Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! Right now it is April and that means it is time to continue a little event I have going on. Last month, I reviewed Sam Raimi’s original “Spider-Man” film on here, this was just the beginning of a series of reviews leading up to “Spider-Man: Homecoming’s” release on July 7th. Now since it is April, we’re gonna tackle the sequel, “Spider-Man 2.” So let’s get started!
“Spider-Man 2” is directed by Sam Raimi and stars Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, Alfred Molina, and James Franco. This film continues some period of time after the first film, and this time around, Peter is actually in college, not in high school. Is it a weird jump in time? I don’t think so. Besides, it could probably make you complain slightly less about Tobey Maguire playing Peter Parker due to his age, not that I really cared about that. Anyway, Peter is having a bit of struggle in his personal life, while at the same time, he meets Otto Octavius, played by Alfred Molina, who eventually becomes the villain of the film, Dr. Octopus. Or Doc Ock, or whatever you wanna call it.
Before making this review, I rewatched this film from beginning to end, and I just want to go off of here by letting everyone know that if you asked me what I thought of this movie in the past, especially when I was around age 13 and getting into how movies were made, I would say that I freaking love this movie, it’s also one of my favorite films of all time. Here’s another fun fact for you, the last time I watched this film was NEARLY two years ago, like, seriously, DAYS after this review gets posted, it will be EXACTLY two years since my last viewing of this movie, which is kind of crazy considering how much I adore this movie. Although I will say that may be kind of a good thing that I waited so long to watch this again, because if I have watched “Spider-Man 2” over and over again in the past, chances are I could have possibly gotten bored with it.
Also, I just want to say one thing, I mentioned this is one of my favorite movies ever, but it doesn’t mean I turned off my brain while watching this film. I analyzed the film, looking for flaws, I could barely find a single one. This seems like something I’d talk about towards the end, but I feel like I should bring it up now. There was one thing I thought about. There’s this reviewer on YouTube known as Chris Stuckmann, and he reviewed this film. In his review he stated that a flaw worth pointing out was when Doc Ock threw Peter into a wall, nearly killing him. Why was this wrong? He was talking with Harry Osborn, played by James Franco, and Harry was gonna give him an energy source he was after if Doc Ock finds Spider-Man and brings him to Harry alive. As Doc Ock was walking down the building which Harry lives in with his tentacles, Harry yells “And don’t hurt Peter!” I defend Doc Ock’s actions for multiple reasons. First off, we don’t really get any shot which confirms Doc Ock heard Harry say what he said. Secondly, when he is interacting with Peter, Mary Jane is also there. Doc Ock assumes Mary Jane is Peter’s girlfriend, and Doc Ock threatens Peter by saying that if he doesn’t find out where Spider-Man is, he’ll “peel the flesh off her (Mary Jane’s) bones.” Peter shown a sign that he wanted MJ to be safe, which made the idea of keeping Peter away a good thought for Doc, so Peter had to suffer the consequences, and Doc Ock throwing him the way he did, in a way, kind of made it harder for Peter to do anything about the situation. Peter could have been taken as well, but that wasn’t the threat given to him. I will say however, one thing that is a little questionable, and that is right before Doc Ock invades the cafe Peter and MJ are together in, is that Doc Ock throws a car into the cafe, and it nearly hits Peter, almost killing him, which basically nearly wastes his chance of asking him where Spider-Man is. Then again, it’s possible that Doc Ock was about to cross the street and his arms, which controlled him, threw the car at the glass just to get across. Another thing could be that he didn’t want to take extra time of breaking through the door or the glass himself, but I don’t know if that’s the case. Although I will say there are actually a couple things I admire about that despite what I just said, one, the shots of the car coming in are kinda sick, and the second I won’t say because they are somewhat spoilery, although if you have seen the movie, you may know what I’m referring to. Let’s just say it has to do with the spider-sense and recovery. THAT’S ALL I’LL SAY THERE. If there’s anything else to point out in terms of flaws, I can’t really say there’s much of anything else worth spitting out at the moment, there was one thing that kind of annoyed me, but it’s not exactly a flaw. That being this one woman singing the Spider-Man theme song and playing the violin, I mean, I can tolerate it, but her voice doesn’t really seem fit for singing.
