By STEVE SALLES
Standard-Examiner movie critic
Wow! I certainly enjoyed how this Spider-Man begins! He’s gleefully leaping, swinging and somersaulting in mid air, like he’s just landed a gig with Cirque de Soleil — all while corralling bad guys, saving citizens and cracking wise.
Plus, now you feel like you’re right there with him, with one of those GoPros on your head, not just seeing the motion, but feeling the dizzying heights and the speed of the experience. Very cool.
OK, Andrew “reboot Spidee” Garfield, you’ve got my attention, now what are you going to do with it?
Well, you’re going to explain what happened to your folks, Richard and Mary Parker; why they felt like they had to leave you with Uncle Ben and Aunt May (Sally Field); how they fought bravely to fend off Oscorp goons and save a mysterious computer file at all costs.
Then we’ll learn how you are haunted by the promise you made to police captain George Stacy (Denis Leary), father of Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone), the love of your young life.
How, at your own graduation, where Gwen gives an inspiring Valedictorian speech, you are late as you are tied up taking down an over-acting Paul Giamatti and decide you and she need to part ways.
Sorry you missed her speech, but you need to break up with her?
Can you say bad timing, Arachna-jerk-face?
This frees you up to get reacquainted with your old pal, Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan) who we all know will become green with envy and rage. Plus, you’ll introduce us to this Oscorp electrical engineer nerd, Max (Jamie Foxx), who will develop an unhealthy obsession toward you, right before he gets all lit up like the Fourth of July.
All well and good, except the “lit up” part, which looked quite nasty and painful.
And I also bought your profound chemistry with Gwen, which wasn’t a huge stretch, since you two are dating in real life.
But here’s where the edges of your spider suit began to fray:
You have this great buildup to not one, but two fairly intense villains. And boy do they look menacing, right up until you dispatch one with little fanfare and then b-slap the other, rendering him unconscious. Really? That’s it?
Then it all becomes clear to me, as once again, you and yours are just setting the stage, building the platform from which all your other “Spider-Man” sequels and spin-offs can be launched.
Suddenly, I feel like a pawn, and like this is a bit of a cash grab for Columbia Pictures that is trying to keep Disney at bay from acquiring this little Marvel morsel.
Don’t get me wrong. I enjoyed many parts of the movie, but rehashing old plot lines with sprinkles of new insight is not enough. Give me a complete story, not just a construction site with a warning sign that reads, “DANGER — SUDDEN DROP OFF: Watch for falling material and uneven surfaces.”
You can do better.
THE FILM: “The Amazing Spider-Man 2”
STARRING: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx, Dane DeHaan, Sally Field and Colm Feore
BEHIND THE SCENES: Directed by Marc Webb (“500 Days of Summer” “The Amazing Spider-Man”) – filmed in New York and Los Angeles.
RUNS: 142 minutes.
MPAA RATING: PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi action/violence.