Sunday, November 9, 2014


Last year, I reviewed the Spider-Man film that made it big into to a mainstream audience and became a huge blockbuster at the time. While not as big of a masterpiece as I remembered it with its video game-ish CGI; Daefoe wearing a silly Green Goblin costume, while giving a very hammy performance; and Mary Jane being a shallow damsel in distress; it still had a great story; Maguire plays both identities really well; every single actor fits their roles perfectly (Including Dunst); Dafoe, while silly, still brings a fun and villainous performance (Not to mention that I actually do buy into the Jekyll & Hyde personality); there are indeed some really good effects and action sequences; the score by Danny Elfman is just as great as his score for Tim Burton's Batman movies; and it does (In my opinion) balance out the action, campiness, and the drama. After the success, director Sam Raimi made a sequel...

The film was not considered just as good, as the first film, but a lot of fans and critics not only think it's better than the first movie, but is also considered to be one of the greatest Superhero movies of all time. Even film critic Roger Ebert himself thinks it's the best Superhero flick he's ever seen. Does this film truly deserve the title of being one of the greatest Superhero films of all time; does it really right most of the wrongs that the first film had; or is it just an overrated sequel, that really doesn't differ that much from the first movie? ON WITH THE REVIEW...

Two years after the events of the first movie; Peter Parker is struggling with the life of being a Superhero, while trying to live a normal life. As a result, he begins to lose his powers from the stress of trying to balance out his life of being Spider-Man and Peter Parker. Peter then decides to throw away the tights and just live a normal life. However, the crime rate in the city rising up, and a mad scientist with robotic arms named Doc Ock rampages through the city, to rebuild a failed experiment. Will Peter go back to being Spider-Man, or will he just remain as your average everyday person?

Tobey Maguire reprises the role as our Web-Slinging hero, and he's just as great as he was in the first film. While, the first film was mainly about his origins; this film really captures the stress and consequences of being a Superhero, and Tobey Maguire pulls off the character's struggles perfectly, as well as the film with its visuals. Sure, he has his kickass moments as Spider-Man, and his funny moments as Peter Parker, which are done and balanced out really well, but for the majority of the movie, we sympathize with him enough to feel  his emotional struggles of trying to balance out both identities. When he does drop being Spider-Man (Despite knowing that he'll be back as our Web-Slinging hero) we do feel just as happy and relaxed as he is, even during that cheesy "Rain Drops Keep Falling On My Head" montage. However, when he turns away from a crime scene, or tries to be a hero again, but fails, we do feel his torment. So the film, along with Maguires performance, really does capture this famous hero really well.

Image result for Mary Jane Spider-man 2

Next we have Peter Parker's love interest Mary Jane played once again by Kirsten Dunst. I'm going to be honest, while I didn't mind her that much in the first film, nor the relationship between her and Peter, this is where the character and the relationship becomes more of a tease, then what the first film did with it. Kirsten Dunst does give a good performance, and when I first saw her in the beginning of the movie, she did start out just as likable as I thought she was in the first film. I'm also happy to see this character finally perform on Broadway. She also doesn't get captured or get into any danger until the film's final act, which is great, since she had to be saved four freaking times in the first film. With that said, not only is she just there to be part of Peter's stress, but I can't help but feel like she's deliberately putting Peter down and toying with his emotions. Why, you may ask? It's not just because she's a shallow character; it's not just because of Peter swinging back and forth from loving her, to turning her down; it's because she knows who Peter is and is toying with him so he can admit the truth and see what lengths he'll go to impress her. I'm dead serious! Don't believe me, the first and second film, actually hints at it, and even if you're still not convinced by the hints, all I can say is, keep watching the movie, and you'll know why.

Our villain Doc Ock is played by Alfred Molina, and I must say out of all the Spider-Man villains in the Sam Raimi trilogy, he is my favorite! Before he becomes Doc Ock, we see him as a scientist who's obsessed with making a Fusion Reactor to help society, and has a nice relationship with Peter. He's so likable, and so passionate about using Science to benefit others that you'd never suspect him to turn into a villain. When he does become a villain, he doesn't use it for vengeance on people who have wronged him, or hell, has an intentional diabolic scheme, all he wants to do is finish his failed experiment, and make it bigger and better, even if it means becoming a criminal. I also like that its his malfunctioned mechanical  A.I. arms that persuade him to become a criminal, and finish the experiment by clouding and penetrating his mind, as he's at a low and desperate point in his life. Yeah, I can see why people (Including my favorite critic Doug Walker) would find it silly, and yeah, it kind of is, but I think it's done fine, mainly because Molina does such a fantastic job at playing this villain, that he knows how to make this goofy concept become plausible for many people. He even does a fantastic job hiding his British accent. This villain has every quality that I would hope for a good guy who turns bad. He starts out as a likable character; you feel his emotions when a tragic event turns him into a villain; and when he becomes a villain, he's fun, cool, threatening, intimidating, and even scary on a few occasions. I also love what happens to this villain at the end, and without giving it away, I thought it was powerful. I guess the only problems I have with this villain is, if the world has very little of the stuff that he needs for his machine, then how does he expect it to become an everlasting success? And why test something so dangerous in his apartment, he was just asking for trouble from the very start. Also, when he goes to interrogate Peter to ask him where Spider-Man is, why does he throw a fricken Taxi at him, it's a cool slow-mo and heroic shot of Peter, but it makes zero sense. He even goes from saying "Intelligence is a gift, not a privilege", to later calling it "A privilege"; which is it, a gift, or a privilege? But that aside, he's still a great villain and character, and really everything I just pointed out are just nitpicks.

