Movie Reviews: Spiderman 2




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      Columbia Pictures
     Spider-Man encounters a formidable new adversary as he struggles with the ‘gift and curse’ of his powers.
     Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, James Franco, Alfred Molina, Bill Nunn
Bottom Line:
Double Coverage:
Samantha Ofole
Super hero Spider-Man returns in his signature red suit to fight crime in this sequel, which clearly surpasses the 2002 original. Picking up the story two years later Parker (Maguire) is in college trying to maintain a normal life, but his superhero duties keep getting in the way. His grades are dismally low, he is missing classes and his relationship with best friends Harry (James Franco) and Mary Jane (Kirsten Dunst) is in jeopardy. To add to his woes, he is late on his rent, can’t keep a part time delivery job at Joe’s Pizza, and is on the verge of losing his apartment. How much worse can it get for the webbed hero? The last straw comes when MJ whom he is in love announces she is engaged to someone else. She is tired of waiting and has decided to finally move on with her life. In frustration Parker bins the red suit and turns his back on his crime fighting days, but he is forced to rethink his decision when Dr. Otto Octavius aka Doc Ock (Alfred Molina), a noble scientist turned super-evil threatens to blow up much of New York city. Maguire springs back into action, dusts off the suit and spins his web across town in his quest to stop the powerful, multi-tentacled scientist in his tracks.

Based on the classic Marvel Comic book character co-created by Stan Lee, Spider-Man 2 takes a different route from its predecessor. This sequel has more of a story line and explores in detail the compelling love story between MJ and Parker who ultimately struggles with the dilemma of declaring his love to her. Both have drifted apart in the last couple of years and MJ now an actress is Manhattan, is moving in new social circles and Parker is no longer a reliable presence in her life. Despite promising to see her theatrical performance, he is a no show and struggles with the decision of telling her the truth about his identity fearing her life would be in danger. It has great special effects, tremendous action, romance and humor, which all balances extremely well. Maguire has matured into the role and there is a cute little chemistry between him and Dunst. Molina as the villainous Doc Ock is vibrant and energetic and the showdown between the two is a work of art for he is a worthy opponent. He climbs walls faster than Spider-Man as he has those added elongated mechanical arms. Spider-Man 2 is a truly terrific sequel and this new installment broadens the audience’s understanding of Parker’s skills and abilities leaving open the possibility of a third movie planned for 2007.

Sam Raimi who directed the first Spider-Man, which racked up $114 million in the opening weekend also helmed this amazing sequel and knew he had a responsibility to follow it with a story that justified the fans’ enthusiasm. "Spider-Man exceeded my expectations," states Raimi. "This Spider-Man is about choices – but not in a ‘message movie’ kind of way. It shows us how we can make choices and like any emotionally satisfying story, it shows us the way. It’s not difficult to make a movie if you understand the character, because every story’s strength lies in who that character is."

Double Coverage:
Laurence Washington
I totally agree with Samantha.

Rarely are sequels better that the original. In fact, for the most part sequels are generally a bad idea. However, with that being said, "Spider-Man 2" is that rare cinematic exception. It’s bigger, better and more exciting than the original.

Comic book geeks, who know the Spider-Man legend, will be amazed at how director Sam Raimi stayed in the storyline’s perimeters and remained true to the Spidey legend.

Special effects aside (and there are plenty), what makes the Spider-Man character so appealing is his humanity. He’s not a superman. You can’t identify with a superman. And Spidey’s fans can clearly identify with Peter Parker his alter ego. An insecure young adult, Parker has a lousy job, he’s badgered by his blow hard boss, he has panic attacks, and he has trouble coming to terms with his Spidey identity.

Naturally all these pressures affect our web-slinger’s super powers, which he temporarily loses at one point just as Alfred Molina's stainless steel tentacled Doc Ock rolls into town. Molina plays Otto Octavius, a scientist gone mad after the mechanical arms he wears for a fusion experiment take over his brain. In order to get more material for his experiments, Octavius makes a deal with Parker’s rich and tormented friend Harry Osborne who discovered his father (killed by Spider-Man) was the Green Goblin. Spidey regains his powers just in time to fill the screen with death defying do as he battles Doc Ock.

Kirsten Dunst returns as Spidey’s love interest, and their romance gives the plot a solid foundation and substance. For Spider-Man geeks, Raimi gives a wink and a nod to Spidey villains Man-Wolf and the Lizard as he sets the stage for "Spider-Man 3." Raimi also artfully pays homage to the 1967 Spider-Man cartoon with its theme song and the film’s ending. With plenty of twists and surprises, Spider-Man 2 is clearly this summer’s must see movie.



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