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'Spider-Man 2' Review: One of the Best Comic Book Movies

Courtesy of Marvel

Spider-Man 2 is the 2004 sequel to Spider-Man once again starring Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, and James Franco along with Alfred Molina as Doctor Otto Octavious, also known as Doc Ock. Sam Raimi returned as director. Spider-Man 2 shows how the decisions Peter Parker made at the end of Spider-Man have consequences and how being Spider-Man is not just a gift, but a curse. The movie is over 17 years old and since then, we have gotten many Spider-Man movies. To me, Spider-Man 2 remains the king of Spider-Man movies.

Tobey Maguire gives his best performance in the Spider-Man trilogy in Spider-Man 2. Life is beating him up right from the beginning. He is behind in college, trying to work several jobs and getting fired, does not have enough money for rent, and becoming more distant from his best friends Mary Jane Watson and Harry Osborn. Mary Jane is starting to move on from Peter and Harry feels Peter is more loyal to Spider-Man than him. Peter is also still dealing with the guilt of Uncle Ben’s death and is worried about telling Aunt May the truth.

Alfred Molina as Doc Ock is one of the best villains in a comic book movie. He starts as a scientist that wants to use his intelligence for the good of mankind, but after a science accident, he goes bad. I enjoy the friendship Octavious and Peter Parker form before he goes bad and the advice he gives to Peter. I have always preferred Doc Ock’s costume design in Spider-Man 2, a trench coat, over the science jumpsuit he wears in the comics and various animated series. The practical work on the metal arms is great. Raimi does a great job in the hospital scene showing how dangerous the arms are and adding his blend of horror to the scene.

One of my favorite moments in the film is with Rosemary Harris as Aunt May. She gives her best performance as Aunt May in this film. She hints at knowing Peter is Spider-Man and gives a speech about heroes. It is a speech that resonates in real life and I feel it does not get enough praise. A small addition to the cast that has become a classic joke is Elya Baskin as Mr. Ditkovich, Peter’s landlord that always asks for rent. Even though he only has a couple of minutes of screentime, his small appearance has become popular on the internet.

Raimi keeps the perfect balance of light and dark moments he had in Spider-Man. There is more drama in this film, particularly with Peter Parker and his loved ones. Danny Elfman makes another solid score for the film. His score for Doc Ock adds more tension. This was the last Spider-Man film Elfman did the film score for because he and Raimi during the making of the film had a fallout.

The Raimi Spider-Man films have many cheesy moments, but it still works. One perfect example is the sequence after Peter Parker decides to quit being Spider-Man. Peter is free from the burden and enjoying his new life. Raimi uses the song Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head during the sequence, which makes the scene super cheesy, but fits the moment perfectly. Another music sequence I thought was good is earlier in the film when Peter is getting ready to go to Mary Jane’s play and finally be there for her. The song Raimi uses, Hold On, fits well in this montage because it demonstrates Peter trying to balance having a normal life and being Spider-Man.

The action is still fun to watch. The fight between Spider-Man and Doc Ock on the clock tower and train is incredible. The only annoying thing with Spider-Man 2, which is an issue most fans have complained about as well, is how once again, Mary Jane is a damsel in distress towards the end. It feels repetitive, but Raimi does make up for it by having her find out Peter is Spider-Man. One thing I wish they kept in the final cut that is shown in the extended version, was a scene involving J. Jonah Jameson wearing the Spider-Man costume just for some extra laughs.

All in all, Spider-Man 2 is not just one of the best comic book movie sequels ever made, but also one of the best comic book movies ever. Raimi shows how well he understands Spider-Man and the struggles the character goes through. It shows the struggle of balancing too much and the toll it takes on someone. Molina is an incredible addition playing Doc Ock. I am looking forward to seeing him return in Spider-Man No Way Home.

I recommend you check out Spider-Man 2 or revisit it if you have not already. If you have seen Spider-Man 2, what did you think about it? Comment below and tell us your thoughts on the movie.

Final Grade: A+

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