Sam Raimi picks up right where he left off with his first Spider-Man film. Like its predecessor, Spider-Man 2 thrives in the goofiness of Peter Parker and his struggles with being Spider-Man. Within the first twenty minutes we watch Peter Parker lose a job, nearly flunk a class and carry-on without “the girl.” The film builds the “it’s tough to be a normal guy and a superhero all at the same time” dynamic without smothering us in plight.
Similar to that first film, the villain functions mostly in the background and at times we forget about Doc Ock as well as Harry Osborn’s quest for vengeance. Instead, the more crushing moments come in exchanges between Peter and both Aunt May and Mary Jane. Peter walks the same line as Bale’s Batman in the Dark Knight. In that film Bruce Wayne “white fangs” Rachel Dawes as the hero pushes the love interest away to protect her from his rough-and-tumble ways. Because Spider-Man 2 is more light than Nolan’s almost somber second Batman film these moments of heartbreak seem all the more painful for Spiderman.
The fight scenes in this edition might be even better than the first with effects and acrobatics that are just as enjoyable now as they were ten years ago. What’s even more fun is seeing familiar actors in roles before they blipped onto your radar. I may have known Aasif Mandvi, Joel McHale, and Daniel Dae Kim before I first saw Spider-Man 2 but I was surprised to see them on re-viewing. Sadly, I assume that on that first viewing I didn’t recognize Raimi’s running-mate Bruce Campbell.
Bottom-Line: Like Bryan Singer’s X-Men films, Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man franchise delivers a strong second film. Unfortunately for both franchises, the happy days end here.
Flashback/Backslide’s Marvel Blogathon continues Monday, February 9th with a review of Blade: Trinity (2004)! Check out the most recent entry in the Blogathon; a review of The Punisher (2004) written by Drew’s Movie Reviews.
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