PETER PARKERS HAVING A ROUGH TIME. THINGS ARE SO BAD HE DECLARES THAT HE'S QUITTING & NEVER PUTTING ON THE SUIT AGAIN.HOWEVER, HIS SENSE OF DUTY FORCES HIM TO BECOME A HERO AGAINWHEN DR OCTAVIUS IS DEFORMED IN AN ACCIDENT ... more »& BECOMES DROCTOPUS.« less
"Just when I was about ready to throw in the towel on Hollywood and its univentive sequel/remake/book adaption craze of unoriginal recycling, I sat down to see the second chapter in Sam Raimi's "Spider Man" series. While I enjoyed the first film, it never really drew me in emotionally. It had some real cool action sequences and some interesting special effects but the story was very paint-by-numbers comic book fare. I enjoyed the film's cinematic style, which seemed to me like an homage to the 50's-style of films, but while I wasn't turned off by the the hero's backstory, I was never fully compelled by it either. When I had heard all of the cast members spit the usual studio speech about how the sequel would be even better, I took it very much with a grain of salt. By the time I came out of this movie, however, I was a believer. "Spider Man 2" takes place two years after the original where Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) is struggling with the realization that his superhero alter-ego is alienating him from everyone that he loves. His best friend, Harry (James Franco) is stelling stewing over his father's death at the hands of Spidey and the object of his affections, Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst) is fed up by Pete's inability to committ to her. If that wasn't bad enough, his commitment to crime fighting has cost him more than a few jobs and he's struggling to pay his rent. On the Spider-Man side of things, he has to deal with a new enemy, Doc Ock (Alfred Molina), a transformed version of Otto Octavius, a brilliant fusion engineer whose expirement ends up killing his wife and subsquently driving him insane. As far as super-villians go, this one's a doosy. "Spider Man 2" improves on so many aspects of the first film. Where the first film had Maguire as the akward teen coping with his newfound powers and subsquent responsibilites, this one paints him as the reluctant hero that is banished to a life of personal abandoment. The hero seems like a far greater underdog this go around as Spider-Man must deal with a much tougher villian while Peter Parker tries to put his life back together. I liked the fact that Raimi balanced out the film's jaw-dropping effects with some emotional character depth. There is a good mixture of storytelling and cinematic style here. Raimi also improved on the dialouge here. There are some comedic moments but the rivalry between Spidey and Doc Ock doesn't elevate itself to the level of cheesy line-trading that went on between Maguire and Dafoe in the first. The performances are really what seperates this one from its predecassor. Tobey Maguire is given a lot more to do, this time around. While Molina doesn't have the same charisma as Dafoe, his villian is far more menacing. Kirsten Dunst is given a somewhat smaller role here but it serves its purpose. My one complaint is that Mary Jane doesn't really look the same in this one. In the first movie, she had a much different look to her than most of the characters that Dunst has portrayed. Here, she doesn't carry herself the same way. It doesn't really take anything away from the film but it is somewhat noticeable whether intended or not. There are a good deal of amusing cameo appearances here as well but I'm not gonna spoil them for you. "Spider Man 2" is not just one of the better sequels I've seen in awhile but also one of the best films of its kind that I've seen at the movies in some time. I can't remember the last time that I went into a movie theatre and was entertained on so many levels the way that I was with this film. Maybe low expectations might have played a part in it but in all honesty, I doubt it. No matter what your preconceived notion of this movie is, you will probably be drawn in just the same. You don't have to be a comic book fan or even a fan of the first movie to enjoy but it certainly doesn't hurt things. (Review: ****1/2)"
The Best Movie of 2004