All the rest of the supporting main characters who appeared in the film are back reprising their roles, and they're all just as great as they were in the first film. Rosemary Harris as Aunt May, not only is naturally playing the character, as she did in the first film, but she actually shines more in this film. You feel her emotions of Uncle Ben's death a lot more than you did in the first film; her relationship with Peter is a lot more engaging than it was in the first film, especially that speech she tells Peter about heroes, which makes you wonder if she figured out that Peter is Spider-Man; she even gets to take a heavy slug at Doc Ock with her umbrella, while being held hostage, that's more than what Mary Jane does when she's being kidnapped. James Franco as Harry Osbourne, really does a fantastic job at showing the character's anger and hate on Spider-Man for believing that he murdered his Father. You not only feel every bit of his emotions on wanting to get revenge on Spider-Man, but you slowly see this fun and likable character that we've met in the first film, slowly  become more and more insane with nothing but revenge on his brain. J.K. Simmons is funnier and unlikable than ever as Jameson, and he completely steals every scene he's in. I even like that he for a short bit, feels torn about Spider-Man not fighting crime anymore. Even Cliff Robertson and Williem Dafoe make a short appearance in the film, when Peter and Harry have visions of them, and start talking to them, as they begin to change.


The film does have some new characters, but the majority of them are either downplayed in the movie, or hardly have any screen-time. First, there's Doc Ock's wife, and while you can tell that the two love each other, she not only has very little screen-time before her death, but he only cries about her once, and for the rest of the film, she's forgotten. He cries more about her in the Video Game, than he does in the movie! There's also Mary Jane's fiance, who's also an astronaut and Jameson's son, and if you expect to see him throughout the film as Peter's rival, he only gets five scenes, that are not only extremely short, but give him no character at all! What's the point of having him in the movie, if he's given zero stuff to do? The only new characters I do remember are Bruce Campbell as the theater Usher; Peter's boss at the pizza shop; Dr.Curt Connors (Who we know him best as The Lizard in the comics); and Peter's landlord. They may have very little screen time as well, but they seem more memorable and developed than the other new characters I just mentioned. As for the extras that a lot of critics (Including Doug Walker) like to complain about, as over the top, and corny as they are, I personally don't mind them, I think they do fit within the film's over the top comic-book tone. Also to be fair, the actors I do praise in this film, are a bit over the top too, even some of their dramatic facial expression can be really funny at times.



HINT: I finally get to become a hero, while Spider-Man and Doc Ock fight.

Remember when I said the CGI special effects in the first film were cool, but mostly looked like a Video Game at times, this film really improves that flaw! Don't get me wrong, some of it does look phony at times, but for the majority of it, it looks great. The fight scenes; Spider-Man Web-Slinging around the city; the Fusion Reactor; Doc Ock's mechanical arms (Which, at times they used puppets), is just amazing to look at! The action scenes between Spider-Man and Doc Ock, are really great as well, especially the Train scene. The CGI, the choreography, the sound effects, the different places where they fight and encounter each other, the edits, is awesome. We even get some cool scenes of Spider-Man not only Web-Slinging around the city, but saving people and going through a few comical situations. Now, the film itself (Pretty much like every action movie) does require you to go in with a suspension of disbelief, because believe me, if you go in analyzing reality with this film, you're not going to get too much of it. For example, Doc Ock is just a regular human with powerful arms, and the amount of abuse he takes from Spider-Man is incredible. I mean this guy not only so much as bleeds, or acts like he's hurt half of the time, but even how his sunglasses manages to stay on him and not even break when being punched in the face (except when an elderly lady hits him with an umbrella) makes me wonder where I can find a pair of those unbreakable sunglasses, that stay on me no matter what. Even the scenes of Peter falling off of buildings, while losing his powers, it's not only amazing that he survives, but he doesn't break any bones in his body. I'm also surprised that no one is blinded by Doc Ock's Fusion Reactor. However, if you go in knowing that this is a comic-book movie, that's not supposed to be all that realistic, you will indeed be having a great time and getting invested with the action that's placed in front of you. The score is once again done by Danny Elfman, and it is just as epic and powerful as the first film. The film not only manages to bring a modern comic-book look and feel like the first film, but it also isn't as campy as the first film. There are indeed a lot of campy moments in this film as well, but for the majority, it's mostly balanced out with the drama and action.

Despite having a shallow damsel in distress and some characters that are down played, I not only think it's one of the greatest Superhero films ever made (At least in the lighthearted way, as opposed to dark and gritty), but I do think it is by far the best Spider-Man movie in general. You feel more attached to our hero more than ever; the villain is fantastic; all the actors are just as perfect for their roles as they were in the first film; the action is fantastic; and the story is wonderful. Yeah, the film does have its flaws, but I don't think they're that bad or distracting enough for you not to be invested in the film. Like I always say, no film is perfect. Mary Jane does suck and is a lot more shallow here than in the first film, but you put up with her to get to the good stuff, and at least Kirsten Dunst gives a decent performance, than being boring, whorish, or annoying. It's close to getting the same rating that I gave the first film, but for a lighthearted comic-book movie, and Spider-Man movie for that matter, it's indeed one of the best ones of its kind. I loved the first movie, but this film for the most part really improved the franchise.


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