Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) is back to once again save New York City from a normal citizen who somehow gets transformed into a form of super being that wants to take control of everything. Okay, that pretty much describes all superhero films, so lets delve into this one a little more deeply.
Warning review contains spoilers.
Peter Parker as Spider-Man is still doing the best he can to stop the crime in New York city and the film opens with an assault on an armoured truck carrying plutonium.
The assault is being led by Aleksei Sytsevich (A wasted Paul Giamatti), who the fans will know as the character who will later become Rhino. I’ll warn you now, don’t get too excited about this just yet.
In the course of this battle, Spider-Man saves the life of Max Dillon (Jamie Foxx), a nerdy shy character who works at the Osbourn Corporation. Max takes Spider-Man’s comments to heart and becomes rather obsessed with the web slinger.
After the battle with Aleksei, Peter rushes off to his graduation and to meet up with Gwen Stacey. He still has visions of her father, the police captain and the promise he made to him from the end of the original film. His actions as Spider-Man will only hurt the ones he loves or maybe worse so he promised to stay away from Gwen, but it’s a promise that torments him.
Days later, on Max’s birthday, he spends his normal working day at the Osbourn corporation where it is further shown that he is indeed a loner and after a brief meeting with Gwen Stacey, is asked to repair an electrical fault in one of the laboratories whilst everyone else is going home for the day. Can you see what’s coming?
This laboratory in particular is experimenting with genetically enhanced electric eels and the wiring in the roof above is broken. He calls for another technician to shut down a local power circuit to make the conditions safer, remember kids, safety first!
The other technician replies back that he’s already on his way out the door so he’ll have to help himself. Max climbs onto the gantry safety rails and precariously balances whist repairing the broken electrical connection. There’s a small explosion and Max falls into the tank of eels, which then proceed to attack him.
This of course is the origin story of Electro who will become the films main protagonist. The Osbourn Corporation use this accident as an excuse to fire Harry Osborn who recently became head of the company after his father’s death from a retro virus. Harry also has this virus and he believes that he needs Spider-Man’s blood as a cure.
So the elements are in place to carry the film along but unfortunately for me I felt that it didn’t work.
The film runs for a lengthy two and a half hours and boy does it feel like it. The middle act of the film concentrates on the relationship between Peter and Gwen (Emma Stone) and these scenes whilst they’re not bad scenes and they do have some good acting, they hust unfortunately bring the film to a halt.
Electro’s story arc is also rather extreme. As Max we see him become obsessed with Spider-Man. During his first encounter with Spider-Man, Electro flips and goes crazy because everyone cheers on Spider-Man and not him.
Also Electro’s powers are never clearly defined. He starts out as a man the power of electricity but then later without warning, he can dissolve himself and travel to wherever he want’s via any electrical cables with visual effects very reminiscent of Dr. Manhatten from Watchmen.
Add to that, he somehow acquires a custom made suit featuring his logo on the shoulders. Where did that come from?
Jamie Foxx doesn’t really have much to play with in this film but he does his best. As the nerdy shy Max I just found his hair piece really distracting, odd I know but it just bugged me. Jamie’s performance as Electro is limited to being shouty and angry.
Dane DeHaan is good once again as Harry Osbourn but his transformation into the Green Goblin is right at the last minute and feels tacked onto the end of the film. Whilst the Green Goblin plays an important part in the final scenes it does push the feeling that this film is desperately trying to set up further franchise films rather than concentrating on itself. In other words, trying to emulate Marvel’s success.
I’ve already mentioned how the film is too long and interviews with the director have revealed other elements shot that were cut from the final film. Harry Osbourn’s assistant was to be his love interest and also become the Black Cat. Scenes were shot with Mary Jane Parker that were completely exercised.
It all sounds too ambitious for one film, almost suffering from Spider-Man 3 syndrome with too many characters. The most obvious of these is the Sinister Six franchise. We get too see the equipment which will lead to the creation of Doc Octopus and Vulture in possible future films.
This brings me back round to Rhino. He is the first person to be given some of this new equipment in the form of an armoured mechanical suit…that happens to look like a Rhino. Seriously, why would you design a armoured combat suit to look like a rhinoceros? I know it’s a comic book film but come on!
If you’ve been waiting to see the Rhino versus Spider-Man battle you’re in for a disappointment. Remember that shot from the trailer where Spider-Man is swinging a manhole cover at Rhino? That is the final shot of the film, the beginning of the fight.
Whilst I’m moaning there were also two other points in the film were they felt it necessary to have a female computer voice add important plot information when in reality that wouldn’t happen. For example, in the heist scene at the beginning of the film, the plutonium travelling case warns anyone who opens it that the contents are dangerous and will explode if dropped on the floor.
For me The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was okay but this was marred by a long running time. I enjoyed it more than the first film but not by much.
It’s interesting to note that after the theatrical release of Spider-Man 2 with its mediocre performance, Sony has reined in the plans to release separate Sinister Six and Venom films before Spider-Man 3. I believe this is a good move on the part of Sony who need to re-evaluate the franchise and proceed carefully.
Random Trivia: Apparently Sony have to make a Spider-Man film every five years or the rights will return to Marvel. We can but dream.