Monday, February 6, 2023


May 2, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

There’s hardly review of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 that does not employ some form of the word “amazing” to belittle it. “How bad is this one?” asks Joe Morgenstern in the Wall Street Journal. “Amazingly so.” Liam Lacey in the Toronto Globe and Mail notes that in the world that the filmmakers have created “where the incredible is routine, the ‘amazing’ is mundane.” “Why the title,” asks Rex Reed in the New York Observer. “There is nothing amazing about it.” Betsy Sharkey in the Los Angeles Times suggests that the film might better be called The Occasionally Amazing Spider-Man 2. Her review is mostly positive, especially when it comes to the performances of the two leads, Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone. “The best things about the reimagined superhero franchise,” she writes. Likewise Claudia Puig in USA Today regards the chemistry between the two actors as “the propulsive force” behind the movie. (On the other hand, Ann Hornaday in the Washington Post remarks that the pair “generate fewer sparks than questions.”) The headline of Kyle Smith’s review in the New York Post says, “‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2’ Ain’t So Amazing.” Smith himself scorns the film, concluding, “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” is more like an old Xerox copy: Greasy, paper-thin, slightly faded, and probably made unnecessarily, but in any case destined to get lost in a pile of things exactly like it.” For his part, Michael Phillips in the Chicago Tribune appears to acknowledge that it’s a difficult movie to critique, although he regards it as “just OK.” Finally, he appends this note to his review, “For the record, the script is by Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci and Jeff Pinkner. They provide the film with three action climaxes, which is two too many, but what do I know. For the fan base it’s probably two too few.” Manohla Dargis in the New York Times gives the film its most favorable reviews among the major critics. However she criticizes an “uncharacteristically violent development” near the end. It may be “true to the source material,” she writes, “but it’s a bummer and a blown opportunity, both narratively and in terms of how the male and female characters work. Filmmakers who adapt beloved texts are invariably criticized, no matter what they do, and that’s particularly true of superhero movies, because the fans exert such claims on the material. There’s something amusing about the corporate owner of a superhero brand being held near-hostage by the love of the comic-book true believer, yet it’s hard not to think that this fanatical love can be as creatively inhibiting as the company bottom line.”