Though many film fans were somewhat reluctant to see Spider-Man swing by for another trilogy so soon after Sam Raimi’s triumphant endeavours, any such apprehensions were eased with Marc Webb’s commendable efforts on the first picture. Now he returns with the sequel, turning in a more than accomplished piece to suggest that perhaps this reboot wasn’t such a bad idea after all.
In this second instalment, Peter Parker, AKA Spider-Man, played by Andrew Garfield, has a battle on two fronts: not only is he attempting to maintain a happy relationship with his girlfriend Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone), but at the same time he has to keep the streets safe from Max Dillion (Jamie Foxx), an introverted mechanic who becomes the evil antagonist Electro when caught up in an accident at Oscorp. The aforementioned company has a new boss too, as Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan) takes over from his late father, hoping to reconnect with his old friend Peter.
Webb must be commended, primarily for ensuring that this blockbuster offers very pure entertainment, as an unrelenting picture that compels you from the word go. Helped along by a sharp, witty script, deeming the more conversational scenes between Peter and Gwen equally as captivating as the action set-pieces – enhanced by the pair’s natural chemistry with one another. However it does work the other way too, because often Spider-Man’s one-liners can take the viewer out of the moment when they’re delivered in the more sincere, intense sequences, where a facetious remark is not always welcomed. Thankfully though, the same can’t be said of the new additions and antagonists to the franchise, particularly Electro. He’s a well-crafted villain and Foxx manages to maintain a level of empathy, which makes for a layered character – though he certainly isn’t as developed as you may hope, and not utilised quite effectively enough.
All in all Webb has succeeded in spinning his web once more though, and while flawed in parts, you simply can’t ask for too much more in the superhero genre. Because this is a film that keeps you completely engrossed throughout most parts, laughing in others and even contemplative for the rest, as the director steadily balances the more frivolous aspects of the narrative with the profound. It may have seemed somewhat needless at first, but now the third picture can’t come soon enough!