Critics Consensus: The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Weaves a Tangled Web

Plus, Ida and Belle are powerful historical dramas.

This week at the movies, we've got only one wide release: the hotly-anticipated The Amazing Spider-Man 2, starring Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, and Jamie Foxx. What do the critics have to say?

The Amazing Spider-Man 2

53%

Superhero sequels are rarely exercises in restraint, so it comes as little surprise that The Amazing Spider-Man 2 attempts to be bigger and bolder than its predecessor. Critics say the result is something of a mixed bag -- while the cast is outstanding and the special effects are top-notch, the latest installment of the Spidey saga suffers from an unfocused narrative and an overabundance of characters. This time out, Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) has a lot on his mind: his relationship with Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone)is fraught with complications, and he becomes increasingly haunted when new information about the deaths of his parents comes to light. As if that wasn't enough, our hero must protect the city from the likes of Electro (Jamie Foxx) and the Rhino (Paul Giamatti). The pundits say that Garfield and Stone share a genuine onscreen chemistry, and the big action set-pieces are visually striking, but the bloated runtime and jarring tonal shifts keep The Amazing Spider-Man 2 from scaling the heights established by previous Spider-Man flicks. (Check out our video interview with the stars; 24 Frames for a gallery of the best and worst superpowers; and this week's Total Recall, in which we count down Stone's best-reviewed movies.)

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • For a Woman, a dramedy about a writer who delves into her family's mysterious past, is at 100 percent.
  • Ida, a drama about a young woman on the verge of joining a convent who discovers a dark family secret, is at 95 percent.
  • Belle, starring Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Tom Wilkinson in a period drama about a mixed-race woman raised in privilege in 1770s England, is at 79 percent.
  • The Bachelor Weekend, a comedy about a prospective groom whose bachelor party camping trip goes awry, is at 79 percent.
  • Whitewash, starring Thomas Haden Church in a thriller a man who goes on the run after committing an accidental killing, is at 71 percent.
  • NOW: In the Wings on a World Stage , a behind-the-scenes documentary about the touring production of Richard III starring Kevin Spacey, is at 67 percent.
  • Beneath The Harvest Sky, a drama about a pair of teenage friends looking for a way out of their small town, is at 57 percent.
  • Decoding Annie Parker, starring Samantha Morton and Helen Hunt in a period drama about a cancer-stricken woman who believes her condition is genetic, is at 55 percent.
  • Blood Glacier, an Austrian horror film about a group of researchers who discover a terrifying organism in the Alps, is at 50 percent.
  • Bad Johnson, a comedy about an unrepentant ladies' man whose genitals develop a mind of their own, is at 44 percent.
  • The M Word, a comedy about a children's show host who takes a stand against corporate downsizing, is at 43 percent.
  • Friended To Death, a comedy about a man who announces his demise of Facebook to find out what his friends really think of him, is at 25 percent.
  • Mr. Jones, a horror film about an arty couple whose investigation into the life of a reclusive sculptor reveals a terrifying secret, is at 20 percent.
  • The Protector 2, starringTony Jaa and the RZA in an martial arts film about a man who goes after a vicious criminal gang in order to rescue his prized elephant, is at nine percent.

Comments

C Damien Belyeu

C Damien Belyeu

I knew it...Mark Webb (yes, that's his name. I wish I was kidding.) re-done one of the biggest mistakes Spider-Man 3 did: too many villains.

May 1 - 04:56 PM

crusader151

Peter Marsh

I've always found it strange that 'too many villains' is something only applied to super hero movies. The Rhino is said to only be in the beginning, with the actual slot beginning Electro and Osborne.

May 1 - 05:09 PM

Antonio Buono

Antonio Buono

I've seen the film and there were too many villains indeed. Rhino was not needed, Electro got most of the screen time but was a mess, and Green Goblin had the most potential but felt like he was just tacked on to the film.

May 1 - 05:39 PM

Kevin Dillon

Kevin Dillon

I agree it didn't feel like a overload as much as the fact that Max Dillon story arch was unwatchable at some moments.

May 3 - 09:47 AM

Ashley Blalock

Ashley Blalock

I think the too many villains thing applies to just when the villains seem tacked onto a film just to say we have villain so and so. X-Men 1, 2, and First Class didn't feel like too many villains with the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. So maybe it comes down to having interesting villains that work out into the story rather than artificially forced into a story.