Matthew Edmundson | Winter Haven, Florida United States | 06/30/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Spiderman 2 has some of the highest expectations to ever be placed on a movie. Spiderman grossed $403 million dollars and is the fifth most successful movie in U.S. history. Spiderman 2 could shatter that number.Spiderman 2 picks up right where Spiderman left us. Peter Parker(Maguire) is a struggling college student. His grades are slipping and so are his friendships with his best friends Mary Jane(Dunst) and Harry(Franco). His Aunt May(Harris) is worried sick about him. His duties as Spiderman are keeping him so busy he's starting to fall apart. He has a huge assignment due in school about a famous scientist and Harry happens to know the guy so he gives him the hook up.Harry is now in charge of special operations at Osbourne Industries. Dr. Otto Octavius(Molina) is a world famous scientist who has ideas on how fusion will save the world. He's created four mechanical arms he wears that help him do the work. An accident happens though that causes the arms to fuse to the Dr and he goes on the rampage because the A.I. from the arms consume him. He is determined to make his fusion work and will stop at nothing to do it.Peter is a little devestated by the accident. He enjoyed meeting Octavius but is saddened by the experience. His life is also getting very hard on him. He finds out Mary Jane is engaged and is so mad with him that she wants almost nothing to do with him. Harry is so obsessed with killing Spiderman because he blames him for his dads death. He's angry at Peter and wants him to give him info on Spiderman. Peter can't take it anymore so he gives up as the web slinger.Peter is happy with his new life. His grades are improving, but his relationship with MJ isn't going the way he wanted. Doc Ock is still on the loose and must be stopped. Will the web slinger give up his new found happy life and stop Doc Ock or will he keep his new found happines. This is the movie that is Spiderman 2.This movie destroys the first one. It's much more entertaing than the first. It doesn't drag like the first one did, because so many new character aren't introduced. The movie is quite humerous in places and it is obvious that Raimi is more comfortable with the character. Raimi's comedic charm is evident all over the film and he takes the story and runs with it.An excellent story has been given to us. The Smallville creators Alfred Gough and Miles Millar contribute to it. The screenplay is from Alvin Sargent who has written a comic masterpiece. The writers did a fantastic job with the story.Tobey McGuire is excellent as Spiderman. He is perfectly cast as Peter Parker. He seems more comfortable with the role and he shines. Kirsten Dunst is hot as Mary Jane. Like everybody else it's obvious she is more comfortable with the role and it's a bigger one for her this time around. Molina as Doc Ock is perfect. A awesome cast was done with this movie and the makers really need to be complimented on the good job.This movie is awesome. It's the most entertaining movie of 2004. It's easily the best comic book movie ever. Spiderman has always had a more humble human trait that so many other comic heros don't have. It's not so much about his powers and abilites, but how much he sacrifices to make the world a beter place. He puts other people above himself and he does so for the right reasons. With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility and that's why we love Spiderman.You have to see this movie. This is what a comic movie should be. It's the best movie to this date of 2004 and is family fun entertainment. You can't call yourself a Spiderman fan and not see it. Go see it and be prepared for a great time."
The importance of being earnest?I mean Spiderman
Daniel J. Hamlow | Narita, Japan | 07/08/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Peter Parker nearly forgets that when due to several crises occurring in his already hectic life, he chucks the famed red suit and mask in a dumpster. "I am Spiderman no more," he declares. Indeed, his hectic life is divided going to college, working as a pizza delivery boy, trying to get enough money to pay his long overdue rent, and fighting crime as his alter-ego. The trouble is, he doesn't have much of a life as a result. He's so stressed, he even forgets it's his birthday, and hasn't been in contact with his friend Harry Osborn, still grieving over the death of his father in the first Spiderman and still seeking vengeance on Spiderman, and with Mary Jane, acting in The Importance Of Being Earnest. Unfortunately, an act of crime fighting causes him to be late for the play, disappointing the already beleaguered MJ, who announces that she is seeing someone. That someone turns out to be the son of The Daily Bugle's J. Jonah Jameson, the egomaniac tabloid editor who still treats Parker like dirt beneath his shoes and prides himself on wanting to drive Spidey out of business.This installment has Spidey fighting Dr. Octopus, the former Otto Octavius, a scientist whose attempts to create a new kind of fusion technology that would yield cheap energy or make Manhattan toast with enough for a side of eggs result in an accident where the artificial nervous system with four shiny metallic tentacles