OK, OK…. so if I’m not exactly the last person (who wanted) to see this at the cinema to actually go and see it then I must be NEARLY the last one. So in that case, treat this as an early DVD release review!
I won’t start this review by harping on again about the tired nature of Marvel/DC ‘re-imaginings’ of the more popular elements of their respective portfolios – (if you want a recap of this particular rant, see my review of last year’s Man of Steel at http://wp.me/p3bNxg-bJ ).
Actually, the first film of this reboot series was pretty good: much less earnest and quirkier than the original Tobey Maguire series, and revelling more in the fun to be had around a superhero’s schooldays. The finale of that film saw police chief Stacey – father of his girlfriend Gwen Stacey – make Spidey swear with his dying breath that he would stay away from Gwen in order not to put her in danger. So the first – very enjoyable – half of this film sees Parker (Andrew Garfield) struggling with this promise against his better hormones: she is Emma Stone after all, and he is only human!
Garfield is as good in this film as in the first, bringing a depth of feeling and emotion to the role of the split-personality Parker/Spidey, caught between his duty and his feelings. And he has real chemistry with Stone: the couple are genuinely funny together and she looks just drop-dead gorgeous.
There was a suggestion in the run up to this film’s release that there would be only one main villain: a key learning from the true awfulness that was Spiderman 3. They lied. There are two main villains in this flick – two and a half if you count ‘Rhino man’. (Seriously, anyone who has recently spectated at the London Marathon couldn’t take this villain seriously… I certainly wanted to chant “Rhino, Rhino, Rhino…” at that bit).
But I digress. The two primary villains of the piece are Electro, played rather well, in nerdy-janitor mode at least, by Jamie Foxx and The Green Goblin, played by up-and-coming star Dane DeHaan, whose first memorable movie appearance was as the kid-with-superpowers in the sleeper hit “Chronicle” from 2012. DeHaan has such a memorably strange and mesmerising face – somewhat reminiscent of the intensity of a young Leo DiCaprio – that his transformation into the leering Green Goblin is genuinely memorable.
However, my main gripe with the second half of this film is that there is just too much going on. Both of these villains are quite good, but both together are complete overload (or in the case of Electro, over-voltage). Having two and a half villains means that there are two and a half finales to work your way through. And it’s pointless: one of these main villains would have been fine and dandy, so save the other one to live another day until The Amazing Spider-Man 3. Less is more Hollywood!
Given the choice, I would have ditched the rather ridiculous Electro ending and kept the ‘Goblin in the bell-tower’ scene. Whilst curiously reminiscent of a certain Keaton/Nicholson finale in the first Batman film, the ending – where Spidey falls for Gwen Stacey in a wholly different kind of way – is both thrilling and shocking in equal measure.
So – in my view a game of two halves: first half FFFF, second half FFF – overall…
Fad Rating: FFFf.