May 2 - 08:16 AM

quietus28

jj l

AGreed. Batman Begins had quite a few villains, but they managed to find a way to balance them. It's amazing what character development will do for that sort of thing.

May 2 - 02:45 PM

Zak Richardson

Zak Richardson

It was a completely unless role to high Paul as the Rhino when he wasn't a major asset to the film. You see him for 5 minutes at the end of the film and cuts to black. What was the point of that if his screen time was only 12 minutes?

May 2 - 11:31 AM

Private User

Private User

It showed us that Spider-Man will live on and keep fighting crime. The Rhino didn't need to be a major asset - why does every villain need to have a gigantic backstory? The Rhino is just a goon anyway, he is a useless and dumb villain. Just like he was in the movie...

May 2 - 06:45 PM

Brad and Netflix

Bradly Martin

It seemed like someone had 2 or maybe 3 spider Man scripts written out and the producers and studio said "Hey, can we cram all this into one film? Disney/Marvel is way of a head of us. I don't care if it's convoluted, START CRAMMING!"

May 3 - 07:12 AM

Michael Indo

Michael Indo

It's not about having too many villains. It's about how well the villains weave into the overall story. Captain America had Batroc, the Winter Solider, Arnim Zola, and Alexander Pierce, and still managed to be a great film. The Dark Knight had Joker, Two Face, and the Falcone gang, and still managed to be a great film.

May 4 - 08:34 AM

Davidelpadawan9

David Burgoa

Agree. It is about the execution of those villains and the contribution to the overall arch of the story. One origin was done correctly, one was rushed, and the last was so unnecessary. Huge disappointment.

May 4 - 11:21 AM

Channing Tatum

Channing Tatum

Yeah, I was worried about it as well. Hopefully this'll lead to bigger things for the franchise though.

May 1 - 05:50 PM

Dave J

Dave J

Regardless what the critics and the users think, it's still going to take the top spot and still make a ton of money! "Spiderman" is like another one of those "Transformers" movies which no matter how poor the ratings are, people are still going to come to see it in droves!

As a matter of fact this is no different than the "Star Wars" films, "Twilight", "Harry Potter" and "The Hunger Games" movies which there's already a fan base!

May 2 - 12:12 PM

Jeremy Bong

Jeremy Bong

One thing a lot of people didn't notice about Captain America: The Winter Soldier is that it actually had a shit ton of villains - 5 least. Batroc, Crossbones, Zola, Winter Soldier and Alexander Pierce. They were all used very appropriately though and showed that "too many villains" can work if done correctly. This movie didn't do that :(

May 2 - 02:15 PM

Ryan Nolan

Ryan Nolan

Too many villains is not the mistake, just look at The Dark Knight, what matters is how the script uses the villains.

May 2 - 10:42 PM

James Mitchell

anders peter

I'm wondering if it was even his decsion here....it sure doesn't feel like it was. It feels like there were many hands involved here

May 4 - 08:29 AM

Dalton Munnal

Dalton Munnal

The Dark Knight: Three villains. The Dark Knight Rises: Three villains. The Winter Soldier: FIVE villains. The quality of your movie has nothing to do with the number of villains. Stop it.

May 4 - 04:31 PM

crusader151

Peter Marsh

I've always found it strange that 'too many villains' is something only applied to super hero movies. The Rhino is said to only be in the beginning, with the actual slot beginning Electro and Osborne.

May 1 - 05:09 PM

Antonio Buono

Antonio Buono

I've seen the film and there were too many villains indeed. Rhino was not needed, Electro got most of the screen time but was a mess, and Green Goblin had the most potential but felt like he was just tacked on to the film.

May 1 - 05:39 PM

Kevin Dillon

Kevin Dillon

I agree it didn't feel like a overload as much as the fact that Max Dillon story arch was unwatchable at some moments.

May 3 - 09:47 AM

Ashley Blalock

Ashley Blalock

I think the too many villains thing applies to just when the villains seem tacked onto a film just to say we have villain so and so. X-Men 1, 2, and First Class didn't feel like too many villains with the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. So maybe it comes down to having interesting villains that work out into the story rather than artificially forced into a story.

