It’s time for me to review the superhero sequel. Does he continue to do what a spider can? Or does he get washed down the plughole? Well, assuming you can’t see my rating at the bottom, let’s find out…
Spider-Man 2 (2004)
As great as 2002’s “Spider-Man” was, I always had the feeling that it was let down by the fact that its villain had his face hidden most of the time. Plus, he was kinda cheesy, I admit. Thank Stan Lee then, for the character of Dr. Otto Octavius or “Doc Ock” as he’s colloquially known.
The basic story follows directly on from “Spider-Man”. Harry (James Franco) wants revenge, blaming Spidey for his father’s death, M.J.’s (Kirsten Dunst) unrequited love for Peter (Tobey Maguire) starts to dwindle and Peter is finding it harder and harder to balance his normal life and his crime fighting life. Throw a great villain into the mix (Alfred Molina) and you’ve got a super sequel on your hands. It does everything a sequel should do- it continues the characters’ stories without diminishing the work the original has done whilst also taking it to darker places- and oh boy, does it get dark.
Peter is basically tortured throughout the film. Mary-Jane has moved on, Harry resents him for not telling him who Spider-Man is and to top it off, he’s losing his powers. Plus, there’s a mad scientist tear-assing around town who only Spidey can stop. (Sigh) It makes me depressed just watching it.
There are two scenes that really typify this film for me. The first is the operation scene where Doc Ock (or rather his metal tentacles) wipe out an entire room of surgeons attempting to remove them. It’s damn disturbing and brilliant at the same time. Only the director of “The Evil Dead” could pull off such a scene in a mainstream film so effortlessly (there’s even a cheeky reference to “Evil Dead II”). The second scene is the train fight where Spidey and Ock duke it out on, in and on the side of a speeding train. I really like the way a frustrated Ock grabs to innocent passengers and lobs them away carelessly. Such a bastardly thing to do- I love it!
Then there’s another fantastic Jameson scene and another hilarious Bruce Campbell cameo. The music is even better than that of the first too, with Danny Elfman adding a more complex, accomplished sound to the familiar Spidey themes. “Spider-Man 2” just does everything right. It’s the perfect sequel and definitely the best Marvel superhero film. As for all time best superhero film? It’s a tie between this and “The Dark Knight”* Yeah, it’s that good.