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SPIDER-MAN 2, 2004
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SPIDERMAN 2 MOVIE POSTER
SPIDER-MAN 2, 2004
Movie Reviews

Directed by Sam Raimi
Starring: Tobey Maguire, Alfred Molina, James Franco, Kirsten Dunst, Rosemary Harris
Review by Andrew Kosarko



SYNOPSIS:

The webslinging superhero encounters a new nemesis, the villainous "Doc Ock," who will be portrayed by Alfred Molina (Frida, Identity). Two years have passed, and the mild-mannered Peter Parker faces new challenges as he struggles with "the gift and the curse," desperately trying to balance his dual identities as the web-slinging superhero Spider-Man and his life as a college student. Tormented by his secrets, Peter finds that his relationships with all those he holds dear are in danger of unraveling. His life-long yearning for M.J. (Kirsten Dunst) becomes even stronger as he fights the impulse to reveal his secret life and declare his love. His friendship with Harry Osborn (James Franco) is complicated by the young Osborn's bitterness over his father's death and his growing vendetta against Spider-Man. Even Peter's beloved Aunt May (Rosemary Harris), who has fallen on hard times after the death of Uncle Ben, begins to have doubts about her nephew. Peter's life is about to become even more complicated as he encounters a formidable new foe -- Dr. Otto Octavius (Alfred Molina). Peter must use all the powers at his disposal to try to stop this diabolical madman in his octagonal tracks.

REVIEW:

Quite simply one of the greatest Superhero movies ever made. Perfectly balanced in story, acting, directing, production design and emotion. I remember when Batman Begins came out on DVD, this is the movie I always watched right after in order to satisfy my thirst for the second chapter in a superhero movie. And it always did.

The Story:

The story gets right into it. In terms of theme that is. It ainít easy being a superhero. Itís another obligation a man must fulfill and yet, he canít explain himself to the people he lets down. This could create some problems for anyone. And it does for Peter Parker. Mary Jane is waiting for Peter to make his move on her and he wonít. Aunt May is suffering financially and trying to stay afloat. Harry is waiting for his best friend to help him out and turn in Spider-man. Peter canít keep a job and is failing his classes. His apartment isnít one worthy of his good deedsÖ.you get the point. Life sucks because of Spider-man. I wonít regurgitate the plot anymore, but this story hits the mark as to how complicated it would be to do this job.

Superman II touched lightly on this, but never took it at far as it could go. In movies, take the story as far as you can and they do it. The plot is well structured in story and character exposition. Not only do we get a look into Peterís decisions but the emotional turmoil heís dealing with when he makes them. Itís fantastic. Above all that, they pull no punches and hold nothing back. Harry finds out about Peterís secret, Aunt May pretty much explains she knows who Peter is without saying it and Mary Jane just cuts him loose and gets engaged. My only complain about the writing in the film is the comedy. While the film cannot, and should not be called ďemoĒ it does have itís somber tones throughout. Spider-man has one quip the entire film. While he is losing his desire to be Spider-man, itís still in his personality to antagonize the person heís fighting with the one-liners. Itís what makes him so enjoyable. And he has one smart ass remark thatís not at all laugh out loud funny. But itís just a nitpick.

Acting: Tis better this go aroundÖ..

Tobey Maguire - Peter Parker / Spider-man: He takes the cake. Simply put, I believed he was going through some tough times in his life and had no way to deal with them without sacrificing something dear to him. His promise and duty or his personal desires. Everything was spot on and wasnít as ďwoodenĒ as usual. Maguire really hit this one out of the park.

Kirsten Dunst Ė Mary Jane Watson: Sheís just as bitchy and mean in this one as she is the other 2 Spider-man films to date, but at least in this film, he story dictates it and I can live with it. Itís not annoying as usual, but itís still good.

James Franco Ė Harry Osbourn: He was the only one that I felt was a little lacking in this film. For whatever reason, maybe itís the weak writing behind his hatred for Spider-man, but everything seems overly forced. Black and white acting in a way. Heís either really eager to help Peter, or dead set against him for not turning Spider-man over to him. Thereís no motivation behind the two that really helps him along the story. Heís more of an element in the story than a character.

Alfred Molina Ė Dr. Otto Octavius: A tragic villain sure. But I was hoping for a more sinister character. Heís slightly changed from his comic book roots, but I buy it. He does a great job and serves his purpose in the story. I was fully satisfied and didnít feel the need to see him return.

Rosemary Harris / Cliff Robertson: Aunt May / Uncle Ben Ė Always good. They make for the best two moments of the film. Uncle Ben hits the saddest beat when he offers Peter his hand in the dream sequence. And then Aunt May lifts us back up with the greatest Superhero speech ever written ever. Trumps anything the Dark Knight ever wanted to spew out itís speeches.

JK Simmons: JJ Jameson Ė Heís great. I just wish there would be more of him in the films. He doesnít get enough screen time. In the comics, cartoons and video games they use him as a victim that Spider-man must save. Always an interesting take for the Superhero to save the guy who hates him. But still, Simmons IS Jameson.

Directing:

Sam Raimi hit the mark on this film as with the first. A perfect balance of everything and it all plays so believable that you really just canít help but get into it.

Cinematography:

Bill Pope Ė A great job. Itís beautiful again. Once again capturing the balance between comic book and film. This time everything has much more color value and the lighting schemes are much more interesting.

Production Design:

Good as well, everything was a great transition from the comic book. Editing: No real problems here.

Score:

A better go than the first Spider-manís score. This one hits more emotional chords, but then again, Elfman has a lot broader of a range of emotions to play for which is good. The uplifting moments and sad moments are made so much more than they are through the music. And itís very easy to make something cheesy with the wrong note or the wrong piece in the wrong moment. There was a lot of room to fail and he did well. Itís a shame that he didnít do the whole score because of disagreements with Raimi so Iím not entirely sure which moments are his and which are by Christopher Young. Regardless, job well done. Special Effects:

Really great. Doc Ockís arms are completely believable and fit with the style of the film. Spider-manís CGI double was also very believable at times. You wouldnít even know it was a CGI if it werenít for the special features.

In closing:

Itís PERFECTÖ..errÖ.almost. That wise-ass Spider-man still bothers me a bit. But yeah. Raimi understands the balance between plot and character exposition. Something I wish Chris Nolan had understood when he made The Dark Knight. If any film rivals TDK, itís this one. I donít care what other fanboys say, because they are quick to jump on bandwagons and refuse to get off them. But this movie holds itís own and is pure gold for anyone of the comic book genre.

And thank God no Macy Grey in this one.


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