Well, now that that’s over with, let’s focus on the characters. Tobey Maguire is back in this movie as Peter Parker, as mentioned before, Peter is in college, and his story throughout this movie is probably one of the most compelling I’ve seen in a superhero film. Let me just say, despite the goofiness displayed in the first film, like with the Green Goblin and his somewhat questionable costume, JK Simmons as J Jonah Jameson (PERFECT CASTING CHOICE BY THE WAY), and some quips thrown back and forth between characters, some of this makes a return in this movie. With that being said, some of the realism from the first movie makes a return too, and this time, I have to say that this was done better here and the first one. You feel for Peter all of the way through and understand everything that happens to him. It’s just one struggle after the next that he has to get through which is pretty tedious and it just makes me root for him. If there is anything else to say about this, I have to say that is probably the best depiction of a superhero’s life when you add in his personal life and his superhero life in the mix. I will bring up one thing though, in the beginning of the film, Peter runs into Dr. Connors, a professor he has in college, Connors brings up a report Peter has to do, Peter says he’s planning to do it on Otto Octavius, Connors says planning isn’t good enough, and if Peter doesn’t get the report done, Connors is gonna fail him. This was never revisited, but let me just say, I personally don’t care all that much. Why not? Peter mentions who the report is about, and it is on the film’s villain, which kind of makes the whole story all the more interesting in my opinion to the point where the college thing doesn’t even matter. Besides, that story does somewhat have a resolution, I won’t go into detail, but let’s just say it happens during the “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head” montage.
Let’s bring up Mary Jane Watson, who is once again played by Kirsten Dunst. One thing I noticed about her is that her hair isn’t really as red as it was in the first film, I mean, it is a little red, but it almost goes towards the color of blonde. I don’t really mind this change all that much considering a hint of red is still there, at least to my eyes, plus it’s also kind of a sign that MJ has gotten older since the last film. In this movie, she’s part of the reason why I find Peter’s story extremely compelling. It turns out in this film, MJ is seeing someone named John Jameson, who is actually the son of J Jonah Jameson at the Daily Bugle. This adds to the complexity of the plot and it’s just one of those things that makes me root for Peter more. Also, remember how in the first movie Mary Jane said she wanted to act? Well, now she is living her dream. Although Peter can’t really go see her play, and if you watch the movie, you’ll see that this isn’t his fault whatsoever. Once again, disrupting the balance between Peter’s two identities. Speaking of identities while staying on the topic of MJ, there is this one scene where Peter is going to use a payphone to call MJ. She doesn’t pick up and the machine gets it, when Peter starts talking, we see MJ walking around her apartment and Peter’s words are being transmitted. MJ doesn’t really seem to show any sympathy towards Peter and what he’s saying, and his time expires, and what happens next, is something I never thought about much until the last time I watched this film. Peter puts more money into the payphone, he says that he’s Spider-Man over the phone. Throughout this point of the scene, there is no transition between shots looking at Mary Jane and Peter. I love how the movie does that and doesn’t treat its audience like idiots by hiding the possibility that Mary Jane either doesn’t believe him or Mary Jane just went away from the phone.
Next up we have Harry, once again played by James Franco. If you remember in the first movie, he and Peter were friends, now, it is shown that their friendship has become somewhat unsteady in this film because his father is now dead and Spider-Man killed him, which by the way, Spider-Man didn’t really kill him, he tried to kill him in a fight, but he was killed by his own glider (We’ll probably revisit this in the “Spider-Man 3” review). This whole Peter and Harry rivalry thing all in all just added to the struggles that Peter had which made me feel bad for him, especially during the planetarium scene, even though there was one thing there that made me feel that way slightly more for him that I won’t spit out because of spoilers. Also, in this film, Harry actually has some ties to the villain, which I thought made the movie more interesting, mainly towards the end.
Speaking of the villain, we’re gonna talk about him right now. Here we have Dr. Octopus, or as some may call him, Doc Ock. In real life, before becoming Doc Ock, he was known as Otto Octavius. This fellow is played by Alfred Molina and once again we have an example of how the guys behind this film find good casting choices for villains. Thought Willem DaFoe was amazing as the Green Goblin in the first Spider-Man film? Alfred Molina is just as spectacular as Doc Ock as Willem DaFoe is as Gobby! Every line that came out of this guy’s mouth, felt authentic, not to mention well written for the character. There are multiple scenes proving this guy is business.
