chronicle’s Dane DeHaan) – who will later become the film’s secondary villain the Green Goblin – takes the reigns at the company after his own father’s passing, and is in desperate need to find a cure to a genetic illness that is slowly killing him, which Spidey may hold the key to.
In the meantime, lovable loser and Oscorp engineer Max Dillon falls into a water pool filled with electric eels and becomes the maniacal Electro – who then goes nutty by wreaking black-out havoc across New York.
But while there’s much to enjoy from this sequel, there’s an underlying rushed feel – acclaimed director Marc Webb had to get this out less than two years after the first – that leaves a slightly unsatisfactory and disjointed taste, as the film never really gets out of third gear.
That is until the surprise ending – that only comic-book fans will really pick up – which then leads into a short bonus entry for a third villain The Rhino (Oscar-nominated Paul Giamatti), which is probably more of a set-up for a spin-off villainous Sinister Six movie than anything else.
Thankfully though, Garfield, Stone and newcomer DeHaan, are charismatic enough to pull you into Spidey’s web – with several action set-pieces and heartwarming scenes generally doing enough to make the enjoyment stick.
But sadly this Spider-man is still well short of amazing – in a somewhat small backwards step after the first film – and with Marvel raising the bar with Avengers Assemble and the recent Captain America movie, this really lacked that venomous bite.
Gavin Miller has joined the Spalding Guardian entertainment team on a permanent basis after providing the paper with reviews and previews for the past four years.
The Spalding-based journalist has been reviewing films for regional press and magazines across the East Midlands for nearly twenty years, and will now be bringing his expertise on a weekly basis with his new column primarily covering film reviews and previews, along with a mixture of Blu-ray and video game reviews, and exciting new competitions.
During his years as a film critic he has interviewed major Hollywood A-list movie stars from the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio, Will Smith, George Clooney and Johnny Depp to Arnold Schwarzenegger, Robert Downey Jr, Scarlett Johansson and Jennifer Aniston.
He’s also also interviewed some of Tinseltown’s top directors like George Lucas, Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino and Peter Jackson.