Spiderman 2 review by The Grim Ringler

Reading through some of the reviews of the latest Spiderpants movie you see the phrase best comic book movie ever a phrase we will probably hear until the next Spiderman movie or the next big comic adaptation. Having just seen the film though, I cant say I would disagree with that statement. While this isnt my favorite comic book movie (I am a huge Unbreakable fan and think that is the top of the pops), this is easily the best comic book adaptation. As good as the first one was, believe the hype this is better. This is what comic geeks have said all along when done right, its not a comic its literature.

Set two years after the events of the first film, Spiderman 2 finds Peter Parker at a crossroads. As a hero he has been thriving, but as a man, he is becoming a failure. Unable to maintain a job, nurture his relationships, or further himself in school, Peter is finding that Spiderman is becoming his entire life. Uncertain whether he can continue to be Spiderman any longer if it means losing everything and everyone he loves, especially when the Daily Bugles continuous stories about him being a criminal weighing upon him, Peter wonders if it isnt time to hang up the suit forever. Add atop that question the fact that his powers are suddenly failing him at inopportune times. Before he can consider things too deeply though Peter is able to meet an idol he has, scientist Otto Octavius , a man on the verge of creating a renewable power source that would be like harnessing the power of the sun itself. Octavius, a brilliant and caring man perhaps blinded by the possible benefit his creation might have on humanity is to give a public demonstration the day after Peter meets him and Otto wants Peter to be there. Utilizing four robotic arms that are temporarily connected to Octaviuss spine, the scientist begins his experiment. Just as things are beginning to go as he had planned, the experiment begins to go awry and all of Octaviuss dreams shatter before his eyes. The doctors wife is killed during the project meltdown, the four mechanical tentacles, each with an artificial intelligence of its own, fuse to the scientists spine, and the project is ruined and shut down by Spidey before it can cause any more damage. Octavius is ruined. Unconscious, he is taken to a hospital to have the arms removed but during his experiments meltdown, a chip that kept Octavius in command of this robotic limbs is burned away and the tentacles are now alive and have plans of their own, killing the medical staff on hand at the hospital and taking Otto away from the city, to a new place he can re-build his experiment. He resists their commands at first but not for long, the dark desires to prove the world wrong about him too strong, and so begins the reign of Doc Ock as he searches out money to fund the continuation of his experiment. Spidey manages to halt one of the doctors heists at a bank but in so doing almost loses Aunt May, his last living relative and all but the woman who he thinks of as mother. This event, coupled with a string of failures in his life show Peter he has no choice its him or Spiderman, they just cannot co-exist. And so he chooses Peter Parker. Happier that he has, and trying to finally win the hand of childhood friend and love Mary Jane before she marries another man, Pete is happy. Or thinks he is. the draw to help people is still there and to turn his back on that part of him which can is worse than the feeling of losing the things he loves. And it isnt until Peter has no choice, where his love for someone puts them in danger once again and puts his own life in jeopardy when Peter realizes he must make a choice give up his dreams forever, meaning that he must give up Mary Jane, and be Spiderman, or never live a life without the Spiders shadow over him.

There is a depth of character, and a depth of story here that I really hadnt expected in this film at all. Yeah, the special effects are great, as are the big fight scenes, but man alive - its the story that really pulls you in. Peter Parker is a haunted man, unable to give in to the idea fully that he is Spiderman, still almost ashamed of that fact, but yet he refuses to give up his dreams. And actor Tobey Maguire pulls off that anguish brilliantly. He and Kirsten Dunst are both put through the wringer emotionally in this one and both do very well by their characters. We also have a villain who is noble and who didnt want anything more than to help humanity, but when the tentacles he has created take control of his mind he is pure ego, a selfish creature bent on finishing his project no matter what the cost. As good as Willem DeFoe was in the first oneAlfred Molina as Doc Ock is that much better. He isnt a cartoon character ironically enough, and the only person to see the last vestiges of humanity and dignity in him is Spiderman, if he can just get the doctor to see them within himself. You also have a wonderful theme here in the idea that everyone can be heroic in their lives but must be willing to sacrifice to see that through. And Ill be damned if I can figure how they did it, but you actually get to see more of the personalities of the minor characters as well, though they had a first film to establish them, and many of them get at least one strong moment in the film to shine.

The direction here is wonderful, and I guess it really is time to admit that Sam Raimi, a guy I loved as a kid for his kooky indie movies, is a big time director. Never do the effects overpower the strong emotional storyline here but then too, never does the soap opera between MJ and Peter get too heavy. The center of the story, the heart and soul, is Peter Parker and how he lives with being a superhero, but when things are getting too deep there he cuts away and reminds us that while Petes figuring himself out there is a madman preparing to create something with the potential to destroy most of New York. The special effects look better in this film as well, the digital characters that are so necessary for so much of the film not looking nearly as dicey as they did in the first film. And this is one of the first films I can say that the digital characters were absolutely necessary and added to the film as many of Doc Ock and Spideys battles are in places and in situations that you really couldnt put actors. I guess you could say the film is overly long, and it does drag a bit, but it didnt bother me, the story is engrossing enough to let you just forget where you are and give in to the film fully. Are there some cheesy moments in there? Of course. Any time you have a story about unrequited love you are bound to get some melodrama, especially when it comes to MJ and Pete, but in the context of this film, it works. The film is strong enough to let you see past any miscues and to see the heart at the center of everything.

Fanboys will love it, fanboys will hate it, but should you see it? Hell yes? There is more real, honest depth of character than weve seen, perhaps ever, in a comic book movie. It gets difficult to keep seeing Pete get handed a plate of poop and still have to continue on as the hero, but thats the character, at least this part of his arc. The relationships Pete has with MJ and Harry (who hates Pete to a degree for knowing the man, Spidey, who killed his father) is great stuff and by the end of this film the stage is set for one hell of a final chapter at least final one with this cast. We get some glimpses into whats to come, and it looks good to me. And if you are a Raimi nerd, look out for Ted, Bruce, and that hillybilly fella from Evil Dead 2. Yahoo, its great to be a movienerd sometimes. Best film of the summer so far, and one I look forward to seeing again.


9 out of 10 Jackasses
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