Spider-man 2 (2004)
Plot: After a failed experiment with fusion energy, brilliant scientist Otto Octavius (Alfred Molina) is controlled by his lethal artificial intelligent mechanical arms, turning into the super villain Doc Ock. Spider-man (Tobey Maguire) is the only one who can stop him, but Peter Parker has doubts on whether he wants to continue being his super hero alter ego.
Wow…what a dramatic improvement from the first installment. What we have here is a better story, better character development, and it takes a more serious tone, but still has that lighthearted charm. And this time the jokes are actually funny. Jameson (J.K. Simmons) is even more hilarious, and Spider-man trying to deliver pizzas was actually enjoyable. Now it’s still plagued with some overly jokey and silly bits. Did we really need to see a 2-3 minute sequence of Spider-man in full costume having to wait in an elevator with some random dude while the generic elevator music plays? The idea of Peter Parker and Spider-man trying to co-exist is done very well. Peter actually feels like a real person, and the montage where he gives up Spider-man with the happy music playing was really funny. The identity crisis thing does drag on much longer then it needs to though. We know he’s going to become Spider-man again, just get on with it. The acting is definitely much improved. James Franco actually has a personality this time. Kirsten Dunst isn’t great, but the giggling and big goofy smiles aren’t nearly as prevalent. Tobey Maguire is still ‘meh,’ but he delivers in spurts. Poor Peter has to deal with some real ass holes. A secretary who refuses to pay for his pizzas, a dick head usher, and even Aunt May shuns him at one point! But the biggest improvement from the original is the villain. Instead of the ridiculous and clownish Green Goblin, we get Doc Ock. Alfred Molina is great. He’s just a calm, cool, collected bad ass that has a really tragic and sympathetic story. You actually like this guy at the start and feel sorry for him. The action scenes are top notch, like when Doc Ock throws the car through the coffee shop window. So I still have complaints here and there, but Spider-man 2 is a very strong effort.
Rating: 7.5 out of 10 (Very Good)
Category Rankings (Spoilers Throughout):
Best Performance: Alfred Molina as Otto Octavius/Doc Ock
-Maybe it’s because he’s coming off the heels of the last villain, but I really liked what Molina did with the role. He has to play two different personalities, where it seemed like Willem DaFoe only had to do one.
Worst Performance: Rosemary Harris as May Parker
-I feel bad picking on the old lady, but I just don’t like her performance. Maybe it’s because she hits Doc Ock with an umbrella yelling ‘Shame on you’ while hanging onto a high story building.
Best Line: “The power of the sun, in the palm of my hand.” –Otto Octavius
-A powerful line to be sure, although I would imagine holding the sun would burn your fingers. Ouchies.
Worst Line: “Go get him tiger.” –Mary Jane Watson to Peter at the end
-I think the line speaks for itself.
-Spider-man battles Doc Ock three times, and I think their first encounter on the building was the best. There’s an awesome shot of them falling that looks pretty spectacular. Doc Ock is a great villain to look at on screen with those whacky mechanical arms on the loose.
-Maybe it’s because it was done in slow motion, but why does Octavius’ wife just stand in one place screaming her head off as the glass comes flying in. Couldn’t you at least try to duck, cover-up, or jump out of the way? Unbelievable.
-Spider-man stopping that train was a pretty incredible sequence. Tobey Maguire’s acting even shines here as he actually let’s out a pretty convincing scream. And for once, Peter Parker met some nice New Yorkers. Although I think it was a Metro North train, so they might have been commuting into the city and not actually from New York.
-It happens after he saves the train, but this is just a pet peeve of mine. I hate when people in movies are spread in the cross position with the arms spread out. I don’t know why, it just annoys me. It happens with Neo as well in Matrix: Revolutions.
-The best Jameson response ever. Peter asks for a raise on his photos, and Jameson retorts, ‘That’s outrageous…done.’ It’s J.K. Simmons’ delivery that really nails it. If you’ve seen this movie, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
Bad Ass Moment:
-Those mechanical arms absolutely destroy the surgeons at the hospital. It feels like a horror movie. And Doc Ock doesn’t even have to do anything. He just lies on the bed as they go nuts.