Canister X Movie Review #70: Spider-Man 2 (2004)
Written by Alvin Sargent
Directed by Sam Raimi
Runtime 127 min.
5 out of 5
Who ever said being a superhero would be easy?
In this second installment in the Spider-Man franchise, Peter Parker has his back against the wall as he tries to juggle life as a student, being best friends with Mary Jane Watson, carrying the guilt of his uncle’s death, freelancing for the Daily Bugle, delivering pizza, and, of course, being ever on-call as your Friendly Neighbourhood Spider-Man.
No matter how hard he tries, Peter just can’t seem to balance everything at once and the constant sacrifices he makes in his personal life so he can help others wears him down . . . down . . . down . . . until he can’t take it anymore and his spider-powers begin to change.
The timing couldn’t have been worse, either, because Dr. Otto Octavius’s energy device backfired and has fused four robotic arms to his body, their AI worming its way into his brain, controlling him. All they care about is fulfilling their purpose and they don’t care who they have to hurt to recreate the device they were made for.
Dr. Octopus’s (Doc Ock’s) rampage through New York is met with little resistance until our favorite web-slinger attempts to take him on.
This movie thrills the inner fanboy much more than its predecessor and officially is my favorite—so far—in the Spider-Man series. This flick carries near start-to-finish classic superhero goodness: stellar aerial battles, eye-popping web-slinging, dual identity troubles, nerd-can’t/won’t-get-the-girl issues, a hardcore villain bent on his mark, trials, sacrifice—all crammed into a-little-over-two-hour movie. But the pacing works and doesn’t feel over cluttered at all.
You feel for Peter Parker every minute of this film, both when he’s at the top of his game and when he’s at the bottom, and when he loses his spider-powers, your heart sinks and you cry out, “No! Not Peter! His powers are part of who he is. How can you take them away?”
Tobey Maguire was extremely believable in this film and brought a real depth to Parker that—though was present in the first one—really shone through in this. And Alfred Molina as Doc Ock? Such duality. When you first meet Otto Octavius, he genuinely seems like a nice guy, an almost fatherly figure in a way, but when he loses his project and those he cares about, things switch and he barely resembles the man he once was. Yet deep within, you see him struggling against the mechanical arms that have taken over his body and mind.
J.K. Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson was hilarious as always, and Kirsten Dunst as MJ—there was more maturity in the character this time around and though she still acted kind of “high school-ish,” you also saw someone struggling with who they were—more specifically, trying desperately to reach out to the man she’s fallen for but who is pushing her away.
Spider-Man 2 thrilled me to pieces. I was there on opening night and I left the theatre all smiles and in a state of disbelief at how downright cool it was. I wasn’t sure if it would top the first one because most sequels—’til that point because the Superman movies and the previous set of Batman films were pretty much what we had to go on except for X2—usually don’t nail it like the first one.
I was proven wrong.
This movie rocked so hard I went back a couple more times and bought it on DVD as soon as I could.
Check this flick out. You’re in for an amazingly cool, web-slinging good time.