Spider-Man 2 Reviews
Two years on and Parker is trying to cope with his daily grind, his love for Mary Jane and of course being Spidey. Ah but wait, Peter Parker let me introduce the rather stocky Dr. Octavius and his obvious pending disaster he calls a self-sustaining fusion reaction (which he handles with large mechanical, artificially intelligent tentacles attached to his nervous system through a special chip). Before you can say 'my Spidey sense is tingling' it all goes tits up as the experiment goes, errr...tits up! A power surge disrupts the spinal chip that controls Octavius's mechanical tentacles making them sentient, which in turn start to influence Octavius. And voila! the Doc becomes a dastardly baddie hell bent on...umm doing his experiment all over again for some reason.
Yep the introduction of Alfred Molina was yet another brilliant bit of casting as his performance as the calm methodical Doc Ock (along with his perfect build and looks) save the film from becoming rather mundane. Just like the first film the villain is the winning ticket and gives this adventure a shot in the arm which is so clearly required. Now I'm not saying this film was bad but the strangest thing...back in the day I always preferred this film over the original, but now the tables have turned and I find myself enjoying the original much more. I think the problem with this film is it really starts to lose its sense of semi realism and my suspension of disbelief goes right out the window.
Although that being said, the sequence where doctors attempt to remove Octavius's mechanical arms from his body is actually pretty heavy on the horror factor. With the arms developing sentience they take out all the doctors in a pretty ferocious manner, its pretty dark. Raimi clearly has fun here and even manages to include a little chainsaw homage.
Now I always thought Spider-Man was merely a regular guy with extra strength, speed, endurance and jumping ability, along with the few special skills of being able to climb walls and shoot gooey web stuff. But he was still able to get hurt, cut, bleed and generally die. In this film Spider-Man is virtually invincible and practically as strong as the Hulk or Superman so it seems. I mean really...he's falling from massive heights and slamming into walls and cars, he can hold up huge metal structures, lift incredible weights and stop a runaway train with his gooey web stuff and arms! Was Spider-Man always this powerful??
There are also some really silly hokey issues dotted throughout that bugged me. Doc Ock hides out in the one and only run down shack in the middle of the harbour and it stands out like a sore thumb, no one ever thought of looking there? Even when the lights were on? When Doc Ock robs the bank no one notices him just standing there right next to the vault door in his long trench coat, hat and shades looking pretty suspicious. Oh and how do you hide four giant mechanical arms under a coat? Why does the Doc go from being a decent human being into someone who would kill innocent people? I realise the tentacles are influencing him slowly but would he really kill people? Plus when the Doc goes to see Osborn for the tritium why didn't he just force Osborn to hand it over instead of agreeing to get Spider-Man in exchange for it, surely that would have been easier and saved time.
How does the Doc get all that expensive equipment? I know he pinched some cash from the bank but that wouldn't cover it. Plus how was it delivered?! Didn't anyone notice all this stuff being delivered to this abandoned building in the harbour where no one goes or lives? Didn't anyone think it was odd or suspicious? And what on earth was his experiment about?? What was it for? What would it do? It just felt like an outrageously diabolical device just for the sake of being a diabolical device. If he managed to finish it then what? Would he become a good guy again? All he wanted to do was finish the experiment so its not like he was trying to do anything bad, and the experiment was suppose to be for the good of mankind right? Maybe let him do his stuff?
The special effects in the film were an improvement over the first film but again looking back they still look a bit dated. Seeing Spider-Man swing through the city (but what the hell is he attached too?? its hilarious!) is looking much better but most of the shots were we see Doc Ock walking along via his four mechanical arms are really bad at times. The entire runaway subway train sequence is really dodgy looking nowadays, the fight on top of the train and seeing the Doc throw those obviously bad CGI people from the train...blimey its bad!
So yes the action is bigger louder and more impressive than the first film but the CGI effects are way more obvious to me, far more hokey looking. Close up shots of Doc Ock and his arms are fantastic, the way the arms lift him up, the way the arms look...all brilliant, but the bad outweighs the good I'm afraid. There is so much dodgy CGI and bluescreen work in here, the sequence where Parker rescues the little girl from the burning building, rescuing May Parker from the Doc halfway up a skyscraper made me cringe especially, the car being chucked through the cafe window etc...
