May 2, 2014 1:45 pm

What the critics are saying: ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2’


ABOVE: Watch the trailer for The Amazing Spider-Man 2.

TORONTO — Two years after the Spider-Man franchise was rebooted with The Amazing Spider-Man — starring Andrew Garfield as the titular web-slinger — fans of the Marvel comic icon are swinging back into cinemas for the sequel.

Garfield and real-life girlfriend Emma Stone reprise their roles in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and, this time, face off against Jamie Foxx as Electro, Dane DeHaan as Green Goblin and Paul Giamatti as Rhino.

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The Amazing Spider-Man 2 will undoubtedly be the first blockbuster of the season — but is it any good? Here’s a look at some of the reviews.

Calling it a “layered and entertaining tale,” Claudia Puig of USA Today said the aerial sequences are “often thrilling” and the teen romance “keeps us riveted.”

Puig added: “At almost 2½ hours, the film is overlong and grows hectic at times, though it cleverly balances lighthearted thrills and emotional heft.”

At Time Out New York, reviewer Tom Huddleston agreed the movie’s running-time is a bit long.

He called The Amazing Spider-Man 2 “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.”

Huddleston said much about the sequel doesn’t work.

“Garfield aims for dorky and lovable but comes close to smug; Emma Stone, as his squeeze, Gwen, has too little to do; the big action sequences are perfunctory, confusing and too infrequent,” he opined.

READ MORE: What the critics are saying about other recent movies

Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune also took issue with the movie’s length.

“I like Garfield a lot in this role, but he does enjoy his … hesitations and his … frequent … tic-laden … pauses,” he wrote.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 runs two hours and 21 minutes, and at least 21 of those minutes can be attributed to loose flaps of dead air preceding simple lines of dialogue meant to be whipped through with a little urgency, contributed by Garfield and by Dane DeHaan, who slithers around looking like a bad-seed version of young Leonardo DiCaprio.”

Richard Corliss of Time appeared to agree with Phillips about DeHaan’s performance.

“[His] tremulous-teen routine, like a Michael Cera with no sense of humor, usually works, but the troubled youth shtick is getting old,” he said.

Corliss said the movie “has lost its sense of direction, romance and heart” and complained the sequel “goes frantic and rote by turns, mislaying the power of the central love story and piling on mutant adversaries.”

He added: “For at least this installment, Spider-Man is Amazing no more.”

At Entertainment Weekly, Chris Nashawaty said the “dizzy, slickly enjoyable sequel gets a ton right.”

Nashawaty wrote: “It’s a Marvel spectacle that manages to deftly balance razzle-dazzle, feel-it-in-your-gut slingshot moments of flight and believable human relationships. There’s psychological weight to go with all of the gravity-defying, webslinging weightlessness.”

Manohla Dargis of The New York Times took issue with one of the film’s most recognizable special effects.

“Somebody needs to work on that sticky pale fluid that shoots from Spidey’s wrists and that at times looks distinctly X-rated,” she noted.

As for the movie, Dargis said its “scenes of heavy destruction … quickly grow monotonous.”

Peter Travers of Rolling Stone was not impressed with The Amazing Spider-Man 2.

“It’s a clear case of diminishing returns,” he opined. “What do you say about a torpid, top-heavy sequel to a 2012 reboot for which there was really no crying need in the first place?”

Travers described the movie as “overlong, underwhelming, unnecessary” and “a shambles of FX overkill, frenzied editing and desperate plot contrivances that make you wish there’ll never be an Amazing 3.”

But, he conceded, it is sure to be a hot ticket.

“Despite the law of averages, audiences still think there may be life left in the Marvel hero with the web thingies,” Travers wrote. “And the team responsible for dressing up the corpse is just gifted enough to fool us maybe one more time.”

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