1) To me the term critical is a positive term, implying careful analysis of the text, rather than taking a position where one is superior to God's Word and acting as His judge. Critical also for me means more exegetical than devotional. However, it seems that I am in the minority in my understanding of the term. But is not my sense of the term that used in the title of The International Critical Commentary?
2) As to reading those who disagree with one, there are different kinds of disagreements. If the assumptions of the author are absurd, and if he is given to flights of fancy as if he were reading tea leaves, I don't find the author profitable. If he makes up an imaginary history which is far-fetched, I don't find his comments in that context valuable. Now take my favorite NT series, Alford's Greek Testament. What's it all about, Alfy? Alford is an Arminian who believes one can lose one's salvation; holding a serious theological error. But I find him profitable since he analyzes the text (critically!) and lays out the possibilities succinctly. IMHO those old British boys knew their Greek & classical authors much better than commentators are likely to know today. So if he tells me that a given Greek construction was common and meant X in Polybius, Plutarch, Arrian, and Diodorus Siculus, that is nice to know.
3) Evidence of having the spiritual gift of teaching is another factor which means a plus.
4) Now having looked at data on the set, I am thinking that WF Albright's volumes might be profitable. But I am thinking that most of the volumes would not be particularly helpful in determining precisely what the language means.