become fused to his body. Unfortunately, the chip that gives him control of his mind is destroyed, turning him into a villain who wants to restart the fusion experiment that failed. And for that, he turns to crime, his appearance heralded by the same pounding footsteps reminiscent of a T-Rex in Jurassic Park or Godzilla in Godzilla (1998). But Octavius isn't a clear cut villain, but a victim of circumstance, like Mr. Freeze in the fourth Batman. Before his transformation, he's a genius, but also a loving husband to his wife. He tells Peter Parker that knowledge is a privilege, but also not to suppress the love one feels for someoneIt seems that Parker is happy to no longer be the webslinger. His grades improve, he makes an effort to have a life, and his less-stressed look yields a smile on his face, evident in a series of shots with B.J. Thomas's "Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head" playing. But the question is this. As his late Uncle Ben told him, he had a special gift, and with that gift, moral responsibility. His wishes to have a normal quiet life, to win back MJ, are overshadowed by his moral responsibility because he is denying himself his potential, or the importance of being earnest, namely being Spiderman. Loving MJ is impossible, because saving other people takes precedence, plus she would be his Achilles heel. All his enemies have to do is take her hostage to gain an edge over him. And more to the point, with Spidey out of the way, Dr. Octopus and other criminals have a free-for-all.Tobey MacGuire fits snugly in the role of Parker as Parker does in the Spidey costume, someone's who quite appealing, sympathetic, and sensitive, a guy trying to juggle many priorities. From Indiana Jones's treacherous assistant in Raiders Of The Lost Ark, Joe Orton's lover and murderer in Prick Up Your Ears, the religious mayor of the provincial town in Chocolat, and Diego Rivera in Frida, Dr. Octavius demonstrates another interesting role for the versatile Alfred Molina. The real surprise here is Kirsten Dunst, who has never been more appealing than here instead of just being another pretty face. And yes, there is another Stan Lee cameo, but you better look quick aboard a runaway train.Spiderman 2 surprised me by being better than expected and the special effects, which I normally deem a secondary consideration, are superior. There's a very human story beneath, and as a result, I deem it the best superhero movie I've seen since Superman."
Spider-Man, No More....
Rick Chen | Toronto, ON Canada | 07/08/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The trailers for this movie looked great and the reviews have been stellar. Definitely the movie of the summer whether you are a Spidey fan or not. As most reviews have pointed out, the storyline is very well developed. Peter Parker struggles with complexities of living a dual life. And decides for a time to be Spider-Man, No More.
I won't go into detail too much about the plot as every other review on here will probably give you a synopsis. I will however, make some comments about what I particularly liked or disliked about this film.
I found that I came out of the movie thinking that there wasn't as much action as I expected. It was strange that Peter Parker's powers could go away simply because he didn't want to be Spider-Man anymore. And I found myself noticing that Tobey Maguire was starting too look a bit old for this part. He is already 28(?) now, and by the time Spider-Man 3 is released, I may not be able to be convinced that he Peter Parker anymore. I was also a little disappointed that the rumours of a Venom appearance weren't true and that the next movie will probably feature Harry Osbourne as the Green Goblin. And I didn't like how so many people saw Spider-Man's identity (Harry, MJ, Doc Ock, all the people on the train).
Among the things I liked most was the beginning of the movie, which was very clever in the way that it showed you storyboards from the 1st movie to refresh your memory and summarize what has happened. Undoubtedbly, the action scenes in this movie were great (eg. the scene where he has to stop the speeding train). And the storyline is very well developed. In addition to these, there was also a good mix of humour thrown in to make the movie even more entertaining (eg. when Peter gives up being Spider-Man to the tune of Rain Drops Keep Falling On My Head, and the elevator scene where the stranger asks him about the costume... "a little itchy"... haha). We also saw characters from the comics such as John Jameson, which some of us know as Man-Wolf.
This is a great movie to see with the family and I hope that it breaks many box office records. (...) That's it for now Spidey fans! Have a great summer!"
