"With great power, comes great responsibility." Every self-respecting Spider-Man fan knows this quote. It was forced down our throats in the late 90's Animated Spider-Man series. Uncle Ben left this message for Peter Parker before he died and it was echoed throughout his career as the web-head. We get a taste of this mentality in this sequel to Marc Webb's The Amazing Spider-Man.
The quote is never uttered in the film, but we get the theme from Peter's father sacrificing himself to keep great power from Norman Osborn and his military contracts. We also see it with Gwen Stacy's father's ghost throughout the film. In the first film, Captain Stacy (Denis Leary) made Peter promise to keep Gwen out of his Spidey dealings to keep her safe. A promise he would break before the first film even ended. And its something he struggles with, and has been struggling with in-between the two films, going back and forth with breaking things off with Gwen.
Without getting into the plot, as it wasn't too complicated to begin with, this film fell very short. The villains were too campy and over the top. The love story is really thrown in our faces, Webb trying to convince us that Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone have real chemistry, which we know they do but they really push it into overdrive. The music was awful. They tried to produce a hero's theme for Spidey to run throughout the film whenever he did something brave or heroic but the emotional feeling was never achieved. They even used dub-step whenever Jaimie Foxx's character, Electro, uses his abilities.
The acting wasn't great either. I'm a fan of Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, and Dane DeHaan. All three really didn't give off that great of a performance...until the ending. I did appreciate Garfield's performance at the climax of the film involving Gwen's death. I was happy to see that they stayed as close to the source material as they could with her death as well and it was the only redeeming quality of the film for me. Foxx's performance as Electro was eerily reminiscent of Mr. Freeze in Batman and Robin. Cliches and puns galore.
The visual effects were done well. Though at times, I felt like I was watching a video game with Electro's appearance when he flew, and when Rhino is given his armor. They did a good job with the effects of Spider-Man flying through the city, web to web, making his suit ripple with the wind and such. But the effects department wasn't enough for me to say I enjoyed this film, especially when it came to Electro during his final fight with Spidey. His powers were strikingly similar to those of Dr. Manhattan's in Zack Snyder's Watchmen.
I will admit to not being a large Spider-Man fan, but I do respect the story and the mythology. I enjoyed the first Amazing Spider-Man quite a bit, making me excited for more films even after the dreadful original trilogy (Spider-Man 3 mostly.) They set things up for a third film, and the spin-off Sinister Six film. It would be nice if Marvel Studios could get ahold of this property again, but Sony won't give up this cash cow. I can only hope, for true Spider-Man fans, that they find the magic from the first film.