By Darin Skaggs
A couple of years ago a reboot of Spider-Man films came out. It was basically a carbon copy of the 2002 Raimi film. The second one of the reboot has come out and is trying to do its own thing. It is good that they are branching out but the film tries to do way too much. This sequel opens during the graduation of Peter Parker, played by Andrew Garfield, but of course Peter is busy being Spider-Man stopping a crazy Paul Giamatti from stealing a whole lot of Plutonium. He barely makes it to shake his principles hand and accept his diploma. He then struggles with a bunch of problems including keeping a relationship with Gwen Stacy, played by Emma Stone, and making money at The Daily Bugle by selling pictures of Spider-Man and a horde of villains that conveniently never show up at the same time.
The film tries to become its own thing this time around and because of that fact, fails to compile all the stories it is trying to sell you into a well flowed movie. In the film Peter is dealing a lot with Gwen. Also there is the mystery of his father. Then he sees Harry Osborne’s father has passed and decides to visit him, even though he hasn’t seen this guy for fifteen years or so. Aunt May is dealing with the death of her husband/Peter’s uncle from the last movie. The film decides that Peter doesn’t need to do much processing about that death because dealing with the death of Gwen’s father is more important. Then Harry, who is new to us, is dealing with the inheritance from his father including the Oscorp Company and the deadly disease that killed him. And hey, if that is not enough there is a man named Max Dillon who no one notices and dies in a bat of electric eels and becomes a super charged super villain named Electro. There is more, but I’ll save you the trouble.
The film simply has too much going on. It needed to pick about half the story lines and focus on those. Then it would flow better and not have to be constantly catching up with itself with all the plot points. Though, it doesn’t flow well the movie has very good individual scenes. The director Marc Webb, whose only other films included the previous Spider-Man film and (500) Days of Summer, is very good at scenes of emotional rawness and human connection. There are several scenes where you can tell Peter and Gwen really do like and care about each other. There is a wonderful scene with Peter and Aunt May as well. His first film (500) Days had many moments similar to this that worked just as well.
This is a superhero film so that means there will be action. Some of these scenes work. The first one is a highlight, but for all the others are about fifty/fifty. The fight with Harry is a weak fight but works due to decisions in the script. Characters are uneven a lot of the time as well. Peter and Gwen are grounded in reality having real conversations about life, but then Max/Electro is the nerd character straight out of a Nickelodeon sitcom. Then sometimes Electro is a good villain, particularly the break in to Oscorp, and you wonder why he wasn’t as effective in previous scenes.
The film as a whole is a mess. It is a bad movie with good parts. With all the superior superhero movies to choose from, you can probably steer clear of this one.