Is Peter Parker about to hit the jackpot?
That’s the question on the mind of many box office prognosticators as “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” finally swings into action in the United States, after spending several weeks in theaters abroad. As of now, critics are fairly divided on the “Spider-Man” sequel, with almost everyone agreeing on Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone’s electric chemistry as Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy, but others seeing fault in an overstuffed storyline.
Read on for our round-up of the “Amazing Spider-Man 2” reviews.
“We begin, after a violent incident on a plane set in the past, with Spidey foiling fright-faced gangster Aleksei Sytsevich (Paul Giamatti) while on the way to his alter ego’s graduation. When Peter finally drops in, his fellow graduate, girlfriend Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone), has just delivered a speech whose message will resonate throughout the film. But things aren’t plain sailing for the bonny pair, with Peter haunted by Gwen’s dead father’s warning him off her.
“Meanwhile, the son of Oscorp’s Norman Osborn, Harry (Dane DeHaan), is back in town, thrust into a position of power which he may abuse, particularly because of a shocking discovery he makes. Then there’s Max Dillon (Jamie Foxx), an electrical engineer for Oscorp, whose fragile mind is further frazzled by a rather unpleasant incident that will have health and safety fans wincing. There’s also the mystery of Peter Parker’s late parents, whose father may be even more important to Peter than he initially believes.” — Russell Lewin, SFX Magazine
“Electro is played with verve by Jamie Foxx. Initially a nebbishy engineer named Max Dillon, he’s a lonely character who hears voices, more deserving of pity than fear. Dane DeHaan plays Harry Osborn, a moody villain that goes from decent to bad in short order. DeHaan has an off-kilter quality that keeps the viewer intrigued. Interestingly, these complicated characters aren’t ordinary villains. They didn’t intend to become criminals. Both are operating from a sense of betrayal and despair, allowing the audience to share Peter’s confusion. Filling out the movie’s villainous trio is a Russian thug (an almost unrecognizable Paul Giamatti), who bookends the story.” — Claudia Puig, USA Today
“Even with these lively forces, Garfield and Stone spark with the most power. As flirty Gwen needles Peter about his ’big brown doe eyes’ and Peter teases her about her hearty laugh, the banter is reminiscent of a charming rom-com. Garfield can talk in interviews all he wants about his creative process for delving into Spidey’s neurotic psyche—the joy is written all over his face when Peter sees Gwen waiting for him on a sidewalk and he jaywalks through heavy traffic just to get to her.” — Us Weekly
The Bad News
“’Amazing Spider-Man 2’ gets a lot right, yet there’s a constant awkwardness to the machinery of its plot; you can almost hear the cogs turning. However, what’s worse is that at times it becomes overtly patronising: there are flashing screens and computer voice-overs constantly telling you what something is or what something is doing, just in case the people in the back rows aren’t paying attention, which feels at odds with the film’s emotional intelligence.” — Daniel Krupa, IGN Movies
The Final Word
“Like the first film in this rebooted series, ’The Amazing Spider-Man 2’ is as much about a boy growing up as it is about heroes and villains. The problem is that these two aspects are equally key in creating a satisfying blockbuster—and the filmmakers can’t reconcile them. The result is an overlong, at times almost plot-free soap opera that introduces a wealth of characters and dips into a wide variety of subplots, but never comes together as a story.” — Tom Huddleston, Time Out
“The Amazing Spider-Man 2” is in theaters now.