It’s Spidey Version 2.2. And while the 2004 second instalment of the previous Spider-Man trilogy starring Tobey Maguire and helmed by Sam Raimi was the peak of the earlier series, this is a big dip.
Sure, it’s packing more of everything than 2012’s first Andrew Garfield-Emma Stone excursion. That one rebooted this perpetual teenager of a superhero back to high school and into a bid for the post-Twilight young adult market.
That they made a cute couple helped make it passable. They still are, for the early part of this, as Garfield’s Peter Parker battles with his feelings about Stone’s Gwen Stacey, having made a promise to her late father to keep her out of harm’s way.
But though their chemistry still fizzes, their attempts to break up and just be friends in the first hour of this just helps make The Amazing Spider-Man 2 become an over-long too-crammed muddle.
So does Parker’s search for why his parents dumped him with his aunt and uncle all those years ago – Dad having been a boffin at Oscorp with a special interest in arachnids.
Yes, this series is of course, different because Stone is Gwen Stacey here and Kirsten Dunst played Mary-Jane O’Reilly opposite Maguire in the former trilogy. (Spoiler alert: Googling the comic book histories of either is not advised before seeing this.)
Still, so much of this feels like deja vu.
That’s even with new additions like Jamie Foxx as a Stan to Spider-Man’s Eminem who mutates from put-upon tech at Oscorp into supercharged villain Electro.
His creation as a one-note God-voiced mega-meanie comes aided by Dr Kafka, one of the company’s madder scientists, in a brief but bizarre performance by Marton Csokas.
The B-movie nuttiness of his scenes are a reminder that director Webb can’t seem to find a tone he likes – or a way to keep all his storylines moving in a way that sustains the interest for its way too-long running time.
This movie also has Peter Parker’s old chum Harry Osborne to contend with.
As the sickly heir of Oscorp, Dane DeHann does a good audition for The David Bowie Story. But his eventual transformation into The Laughing Gnome – sorry, The Green Goblin – just isn’t anything special.
This installment does remind that Spidey is the people’s superhero – he’s forever saving citizens who would have been collateral damage in any recent Avengers, Superman or Batman flicks. Every time he’s in a street-level showdown there’s already barriers holding back a cheering crowd.
Predictably, the film has its visceral thrills – when it has a 3D Spidey flying through the Manhattan skyline, it’s hard not to feel the brief moment of weightlessness at the top of his arc. It’s cool. But the rest lacks that sense of swing, in a movie which feels like a flat cover version.