As I sit here writing this, it has been about an hour since the end of the end credit crawl. And since I don't have a working computer right now, I sit in front of my Kindle Fire HD my wife bought me two Christmases ago. I also sit in the dark, alone, my wife having gone to bed as soon as we returned from the screening. As she lays her head down, wandering off into Dreamland or Slumberland (whichever her preference), I know her last thought tonight is "My sweet & wonderful husband...HOW THE F$&^ DOES HE NOT LOVE THIS MOVIE?!"
Well, it's a bit complicated. See, I don't hate all of Marc Webb's second installment of the rebooted Spidey comic book series. For instance, the final 45 minutes: nearly phenomenal. But let's not get ahead of ourselves, TASM2 is 142 minutes long. Nearly two and a half hours that go by in a flawed blur.
Peter (Garfield) & Gwen (Stone) have graduated high school and are ready to move on with life together. That is, as long Peter can get over the ghost of Gwen's father following him. Meanwhile, Peter's childhood friend Harry Osborn (DeHaan) re-enters the picture to run OsCorp after his father's death. An accident on Harry's first day appears to have irreversibly changed the life of Max Dillon (Foxx). All the while, Peter is in constant but harmless conflict with Aunt May (Field) over the legacy and mystery of his parents.
All these stories but which one will carry the film and the audience? Unfortunately, the answer is none. None of these stories answer the call and come forward to dominate the narrative. Instead, every story, at one time or another, tries it's best but is always overshadowed by another plot. Every story, that is except the story that opens the movie, the mystery of Peter's parents. Why start a movie like that if it's not going to be the main storyline? Two more 8-10 minute sequences felt unsatisfactory.
Speaking of disappointment, I give you Electro. Foxx plays Dillon like if Michael Strahan had never heard of football in his life. Science nerd with a pocket protector, glasses, tapped teeth and circus-like theme music? Sure why not. Pre-accident, we feel sympathy for him but not as much as we should. Dillon is angry with OsCorp for not giving him credit for the design of the new power plant. However, instead of showing us a irritating event, screenwriters Kurtzman, Orci and Pinker use one of many stock characters to blurt standard exposition. Would it have been that hard to show us Max being disrespected by cutting one of the ineffective storylines?
Post-accident isn't much better. After what feels like an eternity, the moment in Times Square finally arrives where Dillon realizes what he has become is massacred by the aforementioned circus theme. We realize Electro used to be regular guy Max. But the score, both in this scene and as a whole, is just terrible. What's more, Dillon also never gets his miniature revenge on the aforementioned stock character.
TASM2 really shines when Peter & Gwen share the screen. Their relationship, just like Garfield's & Stone's in real life, grows on you. They are the center of the movie and the third act allows them to shine. And when [REDACTED] happens, it is the real payoff of the movie.
All that said, the first 90-ish minutes plus flashes of the snarky Spider-Man I loathed so much in the 2012 edition creates a real mess. It's only after the movie becomes a typical comic book movie that the movie becomes not only watchable but fun & interesting. If you enjoyed the 2012 reboot, you'll love this. If you're like me and didn't, you'll be all over the place on this. If you're a fanboy, the comment thread is below and you need a Google account to scream at me about how this movie wasn't for me.