By Sam Adams | Criticwire April 8, 2014 at 8:47PM
The first reviews of "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" are in, and... well, it's just one, actually. For whatever reason, the Telegraph's Tim Robey currently has the only full-length review to be published so far, and it's not because he's the movie's biggest fan. "How amazing can Spider-Man be at this point?" he starts, and his three-stars-out-of-five review goes downhill from there.:
We all know Spider-Man can multitask – those wrist-mounted gizmos fling out the sticky stuff every which way. But can his director? Marc Webb, returning after the last installment, again shows a better feel for the relationships than he does for juggling all the overlapping story elements. At times, with its many villains, this one veers perilously close to the overplotted trouble zone of Sam Raimi's "Spider-Man 3" and Christopher Nolan's "The Dark Knight Rises": a case of too many crooks spoiling the broth.
Although "The Amazing Spider-Man" straight-up ripped off the first part of Raimi's trilogy (minus the feel for the 9/11 subtext), it was probably too much to hope that "Amazing 2" might follow in the footsteps of Raimi's "Spider-Man 2," which has a strong claim on being the greatest superhero movie ever made. Although Robey praises Andrew Garfield's "killer timing" as the web-slinger, he's not so fond of Jamie Foxx's Electro, who he says resembles "the love child of Dr Manhattan from 'Watchmen' and Mr Freeze from 'Batman and Robin.'"
Xan Brooks, the Guardian
Marc Webb's spring blockbuster is the sequel to the reboot of the movie adaptation of the original Marvel comic-books, which is another way of saying it's a copy of a copy. But if the Spider-Man tale is about anything, it's about gawky youth and surging powers. And the film-makers know this and keep the tone skittish and fresh.
Guy Lodge, Variety
Continuing Peter Parker's investigation of his shady family history while serving up a brace of villains -- one more familiar than the other -- for him to contend with, this bloated but enjoyable outing will pull in enough crowds to justify Sony's reluctance to relinquish this heavily built-up creative property.
Oliver Lyttleton, the Playlist
The film, like the original, feels very haphazardly structured, a hotchpotch collection of scenes rather than a unified whole. There's also no tonal consistency, with Webb lurching awkwardly from quippy comedy to brooding drama to high tragedy in short spaces of time, undercutting all three modes as a result.
Mark Adams, Screen Daily
While this lengthy (much too lengthy in truth) sequel delivers plenty to enjoy there is a niggling suspicion that it succeeds thanks to goodwill and the charm of its leads rather than a smart script and controlled sense of direction. The Spider-Man character has always been a favourite with comic-book fans simply because he is the angst-ridden, slight of frame, anti-hero who is beset with ordinary problems, and while some of those elements are still intact there is a whole lot of bluster and padding here.
Simon Brew, Den of Geek
Some lessons have now been heeded, and whilst "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" has a collection of fresh problems of its own, at least this time there's less of an inclination to play things safe. For this is a film that bites off a lot more than the one before it. More than it can comfortably handle, certainly, but it does have a go at righting some wrongs.
Leslie Felperin, the Hollywood Reporter
The eponymous hero hits his super-heroic stride here, as does Andrew Garfield in the role, especially when Spider-Man's alter ego Peter Parker learns there's always some fine print in a contract with this many benefits. The plot gets itself tangled up in multiple villain strands, but in the main this installment is emotionally weightier and more satisfying than its predecessor.
Ben Nicholson, CineVue
The action is never mind-blowingly spectacular but the web-slinging itself has been upgraded with Garfield's cocky confidence seamlessly filtered into the sequences. Although it fundamentally has many of the same issues as the first film, the strengths are enhanced in "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" and it's certainly a step forward for the franchise.
Stefan Pape, Hey U Guys
Webb, who certainly silenced a fair amount of critics with his first endeavor into the comic book genre, has done much of the same thing second time around too, presenting a film that has one sole purpose; to entertain. Right from the word go the pace is set and there’s little respite to be offered from there on. While certainly benefiting from not having to concern itself with setting the scene and forming the story -- instead picking up where the first picture left off -- there is a downside too, as this feels very much like the middle film in a trilogy, lacking its own unique identity, without a palpable structure.
Daniel Krupa, IGN
There’s a lot going on, but with a running time of 142 minutes it’s strange that I came away thinking there's so much "Amazing Spider-Man 2" leaves out. That's because there’s so much to get through, but also set up for future sequels and spin-offs. There's a pressure being exerted on the film and it threatens to derail it entirely.
Emma Dibdin, Total Film
It's hard to shake the sense, given the narrow production window, that the script was rushed into production in less-than-complete form. The film often seems more focused on franchise-building than storytelling, nowhere more so than in its final few scenes.
Simon Reynolds, Digital Spy
Plans are already afoot for installments 3, 4 and "Venom" and "Sinister Six" spinoff movies, and that feels like a big a part of the problem here -- "Amazing Spider-Man 2" seems more like an exercise in calculated franchise architecture than its does a cohesive stand-alone blockbuster.
David Edwards, the Mirror
The stars lack sparkle, the story is rote and workmanlike and the action unexciting. Spider-Man has always been the fun superhero, unburdened by Batman’s brooding menace or Superman's moral crusading. He's the webslinger never short of a wise-crack about his latex costume or his dual identity. But crucially, this is a grind. "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" isn’t just forgettable, it also isn’t any fun.