Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN


May 22, 2014

'Spiderman 2' juggles flawed villainy, perfect chemistry

FROM THE DEN AT WOLF THEATRES – There’s no doubt “The Amazing Spiderman 2” is imperfect.

Critics have noted its surplus of villains and intermittent lack of focus, and you’ll get no argument from me that this film suffers from uneven storytelling. Worse, there are times when Director Marc Webb seems as if he’s attempting to remake 2007’s atrocious “Spiderman 3,” the tent-pole prototype of the comic-book movie flaw I’ve previously labeled “super-busy syndrome.”

A super-busy superhero flick sports so many supervillains and/or superheroes; so many subplots; and – most importantly – so many action sequences that the film descends into a bogged-down jumble of explosions, and flashing, larger-than-life visuals and set pieces. Dialogue becomes clichéd, irrelevant and frequently inaudible in a feverish attempt to make the film bigger, more breathtaking, eye-popping and edge-of-your-seat suspenseful than anything that’s come before.

To Webb’s credit, “Amazing 2” is by no means a “Spiderman 3” replica, but this film certainly suffers a mild-to-moderate case of super-busy syndrome and the director needs practice on knowing when to rein in. Most of “Amazing 2’s” action scenes overstay their welcome by just long enough to significantly weaken the film’s overall effect.

Making matters worse, Webb works from a script by Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orciwith populated with paper-thin villains. Electrical Engineer Max Dillon (Jamie Foxx) – a.k.a. Electro – is the most promising of those, but only before his transformation into a blue-skinned, electrically-charged superhuman dynamo.

Apparently, all that electricity short-circuits Dillon’s brain and he devolves from a modestly relatable everyman – albeit an everyman with outcast tendencies – into a cliché-spewing, soulless bit of digital artifice with an irrational hatred of Spiderman that’s never fully developed or adequately explained.

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