Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Great all around.
After you get past the origin story, you have an opportunity to seize. People love the character of Spider-Man, and one of the problems with the first film was that there was so much origin story that we didn’t get to see much of Spider-Man doing his thing. It was still great though, and at least a glimpse of the unlimited potential that is Spider-Man. Spider-Man 2 definitely took the opportunity to show us more of that potential, which is only one of many reasons as to why plenty of people consider this installment to be the best. By the way, this review is technically for Spider-Man 2.1.
Who is he, are you sure you wanna know? Well, he’s still Spider-Man, but he’s struggling to juggle work, school, and web-slinging. He was fired from his pizza-delivery job, his freelance photography job, is failing class with Dr. Connor’s, and the stress from Mary Jane’s latest engagement has somehow put Peter’s powers on hold. After he quits being Spider-Man, life seems to get better, only for Peter to hear Uncle Ben’s powerful last words one more time: “With great power comes great responsibility”. Meanwhile, Dr. Otto Octavius becomes arch nemesis Doc Ock – a powerful villain with four indestructible mechanical arms connected to his spine, pent on creating the power of the sun.
The theme to Spider-Man 2 is still the same: responsibility, which is to be expected. Responsibility is the theme and motivation behind the character of both Spider-Man and Peter Parker. However, what differs from the first film is the subthemes: moral dilemmas and mental exhaustion, and how those two things can tremendously affect our every-day life. The whole, loss of powers because of the depression thing doesn’t make a lot of scientific or biological sense, but it’s more or less a direct metaphor as to how mentality and emotions can actually disable you. So again, the backbone to the film creates a very believable representation of human nature, and Maguire does it again.
I do, however, need to mention that the worst part of the film, without a doubt, was the writing for the dialogue. “Oh boy, yeah” is just one of the examples, but there are these terrible one-liners scattered throughout the entire film in which you are forced to roll your eyes. It felt as if the writer’s pooled all of their strong acting into those long-winded speeches by, say, Aunt May or the ghost of Uncle Ben? The other negative thing I’d have to say is some people may think it’s a bit cluttered – the storylines had to do with: Spider-Man vs. Doc Ock; Harry hating Spider-Man, Mary-Jane’s engagement; Loss of powers; quitting Spider-Man, etc. So the entire film wasn’t perfect, just flawed here and there, but the story isn’t terribly cluttered, and most people won’t even care. So there’s that.
Now, the rest of the film is really impressive. The direction and the cinematography in quite a few select scenes look amazing, and will be the most memorable when thinking back to the series as a whole. Spider-Man himself is also better than ever as he gets more screen time, is more aerobatic, and has even more web tricks. The villain in this film is also more of an overall dangerous villain for the city. The Green Goblin was mostly just dangerous to Peter and those close to him. If it weren’t for Spider-Man, though, Doc Ock would have destroyed half of the city. That builds onto Spider-Man’s importance and his…well…responsibility.
Spider-Man 2 is the perfect film that encompasses Spider-Man all around. We are introduced to new characters, even more reasons to love Peter Parker, and a solid reason to stay for a third film.