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A movie starring Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst directed by Sam Raimi

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The Quintessential Summer Movie

  • Jul 29, 2004
  • by
Pros: Good writing, stellar acting, can hardly tell it CGI.

Cons: The unveiling…

The Bottom Line: In the final analysis Spider-Man 2 is a quintessential “perfect” summer movie; rapid fire action, intrigue, emotional baggage, the pretty girl, the action hero; evil villain that must be stopped…

As a child no other superhero captured my imagination quite like the reluctant, everyday guy, superhero Spider-Man. When he was not fighting the local baddies, he was just like everyone else, struggling to balance relationships, school, and work; he even flirted with poverty and unlike so many superhero’s, he struggled to make ends meet, and felt real human emotions.

Any self-respecting long-time reader of Marvel Comics knows Spidy’s tale: bitten on the hand by a genetically altered uber-spider, mild mannered nerd, Peter Parker begins to manifest spider-like powers. His hands grow spider-like hairs that allow him to climb building, he develops a sixth “spider sense” that warns him of the close proximity of danger, and of course he develops super strength. The only difference in manifested powers between the comic book Spider Man and the movie version is that this new Spider Man is able to shoot webbing from his wrists. In the comic book version Parker uses specially designed web packs under his Spidy suit, which occasionally run out.


As we pick up the story of Spider-Man in this second installment of the franchise, Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire—The Cider House Rules, Pleasantville) is suffering, is tormented, and he is still the average guy, which is of course is his appeal; he is eternally like us, only with the superpowers we wish we all had.

Directed by Sam Raimi (For Love of the Game, Spiderman) Spider-Man 2 opens with Peter toiling away as both a photographer and as a pizza delivery boy. On the way to deliver a big order of pizza’s, Peter must change into Spider-Man to get his pies delivered on time or get fired. But while swinging from building to building he spies a pair of children who run out into the street, while chasing a ball and into the path of a speeding truck. Clique I know, but he does save the little tykes, and in the process he misses the pizza delivery deadline and is fired. Life gets worse for the web-slinger from there.

He loses (temporarily) his freelance gig at the Daily Bugle, he is out of cash and can't pay the rent, and his agonizing friendship (love affair) with Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst— Interview with a Vampire, Crazy/Beautiful, Bring it On) comes to a head. Meanwhile Peter’s best friend Harry Osborne (James Franco—Whatever it Takes) wants to kill Spider-Man and his dear old Aunt May (Rosemary Harris—Holocaust, Spiderman) is short on money and is losing her house, finally learns the truth about her husband’s (Uncle Ben) death and how Peter might have prevented it.

Spider-Man 2’s chief scoundrel this time around is one Dr. Otto Octavius (Alfred Molina—Raiders of the Lost Ark, Chocolat) who while seeking to improve the world by creating a new form of energy, is turned into a madman. While trying to stabilize the unpredictable energy source with a set of mechanical arms (endowed with artificial intelligence), entwined with his spine, a freak explosion causes the robotic coat-of-arms to bond forever to his body. Behold is born Doctor Octopus a.k.a. Doc. Ock.

To be sure, Doc. Ock is not your archetypal evil criminal bent on world domination, or amassing the wealth of nations, he instead is obsessed with completing his energy project no matter what the cost to man and material. Since he worked for Harry Osborn before the accident he decides to go to him for the final ingredient for his project. But there is price: Doc Ock must bring Osborn Spider-Man, who he still blames for killing his father, Norman Osborn a.k.a., The Green Goblin.

This time out Dunst’s Mary Jane Watson having proclaimed her love for Peter in the last installment, is conflicted. She has finally gained a measure the success she sought as an actress, and she wants to move on with her life, but her love for Peter keeps her looking back. She and Peter remain friends, but she can’t trust him to be there for her; he is like a rollercoaster pushing her away but then drawing her close when he gives up the spider suit, only to push her away again, when he gives into his better nature and retrieves it. Finally she decides to marry another man; the son of J.Jonah Jameson (J.K. Simmons—OZ, Law & Order), the publisher of the Daily Bugle. Dunst, looking thinner then she has in recent movies nonetheless electrifies the screen whenever she is on camera

Final Thoughts

Oftentimes when going for the second coming of a film, the writers miscue, the direction is bad, or the film is taken in a direction it has already gone and therefore boring. Not so with Spider-Man 2.

Director Raimi remains true to the Spider-Man formula, resisting the urge no doubt to make Peter and his alter ego into something their not. By sticking with the formula the movie remained true to Stan Lee’s vision of Spider-Man. Also, Raimi infuses Spider-Man 2 with spark, and action, but with a human dimension that is hard to ignore. While the action sequences are amazing to watch, it is the human drama that makes Spider-Man 2 a hit with me. We get to really know and care about these characters; even the evil Harry Osborn is given a human face, a heart and soul that is tormented and twisted by love and hatred.

There are moments I didn’t care for like the unmasking of Spider-Man, but even in that moment, there was something to sink your teeth into. In the final analysis Spider-Man 2 is a quintessential “perfect” summer movie; rapid fire action, intrigue, emotional baggage, the pretty girl, the action hero; the evil villain that must be stopped; who could ask for more?


