Hello interweb, Nate here! So right after 2002’s Spider-man, director Sam Raimi began working on it’s sequel: Spider-man 2 (cause this was before superhero movies ditched numbers in exchange for fancy subtitles). How does it hold up? Well let’s find out! Also, I forgot to mention this in the last review (partially because I just assume everybody’s seen these films at least once by now) but SPOILER WARNING just in case.
Movie Title: Spider-man 2
Produced by: Marvel Comics
Distributed by: Columbia Pictures
Writer: Alvin Sargent
Director: Sam Raimi
Producer: Laura Ziskin and Avi Arab
Running Time: 2 hrs 7 min
Again, just like with Spider-man I forgot just how good this movie is. Spider-man might’ve been a good movie with a handful of issues that bothered me, but all those problems all but disappears in this film. The cringe-inducing camp from the first movie, for the most part, isn’t present in this film. The villain, while he doesn’t quite have the same relationship with Peter as Norman Osbourne did, still has a stronger and more compelling character than 99% of any villain the MCU spits out 3-4 times a year has; and he actually looks really cool! And Mary Jane…still lacks personality. but at least it’s interesting to see how Peter Parker’s life as Spider-man effects his relationship with those around him more than the first movie explored.
So the story? This one isn’t the basic Spider-man origin story so I’ll take a little bit more time going over the plot. So instead of Peter’s new powers and his double life as Spider-man fixing his problems, they actually make things worse. His responsibility as Spider-man is tearing his relationships with friends and family apart, he’s having difficulty with holding jobs, and his life seems to be a sh*t show right now. Things don’t get any better when Peter’s idol, Dr. Otto Octavius, builds a device that goes screwy and kills his wife as well as fuse four mechanical arms running on AI to his spine. While the mechanical arms convince him to rebuild his device, Spidey’s powers begins failing him quite being Spider-man. Will Dock Ock succeed in rebuilding his device? Will Peter ever regain his powers and become Spider-man again?
So let’s discuss what I don’t like about this movie because there’s less I dislike about this film then I disliked about the previous one. Pretty much the only real issue I have with this flick is the fact that Spider-man inexplicably looses his powers and then somehow regain them with little explanation. It’s kinda implied that it’s a self-confidence issue where the fact that Spider-man is ruining Peter’s life is causing doubt in his mind causing his abilities to disappear. But if that’s the case, why couldn’t Peter’s everyday problems just effect his time as Spider-man in a way so we know he’s not on his A-game? Toby Maguire’s a good actor, I bet he could’ve pulled that off!
Otherwise, everything else about this movie is really good and better than the previous movie. One thing I appreciate this movie doing is showing us how Peter’s powers and double life effects his everyday life. That’s always been a major component to Spider-man’s story and the first movie didn’t really have the time to reveal that. Being Spider-man caused Peter to get fired from his job as a pizza delivery man and caused his relationship with his friends, MJ and Harry, to suffer as a result since he couldn’t give them the time they deserved. The balance of personal life and superhero career has always been a driving force behind what has always made the comics so good so seeing it done so perfectly on the big screen is honestly one of the greatest aspects about the movie.
The classic Spider-man humor still isn’t as big of a presence as I wish it would be but at least they got rid of all the cheesy lines that the first movie had t0 suffer with. Honestly the lack of classic Spidey humor is really the only thing holding this film back from being the perfect comic-to-film adaptation of one of my favorite heroes. I already discussed why the Spider-man quips are so important in the previous review so I won’t harp all over it again here, but legitimately the fact that the next movie is Spider-man 3 which is the worse movie of the trilogy does kind of disappoint me the fact that the best Spider-man movies don’t have this classic element of the character. The heart and soul of the Stan Lee/Steve Ditko comics are all there with our beloved character, complex relationships, inner turmoil, etc. but without the humor this just doesn’t quite reach the perfection I wish it had.
Speaking of fighting, the action in this film is much better than the last one. We don’t get quite as dark and gritty as the Spider-man Vs Green Goblin fight directly after the bridge scene, but the fun and energy contained in the train scene more then makes up for it. That scene alone is probably the greatest scene in the entire trilogy. Not the most iconic, mind you, (that would be the upside down kiss) but definitely the most fun to watch. The CGI has also improved since Spider-man doesn’t look quite as rubbery as in the first flick.
