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Spider-Man 2 (2004) – Review

3 1/2 Stars


Director Sam Raimi’s visual touchstones are in greater abundance in this deeper, darker sequel that further complicates the life of young Peter Parker. The exuberance of discovery that made the first film an instant classic is missing here, but in exchange the special effects have been ramped up and the characters given emotional depth.

College student Peter Parker (Toby Maguire) is having trouble keeping up his studies, while trying to juggle a minimum wage job and superhero duties as Spiderman. Recently fired from his pizza delivery route and struggling for money to make rent, Peter is also continually disappointing Mary Jane (Kirsten Dunst) due to his seemingly absent-minded un-reliability. Their love affair is finally addressed here after a long build up in the last picture and the writing from Alvin Sargent is intelligent and realistic in a script full of fantasy elements.

Harry Osborn (James Franco) the mogul son of deceased billionaire Norman Osborn aka Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe), is harboring a deep vendetta against Spiderman over the death of his father. His anger is directed at Peter due to the latter’s unwillingness to divulge any information about Spidey. Mixed into this already stuffed narrative is the sad tale of Doctor Otto Octavius (Alfred Molina), a scientist working in the field of fusion energy who becomes horrifically altered after an experiment goes awry.

Spiderman 2 is an excellent piece of blockbuster filmmaking, it has rousing set-pieces, dialogue that rings true and special effects that hold up today. I must once again cast my complaint against the scenery chewing over-the-top acting from veteran thespian Rosemary Harris as May Parker. She is so mannered and theatrical in her line delivery that it becomes a sort of lounge act. Regardless of this minor quibble, Spiderman 2 ranks amongst the best superhero sequels of all time.

Director: Sam Raimi
Stars: Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, James Franco

One Response to Spider-Man 2 (2004) – Review

  • At the time Spider-Man 2 was released, I believed it to be the best superhero film ever made. While others may have come along to knock it from the top of my personal list, it’s undeniably still a classic deserving of being in the conversation as one of the best.

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