May 2 - 08:16 AM

quietus28

jj l

AGreed. Batman Begins had quite a few villains, but they managed to find a way to balance them. It's amazing what character development will do for that sort of thing.

May 2 - 02:45 PM

Zak Richardson

Zak Richardson

It was a completely unless role to high Paul as the Rhino when he wasn't a major asset to the film. You see him for 5 minutes at the end of the film and cuts to black. What was the point of that if his screen time was only 12 minutes?

May 2 - 11:31 AM

Private User

Private User

It showed us that Spider-Man will live on and keep fighting crime. The Rhino didn't need to be a major asset - why does every villain need to have a gigantic backstory? The Rhino is just a goon anyway, he is a useless and dumb villain. Just like he was in the movie...

May 2 - 06:45 PM

Brad and Netflix

Bradly Martin

It seemed like someone had 2 or maybe 3 spider Man scripts written out and the producers and studio said "Hey, can we cram all this into one film? Disney/Marvel is way of a head of us. I don't care if it's convoluted, START CRAMMING!"

May 3 - 07:12 AM

Michael Indo

Michael Indo

It's not about having too many villains. It's about how well the villains weave into the overall story. Captain America had Batroc, the Winter Solider, Arnim Zola, and Alexander Pierce, and still managed to be a great film. The Dark Knight had Joker, Two Face, and the Falcone gang, and still managed to be a great film.

May 4 - 08:34 AM

Davidelpadawan9

David Burgoa

Agree. It is about the execution of those villains and the contribution to the overall arch of the story. One origin was done correctly, one was rushed, and the last was so unnecessary. Huge disappointment.

May 4 - 11:21 AM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

More pajama time. Good luck with that.

I know Henry Jaglom isn't a household name, but he's always interesting regardless of score. Other than that, I dunno. I think I'll see For A Woman, because it has the best looking actresses.

May 1 - 05:18 PM

Kain Dragoon

Kain Dragoon

Well I guess I dont have to worry about seeing this first weekend. So no real rush just sucks I have to wait for Godzilla.

May 1 - 05:36 PM

Daniel Irwin

Daniel Irwin

The new Godzilla looks wicked, and I hope the finished product stays wicked.

May 3 - 11:50 AM

Antonio Buono

Antonio Buono

I've seen the film and there were too many villains indeed. Rhino was not needed, Electro got most of the screen time but was a mess, and Green Goblin had the most potential but felt like he was just tacked on to the film.

May 1 - 05:39 PM

Kevin Dillon

Kevin Dillon

I agree it didn't feel like a overload as much as the fact that Max Dillon story arch was unwatchable at some moments.

May 3 - 09:47 AM

Will Folk

Will Folk

I'm so disappointed. It seems like Disney is the only studio to make great comic book movies on a consistent basis. I will still go see Spidey, but I was so hopeful we'd get the same type of sequel we got with Raimi's series.

May 1 - 05:46 PM

Ryan Metzger

Ryan Metzger

Well, to be fair, Spider-man 2 is known across the board to be one of the first great 'superhero' films of the new millennium era. So that bar is way high for this sequel. While this one wasn't great, it was still good overall, and handled the 'multiple-villain crisis' better than Spider-man 3. I believe this film will blend in better once the saga is complete c. 2018.

May 2 - 06:38 AM

Vits

Vicente Torres

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 got a lower rating than SPIDER-MAN 3?! Well, I actually liked 3 so I could like this one too. If not, I already bought tickets so I'm screwed. The only other releases that caught my eye are BAD JOHNSON and FRIENDED TO DEATH because they're the only ones with premises. I might check them out.

May 1 - 05:48 PM

Channing Tatum

Channing Tatum

Yeah, I was worried about it as well. Hopefully this'll lead to bigger things for the franchise though.

May 1 - 05:50 PM

Jacob Holmes

Jacob Holmes

I just got back from an early showing, and I really enjoyed it! It's like Spider-Man 3 if they took out most of the stuff that made people hate Spider-Man 3. It's not perfect, but it could have been a lot worse. It's just a fun movie

May 1 - 07:01 PM

Luis Heredia

Luis Heredia

Rotten. Well, that's not a surprise.

May 1 - 07:10 PM

Brad and Netflix

Bradly Martin

Heck yeah, Expectations are super Low now. No way I'll be as disappointed as I was with the First Amazing Spider Man. Silver Linings people. Silver Lining.

