Spider-Man 2 (2004)
Director: Sam Raimi
Alfred Molina/Doc Octopus
Two years after the original film, Peter Parker (Maguire) is now slumming it in College while continuing his juggling act of "longing for Mary Jane" (Dunst), “acting as a freelance photographer” and “crime fighting” in that flashy red suit. His world eventually goes to arachnid-hell when a new super villain steps up to the plate in the guise of Doctor Octopus (Molina). This baddie means all kinds of business when it comes to getting what he wants via his powerful, A.I. gifted, giant metallic arms! Hide the kids, duck from the flying cars and hold on to your subway car poles...it's ping-pow-ping time!
"I'm Spider-Man no more." -- Peter Parker
Spidey’s back to, once again, swing giggles, drama and exhilaration into our lives! Who’s not happy? Having loved the first "Spider-Man" flick to “Reese’s Pieces Buttercups”, I came into this sequel gung-ho and ready to have a good time! I’m thrilled to report...that’s exactly what went down! From the AMAZING comic book-like opening title sequence (with stellar artwork by Alex Ross) to the riveting final frame, a detonation of fun erupted in my noggin all the way down to the Yeti in my Levis! THANK YOU!
The high spot of this tingling web ride for yours truly was, without a doubt, the visceral, highly imaginative and beyond enthralling fight/action sequences that actually managed to top the ones found in the first Spider-Man in every freakin' way (that Ping-Pong game with Aunt May rocked!). Man-o-man, was I taken through a gamut of emotions while witnessing the physical get-downs! I laughed, I gasped, I cheered, I jumped, I teethed on the edge of my seat and I grabbed the ass of the chick sitting next to me (she was 65 years old…swell filly). In laymen terms...I was going buck wild! Props to the CGI leprechauns behind the digital effects filling this pot of gold! The slights of hand were taken to the next stage and although, at times, somewhat obvious, I was still effortlessly sucked into the outlandish fisticuff jamborees due to the CG magic and the awesome communication thereof. WOW!
Substance-wise, the screenplay covered most all of its “comic book drama” bases with wit and depth. Once again, I warmed up to Peter’s tortuous plight as Spidey-Head, the various relationships at hand kept me engaged (I loved what they did with Harry and Peter) and to some degree, the syrupy “love story” still had me reaching for that blank Hallmark card that I carry around in my wallet (don’t ask). In addition, the humor bursting out of the screen hit the “life sucks, I need to smile” spot hardcore (all about the elevator scene) while the nods to the 60’s Spidey cartoon (the song and the token Spidey note) won me over even more. Lastly, the teasers that the film put out in terms of what might arise in the next sequels had me salivating like a Mongrel attacking a live steak with a spear. Will John Jameson be the “Man-Wolf”? Will Dr. Connors become the Lizard? Will The Green Goblin ride again? And will I ever get to slip my tongue inside Mandy Moore’s mouth? All those questions were part of my train of thought and pummeled me throughout.
On the un-sticky side of the web, the plot focused a bit too much on the “love story”, threading the same ground as the first film and therefore adding a redundant feel to the proceedings. I was also not too keen on the tacky “Uncle Ben” flashback (BARFFF!), the doctor's speech to Peter (what an odd moment) or the “Russian Hottie” neighbor subplot that went nowhere slow (nice stomach on that animal though). And why wasn’t more emphasis put on Doc Ock (Molina)? I actually forgot that he was the villain in the story at one point! I would’ve relished more “alone time” with the lad! Moreover, the humor was “too overdone” in places for my liking. I got it, “Peter can’t catch a break”...I didn’t need that shoved so deep down my throat! I felt like one of Ron Jeremy’s gargling victims there! The final flies that escaped this one’s grasp were the occasionally overly hokey dialogue and the ‘ho-hum” final battle. But that’s just me man...that’s just me!
When all was said and crawled up that wall of fun f*ckin' times, "Spider-Man 2" wound up being a rousing, eye-popping adventure with well-drawn characters and strong acting by most to back it up. I was taken for a pleasant Merry-Go-Web spin and I’m already anxious to hop on for the next turn. Raimi did it again! GO SPIDEY, GO!
Although there was some killing and brutality within the film, the nastier bits were mostly suggested as opposed to shown. The lack of graphic violence didn’t hurt the flick though.
Tobey Maguire (Peter/Spidey), yet again, excelled as Peter Parker by displaying touching vulnerability, strength and dead-on comic timing. Kirsten Dunst (MJ) failed to blow me away this time around...I didn’t find her too attractive and her “whisper” acting kind of grated me. Alfred Molina (Doc Octopus) did what he could with the little “meat” that he was given. He played evil to a “T” though! James Franco (Harry) still looked like James Dean’s evil twin brother and did fine most of the way with his brood-machine part. I will admit that he was, at times, upstaged by those glasses of booze he was sipping though. Nice glasses! JK Simmons (J. Jonah Jameson) owned as Jonah Jameson! He stole all of his scenes, cracked me up and nailed the character to the damn wall! Talk about perfect casting!
T & A
We get another see-through wet T-shirt “high beam” nipple shot from Ms. Dunst and the ladies get McGuire shirtless (where did all his muscles from the first film go?) and Molina’s flabby chest.
Man, was I surprised to see the “old school” Sam Raimi pop up in this film! The “hospital scene", in particular, echoed “Evil Dead” in places (chainsaw shot) while coming up with unique “money shots” that blew me away (the flying glass bit). The rest of the film was also up to snuff with well staged action bits and slick montages in tow. Good shit!
A lot of peeps contributed to the solid soundtrack for this film (Danny Elfman, Christopher Young, Steve Bartek etc.) and I dug most of it (I recognized Young’s bit since it sounded like the "Hellraiser 2" score). We also get some pop/rock tunes and a groovy use of “Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head”.
In my useless opinion, "Spider-Man 2" was “bigger” in terms of zany stunts, tension, quality CGI and wilder action scenes than the original, but was not necessarily better when it came to balancing all of its narrative balls, with the lack of emphasis on the villain and its over-accentuation on the “love story" being its main wipe-outs. Peeves aside, I derived much delight from this sequel and am anticipating the next flick with Spidey-Bells on. Raimi continued to perfectly capture the true essence of what Spider-Man is all about with gusto and I’m so blissful about that! We couldn’t have asked for a better director to tackle web head’s cinematic adventures. Thank the Comic Book Gods! Bring on Spidey 3!
This film's plot was largely inspired by Amazing Spider-Man #50, "Spider-Man No More". We even get a shot (Peter ditching his Spidey costume in an outside trash can) that’s identical to a panel found in that issue.
Look out for the great Willem Dafoe (The Green Goblin in the first film) in a cameo.