Does anyone who reads this site actually need an
introduction to this article? I’ve tried to keep the
review spoiler-free, but there are comments that will
spoil things for some people, especially if they can
recognize certain comic book moments based on the
issue numbers they happened in.

Cast, Crew, and Other Info

Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker and Spider-Man

Alfred Molina as Otto Octavius and Dr. Octopus

Kirsten Dunst as Mary Jane Watson

James Franco as Harry Osborne

J. K. Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson

Dylan Baker as Curt Connors

Rosemary Harris as Aunt May

Bruce Campbell as an Usher

Stan Lee as a guy on the street

Screenplay by Alvin Sargent, based on a script begun
by Miles Miller
and Alfred Gough (best known for
Smallville), which was later
rewritten by Michael Chabon.

Directed by Sam Raimi

Complete information is available from the
IMDB
.


Past movie reviews can be found here.

Premise

Peter Parker’s life is a mess due to his
responsiblities as
Spider-Man. Meanwhile, a brilliant scientist has a
freak accident
that bonds him to four mechanical arms.

High Point

The city-spanning battle between Doctor Octopus and
Spider-Man was
great, as was the conversation in the elevator.

Low Point

Doctor Octopus’ logic in the above fight. I just
don’t see how some
of his actions would have led him to believe that
he’d get the result
he was looking for.

The Scores

This is fairly original. It feels
consistent with the first
film, but it’s not a retread. It combines several
elements from the
history of the mainstream continuity Spider-Man (such
as moments from
issues 33 and 50 of Amazing Spider-Man) and
the Ultimate
Spider-Man (primarily his ability to keep certain
secrets.) There is
a lot of material that was used before, but it
doesn’t feel that way
from the audience. I give it 5 out of 6.

The effects have improved considerably on
the original. (The
“looking through the glasses” in particular has had a
few bugs worked
out that bothered me the first time around.) There
are still some
moments that look like CGI, but it’s not as blatantly
obvious as it
was the first time around. I give it 5 out of 6.

The story had a couple of elements that
didn’t quite work.
Apart from Otto’s logic, mentioned above, there’s
also a question
about why certain things came and went, and there’s a
conversation
delayed while bigger things were going on that still
needs to take
place. For the most part, it held together well, but
there were more
dangling details than in the first. I give it 4 out
of 6.

The acting was well done, even from Kirsten
Dunst (who hasn’t
really impressed me since the otherwise unimpressive
Interview
with the Vampire
.) Alfred Molina was very well
cast, and the
original crew are still pulling their weight. I give
it 5 out of 6.

The emotional response was excellent. Some
of Otto’s logic
can be overlooked or forgotten because of the
fantastic actions
sequences it leads to. The action sequences, which
are easily better
than those in the original, aren’t the point. They
are embellishments
on a character-driven story of growth and acceptance.
Some of the
comedy is excellent, including an in-joke for those
of us who followed
the post-Seabiscuit negotiations. I give it
6 out of 6.

The production was very well done. I love
the “reflection in
sunglasses” shot that they used in the trailer. The
opening sequence
works to bring people back up to speed, and to pay
tribute to the “art
book” origins and Superman II in one shot.
Sam Raimi is
doing fantastic work here. He’s expressed interest
in directing a
third film, and Columbia would be foolish not to hire
him. My only
production complaint would be that they re-used too
much of Danny
Elfman’s original score, instead of letting him
update things
himself. I give it 5 out of 6.

Overall, this is a great sequel, comparable
to the original
in many ways, and better in a few. If you like
super-hero movies, you
need to see this film. I give it 5 out of 6.

In total, Spider-Man 2 receives 35 out of
42.

Additional notes and comments

In case anyone is wondering, water is diamagnetic,
not ferromagnetic. Just as magnetic fields attract
metals, they’ll repel water. Just a minor irritation
to me.