|America's favorite stalker|
I wish the same was true of the sequel, which picks up not long after the events of the first film. Still trying to make good on the promise he made to her father, Peter Parker (Garfield)
is staying away from the love of his life, the spunky, smart, and fun Gwen Stacy (Stone). He does this by breaking up with her and then stalking her. It's...actually pretty adorable, but that's really just because pouty-lipped Peter is adorable, and Gwen seems like the kind of person anyone would stalk. She's that awesome. Then, while Peter is busy perching on rooftops near Gwen's favorite luncheonettes, a slew of baddies are born in the most contrived and accidental ways possible. Gone are the days when villains would be created or built by their own faults and desires. Now, all a person needs to be a super-villain is to be clumsy and in the wrong place at the wrong time. That's what happens when Max Dillon (Jamie Foxx, a human yawn), a super-genius, decides that the smart thing to do is to fix an uncoupled electric wire with no supervision or safety harness while dangling above an open tank of ravenous electric eels. You know, like you do. Max's dream is to 'be seen.' – I know that because he says it at least 15 times in his first 3 minutes onscreen. So, he gets his wish, not by tirelessly working to attain it, but rather when his encounter with frayed wires and eels basically makes him a living light-bulb named Electro. Everyone can see him now... do you get it? Then, if that wasn't bad enough, Peter's childhood friend Harry Osborn comes back from boarding school and instantly starts dying from a rare disease that also affected Harry's father (but it affects Harry much faster, because this movie ramps everything up to 11). The only thing that will save him is a vial of Spider-Man's blood, because science, and Peter is less than willing to give it to him because reasons. Also, Paul Giamatti tries to steal some yellow liquid.
|A girl with a chip/arachnid|
on her shoulder.
That said, the movie has its charms. Gwen and Peter are still great together, thanks in no small part to Garfield's and Stone's palpable chemistry. Also, the action sequences are really exciting and craftily shot. I'm no fan of the quick edit, where takes are so short that you can barely catch your balance or figure out what's going on, but those are used sparingly in the film. Some of the action during a clock tower sequence is muddled and confusing, but that probably has to do with the hackneyed, foregone conclusion to the film more so than the actual stuff playing out on-screen.
The movie is fun to watch, and Garfield was born to play the role of Peter Parker. Still, it's not a good movie. In the world of superhero sequels, it's trying to be as good as X-Men 2 and landing somewhere closer to X-Men 3. Forgettable, but still pretty watchable.
Film Grade: B-
Now, let's talk about the ending. Spoilers Ahead. Seriously, don't read on if you don't want the ending to this movie spoiled.
|What a tangled web we weave.|
All-in-all, all Gwen's death really points to is the fact that Gwen makes terrible decisions in life. She should have stayed on her path to college and not let herself get distracted by what is essentially sky-writing. She's the dumbest smart person I know. I'm not saying she deserves to die, I'm just saying that he death means nothing for the story or for the surviving characters. And when I'm saying that about a person who, until her death, was the most interesting thing about the re-booted franchise, that's saying something.
|Mandy Patinkin talking to Gwen Stacy.|