It's not some mystery that I love Sam Raimi and his work. It's also no mystery that I love comic book movies. So when Raimi took on the "Spider-Man" franchise, it was hard not to get me really excited. Of course, it helps that the first "Spider-Man" was a damn fine flick but it was going to be tough to top. Of course, Raimi tends to do better with sequels anyway (see "Evil Dead 2" for example) and "Spider-Man 2" actually is able to top the original one and then some.
Peter Parker (Maguire) is struggling with his identity in the big Apple. His personal life is falling apart. He gets fired from his regular job, his grades in college are slipping, and the love of his life Mary Jane (Dunst) is with another man now. Balancing his personal life with that of his heroic alter ego Spider-Man is taking its toll. And all of this stress and confusion is making him lose his powers. Which is poor timing because Harry Osborn (Franco) is out to kill Spider-Man and the brilliant Dr. Octavius (Molina) has had a horrible accident that drives him insane and fuses four mechanical arms to him as he tries to perfect his experiment. Peter has some decisions to make and time is running out sooner than expected.
This is practically the perfect comic book movie. It takes it source materials, beefs them up a bit here and there, combines a few details, and creates a film experience that may not be the truest adaption to the comics out there but creates a great movie watching experience and still retains the heart and head of the comics that made them great. They even reference exact panels from the comics like in the scene where Peter leaves the costume in the garbage.
"Spider-Man 2" a visual feast with visceral energy pouring out of the action sequences that keeps a family friendly tone whilst retaining a great serious and realistic humanistic tone for Peter Parker's identity squabbles. Its a striking balance that the cast and film maker's pull off damn near perfectly for its 2 hour run time. Raimi pulls a great comic feel for the film with his bright colors and over the top moments of cheese and yet still is able to get across the great moral dilemmas and demons that plague the characters that make watching their plights so much fun. I have to give it to the writers too for making Doc Ock a worth foe and not making him a pure 'villain' per say and treating him like a person with his own demons to battle. All the characters follow this and its nice to see that despite the idea of 'hero' and 'villain' that the film does leave it in the grey area for both.
It's also a plus that Raimi gets to put a little more of his over the top style into the film. Throughout the movie it has more of his quirky humor and style that I have come to love so much which is one of the reasons this one trumps the original. Just watch the surgeon beatdown by Doc Ock and tell me it isn't pure Raimi.
"Spider-Man 2" is one of the best comic book films ever made. Its heartfelt, over the top, fun, and damn near perfect for what it is. Top of the notch entertainment and still retains the seriousness and realism that made Spider-Man stand out from his comic peers.
Written By Matt Reifschneider