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Month of Superhero Film Reviews: Spider-Man 2

02 Jun

Howdy ladies and gentlemen and welcome to my Month of Superhero Film Reviews! During this month I’ll be reviewing of some of the best and worst comic book adapted films. Alrighty then we’re on Day #2 of these superhero film reviews and now we continue with the Sam Raimi Spider-Man trilogy with what is arguably one of the best superhero films in existence and one of my all-time favourite films, Spider-Man 2.

So after the success of Spider-Man in 2002 a sequel had to be made right? So enter Spider-Man 2, released in 2004, and at the time it was a highly anticipated film. The first film had set the stakes pretty high, I don’t think people were ready for the epicness that would follow.

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In terms of the plot this film is set two years after Spider-Man, and focuses on Peter Parker struggling to manage both his personal life and his duties as Spider-Man. We also get a new villain in the shape of Dr. Otto Octavius, a scientist who becomes Doctor Octopus after an experiment fuses four mechanical tentacles to his back. And it is down to Spider-Man to stop new threat from destroying the city of New York.

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To say that I love this film would be an understatement. I ADORE THIS FILM! Before I watched The Shawshank Redemption this was my number one favourite film. If that doesn’t speak volumes about how much I love this film I dunno what will. I’ve watched this film so many times I know it inside and out, and I quote it almost all the time especially with my best friend Chris.

When it comes to the cast all of the returning members are on top form as well as the new additions to the cast. Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker/Spider-Man is still awesome. In this film you can really see that Parker’s life is in the worst place possible and Maguire excels in showing us the emotional strains of have a dual life as a hero and an everyday person. As for Kirsten Dunst as Mary Jane Watson I feel like her character was a little more developed and had more to do, while she may not again be the MJ from the comics, she does well here and has good chemistry with Maguire. But why in the holy mother of hell did she go ginger in this film, Mary Jane is meant to be a red-head! Anyway moving on… James Franco as Harry Osborn was awesome, this was the film that really made me like Franco as an actor. Harry now is now the head of his father’s company, but behind the shadows he still holds a resentment against Spider-Man over his father’s death. And because of Peter’s position as Spider-Man it puts a very difficult strain on their friendship. I loved seeing Harry evolve in this film and see how Spider-Man started to effect their relationship to the point of deterioration.

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Now let’s talk about Alfred Molina as Dr. Otto Octavius/Doctor Octopus. If I had to sum him up in one sentence it’d be this: He was bloody awesome. Now this is a villain that not only could go toe to toe with Spidey in a fight, but also had a more complex story and likeable personality. Doc Ock has style but is also ferocious and unpredictable. I love Molina in this role! We also get some more beautiful moments of Rosemary Harris as May Parker, her scenes with Peter are so heartfelt and dramatic, it gets me all emotional. And of course J.K. Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson is still playing the character so well that it is unreal. Simmons handles his dialogue and scenes with such charisma and finesse that he’s just perfect and hilarious at the same time.

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There are also great contributions from Donna Murphy as Rosalie Octavius, the wonderful appearance of Dylan Baker as Dr. Curt Connors and the small appearance of Willem Dafoe as Norman Osborn near the end of the film too which is awesome!

In terms of the presentation, in Spider-Man 2 it is near flawless. After this film came out I expected this level of quality in all future superhero films. Visually it is AMAZING. The CGI and special effects were so much higher than the last film and it made for some incredible action sequences, that well beautifully shot and perfectly choreographed. The Spidey vs. Doc Ock train fight will always be one of my favourite moments in any film ever. As for the soundtrack Danny Elfman takes the foundations of what he did in the first film and elevated it by ten, the themes in this film are so beautiful it’ll have you in tears.

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Now even though I love this film to pieces, there are a few issues here and there. Firstly the CGI and special effects, while miles better than the first film do look a little too obvious at points. Also I guess it comes down to that cheesy and sometimes awkward corny nature that this film series has too. But other than those its hard for me to criticize a film I love so much.

As for how it compares to the comics well it does take a few cues from it pretty well like the constant struggle that Pete has between his personal life and his life as Spider-Man or when Peter decides to give up being Spider-Man which is taken from taken from The Amazing Spider-Man No. 50. There is also how Doc Ock is able to go up against Spidey equally in a fight and how he still has a dark sense of humour too.

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Oh and lastly I wanted to mention Spider-Man 2.1, the extended version of Spider-Man 2 that featured 8 minutes of unseen footage. I’ve only seen it twice in the 5-6 years that I’ve owned it but I felt the need to bring it up. The new footage dotted around the film, while not all of it necessary does add to the overall narrative and character development. Because of this additional footage we see more interaction between Peter and Harry, we also see Mary Jane and her friend discussing her engagement. There’s also an extended scene with the doctor examining Peter and lastly there is an amusing scene with Jameson in his office wearing the Spider-Man costume too. Again some of the additional footage is cut for good reason while other parts just help flesh out the material that’s already there.

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In conclusion Spider-Man 2 is just one of those exceptional films that really not only excels as comic book film, but really works as a great action popcorn flick due to its great storytelling, character development and incredible action sequences. Obviously the film came out almost 10 years ago and the film does have its flaws here and there, but to not acknowledge how great this film is in the superhero genre would be a crime. This is still one of the finest films in the superhero genre and I can’t recommend it enough.

Rating: 9/10 (So good, this film has my heart!)