Now let’s discuss the characters. Dock Ock is a pretty boring villain in the original Stan Lee/Steve Ditko comics with only the idea of a mad scientist being turned into a monster by his own creation being the only thing going for him. While more recent comics such as Superior Spider-man has done a lot to add more depth to his character, he wasn’t quite as interesting as this film made him. So the fact that this movie can take a boring character like Dock Ock and turn him into a complex character is a feat that should be admired more considering the time period this film was made in. Sure I bet Spider-man: Homecoming will do something similar with Michael Keaton’s Vulture, but this movie did it first. As a plus, this character doesn’t look like he came straight out of an episode of Power Rangers like Green Goblin did. Sure Green Goblin had a more interesting relationship with Peter since he’s the father to Peter’s kinda-ish best friend, but at least there was some connection Dr. Octavius had with Peter before he became Dock Ock since he is Peter’s idol as a brilliant scientist. Regardless of which villain was better, Green Goblin or Dock Ock, I still think both of them are better than most modern day Marvel villains barring maybe Loki.
I already discussed Spider-man in the previous review since he is the main protagonist to all three movies. That doesn’t mean there’s nothing to talk about here, cause there is, but we already know he was great in the first movie and if this movie is better than that should mean his character here is better. Which it is. Having difficulties balancing his superhero life and his social life is the most interesting aspect of his character in this film and it’s done very well. The love triangle between Peter, MJ, and Harry isn’t really there anymore but instead it’s between Peter, MJ, and MJ’s fiance John Jameson (J Jonah Jameson’s son). The annoying thing about Peter’s relationship wit MJ is the fact that he refuses to tell her he’s Spider-man for some false sense of protection. Meaning every time MJ wants Peter, Peter tells her that he doesn’t love her as a lie so he doesn’t put her in danger as Spider-man. But then whenever MJ doesn’t want Peter, Peter goes “Oh, by the way, I love you again!” which just makes Peter look like a big jerk. The whole time I just wanted Peter to tell MJ that he’s Spider-man because to be completely honest it wouldn’t put MJ in trouble if she knew about Spider-man and Peter Parker being the same person. Hell, she didn’t know Peter was Spider-man and she was still put in danger when Dock Ock kidnapped her simply because Peter being Spider-man’s unofficial photographer connected him to the web head. Of course she finds out in the end anyways but that only annoys me more since Peter should’ve been honest from the start.
Because I talked about MJ enough when I talked about Peter I’m not going to dedicate an entire paragraph talking about the little character she has in this film. instead, let’s move onto Harry Osbourne cause he’s in this film. Really in terms of Harry’s character development this film has two purposes: set Harry up to be Green Goblin in the next film and uses his money to give Dock Ock a way to make his machines. The later is relatively unimportant for his character specifically (outside of learning that Peter Parker is Spider-man) but there are several instances that really build for the next film. Harry’s growing hatred of Spider-man for killing his father and his distrust towards Peter for not being there for him and being buddies with his father’s murderer turns this character more and more and finally gets a pay off at the end of the film when he finds the Green Goblin stash. Considering all this build up, it honestly disappoints me more at how terrible Spider-man 3 is. Maybe Spider-man 3 will surprise me and I’ll realize that it’s not nearly as bad as I remember it, but I doubt it.
Overall this is the closest thing we’ll probably ever get to a perfect Spider-man movie. Hopefully the MCU can pull off Spider-man but considering how teched-out Spidey is in Spider-man: Homecoming I doubt it. I don’t think the MCU is going to ruin their Spider-man, but it just will be far off from the Spidey I want to see. Overall I give this movie a 9/10 and recommend even casual Spider-man fans or casual superhero fans to watch it. The only thing that ultimately prevents it from being a 10/10 is the lack of humor and the weird loss of powers. But the added complexity of the characters and their relationships pushes it past the 8/10 that the previous movie received.
Welp, next is Spider-man 3. Wish me luck!
My Rating System
10 – Perfect: nothing is wrong about this movie
9 – Almost perfect: has one or two minor nitpicks that holds it from perfection
8 – Amazing: not a perfect film but still absolutely loved it
7 – Good: has a few problems but overall a great film
6 – Ok: has several major problems but I still like it
5 – Mediocre: neither good nor bad just forgettable
4 – Bad: a few major problems that ruins the movie
3 – Awful: lots of problems that ruins the movie
2 – Terrible: there may be one or two good things about the film but everything else is garbage
1 – The worst: literally nothing went right