I was a fan of the previous film. It was an enjoyable reboot with some fantastic performances and a new, edgier feel, when compared to the Sam Raimi trilogy.
So, this new film is a mixed bag, to say the least. First of all, the “mystery” of what happened to Peter’s parents turns out to be not that mysterious at all. Every scene dealing with that aspect of the story could have been distilled down to a singe page of dialogue, rather than having to wade through a pointless action sequence, a lot of whining from Peter, and a truly ridiculous subway-car-lab that, I’m sorry, could not have been kept a secret. There is no way Richard Parker, even if Mary was helping him, could have put that together. Bounced me right out of the film.
The first big Spidey action sequence shows him evading automatic gun fire as he splashily detains Sytsevich (the eventual Rhino, played by Paul Giamatti). Nope. I don’t buy it. I just barely bought him evading all those spinning blades back in Spider-man. Here, it verges on the magical. On the other hand, I didn’t mind the Rhino introduction, nor his reappearance at the end of the film. I would have preferred that the tease at the end wasn’t in every trailer and TV spot. If you’re going to tease the villian of your next film, don’t put him front and center in your marketing of this film. Duh.
Electro (Jamie Foxx) is handled much better. Yes, this is a character we’ve seen before, the sad sack who dreams of bigger things and feels that our hero has slighted him. But I don’t mind that as an origin story. And the Electro effects are pretty amazing.
On to the Osborns. Norman Osborn was mentioned in the first film, but now we seem him in the (pretty revolting) flesh. He’s played by an uncredited Chris Cooper. Also, after we are told he’s dead, there’s a weird little scene where someone is taking a laser mold of his body, and a nurse is checking his eyes. I don’t think he’s dead. That’s just my two cents. As for Harry (Dane Dehaan), the friendship between him and Peter wasn’t really earned, though I suppose since their dads worked together for so long, it makes sense that they would have played together. The best moments for Harry in this film are after he gets tossed out of Oscorp, but before he becomes Green Goblin. I really bought that Electro is so in need of validation, that when Harry says “I need you”, he comes to the pipsqueak’s aid. And the scene of him and Electro breaking into the Oscorp building was fantastic. After he gets all weird-looking, not so much with the fantastic.
Hands down, the best thing about this film is the relationship between Peter and Gwen. Every scene between them (even the mildly annoying “I’m breaking up with you because I love you” nonsense) is gold. Maybe if we had gotten more of the Peter-Gwen stuff, I would have eventually tired of it, but they could have easily made this an Electro movie, and teased the Green Goblin for later. This wasn’t the confusing nightmare that Spider-man 3 was, but it definitely could have used a trim.