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.
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Cast: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx, Dane DeHaan, Paul Giamatti, Chris Cooper & Sally Field
Running Time: 2hrs 20mins
Director: Marc Webb[youtube id=”nbp3Ra3Yp74″ width=”600″ height=”350″]