It’s always tough for me reviewing a Spider-Man film.
For someone who had a Spidey space hopper at 5 and who had a full web-head costume at 37 my devoted love for this character makes it sometimes hard to see things clearly.
(I vehemently defended Spider-Man 3 for years… YEARS I tell you!)
Add on to this the fact that every review I’ve read up to now has pretty much contradicted each other in what works and what doesn’t.
So what’s the deal?
Firstly, it’s no surprise that I enjoyed the flick on a basic fanboy level but then, I am unable at a genetic level to dislike ANYTHING Peter Parker related, so I figure that don’t count.
Trufully, the best thing about this movie is the worst thing about this movie, in that over the 2 and a half hour running time it tries to be everything to everyone and all at the same time.
One second it’s funny, then exciting, then a thriller, some romance, back to thriller, back again to romance, ooh now it’s scary… You get the point.
So for every scene that doesn’t connect (and unfortunately there’s a few) there’s bound to be one along in a minute or two that does, but over 150 minutes it can get exhausting. Expect bum-numb.
Luckily Andrew Garfield (still better in the suit than out of it) and Emma Stone keep the whole thing moving nicely with that fantastic chemistry which helped the previous movie through any tough spots. Another plus is that the movie (and thankfully the wall crawler himself) has no problems being enjoyably goofy with wise cracks and visual gags aplenty, not to mention we get a hero who (pay attention Kal-El) actually RESCUES people!
And the bad guys? The movie neatly side-steps a super villain log jam buy ranking their appearances (much like Batman Begins) in order of merit, (crook > super villain > super arch villain) so keeping track ain’t so bad.
Obviously, with all the bouncing around, not all of it works, a cringe worthy German doctor is sure to elicit an impressive amount of audience eyeball rolling and Electro (a hideously overacting Jamie Foxx) trying to defeat Spidey with the power of dub-step is just weird. Not to mention the Iron Man 2 level of clumsy lip service paid to future instalments (tentacles! wings! Name dropping!).
But in the end it’s just about worth it as we arrive at THAT ending (you’ll know it when it happens!) which, despite the seismic tonal shifts earlier, is handled with admirable skill.
All in all, the relative clunkyness of the whole enterprise screams of behind the scenes tampering, something that’s hamstrung previous entries in the Wall Crawler’s filmography. Sony Films infuriating habit of hurling too many villains into the mix and the fact that AS-M 2 doesn’t actually seem to be about anything may scupper future plans.
But then, it’s doesn’t really matter if the box office is weak, for when it comes to our Friendly Neighbourhood superhero, action is his reward.