The first of these films was enjoyable enough, even if it felt a little unnecessary, given the previous three films of the same superhero. Having the ‘origins’ story already set up and out of the way, the stage was set for this version to really get going. Oh dear, how sad, never mind…
Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone do a fine job and really shine as Peter Parker and Gwen Stacey – that part of the film really works and their relationship (as might be expected, given their real-life relationship) convinces as real and is charming.
What fails is the threat and the overall story. The creation of Elektro from a geeky fan-boy is meant to be a commentary on outsider status and its alienating effect but the transistion from comedic to tragic to scary is too broad and shallow to really work – and the Spiderman character himself is surely the original commentary on this theme, anyway? Then we get the Green Goblin story, a more interesting story anyway, shoehorned in halfway through and dealt with rather cursorily. This was worthy of a film in its own right but looks like an afterthought. And then we get more villains added in the background, ready for the next film – a case of Sony picking up on Marvel’s Avengers template of sacrificing the film we’re watching to set up the next?
I was intrigued with the Gwen story; would the filmmakers have the guts to see it out, as per the iconic comic story? And, if so, how would it sit tonally with what was generally quite a lightweight ‘popcorn’ movie, aimed young? I have to say that they did better with this than I expected but it wasn’t enough to save the film.
A more honest title would have been The Adequate Spiderman 2. A shame.