Movie Review – “Spider-Man 2”

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.

15 replies on “Movie Review – “Spider-Man 2””

  1. nkuzmik says:

    Things I would like to say
    There are many elements that I would like to begin discussing immediatly… Unfortunatly they would all consitute some fairly major spoilage.

    As the movie has been in theaters for a little less than 48 hours, a spoiler black out is in order… but I don’t know how to do that!!!! Somebody throw me a rope here!

    • dkichline says:

      Re: Things I would like to say

      There are many elements that I would like to begin discussing immediatly… Unfortunatly they would all consitute some fairly major spoilage.

      As the movie has been in theaters for a little less than 48 hours, a spoiler black out is in order… but I don’t know how to do that!!!! Somebody throw me a rope here!

      like this

      like this

      • dkichline says:

        Re: Things I would like to say

        There are many elements that I would like to begin discussing immediatly… Unfortunatly they would all consitute some fairly major spoilage.

        As the movie has been in theaters for a little less than 48 hours, a spoiler black out is in order… but I don’t know how to do that!!!! Somebody throw me a rope here!

        like this

        like this

        You know that is very annoying, I did the & g t; and in the preview it worked properly… However when I posted, it converted it to tags… :)

        So, just use the super tags… .

        try this

        • Timeshredder says:

          Warning: Spoilers

          This is an enjoyable film that really captures the feel of the classic Spider-man, in terms of action, character, and bittersweet comedy. It also features an excellent J. Jonah Jameson, and several great in-jokes, such as MJ playing the character “Gwendolyn” onstage. I also loved Parker’s TV freeze. Pity they wasted Stan Lee’s cameo.

          I had a few quibbles, apart from Doc Ock’s dubious logic during the big fight.

          1. Peter Parker, photographer in desperate need of cash, gets invited to the science event of the century and doesn’t bring a camera. In fact, there seemed to be a distinct lack of press. I’ll buy the comic book elements, but this is just stupid.

          2.They’ve set up for three classic Spider-man villains in the next movie: Green Goblin II, Man-Wolf, and the Lizard. I really hope they don’t fall prey to Batman Franchise disease, and use them all. That never works. Ever.

          3.”Sorry I missed the performance, MJ, but I was in an accident.” Instead of scorn, you receive major sympathy points. C’mon, Peter. Say it! Say it, dammit! This is the guy who, despite being a bona fide nerd, dating Betty, Gwen, and MJ! I can relate to this man. C’mon! Say it!

          4.Waaaay too many people learn Spidey’s identity.

          5.Drown it? Drown it?!?!?!?!?!?!!?

          6. Waaaay too much epilogue.

          Still, it’s great to see a superhero [cringe]franchise[/cringe] done by people who understand the source material. If you like the source material, see this film.

          • Timeshredder says:

            Re: Warning: Spoilers

            [get a life]7. Okay, this is a comic-book element, so I’ll turn a blind eye, but in the big fight, Spidey punches Doc Ock in the face. Metal arms wouldn’t help here. The fight would end at that point.[/get a life]

          • Babbster says:

            Re: Warning: Spoilers
            Most of the problems I have with this movie (and few they are), I just chalk up to it being a movie franchise. For example, it’s okay if a lot of people have seen Spidey’s real face because our exposure to events in his life are limited to two hours every two years. I was cool with the drowning because, well, Stan would’ve done it. :)

            I’m making a concerted effort lately not to ramble, so I’ll cut this particular post short by saying, simply, that the movie was fantastic and I can’t imagine anyone (apart from those with no whimsy in their souls) not enjoying it.

          • nkuzmik says:

            Re: Warning: Spoilers

            2.They’ve set up for three classic Spider-man villains in the next movie: Green Goblin II, Man-Wolf, and the Lizard. I really hope they don’t fall prey to Batman Franchise disease, and use them all. That never works. Ever.

            I think they could do Spiderman 3 with as many as 4 villans and still not suck.

