Sadly, I think I may be getting to old to fully enjoy the comic book action movies. I'm finding it harder to be entertained and easier to be critical of this genre I've loved.
This new incarnation of Spider-Man, my favorite comic growing up, was a mediocre rehash of old material. I found nothing much new or exciting.
It seemed to be me that the director just assumed we all know the back story of Spider-Man and his relationship to Gwen Stacey (adequately played by Emma Stone) and to Oscorp. While it took quite a while for the action to build, it didn't feel like we really learned anything new or were made to care about the action to follow.
While Andrew Garfield is an acceptable Spider-Man, I didn't feel like he showed much range, for which I think we can blame the writing and direction. Spider-Man's characteristic sarcasm and humor was in evidence and enjoyable.... just not enough to make up for the other gaps. He's tormented by the loss of his parents and the strained personal relationships in his life, he's conflicted about the role Spider-Man has in the world, and yet there still seems to be little arc to his character. Such fertile ground and so little fruit. Still, he wasn't the problem.
I was most disappointed in Jamie Foxx. His character Max, felt a lot like a bad rip off of Eddie Murphy's character in "Bowfinger". His transformation to the villain Electro also left a lot to be desired. He was far from menacing and looked, if you'll forgive the pun, cartoonish. There was this odd bluish shimmer that was almost comical.
The typically spectacular Sally Field was completely wasted in her role as Aunt May. I think she was plugged in to a few awkward scenes just to justify a paycheck. Two young up and coming talents, Dane DeHaan and Felicity Jones (spectacular in "Like Crazy") could have been used more fully. Dane did as much as he could with the material and I did enjoy his performance over all. I do look forward to watching more of their work in the future.
There was also very little natural flow to this movie. The action seemed to jump around quite a bit. Much was assumed and taken for granted. While technically sound the Direction could have been far better. I am not impressed by Marc Webb at all.
However, I did find many of the action sequences to be excellent. The mixture of full speed hyper-kinetic action and slow motion was well used and inventive, if slightly over-used. I saw this movie in 3D, which is how I think it was intended to be seen. At least in the high flying, acrobatic, web swinging, action sequences the 3D worked very well and added to the sense of flight and magic.
Overall the movie was too long and too predictable. It wasn't horrible, but for me, not as good as previous versions.
Bring on X-Men.