*Originally written March 18th, 2016*
Bigger, longer, deeper. Urm, that sounded less filthy in my head.... anyway, Spider-Man 2 is a vastly superior sequel, in every way imaginable and was a new standard for superhero films at the time. Unlike the first Spider-Man, this sequel holds up remarkably well, despite the extreme cheese at some moments.
Picking up 2 years after the first, this sequel finds Peter Parker struggling to balance his life as Spider-Man and Peter Parker, all while a new threat emerges in the form of 'Doc Ock', a mad scientist with metal tentacles trying to finish his experiment that could destroy the whole city.
There's just no other way of putting it, this is just an insanely improved sequel. The action scenes are all memorable and amazing, the story is compelling, as are the characters and the paths they take, it's funnier and the cheese and campiness is taken down a notch.
Doc Ock is a great villain, a sad and tragic figure with a sense of humanity. Alfred Molina's performance was fantastic. A lot less hamming up compared to Willem Dafoe's Green Goblin. We spend more time with him before his transformation, showing he truly is a nice and caring man, making his fall that much more sad and effective.
Tobey Maguire is even better this time as Peter Parker and Spider-Man. Being taken through a very deep story about doubting who you are and discovering who you're meant to be. It played extremely well, and was pretty damn effective. While it had moments of extreme cheese, the love story between Peter and Mary Jane provided a heart for the film.
Raimi's direction is much more confident this time as he handles some much more ambitious set-pieces. The bank heist and train sequences in particular are still the highlights for the whole series. We even got Doc Ock's "awakening" scene, which is pure Raimi getting a chance to flash his horror roots. I barely noticed any of the CGI either, this has barely aged at all.
The humour is so much better this time around and J.K. Simmons gets much more screen time as the scene stealing J. Jonah Jameson, I honestly wish they would have just made a whole film based around this character, would have been amazing. And that scene where he wears and plays in Spider-Man's suit? Genius.
I do feel there are moments that don't work and it is a little too long. The whole 'Rain Drops Keep Falling on my Head' scene is pure cringe and even ends in a bizarre freeze frame that made me laugh out loud, and I don't even know what the intention was. There's a few plot-lines left unanswered, which are obviously going to be explored for the next one, but I still wish there was more with Harry and Peter.
Spider-Man 2 truly is a franchise peak, bigger and better in every way imaginable. Such a shame that the series completely lost momentum after this. Who knows what Disney can conjure up, maybe they'll managed to get their new Spider-Man up to this standard.
Spider-Man 2 is out now on Blu-ray and DVD in the UK
Watch the trailer below:
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