Oh and why does Parker seemingly lose his Spidey powers halfway through yet gains them back again from nowhere? I realise Parker goes through something of a mental breakdown what with everything going wrong in his life, but would that cause his spidey powers to disappear? Would he really lose his abilities through sheer depression and anxiety?
Surprisingly I didn't enjoy this as much as I thought I would...and I'm honesty being honest here. Molina is superb as Doc Ock and the action is deserving of kudos for the ambition, but visually it lacks quality in my opinion and there are lots more silly niggly bits that stand out to me. This sequel definitely felt more along the lines of a Schumacher Batman flick at times, its reasonable fun but the original still easily surpasses it.
Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) is attempting to juggle college classes and his job as a photographer with the Daily Bugle while maintaining his secret life as costumed crime-fighter Spider-Man.
After an ok start, this sequel to the original "Spider-Man" was not only significantly better, but probably one of the better superhero films to this date.
One thing I really enjoyed about this film was the deep character study and all of the internal conflict happening with each character. Peter Parker tries to still live the crime fighting life as the famous Spider-Man, while simultaneously juggling college, money, relationships, and his love life. I love seeing this more darker take on a superhero. He doesn't live a glorious lifestyle, nor is everything smooth flowing. He's a regular person like all of us and if anything, have the powers that he has is just more of a difficulty. Mary Jane struggles with her shows and her relationships but if anything, I disliked her character. Her love for Peter kind of made her character less likable with the actions she took. Harry is still trying to deal with the loss of his Father, Aunt May has financial issues, and more. This films gives us more reason to care and relate to these characters at hand, making it much more memorable.
Doc Ock was also one of the better comic book villains we've seen, even until this day. He wasn't necessarily an evil guy with some evil agenda, rather, he was an everyday guy who wanted to do better for everyone and suffered at his own hand. He was a villain we could relate to and want to fight against, being a perfect adversary for Spider-Man. The simplicity of his 'costume' was what I liked most about him. It was a simple outfit with four extra arms. The film wasn't a CGI overload fest with a ridiculous looking villain, which is something I really appreciate.
The real thing that makes this film stand out to me is the execution and direction of the story. There are plenty of well written moments in this film that are well executed. The story is filled with conflict and compromise and it all meshes together excellently. It's emotional and action packed, with fantastic visuals that hold up even till this date. This is easily one of the best Spider-Man films to date, surpassing most other superhero films even 13 years later.
In the end, this was and still is the best film in Raimi's trilogy, making it a must watch and a must see.
And Alfred Molina's portrayal of Doctor Octavius is perfect.
I'm not saying this one isn't good. One of my favorite things about this movie was the performances. Tobey Maguire gives a typical dedicated and very realistic shot at the Spider-Man character. And this movie has a lot more emotional depth to go off of. Kirsten Dunst also does great, again. J.K. Simmons performance is also hilarious as usual. The best performance, however, is Alfred Molina as Doc Oc. He really gives a great interpretation of the villain. His villian is better than the Green Goblin. This movie is also technically impressive as you would expect from the second film. However, I do have one complaint: while the action itself is impressive and unique for its time, some of it felt a little unimportant. Other than the final battle, it seems like most action starts with Doc Oc showing up, then Spider-Man starts beating them up until one of them leaves.
Director Sam Reimi once again does an amazing job capturing a unique and amazing feel for these movies. Another one of my favorite things about this movie was the script. I forgot to mention this in my review of Spider-Man, but these movies are essentially the Peter Parker show. It's about his life and struggles. And instead of it being about Spider-Man being Spider-Man, it's about how being Spider-Man affects Peter's life. This is something modern superhero movies sometimes neglect to capture, and this movie certainly does it well. However, while the first movie really felt like a whole movie experience, this one kind of flew by for me. Like I said before, some of the action felt like it just happened and stopped happening, and I wish the scriptwriter did a better job of making the experience more exciting. While the ending scene does the same, it actually makes since, it gives more narrative focus to Peter and Doc Oc, and is certainly a satisfying conclusion.
Overall, Spider-Man 2 has lots of narrative focus and heartfelt story, as well as web-swinging action and visual effects as impressive as you would expect, which are certainly enough to make up for the occasional come-and-go feel.