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Does whatever a spider can Jul 19

…which, perhaps unsurprisingly, doesn’t stretch to making an exciting, coherent action film.

The sequel to the pretty average Spider-Man begins promisingly: the titles remind the viewer of the plot of that film while recognising the franchise’s comic book origins. But the movie quickly goes downhill: the obvious failure of Dr Octavius’s “inhibitor” is rammed home too hard to even be knowingly obvious, and the plot descends into repetitious action sequences, hackneyed, lecturing speeches, and trite romance. Over and over again.

When it wants to be funny, the film does pull it off, most notably in the lift scene. It is sometimes successfully self-parodying (e.g., the “eight limbs” gag) and gets away with some of the more ridiculous plot elements by playing on the established rules of superhero comics. There is a nice little cameo by Stan Lee, and the highlight must be Alfred Molina playing Matthew Corbett to his tentacle Sooty (although the “Kill him, you say?” dialogue is perhaps more reminiscent of Chris Barrie and Mr Flibble in Quarantine).

By the end, and running around thirty minutes too long, the film is a disappointment. And, while I don’t want to sound like Mary Whitehouse, with Captain Picard’s girlfriend from Insurrection being killed by a shard of glass and a severed limb, Evil Dead style, holding a chainsaw, no amount of patronising moralising should have got this a PG certificate.

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