About 40 minutes in, KC and I looked at each other and said “THIS is supposed to be the best superhero movie ever?” We’d just watched Doctor Octopus, having newly gained his arms, stagger out of the hospital after killing everyone, and neither one of us knew what emotion he was supposed to be feeling or what was motivating him. (Next scene, KC says “At least now he’s put on a shirt.”) We were confused when we weren’t bored.
Plus, the movie is darned depressing. No one has any money — not Spider-Man, not Aunt May, not the villain, who wants to rob banks in order to finance SCIENCE! Sure, the web-slinging is cool… when it’s not crapping out on Parker in a plotline that reminded me of the 70s Supergirl comics I used to read. (It’s psychological? Really? Who would have guessed?) And lots of stuff crashes real big. Some of the fights are impressively staged, with eye-catching effects.
But emotionally and structurally, this is one big mess, and not much fun to watch. (Except for any scene J.K. Simmons was in.) I don’t know why it gets such praise. I don’t think Tobey Maguire’s much of an actor — he has very few facial expressions — and Kirsten Dunst has been much better in other films. It is very faithful to the source material, but not in a flattering way. I’d still like to see Spider-Man 3, though, because I suspect Topher Grace is terrific.