            Think about this for a second… We have already seen Green Goblin I. While introducing Green Goblin II works well from a story line perspective, it brings nothing new to the movie. So Green Goblin II will have to be dramatically different, perhaps more manipulative than his predecessor. This allows a number of old Spider-foes, though not the “great” foes. I could see Green Goblin II being this shadowy figure that spends most of the movie giving marching orders to the likes of Rhino, Shocker, or Scorpion.

            I chose those three because they don’t need a lot of exposition. It’s like,

              Gee, what’s Rhino’s power?

            And now that I think about it, I doubt they will bring in the Lizard. I mean his alter ego was refered to even in the first movie. I think that is more a nod to the comic fans.

            I’m about done for now…

            • Babbster says:

              Re: Warning: Spoilers
              As long as the main focus remains on Peter – and they don’t introduce Venom – I think the franchise will stay on solid ground. Let’s face it, multiple villains wasn’t the problem with the post-Burton Batman pictures. The problem was that they substituted number of characters for depth of characters, leaving the things to become sterile, standard action pictures.

              I have a concept as to how they could make multiple characters work in the next Spider flick and at the risk of already breaking my non-rambling pledge I’ll describe it: The first 30 minutes of the movie could be broken into three 10-minute segments separated by a few months in time. Each would include a bit of brief thought-bubble/voice narration by Pete describing what’s going on, followed by a fight where he wins but ends up damaged (as he has in both movies so far). The close for each bit would be MJ getting more and more worried about Pete because she’s never sure if Pete’s going to come back to her (I’m sure this is what they’re already planning to explore based on the final bits of 2). The third bit would then end up with him being in the hospital with somewhat more serious injuries and MJ obviously taking it badly. Then, enter Harry Osborne (Goblin II) looking to take advantage of the situation.

              Think something like that could work? I dunno – I’m no Raimi, Gough, et. al.

              PS – My apologies to those who find the spoiler tag annoying but I’m in the "better safe than sorry" crowd.

              • nkuzmik says:

                Re: Warning: Spoilers

                As long as the main focus remains on Peter – and they don’t introduce Venom – I think the franchise will stay on solid ground. Let’s face it, multiple villains wasn’t the problem with the post-Burton Batman pictures. The problem was that they substituted number of characters for depth of characters, leaving the things to become sterile, standard action pictures.

                I have a concept as to how they could make multiple characters work in the next Spider flick and at the risk of already breaking my non-rambling pledge I’ll describe it: The first 30 minutes of the movie could be broken into three 10-minute segments separated by a few months in time. Each would include a bit of brief thought-bubble/voice narration by Pete describing what’s going on, followed by a fight where he wins but ends up damaged (as he has in both movies so far). The close for each bit would be MJ getting more and more worried about Pete because she’s never sure if Pete’s going to come back to her (I’m sure this is what they’re already planning to explore based on the final bits of 2). The third bit would then end up with him being in the hospital with somewhat more serious injuries and MJ obviously taking it badly. Then, enter Harry Osborne (Goblin II) looking to take advantage of the situation.

                Think something like that could work? I dunno – I’m no Raimi, Gough, et. al.

                PS – My apologies to those who find the spoiler tag annoying but I’m in the “better safe than sorry” crowd.

                That looks to be rather good.

          • SciFi0964 says:

            S3: Villians, anyone?

            2.They’ve set up for three classic Spider-man villains in the next movie: Green Goblin II, Man-Wolf, and the Lizard. I really hope they don’t fall prey to Batman Franchise disease, and use them all. That never works. Ever.

            It would seem redundant to use the same villian in the 3rd movie though there is an underlying thought in S1 & S2. These villians derrive from Oscorp endeavors and are technology based. Villians such as Mysterio, Vulture, Scorpion, Shocker, and Rhino come to mind as possibilities. Then again there is one with a slight difference to the original villian; Hobogoblin. I could envision Harry finding a merc and giving him the equipment to destroy spiderman and in doing so threaten the city.

            I note Raimi already said in an interview he has a plan for S3. That leaves us to wait 4 more years to find out what it may be.

  2. SciFi0964 says:

    Too much drama? [spoilers]
    Saw it. Enjoyed it. Despite raves by critiques I think it was not as good as S1 though. The story was not as smoothly done. It ended with several dramatic plots setting up S3, which I did not like. I would prefer it begin with S3 rather than done with the synopsis!

