- The Washington Times - Monday, August 18, 2014

I’ll admit this right up front. I’m not fan of the latest Spider-Man film franchise reboot.

Director Sam Raimi got it right back in 2002, at least with the first two movies, and Toby Maguire will always be my live-action Peter Parker.

That reported, I’m mildly warming up to The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Rated: PG-13, $45.99).

It’s certainly a feast for the eyes in the Blu-ray format with outrageous combat scenes and head-shaking, aerial acrobatics.

However, more than that, director Marc Webb’s gutsy call at the end of the film allowed my willingness to take part in temporary sacrilege to the Raimi legacy.

That one pivotal and defiantly dramatic scene in the film changed my mind, and I’m not revealing it. Its comic book origin is well-documented, and we can thank Gerry Conway and Gil Kane for really setting the precedence for superheroic inconsolable grief.

Unfortunately, before that point in the movie, viewers are stuck with an overtly ambitious, bloated effort from Mr. Webb, clocking in at 142 minutes and mired in more sub plot strands than Spider-Man’s webbing.

Starring Andrew Garfield (with fake New York accent in tow) as the hero and his googly eyed gal pal Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy, their onscreen chemistry is undeniable but underused.

It’s also a popcorn-munching affair, for sure, every time Spider-Man confronts one of the epic villains.

Although, as a gamer routinely engaging with the PlayStation 4, the film’s hyper-realism of computer-generated effects now look with too much like a video game rather than movie.

Speaking of the epic villains, always required in a blockbuster, we get three fighting for screen time here. Each chews up the scenery.

First, Jamie Foxx as Max Dillon aka Electro is at the mercy of special effects once his electrifying transformation occurs. It completely destroys any chance of a decent performance from the accomplished actor.

Next, thankfully, Dane DeHaan delivers an impressive and demented performance as Green Goblin. Filmmakers do away with a silly mask (used in Mr. Raimi’s interpretation) and infect Harry Osborne with a genetic mutation that distorts his facial features. It gives Mr. DeHaan the chance to truly act and not under a giant green helmet.

Finally, viewers get veteran actor Paul Giamatti as Aleksei Sytsevich, who eventually becomes the rhino via a mechanized suit. His Russian-accented ranting is so idiotic and unnecessary, it made me savor the devilish flare Mickey Rourke brought to the screen as Ivan Vanko in “Iron Man 2.”

Mr. Raimi ran into trouble with keeping track of too many villains onscreen (reference in “Spider-Man 3”) and Mr. Webb has the same problem with the evil balancing act.

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