Get ready, here’s the next step in Spidey’s evolution.. The hipster skateboarder!
This film doesn’t suffer from the same cliches as its predecessor and the character relationships seem more natural. Gwen Stacey(Emma Stone) and Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) naturally notice each other and become naturally enamoured with one another and you really want them to get together.
Peter is shown quite early on to be a genius. We get him working on reasons for the flooded basement, memorising algorithm, and acing the quiz at Oscorp then we get a taste for his heroism by saving a boy who Flash Thompson is viciously beating, and I mean viciously and then he does the same to Peter for helping until Gwen steps in. A problem with this scene is that Peter later gets in trouble for showing up Flash in an impromptu game of one-on-one, yes he smashed a backboard but the focus of his scolding from Uncle Ben after it happens seems to be based on him showing up Flash than causing a few hundred quid’s worth of damage to school property.
Let’s chat about Martin Sheen in this flick, he’s so endearing. His father-son relationship with Peter is really the stand out in this film, while Sally Field is fierce and motherly, Sheen is more front and centre and there us more of an emphasis place on his importance to Peter. Making their spat and the resulting death more weighty. When Peter rushes to his side the depth of emotion is poignant and the result is seen in the scenes to follow, one such scene sees Peter smash Flash against lockers. Yet Flash does not retaliate but relates instead, offering insight into his own internal conflict.
Peter’s transition to Spider-Man is gradual but good, and he has fun being Spider-man saving the little people from crime. Which gains him the scorn of the police but the respect of the people. This is culminated in the climactic crane swinging scene which I think is attempting to be the Golden Gate Bridge scene from Spider-man (2002) but it isn’t as impactful so it just falls flat.
Just before we finish up we need to talk about Emma Stone in this. She is witty and charming, matching Garfield wit for wit. The first time they kiss feels like a reward for emotional build-up instead of a tick in the cliche box. She brings her natural wit and charisma to the role and I wish she was Spider-man. (*ahem* Marvel make it happen *ahem*)
Overall the film isn’t as cliche as its predecessor but it is very sad and tragic, it does attempt to alleviate this with some Spidey humour which is expertly delivered by Garfield but his Peter Parker is a little too cool to be the “nerd” character that Peter Parker is so it’s a swing and a miss this time. They have a ton of good performances but there’s still something missing.