First off the hospital scene. Otto is unconscious and blindfolded, however his arms, or tentacles, are controlling themselves. These arms are taking out everyone in the room one by one, leaving them for dead. Also, I think it was a good choice not to put music in that scene, it was a proper introduction to a badass villain. Another thing I’ll point out is something I don’t know if you’ll agree with me on, but it’s that I love Doc Ock’s scream at the end of the scene, he just loudly shouts “Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!” And no, it’s not like Darth Vader’s no from “Revenge of the Sith,” or even worse, the Blu-Ray edition of “Return of the Jedi.” Then again, I can somewhat tolerate Darth Vader’s no in “Revenge of the Sith,” however the one in “Return of the Jedi” when the change was added in 2011 was just appalling. I mean, it sounds like it, but to me personally, this comes off as less cringey. What makes that no even better is that it is IMMEDIATELY followed, and I mean IMMEDIATELY, like when you hear the last “o,” he just breaks the entrance to the hospital open with his arms, which is kind of badass, and then followed by Doc Ock walking into the street and flipping a taxi over with his tentacles.
Another scene that proves my point is the train scene. In case you want to know, it is a possibility that this scene may be my favorite action sequence I’ve ever seen in a movie. Not only are Peter and Doc Ock going at it with sick moves, Doc Ock leaves an obstacle in Spider-Man’s path that only continues to make the character more compelling even when he already is extremely compelling. Also, I love the music during the fight, along with the moment with the mentioned obstacle, I mean, I love all the music in this film, but I figured I should point this out. By the way, there’s an extended cut to this film called “Spider-Man 2.1,” this scene is actually better in that movie.
Like in the review for the original, there is one supporting character in this movie I feel I should tackle, JK Simmons’s J Jonah Jameson. I mentioned before that JK Simmons is my favorite actor, there aren’t many times where he let me down. There were a couple times where he was wasted (“Terminator: Genisys” and “The Accountant”), but those letdowns weren’t because of him, it was more of either how he was presented or how he was written. In this movie, JK Simmons continues to make J Jonah Jameson make Bill Lumbergh from “Office Space” quite an easy boss to work with. Also, you’ve probably seen a GIF around the Internet of this guy laughing, which by the way, I’ll let you know, watching it the last time I watched this movie in preparation for this review, I believe I laughed harder at his laugh than any other time I watched this movie. Just a fun fact for you. And yes, the epic lines from this guy continue:
MISS BRANT: Boss, your wife’s on the line, says she lost her checkbook.
J JONAH JAMESON: Thanks for the good news!
J JONAH JAMESON: What are we gonna call this guy?
HOFFMAN: ‘Doctor Octopus’?
J JONAH JAMESON: Aw that’s crap.
HOFFMAN: ‘Science Squid’?
J JONAH JAMESON: Crap.
HOFFMAN: ‘Doctor Strange’.
J JONAH JAMESON: That’s pretty good.
*HOFFMAN LOOKS PROUD*
J JONAH JAMESON: But it’s taken! Wait, wait! I got it! ‘Doctor Octopus’.
HOFFMAN: I like it.
J JONAH JAMESON: Of course you do. ‘Doctor Octopus’. New villain in town: ‘Doc Ock’.
J JONAH JAMESON: What, are you looking for a raise? Get out.
One thing I want to bring up in this movie is a difference between Spider-Man here and Spider-Man in the comic books. In this movie, Spider-Man does throw some quips here and there, but it’s not as common as they are thrown in the comics. In a movie like this, I honestly think this is OK. This movie has a fine balance between being goofy and serious, and when it needs to stop being one of those qualities, it seems to know when to bring the other one into play. Spider-Man doesn’t necessarily need to be as funny as he was in the comics in this film to make it a great movie. Believe it or not, I said something similar about a “Family Guy” episode I saw called “And Then There Were Fewer,” which by the way, check out my Top 10 “Family Guy” Episodes list and you’ll find it there. If you have just gotten curious about it, here’s a link, SPOILER WARNING FOR MULTIPLE EPISODES!
