127 Min | Action – Fantasy | July 2004
IMDB Rating: 7.4
Director: Sam Raimi
Starring: Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, Alfred Molina
Spider-Man 2 Review: Spider-Man 2 transcends the boundaries of being just another comic book movie to being a richly character driven movie with a very conflicted hero. Here, for the first time, we see the actual emotion behind the facade of the hero behind the mask. Gone is the richly colorful look of the first part, here in Spider-Man 2, we are plunged into a world of shadows and off colors. Picking up two years after the first Spider-Man left off, Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) has his hands full with three full-time jobs. He is going to school full time, he is working full time to pay off his rent, and he is a hero always on call whenever he hears a siren. Not to mention, we see the emotional toll that has been taken on him, his only surviving family member, his Aunt May (Rosemary Harris), has become consumed with grief and loss over the death of her husband (incidentally, creating Spider-Man in the first part).
As Spider-Man, Parker is even in danger of losing his powers as his exhaustion slowly begins to take over. Is it medical or is it because he has stretched himself too thin? Eventually, Peter decides to give up being Spider-Man to finally bring peace into his life. There is a brilliant sequence in this film when we see Parker returning to his alter-ego from the first part before the mutated spider bite as he puts on his glasses again, clouding his vision to the world around him. When he sees someone being beaten up in an alley, he turns around to walk away. When the familiar sirens fly past him again, he just eats a hot dog. In short, Parker has finally succumbed to being a New Yorker.
Spider-Man 2 has so many great messages to be heard in this film, the best of which seems to draw both Peter and Octavius together in the end. In order for the right thing to be done, does it mean that we have to put away what we want the most? Seemingly, we have entered the bizarro world of sequels, where they seem to surpass the original (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Toy Story 2, etc) and Spider-Man 2 definitely joins these ranks. Perhaps in allowing a series to expand rather than compliment the original, we can expect more depth out of movies, which has been as equally absent in this day and age as heroes as Spider-Man 2 also suggests.