I saw Spider-Man 2 on it’s opening weekend, but on Saturday, so I already knew that it was making beaucoup bucks at the box office. Well, duh, I mean, everybody knew it was gonna be a box office monster, since the FIRST ONE was a phenomenom. It was to be expected. What did surprise me was all the praise I was seeing heaped on the sequel. Not that I read other people’s reviews before I write my own, I don't (well, sometimes on a horror flick, as the wimp in me needs to know what I’m in for), but it was being hailed as better than the original, and “the best superhero movie I’ve ever seen”, said one famous critic…probably the most famous of them all, actually.
Do I agree with the masses?
Spider-Man 2 is a marvel (no pun intended) of special effects, and I totally bought into the little CGI red and blue blur swinging all over town, etc. I’m even OK with the little CGI man with tentacles rampaging all over town too.
I appreciate very much the back and forth between Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson. As played by Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst, the star crossed lovers did a great job in their romantic, dramatic, and adventurous scenes. Maguire in particular was very strong, showing loads of emotion and a lot of range. I hope he sticks with the role if more movies are made, and I can’t help but think that, DUH, of course there will be more!!!
J.K Simmons and Rosemary Harris are both excellent as J. Jonah Jameson and Aunt May. They definitely are a valuable part of the cast and I hope they stick around for any and all future flicks.
Alfred Molina was an interesting choice to play Otto Octavius, the man that would become Doctor Octopus. To be honest, I hardly remember the (not so ) good doctor from the comics. No, I mostly remember him from the cheesy, but thanks to nostalgia’s never softening grip, beloved Spider-Man cartoons from the late Sixties. Wow, they were bad. But hey, at the time, they were all we knew, and we loved them. (And no, I’m not quite that old, so I saw them as reruns during the mid to late Seventies). Anyway, Doc Ock never really looked like the typical super-villain. His tentacles were his super power, so he wasn’t your typically chiseled comic book character. And so Molina steps into a character that’s basically driven by his newly acquired “tentacles”, not his athletic ability. Luckily for us, the tentacles sort of over power his mind, and so we get to see Molina go nuts as well, otherwise the role woulda been kinda stale. Molina did a great job, and so the man best known as a coked out Night Ranger fanatic in Boogie Nights will now be best known as the troubled Doc Ock.
What a wacky world, eh?
So far everything seems pretty positive…so what’s my problem?
Actually, my problem is two fold…no, threefold…
Of course, I frown on spoilers, so I can’t get to the nitty gritty as much as I’d like to. So I’ll try to dance around the issues…
I’m not sure how true to the comic book roots the development of Harry Osborn’s character is, but I have a problem with it…I mean, “two years ago”, this guy (played very well by James Franco) was a high school student…see what I mean?
I’ve read a lot of comics over the years. Like I’ve said repeatedly, my memory is not only bad, it’s pathetic. Still, I’d think I’d remember if something important happened…
…and I’m here to say that in the comic book world, specifically the super-hero world, “secret identity” is important. Very important. And masks have a purpose, an important purpose. And that’s all I can say on that, but I think I’ve made my point…
Finally, to director Sam Raimi, and to all the credited story writers and screenwriters (see, there’s the bad memory kicking in again!), and I guess to the uncredited story writers too, as I have to assume there are some, I say this…
Um.., well all I can say here is that the “train scene” started very promising, but then, well, sheesh, you know…he’s Spider-Man.
Not Superman, not HULK, etc.
Even in this Sci – Fi / Fantasy adventure setting, you gotta keep it real. We can only suspend our disbelief to a point.
Well, maybe it’s just me.
OK, so despite the negativity, I have to give this movie a solid B.
( Just FYI, it's predecessor was the firt movie I gave a rating too, but back then I used stars instead of grades. )
It’s still entertaining, and all the performances rock. And more importantly, it will continue to whet the appetites of comic book / movie fans as we wait for the second Blade sequel, and of course the biggie, Batman Begins.