Well, I'm a believer now
Wheelchair Assassin | The Great Concavity | 07/10/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"While the first installment of the "Spider-Man" franchise was certainly a noble beginning, this sequel somehow manages to improve upon it in a big way. The first movie accomplished the task of getting Spider Man's origins out of the way and setting up the important characters, and "Spider-Man 2" picks up right where the original left off, hitting the ground running as it further examines the struggles of Peter Parker. As you may remember, Peter can't tell the woman he loves who he is, his best friend wants to kill him and doesn't even know it, and he's having a bit of trouble finding steady work. While that may not seem like an auspicious beginning, things still proceed to go downhill pretty fast. Much like its predecessor, "Spider Man 2" presents Peter Parker as the most human of superheroes, struggling to reconcile the responsibility that accompanies his powers with his desire for a normal life. This guy didn't ask to have superhuman powers, and as we see in this movie, there are times that he'd much rather not be one. After all, when you like a woman who looks like Kirsten Dunst, and you have lots of evidence that the feeling is mutual, it can be hard to get out there and perform the thankless task of fighting crime. In all seriousness, though, the moral conflict that Spidey faces forms the heart of the movie. With a level of emotional depth and a lack of heavy-handedness rarely seen in big-budget blockbusters, this movie brilliantly depicts the tension our protagonist feels as he tries to decide whether he wants to be Peter Parker, mild-mannered student, or Spider-Man, daring superhero. Since it ups the ante from the original in virtually every other aspect, it only makes sense that "Spider-Man 2" would represent an improvement in the bad guy department, and it doesn't disappoint. While the villain is once again a brilliant scientist victimized by an experiment gone horribly wrong, Willem Dafoe's cartoonish Green Goblin has been replaced by the fearsomely tentacled Dr. Octopus, portrayed with the requisite gravity by a glowering Alfred Molina. The Spider-Man series has demonstrated a knack for crafting nemeses as vividly human as its hero, and as with the Green Goblin, we get to see the conflicts played out in Dr. Octopus's head as he decides to complete his fusion experiment no matter the cost. Perhaps more importatntly, Dr. Octupus's tentacles are a marvel of modern special effects, swinging wildly and with a mind of their own, smashing through concrete, effortlessly tossing whatever they can grab, and dispatching a room full of doctors in one harrowing early scene. This brings me to perhaps the most attractive aspect of this movie: it actually features believable, fleshed-out characters. The "X-Men" franchise has done an admirable job in this regard as well, but the "Spider-Man" movies still take the prize thanks to unusually intelligent dialogue and acting that communicates the movie's key themes while keeping the melodrama to a minimum. Maguire's everyman appeal as Peter is undeniable; Dunst's smart, sensible Mary Jane is one of the only female leads around who actually bring something to the table besides good looks; and James Franco is turning the tortured soul Harry Osborn into a tragic hero of near-Shakespearean proportions. Anyway, with Dr. Octopus predictably set on a mad quest to finish his project, and Peter the only guy who can stop him, the stage is set for some truly unbelievable combat scenes, surely among the best to be seen in a mainstream movie in recent years. While I thoroughly enjoyed the plot and character development and all that nice stuff, you can't have a superhero movie without some great action sequences, and this one has plenty of them. Whether in a bank with bags of money flying around, on the side of a skyscraper with Peter's Aunt May serving as a human shield, or on a speeding train filled with innocent passengers, the two duke it out in frenetic, fast-paced battles that pit webs against tentacles and any other potential weapon that presents itself. Sam Raimi's apparently one of the only directors in Hollywood these days who can film a tight, tense fight scene without overrelying on CGI effects or cutting every half-second, and we should all be grateful for it. As if all that isn't enough, we're once again treated to the over-the-top antics of J.K. Simmons, who threatens to steal the show even in his limited screen time as the imperious Jonah Jameson. Mugging furiously, yelling up a storm, and terrorizing those who come near him, Jameson's character is every bit as scary as his flattop haircut and Hitler mustache would suggest. Someone could make a movie about this guy, and I might put down some cash to see it. While many big-budget movies try to inject some comic relief into the proceedings, this one is notable in that it actually does it well.Everything comes to a head in the movie's epic climax, with a concluding half-hour full of revelations, emotional drama, and of course lots of action. In fact, the bittersweet nature of this movie and its conclusion practically position it as the "Empire Strikes Back" of the Spider-Man series. Given the massive receipts this movie has already brought in, it's inevitable that there will be a "Spider-Man 3" coming down the chute eventually, especially with the neat bit of foreshadowing at the end of this installment. If the next sequel is as smartly written and skillfully filmed as this one was, it can't come soon enough."