*This review is as spoiler-free as I could manage, though something might have snuck in like a spider in a bathroom, so enter at your own risk.
Yesterday, I went to see the new Spider-Man movie. This is the follow up to the first movie from 2012 with Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker and Emma Stone as scientific genius Gwen Stacy.
I really loved the first movie. It was fresh, it was entertaining, Garfield`s improvised lines showed not only a good understanding of the character and the franchise but also a good sense of humour that really hit all the right marks. The first movie reminded me of an entire youth of Spider-Man tv shows and movies, as one of my first ever superheroes.
The second movie though? Slightly more disappointing.
It`s an okay movie. I did like it, and I enjoyed watching it. Garfield`s humour is spot-on, though used very sparingly (too sparingly, perhaps). Emma Stone was lovely again as Gwen, and Jamie Foxx and Dane DeHaan made for great villains. The storyline seems to be an introduction to bigger, better things, and has left a lot open to future movies.
And that`s roughly where it all ends. As soon as I was on my way home, I started thinking about this film some more, and realised a lot of things about it.
To me, it felt like the makers couldn`t decide on a major storyline and villain, so instead of just randomly picking one, or going with a certain theme and moving according to that, they just thought “oh to hell with it, let`s use everything!” There was so much, all the major themes and characters only get very little screentime and even less time to properly get explained and developed. As a result, everything felt very rushed and crowded and hard to keep track of. Maybe it was part of the aforementioned “possible introduction to bigger, better things” and they wanted to leave all of their options open. Maybe it was just a bit of a mess.
And still, even with everything going on, it was all very predictable. I knew everything that was going to happen, there were barely any proper twists and turns, and it overall felt very anti-climactic.
I suppose if I had to deduce a theme out of all the chaos, it`s how overwhelming it can be to be a superhero in New York, especially combined with the overwhelming time just after high school graduation when you`re just starting college (a daunting time for everyone, I know). There were also themes of “hope in the darkness” (which can be directly traced to the overwhelming part, as Peter seems to be so overwhelmed he needs constant reminders of hope) and “even nobodies are somebody/everyone`s a hero”, but they felt very overdone to me.
Maybe the movie is actually about how overwhelming it can be to be a writer or a director in Hollywood.
Still, if I had to grade this on a scale of 1-10, I`d give this a 6 or a 7. Because despite all the obvious flaws that could have been fixed fairly easily if they`d put a bit more effort into it, I did enjoy myself while it lasted. As with most superhero movies, you shouldn`t take this one too seriously while watching, and look beyond the flaws and the plotholes, and just sit back and enjoy the ride and the visuals.
Although I suppose the visuals could have been a bit more interesting and less show-off-y. But that might be just me.