So there’s my review people, only 28 more to go. So have you seen Spider-Man 2 and if so what are your thoughts on it? Drop me a comment and let me know your thoughts yo! Come back tomorrow and I’ll have a new film review online, until then peace out!

 
4 Comments

Posted by on June 2, 2013 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

4 responses to “Month of Superhero Film Reviews: Spider-Man 2

  1. Tim The Film Guy

    June 2, 2013 at 7:49 pm

    Love it, one of the best superhero films and one of the best super villains 😀

     
    • Hypersonic55

      June 4, 2013 at 3:59 pm

      Good man, Spidey 2 is one of those films that I think will stand the test of time because of its greatness. And yeah Alred Molina as Doc Ock was just fabulous. 😀

       
      • Tim The Film Guy

        June 4, 2013 at 5:11 pm

        A Hero is only as good as his villain 😀

         
  2. petrescucosmin

    August 27, 2014 at 7:28 pm

    Two years on from defeating the Green Goblin, Peter Parker is having a harder time meeting the ongoing expectations of the public. On top of this the double life is taking its strain on his job, his personal life and his ability to even cast webs. Parker decides enough is enough and throws it all in – after all, he is only one man. Meanwhile, A brilliant scientist, Dr Octavius sees his life’s work on a fusion reactor explode – killing his wife. Wife the protective device on his computerised arms broken, Dr Octavius loses his grip on sanity and starts to rebuild his reactor using money and materials from crime. With him seemingly intent on destruction, Parker must decide if the needs of others outweigh his own.

    With many blockbusters falling at the opening weekend this summer, the title of ‘summer’s best’ was still up for grabs when I arrived at the cinema to watch Spiderman 2 (having only the week earlier given it the miss in favour of lighter fare). Two hours later I emerged having enjoyed one of the most entertaining popcorn films I’ll probably see all year. The plot is more than able to fill the running time and, although the action scenes often have large gaps between them, there are no moments where I was bored – even if there are a few moments where the film slightly slows. The complexity of the hero is the main thing – he is an unwilling hero and the strain shows well on him. Even the potentially ponderous thread with Mary-Jane plays pretty well for the most part.

    The villain of the piece is similar to the Green Goblin of the first film in that he is a scientist driven to madness by ‘voices’ who we want to lose as well as feeling for – more tragic than evil. Where Dafoe was great as the Goblin, the silly costume hindered the actor, here Molina has no such obstacle and does very well – carrying off the ‘voices’ scene without it looking silly – it is only a shame that he has so little screen time as a person (he has little time anyway – but the vast majority of it is throwing cars around). With these complex people as the fronts it is any wonder that the script has no problem being surprisingly strong for a summer action movie. You could read meaning into most of it but it is hard to not see the New York people on the train carrying the prone body of Spiderman backwards as having a bigger significance – a surprisingly poignant movie after a big effects-driven scene. The script also throws in a real mix of emotions – perfect for a film that is more about being an exciting ride than a piece of art. Plenty of it is very funny, some of it is touching, some of it is about character and some of it, well, some of it is about cars being thrown through windows! And of course the latter is what we have come for.

    In terms of action, the several big action sequences are very enjoyable and put the skirmishes from the first movie very much in the shade. Part of this is down to the increased intensity of the fights due to the close combat nature of the character but it is hard not to be impressed by the impact of the vastly improved effects. In the first movie I struggled occasionally to get past the fact that some of it (not all but some) looked very much like an average playstation game. Here the effects are great; sure, you can still tell when a mid-shot of a character is real or CGI but they are much more convincing and they are used a lot better – making it easier to accept them as real for the purposes of the film. Of course what really makes the action sequences is Raimi’s great direction. He is very able in the smaller moments but he is fantastic in the massive action scenes that he pulls together. At times his direction is very clever and my favourite ‘reference’ scene is also the one that surprised me that it was rated PG. In a very clear reference to Evil Dead, doctors are hammered by Dr Octopus’ arms for the first time – dragged screaming (ED’s trees) and tackling it with bone saws (Ash’s chain saw). It was a very intense scene and, with it being in a PG, it acts as proof that the BBFC are not as strict as the moaners would have us believe.

    Working with this direction, the cast all do really well. Maguire takes the pratfalls, the moral questions, the romance and the action equally as well. He is very much the likable everyman that the film needs Spiderman to be and he is good throughout. Dunst has talked about her desire to do more than just this type of film and, from this, I can see why. Although she has some good scenes, generally she is sidelined and it is to her credit that she does as well as she does with comparatively little to work with. Molina is given too little time and lacks a really strong scene of emotion in the same way that Dafoe did in front of the mirror but he still does well. I didn’t feel his pain as much as I really should have done but that was more down to his low screen time rather than his performance. Franco is good but a bit too one-dimensional; given that the third film will be very dependent on him I’m hoping he can step up to the plate more than he did here. Of the support cast, once again it is a wonderfully OTT Simmons who steals every scene he is in – he is so good that I never once saw him as his Oz character – an association I never thought he’d be able to break but he did – and he did it hilariously. Cameos from Campbell, Raimi and Dafoe are all enjoyable and add to their scenes.

    Overall this is not a perfect film and I am bemused by its appearance in the top 250 list here but it does basically everything it sets out to do and does it in a manner that puts this years’ other blockbusters in the shade. The script is clever, interesting and involving; the characters are complex and pretty well drawn while the film delivers laughs as frequently as it does action. With improved effects and some very impressive action scenes this is definitely the movie to sue in a summer full of misses and average thrills.

     

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