Story: Beyond reconciling his own dual identity as Spider-Man and Peter Parker, the web-spinner here (Garfield) faces several powerful villains with formidable powers who threaten the safety of his home city. Also, at the heart of this movie, is Peter’s bond with Gwen (Stone).
Review: What sets Marc Webb’s iteration of the web-slinger’s story apart from Spider-Man’s previous cinematic outings (and indeed, other superhero films) is that along with its share of action, epic fights and special effects, there is a vibrant, emotional core at the heart of this movie.
The human angle is strong throughout and this is visited early on, when we are reminded of Parker’s parents Richard and Mary. Richard records a video message that attempts to explain why he and his wife had to decamp in a hurry. They also attempt to escape an assassin on their plane. Their young son Peter is left behind in the care of Aunt May and her husband. Will Peter discover this message that can help untangle the murky secrets behind Oscorp’s mysterious experiments?
Back in present day New York, there’s a zinger of an action scene where Spider-Man stops a truck with a Plutonium consignment from getting away. He also manages to save an Oscorp employee Max Dillon’s (Foxx) life. Dillon is initially awestruck by Spider-Man. But when he subsequently has an accident involving falling into an experimental tank containing mutated eels, he mutates into Electro and soon becomes unhinged.
Meanwhile, Oscorp’s CEO dies of a hereditary illness that is passed on to his son Harry (DeHaan). Harry’s only cure is a sampling of Spider-Man’s own venomous blood. Later, a series of events turns him into the Green Goblin. Interestingly, some of the villains inspire pity, because they all started out as normal people but later are twisted by fate and events.
The action sequences are breathtaking and despite the running time, the film doesn’t drag. Garfield and Stone, in the scenes where they are together, have a palpable chemistry. This Spider-Man serves up both pathos and power.