Of all the super-heroes in the Marvel universe (I never kept up much with DC comics let alone those in independent comics), Spidey was always my favorite. Identify much with the snarky outcast? Sure. So even though I was frustrated that they had to re-launch the series so quickly after a pretty terrific set of movies by Sam Raimi (the third one was not great, but not awful), I didn't mind that much because more Spidey is more Spidey. Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone made a winning centerpiece, and the newer movie captured Spidey's gift for snappy repartee amidst a battle.
The new movie had other strong points besides the real chemistry between the leads:
- some nice moments between Peter and Aunt May, which is not just great for Sally Field but very true to the comic books.
- the Electro storyline was actually pretty good. Jamie Foxx pulled it off, and it was a good origin story highlighting the importance of workplace safety.
- silent Dennis Leary is pretty intimidating.
- some good action sequences.
- No JJJ. Of course, it is easy to understand why they just refer to J. Jonah Jameson--because the first trilogy had a JJJ that cannot possibly be equaled, let alone surpassed.
- With no JJJ is simply a less dense universe. There is just Peter, Gwen, Aunt May ... and the villains.
- the questionable move to kill Gwen now. Yes, she dies in the comic books in that outfit (the pre-movie release of photos from the making of the movie gave away her fate). This means no Emma Stone in the next one, and the Garfield-Stone chemistry is the key feature of this series that is clearly superior to the chemistry of Maguire-Dunst.
- the need to jam two villain stories into this movie. The movie was long. Why? Because we had to get the complete Harry Osborn tale and the Electro tale. People criticized the third Raimi story for having too many villains, but it worked for me better than this time. Perhaps because this movie had to repeat the Harry Osborn story rather than go someplace else. Whatever else happens in the next movie, I certainly hope that they do a new-ish tale.
- Also, not much here I can work with to apply poli sci. No alliance complications, just a bit of principal-agent problems in Oscorp....
- I don't know how I feel about the stuff about Peter's dad.
- Harry's assistant is Felicia. Could that end up being Felicia Hardy, a.k.a. the Black Cat? If so, that would be a nice change from the expected M.J.-centric third movie.