Spiderman 2

Starring: Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, James Franco, Alfred Molina, J.K. Simmons



Sacrifice Destiny Choice


Three words used as taglines to Spiderman 2. And how much more appropriately could you define the inherent qualities of a super-hero movie? This is what we want from our dashing screen saviours. Peter Parker returns to share with us his double life as the web-spinning tower-climbing mutation. The story picks up 2 years after we last saw Peter deny his love for Mary Jane after the funeral of his last evil nemesis, the Green Goblin, aka Norman Osborn. Time has not been kind to Peter, who's 'real' life is fraught with problems. On top of that, his alter-ego is still branded as a menace by Peter's sometime boss Mr Jameson, a role reprised by J.K.Simmons, offering many of the laughs despite his utterly selfish, business-bent persona... And MJ is engaged to the editor's semi-famous son. Could Spidey's life get any worse? Well, er, yes, as he befriends genius scientist Dr Otto Octavius, just before his breakthrough experiment goes awry and he becomes Dr Octopus, a new menace to the city.


There are three major plotlines ongoing in this second instalment to the comic book hero's screen tales. First, the obvious battles against Doc Ock; second, the undertones of tension with Peter's best friend Harry Osborn, still obsessed over Spiderman's murder of his father; and thirdly, the ongoing denied love for Mary Jane Watson. These three storylines tie together nicely, providing a web of problems for Spiderman, leading to his crisis of confidence and some questioning of that good old sacrifice, destiny and choice.


The film is rather more melancholy than the original as a result, but Tobey Maguire acts the angst, panic and worry fantastically, providing a mostly satisfying movie to continue the series. However, it doesn't quite rank up to it's predecessor and I feel so much more was expected of this long-awaited sequel. Up until the ending section I was beginning to feel quite depressed on Spidey's behalf, which is isn't necessarily what I wanted or anticipated from my trip to the cinema. However the final moments redeemed it, despite the ante-climactic anti-climax of the 'final battle' coming a bit too soon and swiftly. Hinting at Spiderman 3 a little too much in order to possibly rectify the slightly disappointing close to one of the three storylines, the film manages to end with a feeling of anticipation... Leaving you mulling over the possibilities as the credits roll over a soundtrack equally as satisfying as the first.


The returning actors are just as credible and effective as before, and Alfred Molina does a fantastic job of the tortured evil obsession of Doctor Octavius/Octopus, who evokes much more interest and sympathy than the Green Goblin, proving to be a much better 'baddie'. The continuing love interest remains sparking between Kirsten and Tobey, although you do just feel like banging their heads together after so many ups and downs become just a teensy bit tedious. There is a much larger, and welcome, focus on momentary humour than in Spiderman 1. The pizza delivery act is fantastically funny, as is the elevator moment, with some nice cartoon-related humorous easter-eggs thrown in like the lady playing the Spiderman theme tune on her violin. A thoroughly entertaining (though long, at over 2 hours), display for fans of the first film, but if you weren't all that keen on Spidey's first web-slinging show, maybe don't bother with the second, which continues in much the same vein, but is not really an improvement. However, good enough to keep me stuck in the web until the next episode.



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