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More Spider-Man 2 reviews
review by . March 16, 2011
Comic book movies often have no problems with the quality of their sequels. In fact, they are often better than their predecessors, and Spiderman 2 is definitely an example of that. It capitalizes on everything that started off this popular franchise and improves upon it, providing us with improved acting, improved special effects, an improved villain, and improved emotional development of the characters. Like the critics consensus says, an entertaining villain and more emotional development made …
review by . August 02, 2010
For just $5 you can help this poor college student so that he can lighten up and have a social life
Within the first half hour or so of this movie, we could see our hero:  Get yelled at by his boss, get stiffed on a bill delivering pizzas by a snotty receptionist, lose his job, get yelled at by his other boss, find he owes money to co-workers, failing his college classes, have his aunt throw him a birthday party when shes having trouble paying bills, see his best friend obsessed with killing our protagonists alter ego, hear his cute girlfriend may be leaving him, find he owes back money …
review by . November 08, 2009
A great follow up to the film that started it all..
Spider-Man to me  helped  jump start  the Marvel revolution, it set fourth  standards in comic book adaption  greatness that  have yet to  be surpassed or matched. And with Spider-Man 2  the bar just  keeps rising.                  Spider-Man 2 is  not just your ordinary sequel, It's a sequel that improves  and even  over powers the original.  It's  dark, brilliant,  …
Quick Tip by . May 04, 2010
Peter Parkers powers fluctuate between how badly he really wants his super hero life and a normal one. Melodramatic as HELL but awesome.
review by . April 29, 2009
Sam Rami needs to be congratulated on making a film that totally outdoes its predecessor.  Tobey McGuire is great and is one of the most likeable characters (re: Peter Parker) that I have seen in a film in a long time.  Alfred Molina is great as one of the more charismatic villains that have ever been portrayed on the screen.  I found myself cheering several times throughout the movie.   Peter Parker can't seem to hold a job (he's killing a pizza business that promises on-time …
review by . June 21, 2008
This review will be split into three parts, they will be split into The Story, The Characters and the Verdict. This will give you a fair and honest view of the characters, story and the movie itself.    The Story: Harry Osborn has now taken over Oscorp and he's financially backing a scientist called Otto Octavius who's experimenting with sustained fusion as a way of replacing conventional fuels. In order for Otto so sustain the fusion reaction he's developed artificially intelligent …
review by . May 31, 2006
posted in Movie Hype
"Spiderman 2" makes "Spiderman" seem like a warm-up. Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) and his alter-ego, Spiderman, have enough problems to make the movie continually interesting. The melodrama envelops our attention, and the action scenes are marvelous.     In the beginning Peter Parker sets his sights on Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst), but he's conflicted by his role as Spiderman. He not only juggles his identities, but his responsibilities as well. As college student and breadwinner, …
review by . April 24, 2005
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: A great job bringing the comic to life     Cons: At times, Mary Jane really does look like the girl next door     The Bottom Line: No, I have never written another article called Ode to a Superhero. The title is merely a reference to a Weird Al Yankovic song.     With great power comes great responsibility   that’s the catch phrase of old Uncle Ben   if you missed it, don’t worry, they’ll say the line   …
review by . July 13, 2004
Pros: Tight package and well presented...the movie was good too. ;)     Cons: Having to wait til 2007 for the last leg of this trilogy!     The Bottom Line: Good for the whole family, on your own or with a date! The Bottom Line catches thieves just like flies!     In this middle portion of the Spiderman trilogy, Peter Parker has survived both his internal, and explosive external battles with the mad Green Goblin. However, all True Believers …
review by . September 24, 2004
"Spider-Man 2" is one of the best sequels around. Unlike many people, I don't think that it is any better than the first film, it just deals with a little tougher material. In this go-round, Spidey is finding it hard to deal with the fact that he is living two lives. It's so hard, in fact, that it's affecting his performance(in real life and as the Wallcrawler). Basically, his whole life is a mess. He's lost his girl, his best friend, and a mentor(Dr. Octavius) loses his mind. The film pans out …
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Vincent Martin ()
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I am an IT Professional and have worked in the industry for over 20 years. I may be a computer geek, but I also like reading, writing, cooking, music, current events and regretfully, politics.
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About this movie


Sam Raimi's follow-up to SPIDER-MAN finds Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) struggling to balance his everyday life with his alter ego as the web-slinging superhero. Still carrying the burden of keeping his crime-fighting identity from those closest to him--including his longtime love Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst), his best friend Harry Osborn (James Franco), and his doting Aunt May (Rosemary Harris)--Parker must also face off against a dangerous new menace, Dr. Otto Octavius (Alfred Molina), a scientist driven mad by experiments involving powerful mechanical arms. When the deranged Octavius (AKA Doc Ock) forms an alliance with the vengeful Osborn, who blames Spider-Man for the death of his father, the wall-crawling hero is in for his biggest battle yet.

With SPIDER-MAN 2, Raimi retains--and improves on--all of the elements that made the first film so good, including an excellent story (crafted, in part, by acclaimed novelist Michael Chabon), tight pacing, and stunning special effects. Parker's ...
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