CORPORATE LINE: In Spider-Man 2, the latest installment in the blockbuster Spider-Man series, based on the classic Marvel Comics hero, Tobey Maguire returns as the mild-mannered Peter Parker, who is juggling the delicate balance of his dual life as a college student and a superhuman crime fighter. The entertaining adventure escalates and Spider-Man’s life becomes even more complicated when he confronts a new nemesis, the brilliant Otto Octavius, (Alfred Molina) who has been reincarnated as the maniacal and multi-tentacled “Doc Ock.”
THE GOOD: If you saw the first Spider-man then you know how good the design of the sets and animation were—Spider-man 2 cranks it up a notch. The second edition sticks close to the Stan Lee creation and blows the first out of the water. The biggest difference is how Spider-man 2 hits the ground running and doesn’t stop until the surprise ending.
Everything about Spider-man 2 works from the amazing runaway train scene to Doc Ock and right into the heart of matters, which is the true love story underneath it all. Not only is Spider-man a love story but also is built heavily upon Peter Parker’s need to find himself so that he can figure out what he really needs. Does he need Mary Jane? Does he need to be Spider-man? Or, does he just need to be Peter Parker and make a break from the life he once lived and start completely anew? Sounds more like Freud than a summer superhero blockbuster.
Anyone who thought Tobey Maguire was a big mistake when cast in the first film will finally realize how wrong they were. I know I thought he was a mistake when the first came out but seeing him in this version he completes the role. It’s hard to describe what it is but he makes Spider-man better—wait, he makes it great. Maguire has a scene that is genuinely a tear jerker. Have you ever felt like that with X2 or the Hulk? Many superhero movies try to make us feel there is a heart, but its nothing more than forced emotions—this is the real deal.
Alfred Molina gets a mention as Dock Ock. After watching him and enjoying his wit in taking a new angle on the super-villain role you almost wish he could challenge the goblin and the winner then gets to take on Spider-man. The difference between Ock and the Goblin is that you feel sympathy for Ock, which rarely happens with the villain—at least not in superhero flicks.
Kirsten Dunst also deserves a mention. She is wonderful as Mary Jane so much so that you can’t imagine anyone else in the role. She has this wonderful innocence while also seeming to be otherworldly. The role is perfect for someone who is pursuing a superhero romance.
THE BAD: Absolutely nothing.
FRANKLY: There are significant surprises—I’m dying to tell you but I can’t spoil your fun. Spider-man 2 is the ultimate superhero blockbuster and will make other superheros bow before him.
+ Charlie Craine