Not Quite So-Amazing Spider-Man 2 Review

Yep. Another superhero movie is here to kickoff the summer movie season… as if there weren’t enough of them. First up, is another Spider-Man movie… as if there weren’t enough of them.

ImageMarc Webb (no pun intended… I think) returns to direct the sequel to the 2012 Spider-Man reboot. His last outing, almost a complete retread of Sam Raimi’s original film, was saved by its two leads. I don’t think anyone will argue that Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone aren’t a step up from Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst. Still… it’s hard to shake the fact that Tobey and Kirsten did it first. Thus, yet again, it’s hard to watch this film and not rummage through it for reasons to care about its existence.

So let’s go ahead and get the negatives out of the way first, so we can end on a good note going forward into the Summer Movie Season. First off; the tone. With the creation of Chris Nolan’s Batman trilogy, the Avengers’ Universe, and the X-Men franchise, I’d have sworn we’d left the campiness and corniness back in the 90’s with Joel Schumacher’s Batman & Robin. And yet, the bad puns and goofiness seem to pop up in this film far too often. In fact, the movie seems to go from silly to serious to heartfelt as if someone is flipping a switch in the projection booth.

“It’s my birthday… now it’s time to light my candles”… *proceeds to electrocute everything*… I mean, c’mon Electro, you can do better than that.

And then there’s the cast. Don’t get me wrong. I’m a huge Jamie Foxx and Paul Giamatti fan. But casting them in the clichéd, cookie cutter roles of Electro and Rhino is like hiring an architect to draw a stick figure. In fact, there were literally times where I felt like Foxx was going to turn into this guy.

But… Spider-man is here to save the day. Andrew Garfield is once again marvelous as Peter Parker. Comparing him to Tobey Maguire’s dinky turn as the titular hero is like comparing Christian Bale’s Batman to Adam West’s. Garfield is the embodiment of the character and makes you root for him and believe in him every time he’s on screen. Then there’s Emma Stone’s Gwen Stacey who’s just so darn adorable. Franchise newcomer, Dane DeHaan (Chronicle), is also not too shabby as Harry Osborne.

So what it all comes down to is: Is a good Spidey and a culpable love story enough to save a clunky script? Well, yes and no. For a superhero movie, the film is lacking on the action… which is weird, considering the movie is packed with three villains. And when it does hit, you’ll either love or hate the constant shifting in and out of super slow motion. But, considering it has a strong lead actor and a dramatic climax (perhaps shocking to non-comic aficionados who can’t guess the inevitable end), the movie isn’t a terrible way to spend a few hours and a couple of bucks. Unless of course, you haven’t seen Captain America 2 yet.

FINAL GRADE: C

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