Spiderman 2 Movie Review

SPIDERMAN 2 [2004]
12a, Action
Director: Sam Rami
Screenwriters: Alvin Sargent
Starring: Toby Maguire, Kristen Dunst, Alfred Molina, James Franco


Spiderman 2 was the second movie in Sam Rami’s Spiderman trilogy and possibly one of the best superhero movies to date. Following on from the first film Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) is finding it hard to keep up with friendships,  his education and a steady job while also fighting crime as the titular hero. To make things worse he has to lie to his loved ones to protect the love of his life Mary Jane Watson (Kristen Dunst) and his lifelong friend Harry Osborn (James Franco). Parker decides to ditch the spandex in hopes of leading a normal life but when a new threat emerges in the form of Dr Otto Octavious (Alfred Molina),  a revenge driven scientist with four devastating mechanical arms, he must choose between the two halves of his double life. 

First things first I feel like the best thing about this movie is it’s story and the way Sam Rami chose to tell it. Rather than relying on spectacle or over stuffing the movie with plot threads for sequels and spinoffs like a lot of modern superhero movies it chose to focus on Peter’s journey as he tries to embrace who he is. This really helps to humanise Peter to us as he doesn’t get what he wants, the entire movie even mocks him with this as it constantly knocks him back again and again. This, unlike the later Andrew Garfield movies, really helps us to relate to him and his struggles making it much more satisfying when he overcomes them in the end.  

The tone of the film is also perfectly balenced to help us as engage with the film as opposed to just behind entertained by it. Rather than the modern MCU strategy of “tell a joke, all the time” approach,  this film despite its overly comic book style, takes itself seriously rather than undercutting its drama with jokes. The visual effects also really help in connecting us to this world. The webs slinging in this movie feels real and it get you wanting to swing around like spiderman (even more so than the POV shots from the amazing spiderman series did).

Despite being all massively the wrong age for their characters, although they did substitute high school for university at least this time around, the actors all pull brilliant performances. Tobey Maguire makes for an excellent Peter Parker, and while there have been better spidermen since, for this movie his portrayal works perfectly. Alfred Molina as Doc Ock is both a great villain but also a relatable one too, you can clearly see why he’s doing what he’s doing even if the change is a little extreme (which works for the comic book world created here). The only few gripes I would have with the characters in this film are in Mary Jane and Harry,  played by Kristen Dunst and James Franco respectively, these aren’t the best characters to follow and the acting behind them at times does seem very one note. 

Overall, focusing on a more personal story than big budget spectacle, Spiderman 2 is still one of the finest superhero movies around. With brilliant acting and directing (not to mention Danny Elfman’s excellent score) this is definitely one you can watch again and again. 

Spiderman 2 gets a 9/10



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