Anyway, instead of being the nerdy, awkward class dork, portrayed very effectively by Tobey Maguire, Garfield plays him as a more suave, smart-guy geek. He gets the popular, nice girl right away (con), invents the web-slingers like he does in the comics (pro), the Lizard bad-guy has multiple personalities and figures out Spider-Man's identity, which is eerily similar to The Green Goblin story line in the first series (con), but there are some excellent fight scenes (pro). The standout was the battle between Spidey and the Lizard that takes place in the school halls and classrooms, with a delightful little cameo by Spider-Man creator Stan Lee.
After watching it, I was a bit disappointed. It was definitely entertaining, but like I said, it is a bit unnecessary. Then I watched The Amazing Spider-Man 2, which was a vast improvement on the first. The villains are excellent, with the plot focusing on Jamie Foxx's Electro and Dane DeHaan's Harry Osborn/Green Goblin. Foxx starts out as an odd electronics guy who doesn't have any friends and just wants people to remember and appreciate him, falls into a tank of electric eels while working late at Oscorp, causing him to turn blue and gain his electric powers. The scene where he uncovers the range of his power in the middle of Times Square is beautiful.
And Dane DeHaan is perfect as the private school prep who has a crazy deranged look in his eye, ultimately just trying to uphold his father's (played by Chris Cooper) legacy. His decent to transforming into the Green Goblin is a little rushed, but when he suddenly arrives in the massive final battle, he is pure evil.
There are also several other subplots, including a third villain, The Rhino, played by an unrecognizable Paul Giamatti, the Peter Parker-Gwen Stacy love story, Gwen's move to England, Peter's relationship with Aunt May now that Uncle Ben is gone, and his ongoing search into what happened to his parents. As you can see, there's a lot going on and inevitably, some of the content slips as there's just not enough time to fully explore everything, but it is an excellent, well-acted, action-filled comic book movie, and that's really all you need in this genre. I'm excited to see what happens in the third installment, scheduled for release in 2018.
(photos collected from 3dhorizon, pinterest, moviepilot, and marvel-movies.wikia)