Spider-Man 2 (2004)

Was flipping through Roku TV last night and I came across Sam Raimi’s classic Spider-Man. This was my favorite super hero movie for quite awhile (until the recent expansion of the MCU). I love Spider-Man and this felt like the most iconic version of the Web-Head.

Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) is struggling through his life, trying to make way with his lack of money, classwork and relationships, all the while hoping to continue his alternate life as the Web-Swinger. However, when a lab accident turned mild manners scientist Otto Octavius (Alfred Molina) into the psychotic, metallic armed Doctor Octopus, Peter has to battle him to save the city.

Alfred Molina’s Doc Ock is nearly perfect. The film took the character and gave a bit of a twist to him with the arms being somewhat sentient and mentally suggesting, if not controlling Octavius. It allows Doc Ock to have a moment of clarity at the end of the film which helped the story and resolution (making if different than Raimi’s previous Spider-Man movie).

I don’t know if it is because of how much I like Tom Holland, but Tobey Maguire felt more miscast in the role of Peter Parker than I had ever felt before. Maybe it was the age thing, with Maguire being older than he was playing. He was fine as Peter, but there was just something about him that bugged me with this viewing.

Kirsten Dunst as Mary Jane Watson also did not feel as perfect as it did back when I first saw this movie. I mean, she does not ruin anything for me, but she would not be my prime choice for MJ despite her undeniable beauty.

Spider-Man 2 has what is arguably one of the greatest sequences in comic book movie history. The Spidey-Doc Ock train fight is as good as it gets. It perfectly encapsulated everything good about the character of Spider-Man and how he relates to the people of New York. His never say die attitude and his determination to save the people on the train under any circumstances is astounding. Then, the reaction of the people on the train to their savior was iconic. Tears were in my eyes when that kid said, “We won’t tell nobody” about Spidey’s mask being off. So much emotion being shown by the people involved… it is truly one of the best scenes in any super hero movie.

The film is based on the iconic comic book run of “Spider-Man No More” starting in Amazing Spider-Man #50.

We see more of Peter Parker and what makes him tick in this movie. We see the relationship between Peter and Mary Jane, between Peter and his Aunt May (Rosemary Harris) and Peter and Harry (James Franco). Putting Octavius as a scientific inspiration to Peter was smart as well, because it gives them a deeper connection than just hero-villain.

There are all kinds of Sam Raimi flares scattered about the the movie. His flavor is unmistakable and tehre are scenes that are pulled directly out of previous Raimi work. The scene in the operating room where Doc Ock’s tentacles first come to life is a perfect example of Sam Raimi’s style. I am anxious to see how Sam Raimi’s style translates into the MCU with Dr. Strange and the Multiverse of Madness.

Of course there is also perhaps the greatest bit of casting in comic book movie history is here as well as J.K. Simmons reprised his role as J. Jonah Jameson, publisher of the Daily Bugle. Simmons steals every scene he is in and is completely tremendous as JJJ. You can’t talk about the original Spider-Man trilogy without mentioning J.K. Simmons.

Spider-Man 2 has the feel of a comic book come to life. The fantasy of the hero swinging through the city, sacrificing for the unknown is powerful. I have heard some criticism that this film does not hold up, but I would disagree whole-heartedly. This is still one of the best Spider-Man movies of all time and it laid the groundwork for what the character could possibly be on the big screen.

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