This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
ScreeningNotes’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
Or read the edited & published version of this review here.
I find it strange that this movie is dividing audiences, since the only thing that stood out for me was how unremarkable it was. Some parts of it worked and some didn't, but neither struck me as good or bad enough to have people up in arms for or against it. The movie is pretty and fun on the one hand and long and incoherent on the other, but I didn't care enough to get worked up about either hand.
The only thing I got worked up about after seeing this film was its advertising, and this is where I'm going to drift into spoiler territory. I experienced its promotional content a bit peripherally, but the one thing I knew was that there were going to be three bad guys. I saw posters with equal real estate for Electro, Green Goblin, and Rhino. Trailers promised to feature all three prominently. This is a lie. Rhino is not in this movie, he's in the next movie.
Without a doubt the thing that I left the theater most emotionally and intellectually invested in was the fact that the movie and the trailer end with the exact same scene (the fight with Rhino), in fact with the exact same shot cut in the exact same way. Remember that awesome sequence where Spidey uses a sewer cover to deflect a bunch of Rhino's missiles? That's literally the last shot of the film. It cuts in exactly the same place for the movie and the trailer. How is that okay? The trailer promises an action scene with Rhino which the movie merely reproduces as a cliffhanger for the sequel. Honestly since the movie ran a bit long I was just glad it was over at that point, but I can imagine being a lifelong Rhino fan and being so excited to finally see him on film and then feeling infinitely slighted. I love cliffhangers and it works well in the movie, but if you're going to end it that way then keep it out of the trailer. They spoiled their own ending and I'm surprised this isn't what more people are talking about.
As for the movie itself I don't really have any complaints that weren't already voiced in Matt Conti's excellent review so I'll try to keep it short. The movie is incredibly unfocused with no through-line to connect its four plots either emotionally or thematically. It tries to do too much without ever letting any of it commingle, so the crisis Peter has at home regarding his father never colors his relationship with Gwen or his struggles with Electro or Green Goblin and vice versa.
It does seem to do a competent job with each isolated plot strand however. I found most of the characters a bit lacking in depth or complexity, but their caricatured nature along with the film's sense of humor actually gives the story a distinct sort of comic book feel that I quite liked. I think for a movie as shallow as it is the run time is a bit excessive, but I can see how some audiences would enjoy it enough not to get bored.
So yeah, long story short I thought it was fine. Like the web slinger himself it had its ups and downs, and while I didn't connect to it on a personal level I could see how some people might.