And if I could just grind an old Axe. All the critics say it is most indeed marketed towards the little kid demographic because the Older Comic book fan demographic are just gonna see it anyways.

May 1 - 08:40 PM

Jon Cox

Jon Cox

well I am sad that the rating on 'Amazing Spider-Man 2' dropped from 100%-88% and now down to 56% but it's still close to 60% which is the case for a lot of summer blockbusters that make a lot of money
it is the lowest-rated Spidey flick out of all of them but I will still see it to make my own assessment
I have a feeling it's still gonna be my #1 film of 2014

glad 'Belle' did fine

May 1 - 09:08 PM

Donnchadh Grant

Donnchadh Grant

well i went in with really low expectations based on the last film, but i loved it, like really loved it, it was the first time they have brought the real Spiderman to life in my opinion, far better that the last few marvel films in my opinion.

May 2 - 11:06 AM

Nick Hart

Nick Hart

spiderman was not good at all. don't know why i paid money for that

May 1 - 09:29 PM

Andrew Llobrera

Andrew Llobrera

dammit, just return the rights to marvel studios!

May 1 - 09:46 PM

Chris Dewulf Csi

Chris Dewulf Csi

Totally agree, and that's the main reason I won't see it. Waiting for all characters to be with Marvel Studios again.

May 2 - 07:44 AM

Nathan Kaz

Nathan Kaz

Spider-Man wasn't terrible. In fact, a lot of stuff works for this movie. It's just at the end it makes you wish some of the villains were a little more developed. Rhino isn't really a villain in it. He's at the beginning of the movie and then the end, but that's about it. He's not mentioned throughout.

Electro's fight scenes are pretty cool and really fun, but overall he's kinda lame. Spider-Man's dialogue is something you'd see straight out of the comics. Peter and Gwen are super-hero couple of the year, and all their scenes are great too.

The Goblin is my biggest gripe. He's the most interesting character, but he seems really rushed which is really sad.

Overally, it's a pretty good movie. I can see why rotten, but if you want just a fun movie that feels like a giant comic book come to life, this is probably it.

May 1 - 09:57 PM

Mike Werkiser

Mike Werkiser

They didn't give them much time because they're going to be the main villains for the next movie. They have a whole other movie to develop them,but only this one for Electro. They gave Goblin and Rhino origins in this one to cut back on having to tell origins in the next movie. They actually thought ahead,which is why I didn't mind the lack of Goblin and Rhino in this at all.

May 3 - 09:56 AM

Casual Friday

Casual Friday

let it be known now that I don't want to see it, but I must ask: is Walk of Shame so bad that the article isn't even going to mention it at all?

May 1 - 10:03 PM

Vits

Vicente Torres

You're right. I mean, even when a movie has no reviews by Friday, it's still mentioned. Now, considering it reunites Elizabeth Banks and Steven Brill (MOVIE 43), it's probably bad.

May 2 - 06:42 AM

Casual Friday

Casual Friday

oh boy, now I know why they didn't mention it.

May 2 - 12:26 PM

Shritan Varma

Shritan Varma

I didnt find it crowded.....thought it was a great one

May 1 - 11:05 PM

Hugo Emanuel Melo

Hugo Emanuel Melo

I'm suprised at "Bad Johnson"'s "high" rating - what sounds like Gogol's "the Nose" as adapted by absolute morons is getting waaay more love than it deserves. I haven't seen it or ever will, but sometimes you can just tell from a premise that a movie sucks without having to endure it. "For A Woman" and "Ida" seem interesting, but I bet I'll end up ignoring them in the long run - so much to do; so little time and all that jazz.

May 2 - 03:14 AM

Hugo Emanuel Melo

Hugo Emanuel Melo

Also, "Belle" strikes me as "12 Years a Slave" for the squeamish romantic crowd.

May 2 - 07:59 AM

Ryan Metzger

Ryan Metzger

Well, to be fair, Spider-man 2 is known across the board to be one of the first great 'superhero' films of the new millennium era. So that bar is way high for this sequel. While this one wasn't great, it was still good overall, and handled the 'multiple-villain crisis' better than Spider-man 3. I believe this film will blend in better once the saga is complete c. 2018.

May 2 - 06:38 AM

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