Top 365 Films – #281 – Spider-Man 2 (2004)

Top 365 Films - Spider-man 2DIRECTED BY: Sam Raimi

STARRING: Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, James Franco, Alfred Molina, Rosemary Harris, Bill Nunn, Dylan Baker and J.K Simmons

BUDGET: $200m

EARNED (Worldwide): $783.7m

AWARDS: Oscar for Best Visual Effects



Peter Parker is beset with troubles in his failing personal life as he battles a brilliant scientist named Doctor Otto Octavius.


Two years have past since Peter Parker has transformed into alter ego, Parker’s role as the superhero is starting to weigh heavy on his shoulders as the woman that he loves is now engaged to someone else, his grades at college are declining and he cannot keep hold of any jobs other than at the newspaper Daily Bugle, which viciously attacks Spider-Man on a daily basis, claiming that he is a criminal. At a moment when he decides rather to give up fighting crime and lead a normal life, a failed fusion experience transforms eccentric scientist Dr. Otto Octavius into supervillian Doctor Octopus aka Doc Ock, having four metal tentacles sticking out of his back, causing chaos in the city.


I often criticise the Spider-Man films. I wasn’t a fan of the first Maguire one and I was certainly not a fan of the third one that followed, but there was just something about the second film that just clicked and balanced everything together, with Spider-Man 2 being often brought into the discussion of best comic book film ever made. Here we follow Peter Parker coming through the emotional toll of being the hero behind the mask, especially dealing with his normal life, which has Aunt May consumed with grief and loss over the death of her husband, his best friend Harry Osborn is consumed with revenge over Spider-Man killing his father and then Mary Jane-Watson, the woman that he loves, is with another man and is getting married.  Just to add to the overgrowing list of problems for Parker, brilliant scientist Dr. Otto Octavius has been overtaken, as it were, by his own creation as the four metal tentacles that he has fused to his spine, has a chip at the top of his spine that prevents these cyber-intelligent tentacles from overriding his orders happen to transform him into Doc Ock when the chip is destroyed due to an accident. I like the way it went with Parker deciding to leave the life of Spider-Man behind in order to improve matters with those around him such as letting Aunt May know the truth about the events that led to Uncle Ben’s death and even trying to make amends with MJ, I felt that the emotional weight and letting go was handled well, as was the villain here of a very good intelligent man that is then plagued with further ambition to complete what he started as the cyber-intelligent tentacles begin to take over his thoughts. Tobey Maguire does well here, in particular in the scenes of emotion from telling Aunt May the truth and even seeing Uncle Ben one more time to tell him that he’s Spider-Man no more. Kirsten Dunst is okay in the role of MJ but I never really liked the interpretation of the character in the Raimi trilogy. James Franco is good yet in a smaller dose here as Harry Osborn, though comes to the forefront in the third instalment. Alfred Molina is great as the tragic villain Doc Ock and JK Simmons will forever be J. Jonah Jameson. The story is well paced and constructed by Raimi, with the specials effects in certain spots outdated now but still it mostly holds up really well. Sure it might feel cheesy at times, but it should that even a comic book film could balance dark tones with the light.


FAVOURITE SCENE: Many will say the train sequence between Spider-Man and Doc Ock but for me it would be the introduction of the Doc Ock alter-ego at the hospital, with the tentacles taking out the doctors in the room. No score over it, just the screams of the doctors trying (and failing) to escape.

FAVOURITE QUOTE: ‘Peter Parker: Mr. Jameson, please, isn’t there any of these shots you can use? I really need the money.

J. Jonah Jameson: Awww. Miss Brant?

Miss Brant: Yeah?

J. Jonah Jameson: Get me a violin.’

DID YOU KNOW?: A special camera system was constructed called the Spydercam which allowed filming to create the effect of dropping 50 stories and of high speed swooping scenes. The system had actually been invented for the first film but had only been used for the final shot.

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