Spider-Man 2 (2004) – Sam Raimi

 

Spider-Man (Tobey Maguire) swings back into action with this, the second film directed by Sam Raimi about Marvel’s Web-Head. I’d previously covered the first one for the blog for a previous list, so I jumped right into the second one for the Sci-Fi Chronicles book.

Young Peter Parker is having a tough time, he can’t hold onto a job and save the city, not to mention go to university at the same time. Sooner or later everything is going to snap, but everything seems to be against him, even his new mentor, Doctor Otto Octavius (Alfred Molina) who becomes the villainous, multi-armed Doc Ock!

We get to check in with the other characters, Aunt May (Rosemary Harris), Harry Osborn (James Franco) and Mary-Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst). We also get a peek at Dr. Curt Connors (Dylan Baker), who we also learn will become the Lizard – of course we get a Bruce Campbell and Stan Lee cameo…

But it’s J.K. Simmons’ turn as J. Jonah Jameson that is a real joy to watch, he steals ever scene he is in, and each one is hilarious.

Having established and built the world in the first film, this one expands upon it, and let’s us and the filmmakers play a little in the world this time around. Spidey has his hands full with taking on the problems of New York, Peter has too much on his hands with class, papers, the MJ situation, and trying to earn enough money to pay his rent.

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He decides to hang up the mask and focus on his own life, but it may be too little too late when it comes to MJ, and it may not last as Doc Ock continues to menace the city, and sooner or later Peter is going to have to do something about it…

Filled with great action sequences, wonderful character beats, and even some spooky stuff (the hospital scene with Octavius has a very Evil Dead feel to it) this film is a stronger one than the previous film, and is both a solid action story, as well as a solid character film, as Peter struggles with who he is, and who he wants to be.

I love this struggle idea a lot actually. He struggles with what he wants to be and do, with what he should be and do, and it serves to make the character, as it has always been in the comics, someone the audience can identify with and perhaps see some of themselves, or their own problems and dilemmas in .

I so enjoyed Raimi and Maguire’s take on Spidey in these first two films, it’s very true to the original spirit of the Marvel comics, while giving little nods to the legacy it has created in print and television.

A solid super-hero film, and shows wonderfully what Raimi and company can do with the subject matter, whereas the next film shows what happens when the studio interferes with too much…

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