I have never felt so connected to one of my all time favorite superheroes. Sam Raimi's sequel to the first "Spider-Man" is a mesmerizing experience. It's also deeper and darker than the last one, which I like. A LOT. When I first saw the sequel back when I was a sophomore in high school, I didn't get it. I felt the movie spent too much time grieving over Peter Parker's late uncle, Ben Parker. But now, many years later since it's release, and much older and wiser than I was then, I can honestly say that this is the best Spider-Man to date. Having not seen the reboots with Andrew Garfield, who is now in Mel Gibson's "Hacksaw Ridge," which got a HUGE standing ovation for it's director at the Cannes Film Festival this year, and comes out November 4th, so MARK IT DOWN! But not having seen the reboots yet, because let's be honest...how many damn reboots of a franchise can Hollywood possibly do? I know it's a stupid question on it's own. The answer is anything that can draw in money. THOSE GREEDY BASTARDS! But seriously, after watching this one, I'm thinking about giving it a try as soon as possible. But let's stick the topic of discussion. Sam Raimi's "Spider-Man 2" is absolutely sensational on all levels. No director is better equip at handling the Spider-Man universe than Sam Raimi himself. It's as if we are seeing Spider-Man through his eyes, after all he is the director. It's his vision we are seeing like nothing else. The effects I must say are a work of art. There is not one moment even though it's obvious they are using CGI enhancements to show Spidey swinging around New York City with his web, they effects department does a terrific job at making it look absolutely real the whole time you are watching it. It also reminds me how far we have come in the digital era, even now after James Cameron's epic visionary "Avatar." But I find as long as it's done right, I have no argument there. It's when you can in an instant I find myself wanting my money back, or if I'm home I change the channel. Because I got no time for fake movie making, sorry. Even though people might argue that "Avatar" is mostly digital and they would be a hundred percent right, but what Cameron achieved was nothing short of brilliant. After all, he used performance capture, so what we are seeing is really the actors portraying the Na'Vi, so in some ways it's a lot different than just recreating something on a computer and throwing it into the movie the sake of doing it. BUT! Back to the movie. Tobey Maguire does an absolutely solid job in the title role of Spider-Man/Peter Parker. It's his role of a lifetime and he completely owns the character from beginning to end. What impressed me most watching it a second time around is the comic relief that keeps getting thrown at ya unexpectedly in this sequel. There really are some laugh out loud moments that I even found myself laughing at because it was done so well! There's a hilarious scene in the middle of the movie where Peter Parker is finally confronting his demons that have made his Spidey powers weaker, and after he finally thinks he has confronted them, he jumps off a rooftop somewhere in New York City to prove to himself he still is Spider-Man. Unfortunately, as it is in life, he don't always get back on our feet the moment we feel like it after confronting some personal demons. It takes time. It's like Michael Caine said to Christian Bale after Bruce Wayne gets back on his feet and is still a little rusty after Selina Kyle robs him of his car keys, and steals his car that he says to him at that moment just as Bale gets in the Rolls Royce that Alfred says to Bruce Wayne "Just you, sir? Don't worry master Wayne. It takes a little time to get back into the swing of things." And he's absolutely right, because in that moment Peter Parker finds himself jumping high into the air off a rooftop as if he has maintained hi full powers again as Spider-Man....but then all of a sudden he finds himself falling to his doom. Fortunately, the strings of laundry that happen to be hanging outside the New York apartments, just stop Peter Parker from completely falling to his death. Only to smash into a brick wall and then fall on top of a parked car and then if that ain't enough, he falls off it landing on the ground and hitting into another one, which we see at that moment that he has fallen into an alley lot of parked cars. But that's not the end of it, just as he is getting back on his feet he is suddenly stopped by excruciating pain in his back. And it's then that we see Peter Parker rising like an 80 year old going "My back! My back..." I'm not gonna lie, that scene almost had me roaring. And for anyone who has ever had to deal with anyone in their lives who constantly complains about bad back problems, will know exactly what I mean about almost roaring out of my chair. The rest of the movie plays out fairly well, we get great introduction to Doctor Octavius, who we all know eventually becomes the famous Doc Ock, played brilliantly by Alfred Molina, who is also just perfect for the part. Kirsten Dunst does a fabulous job as Peter Parker's love interest Mary Jane Watson. James Franco actually pulls through and delivers a pretty good, but somewhat over dramatic Harry Osbourne. The son of Willem DaFoe from the first one, who is still hell bent on seeking revenge against Spider-Man for he believes he killed his father. J.K. Simmons is absolutely just fantastic as always as the Senior news editor for the paper, who is determined to bring down Spider-Man because he's a menace. Got to love it. And then there's Rosemary Harris, who is absolutely great as Peter Parker's loving aunt and widower now, Aunt May. She's the emotional balance through this movie and should have been nominated for Best Supporting Actress by the Academy, as she really does come through the most out of the whole cast in this movie as she still grieves for her murdered husband. The one thing I admired the most about the second film in the Sam Raimi trilogy, and the reason I felt so connected to Peter Parker in this one alone, is because Peter Parker s struggling to make ends meet now that he is in the young adult phase of his life. Struggling to keep a job. Having little to no money at all. Battling his guilt over what happened to his Uncle Ben and that he could have stopped the murder from taking place as we saw in the first one. Having trouble telling the woman that he loves why he can't truly be with her the way he wants to be. It's all true to life scenarios that we all go through at some point in our lives, but because I'm a struggling screenwriter living on little to no money and just coming off battling some personal demons myself, I couldn't help, but take notice how I saw a lot of myself through Peter Parker. There's a quote in the movie where Dr. Octavius says to Peter Parker right before he becomes the monster Doc Ock, that sometimes we have to give up our dreams in order to help others. At least, I think that's how it goes, I could be wrong, but the point is that no matter what happens in our lives we can never give up on ourselves. Things always have a way of working out for the best no matter what the circumstances are that are trying to bring us down in life, and that's the most important message of all in life. Never give up.