Published on July 1st, 2004 | by Erich Becker0
Review: Spider-Man 2
Regardless of when this review is posted it won’t matter too much, you will already have seen the best movie of the summer. No denying it, no refuting it, Spider-Man 2 is the best movie of the season. We can already look forward to being disappointed come Oscar time when the film won’t even be nominated for Best Picture, best Actor, or, most importantly, Best Director. However, we can stand around the water cooler, join up on message boards, and verbally speak out how seeing the next chapter in the Spidey saga brought hope to an otherwise abysmal summer season. Take my hand, its okay.
I had trouble finding the words after seeing Spider-Man 2. Really, how do you explain emotions you haven’t felt in such a long time towards a movie? When a movie brings everything, every genre together into a tight, clean, awesome package, how do you really explain to someone that they should drop what they are doing, get a ticket, and see such an amazing picture?
Spider-Man 2 picks up nearly two years after the first film’s end. The Green Goblin/Norman Osborne (Willem Dafoe) has been killed by Spider-Man, Harry Osborne (James Franco) despises the hero, Mary Jane (Kirsten Dunst) has finally made it as an actress, and Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) must now find a way to balance his life as an average, ordinary persona with that of Spider-Man. With the Green Goblin dead, a new villain must step up to the plate and provide a worthy antagonist. This new villain goes by the name Otto Octavius (aka Doc Ock) and is wonderfully acted and presented by Alfred Molina.
Spider-Man is one of those superhero movies where you aren’t cringing at the bad dialog or the horrible acting. Watching Halle Berry as Storm in X2 was one of the most excruciatingly painful things I’ve ever had to do, but every single member of the cast is strongly represented and wonderfully portrayed. Harry Osborne is the brooding, word-obsessed follower of his father, Peter Parker is the sometimes-reluctant hero who struggles to keep his non-Spidey life together after the woes of the city begins to weight down on him, and Doc Ock is the scientist under the duress control of his mechanical arms. Each of these parts is believably acted and each actor knows what they are doing. Even the supporting cast brings everything they have to the table with a notable standout being J.K. Simmons’ J. Jonah Jameson who nearly doubles his screen time and ups the ante on the laughs.
It’s nice to see a film that has something for everyone. The humor is well placed and well scripted, but just as fast as a joke is delivered the film can switch gears into a serious tone with no problem, and nothing lost on the audience. The action sequences, especially the fights between Spidey and Doc Ock, are amazing. The computer effects, drastically improved from the first film, really portray the look and feel of a comic book with highly stylized camera angles and sets. Never before in a comic book movie have the pages of the graphic novel come to life as accurately as in Spider-Man.
For fans of Spider-Man the script includes many shout-outs to the series and opens the door to sequels to come. In order to keep this review spoiler free I won’t dive into them, but familiar names do make an appearance, and if you are a die hard fan of the comic, you will fine plenty to sink your teeth into. Not to be outdone, fans of director Sam Raimi will find a whole sequence harking back to the days of Evil Dead II and Army of Darkness complete with fast zoom shots onto a chainsaw, a camera moving across the ground just as in Evil Dead and even an appearance by the “King” himself, Bruce Campbell. Like I said before, the pleasure that this film brings to any moviegoer will certainly rival anything else produced this year.
If it seems I strayed away from talking about the actual film in this review, you are correct. Like I said in the opening paragraph, nothing I say here will change your mind about seeing the film, and I wouldn’t want it to. Spider-Man 2 is every bit as good as you have heard, and I honestly can’t find anything I didn’t like about it. Comic book fan or not, Sam Raimi fan or not, Spider-Man fan or not, everyone needs to see this film and have the best time at the movies this year. I don’t think there will be many who disagree with me on this one, see it, no matter what.