If the last decade saw superhero movies edging towards the overwrought and self-important, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 may go too far in returning them to their silly, comic-bookish origins. While an improvement over its 2012 predecessor, director Marc Webb’s follow-up is populated with fan service and franchise bait, but leaves its actors — and the audience — foraging for anything resembling a human connection. The result is camp without conviction; a Batman & Robin-style scenery chewer in a Batman Begins era.

Andrew Garfield returns as Peter Parker, a high school senior who’s late for his own graduation, including the commencement speech of his girlfriend Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone). It’s all because of his responsibilities as Spider-Man, which in this case include stopping Russian mobster Aleksei Systsevich (Paul Giamatti) from stealing vials of something or other. Peter is struggling to reconcile his feelings for Gwen with the promise he made to her late father: that he’ll keep her away from his life of crime fighting. He eventually insists they break up, only to have their paths cross after Gwen discovers her colleague Max Dillon (Jamie Foxx) has been transformed into the supervillain Electro.