Spider-Man 2
Review and Media by Amazing Spidey

Spider-Man 2
Original Release Date:June 30th, 2004

Two years have passed, and the mild-mannered Peter Parker faces new challenges as he struggles with "the gift and the curse," desperately trying to balance his dual identities as the web-slinging superhero Spider-Man and his life as a college student. Tormented by his secrets, Peter finds that his relationships with all those he holds dear are in danger of unraveling. His life-long yearning for M.J. becomes even stronger as he fights the impulse to reveal his secret life and declare his love. His friendship with Harry Osborn is complicated by the young Osborn's bitterness over his father's death and his growing vendetta against Spider-Man. Even Peter's beloved Aunt May, who has fallen on hard times after the death of Uncle Ben, begins to have doubts about her nephew. Peter's life is about to become even more complicated as he encounters a formidable new foe -- Dr. Otto Octavius. Peter must use all the powers at his disposal to try to stop this diabolical madman in his octagonal tracks.

Credits
Screenplay By: Alvin Sargent
Directed By: Sam Raimi
Music By: Danny Elfman
Starring: Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker/Spider-Man, Alfred Molina as Dr. Otto Octavius/Dr. Octopus, Kirsten Dunst as Mary Jane Watson, James Franco as Harry Osborn, J.K. Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson, Rosemary Harris as Aunt May, Cliff Robertson as Robbie Robertson, Donna Murphy as Rose Octavius, Bill Nunn as Robbie Robertson

Review: Although the animated series is supposedly set between the two films according to press releases, there’s more evidence to say that they are two different beasts, and contradict each other several times. The main one is that Curt Conners is alive in the movie, yet died in the cartoon. There are a few small amounts of continuity, such as Harry’s dad was murdered by Spider-Man, and Peter/Mary Jane/Spider-Man’s love triangle, but nothing else really seems to fit. I enjoy the movies and the cartoon for what they are, but I still don’t see the connections between them. Now, to the movie itself;

Set two full years after the first one, Spider-Man 2 continues the story of our hero, and the characters surrounding him and to sum up the film bluntly, it’s quite easily the greatest superhero film of all time.

Times are tough for troubled teen Peter Parker. His grades are declining, his Aunt May is being forced out of her home, and he still can’t balance out the issues his alter ego brings him. Feeling overwhelmed, and knowing that he’s about to lose the love of his life because of the costume, he decides he’s had enough. Spider-Man - No More.

So why is it that this film is so much better than anything before it? Raimi took the time to develop the characters, and poured his heart into it. Instead of making a bigger sequel, Raimi wisely focused inwards, and told a story with his characters. A logical choice, obviously, but one rarely taken in Hollywood, as seen by a string of mediocre Batman films, which resorted to the typical “bring in the new villain, forgot about the hero” formula.

The original film was a fine tale, but the sequel tops it in every single way, delivering spectacular actions scenes and much-improved CGI, and a happy ending, after the heart breaking original. Highlights include the train scene, and just about any scene with Doc Ock. The new villain in town leaves the rest of supervillian competition as mere pretenders to his throne, no small fete considering Jack Nicholson, Gene Hackman and John Travolta are in said competition. Molina delivers a very restrained performance, which is exactly what the character called for. It should also be told, those tentacles make for some of the greatest fight scenes of all time. Considering a lot of the criticism the first film received was directed towards the fight scenes, they really did silence them in this sequel.

There are common complaints, from both film buffs and comic fanboys. The most popular one is that the film is a mere rip of Superman II, which is nonsense. Had they actually done the slightest bit of research, they would know the whole ‘giving up the costume’ part was done a good 10 years before the original Superman movie was made, way back in Amazing Spider-Man #50, which is commonly refereed to as, you guessed it, “Spider-Man No More!” One of the others is that the film is a carbon copy of the original. To them I say it’s a sequel, what exactly where they expecting? It’s a Spider-Man movie, he fights bad guys, he still has money issues, and he has serious social and love life issues.

Overall, a film that truly deserves the praise it gets. Rather than making a summer popcorn flick, Sony made a highly enjoyable film about characters with dramatic fight scenes, cliffhangers that once again leave us longing for a sequel, and finally, a happy ending.

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