    Some points that rankled me:

    On MJ…
    . I am getting married after 3 months of dating and have hard doubts. Let me jilt Jamesons son!
    Comment: a girl as flighty as this will definitely divorce Peter before S3 ends.

    On Peter Parker …
    . I flip out thirty feet and land on my feet before a sidewalk of people in my civies. Not too obvious?! Behold the power of spinage!
    . My spider powers are on the fritz and put me in life threatening danger because I have self doubts about being the hero. Argggh, Naturally spider survival instinct is not in evidence!?
    . Secret ID? What secret ID? Let me whip my mask off in the dramatic moments.

    On Otto Ocatavus …
    . I love my wife incredibly much. Unless a lab accident just happens to happen and I forget about her. (no dramatic moments of mourning)
    . Burton ending. Pshaw!

    On Harry Osborne…
    . No mastermind there; seems he just came up with capture spiderman in trade on the fly.
    . Otto Ocatavus wants the rare substance I have a baseball size of even though I’m financially ruined. I’ll trade the rare material for spider man!
    . A ghost just happens to help him find the secret cache of weaponry after a traumatic moment with Spiderman? (Can’t we just see this in S3?)

  3. jelder says:

    High point

    I have to disagree with your high point. The aftermath of that fight was stunningly well put together. When Spiderman collapses after stopping the runaway L train, the hand catching him from behind was unexpectedly heartwarming. I loved the imagery of the innocents carrying the broken body of their savior over their heads. “He’s just a child, no bigger than my own son… You’ll have to get through us first.” Thank you, Sam Rami.

    The low point in my opinion was probably a tie between the awful science jargon, followed by the choppy romantic exchanges between Spidey/Parker and Mary Jane.

    • Dudah says:

      Re: High point

      The low point in my opinion was probably a tie between the awful science jargon, followed by the choppy romantic exchanges between Spidey/Parker and Mary Jane.

      Total agreement. The science was absurdly rediculous. It’s a comic book movie, sure, but you could try just a little bit. Granted, I’m a PhD scientist in a research lab, but I have at least 25 grams of tritium within 30 feet of me. Just name it something else. Dilithium, adamantium, anything. And no scientist in his right mind is going to do high energy experiments in the middle of a city, let alone have the permits to do it. Why can’t they just send me an email. I’ll fix a script hole like that in ten minutes.

    • vanyel says:

      Re: High point

      The low point in my opinion was probably a tie between the awful science jargon

      Absolutely. And worse, it gives people who don’t know better the idea that fusion power is dangerous. Just what was that thing feeding on anyhow? If there were enough tritium in there to go that long, it would have blown up. Real reactors feed tiny pellets of it in — to shut it down, just stop feeding it.

      As for doing that sort of thing inside a city, remember Fermi did the first fission reactor in Chicago… hmmm, the train he stopped looked an awful lot like Chicago’s El, except for the stupid “lets run the tracks here to nowhere for no good reason”. Though that scene was one of the best in the movie…

      Despite the bad science, this was one incredibly good movie though…

  4. RyGuy says:

    Great Movie (spoilers)
    I can’t believe the greatness of this movie. The amazing character twists. Spidey’s fatigue and loss of power. The drama between MJ and Peter. The hard times that have fallen upon Aunt May. It catches me really great. One of the best lines in that movie was at the end when MJ says to Peter,"Go get ’em, Tiger."
    When Peter has a dream of Uncle Ben and they talk about how Peter doesn’t want to be Spidey anymore, and suddenly won’t take Ben’s hand. It really touched me. Also, when Harry finds the Green Goblin suit and the wall of his bombs, it really pumped my adrenaline to what was going to happen in Spider-Man 3.
    Well, that was my critique of Spider-Man 2 and I hope it helped a lot. Can’t wait ’til Spidey 3, and I will recomend this movie to all people between the ages of 10 and 16. (I chose the minimum as 10 because of some of the violent manhandling at the beginning with Doc Ock and 16 as the maximum because of some of the extreme childish humor.)

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