SYNOPSIS: Fresh out of high school Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) is being pulled in two different directions. He loves Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) but is troubled by a promise he made to her late father (Dennis Leary) that he would never let anything bad happen to her. Meanwhile, Peter’s old friend Harry Osborn (Dane De Haan), heir to the OsCorp fortune, is battling a hereditary disease he thinks can be cured with a dose of Spider-Man’s blood and Max Dillon (Jamie Foxx), a low level OsCorp electrical engineer, has an accident that rewires him into Electro, a villain with the power to control electricity.
Richard: 3 Stars
Mark: 2 Stars
Richard: Mark, at two-and-a-half hours the new Spider-Man movie is almost equal parts action and story. The first fifteen minutes contains not one, but two wild action sequences that’ll make your eyeballs dance. If you haven’t had your fill of special effects for the week your thirst will be quenched early on. Then the onslaught of story begins. Jammed packed with plot, bad guys and lots and lots of moony-eyed love, it’s the busiest superhero movie in recent memory. Did you get caught up in the film’s web?
Mark: No, Richard, the movie got caught in its own web. Too much of the film is like the last one, which was very good, but do we need to rehash the origin story yet again? The action sequences are good, and they’d better be, because the plot and characters are feeling kind of tired by now. Not that there aren’t good things in the movie. I liked the Jamie Foxx’ villain, who was sadly sympathetic in a Frankenstein kind of way. And Dane DeHaan, as tortured Oscorp heir Harry Osborn, has the best scenes in the picture, with an otherworldly look that reminded me of a British fascist circa 1936 or Tilda Swinton’s illegitimate son; I’m not sure which.
RC: I thought he kind of looks like the Evil Annoying Orange with a better haircut. To each his own. He does have some of the best scenes in the film, and this is a movie with several well-crafted dramatic moments. Too bad most of them feel like they’re lifted from another movie and dropped into this one as placeholders for the action sequences. Peter Parker is shedding tears over his love life one minute, swinging on webby vines through the streets the next. Both tones are well executed, but they often feel forced together.
MB: The movie seems more like a pastiche than a sequel. Sally Field, bless her Norma Rae heart, invests her part with the intensity of a Eugene O’Neill play. Jamie Foxx makes a sympathetic villain in the Frankenstein mode even though he’s made up like a rogue member of Blue Man Group. But Richard, why is Spidey so cocky this go round? His awkwardness is usually part of his charm.
RC: That’s more from the comic books. The Sam Raimi Spider-Man movies didn’t use Spidey’s sarcasm but on the pages of the comics he wasn’t shy to let loose with some trash talking.
MB: the movie is watchable and intermittently entertaining, but the franchise needs to invigorate itself to keep me in its web.