the problem is there is no more self-discovery for peter, so they have to focus on the other stuff. But its not like the franchise is pulling the MJ Parker relationship out of its butt either.
As far as Peter being goofy with the symbiote, I thought it was cheesy, but then Peter is cheesy. I think it just underscores his essentially goodness, because that's as "bad" as he got. And in fact, it helped him be assertive. On the other hand, Brock was so fundamentally bad that it corrupted him instantly.
It wasn't the best, but then again, the first time a lightsaber lit up, I was like "holy S%$&" then by episode one, some of the magic was lost. I don't think it's necessarily the movie, but that it's not fresh anymore.
Superhero franchises have a fundamental problem in that while the movies should be getting better, then villains are getting worse, because they tend to use them in order of importance. I'm not a big sandman fan as it is. IT's like Mr. Freeze and Poison Ivy or something.