Another thing I love about this film, as mentioned before, is the score. While it carries some of the music from the first film, some new themes are added including one that goes along with Doc Ock which sounds marvelous. Danny Elfman returns once again to compose this film and it just shows how much I love it whenever he composes a movie. Also, in my review for the first film, I talked about how it had a long intro credit sequence. This movie has an intro credit sequence that’s just about as long as the one for the first film, which not only introduces the cast, but also gives a recap of the first film. And I like this intro better personally, I think the titles are a little more cleverly designed, and there are some cool additions to it in terms of sound that make it interesting. You remember in the first film? The intro starts coming up right after the Marvel title card? The intro starts the same way in this movie, but it’s in red, and it has a really cool sound that gets lower in pitch as it progresses for a few seconds, kind of like the Doppler Effect, or a change in wavelength or wave (or other periodic event) for an observer moving relative to its source. If you want a good example of how it works, just watch S1E6 of “Big Bang Theory,” Sheldon wears it as a costume at a Halloween Party. Plus, yeah, I don’t know, I kind of like the red color of the intro too, I personally prefer it over blue.
I also want to talk about the end. As far as the entire climax goes, I’d say it has to be one of the greatest endings to a movie I’ve seen, and that kind of says something considering how much I like the first film’s ending. Honestly, I like this one better. This film’s end has a fabulous battle, some rewarding moments, and it just leaves me satisfied and on a cliffhanger at the same time. I was hoping I could delve into one detail about Harry, but it’s kind of spoilery for those of you who haven’t seen this movie, by the way, that’s the cliffhanger thing I’m talking about, but I won’t go any further into that.
There’s also one more thing I want to talk about, and if this is somewhat spoilery so you may want to skip over this paragraph if you want to avoid getting spoiled. The thing I want to bring up is the fire rescue scene. You may remember in the first movie that there was a scene where Spider-Man had to go in a burning building and he saves a baby, then he goes back because there is someone else still up there, which turns out to be the Green Goblin. In this scene it is pretty much a similar formula, only there is no villain interference, and the scene overall is better. Thought I was done with the compelling comment? Think again. There’s a scene in the movie where we see that Peter is losing his powers. This is a whole thing that took up a good portion of the film, then Peter hears people screaming. Peter goes closer to the building and notices a guy screaming, Peter asks if anyone is in the building, the guy tells Peter that there is a kid stuck on the second floor. This time, we see the entirety of Peter rescuing a kid, and to me it’s compelling because if Peter still had his powers, his job would be easier, not to mention it shows that Peter can still sacrifice his life for others even when he’s not Spider-Man. Not to mention, it makes Peter question himself on having what he wants as opposed to what he needs. Which if you think about the question, it all kind of makes sense. Although, it doesn’t mean the end of that incident was complete happiness, because it turns out somebody was trapped on the fourth floor and they never made it out, which may also reveal that Peter, like all of us reading right now, is human, and has setbacks.
Just… wow. I feel like I over analyzed this movie to the core. But I really don’t care. “Spider-Man 2” is a masterpiece. Some people argue that the best superhero movie of all time is either “The Dark Knight” or “Deadpool” or one of the newer “Captain America” films or “The Avengers” or “Guardians of the Galaxy” or even “Logan,” which just came out recently and I haven’t seen yet, but for me, that spot belongs to “Spider-Man 2.” Some of you might be asking though, is this my favorite movie ever? At the moment, it’s a possibility, but nevertheless, I cannot go without saying that “Spider-Man 2” is well deserving of a 10/10! If there were a way to describe this movie, it would be like this: Imagine you’re watching a WAY LESS BRUTAL version of “12 Years a Slave,” then you add in a rom-com element, perhaps one that’s kind of drama-like, along with the action element, and finally, the element of the superhero. Holy moly, I cannot believe I’ve written this much about a movie. Worth it. If you made it to the end of this review, you’ve earned yourself a pat on the back, thanks for wasting your time watching a moron talk about a movie like this. Speaking of reviews, next month I’m going to tackle “Spider-Man 3,” which is Sam Raimi’s last “Spider-Man” film. Also, I’m gonna have a review up for the movie “Gifted” pretty soon, I’m hoping to go see “The Fate of the Furious” sometime next week, and I’m also gonna try to check out a movie called “Mission Control: The Unsung Heroes of Apollo,” which is actually in select theatres at the moment but also available on several streaming services. If I go see another movie soon, I’ll definitely review it, but these are my three biggest possibilities for closeby reviews. Stay tuned for those when they come, stay tuned for more reviews when they come too, thanks so much for listening to me drone on about something as simple as a movie. All you wasted was possibly battery life, and your time. Scene Before is your click to the flicks!