Spiderman 2




Sony Pictures Classics presents a film directed by Sam Raimi. Produced by Avi Arad and Laura Ziskin. Written by Michael Chabon, Miles Millar, Alfred Gough and Alvin Sargent. Based on the comic book by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. Running time: 125 minutes. Rated PG-13 (for stylized action violence).

This is one of the great comic book movies. I am a very picky person when it comes to comic book movies. I’m picky period. The only comic book movies to really achieve their full potential are Superman 1 and 2, Batman and Batman Returns and Unbreakable. While I did enjoy the X-Men films, they were by no means great. They were cheesy and unimaginative and lacking in style. As for the Hulk, they got his skin color right and the editing was creative but the rest of the film just sucked.


Spiderman 2 got it right on every level. The special effects no longer look like temporary computer graphics, but the final product. The story is a lot more exciting, proving that you can never have too much conflict. It just makes for a more entertaining film. Peter’s getting his ass kicked in school, at work, his powers are disappearing and the love of his life is getting married. Not to mention that Doctor Octopus is threatening to blow up the city. There are several sequences that pile on the tragedy of Peter’s life so overbearingly sufferable that you just feel for him that much more.


As for style, Sam Raimi is indeed the right man for these films. I was originally of the opinion that Tim Burton should direct any and all comic book films based on how well his Batman films turned out. Raimi’s roots in horror bring some great moments, of actual terror in this movie, that are blaringly reminiscent of his Evil Dead series. There are other several unexpected moments of greatness involving a montage where Peter has given up being Spiderman and is getting his life and shit together. The moment is such an over the top bit of cinema happiness even the most oblivious filmgoer can tell that impending doom is just around the corner.


I can’t say enough good things about this film. Only that Raimi got it right. How did he get it right? Well, the script obviously modeled itself after the brilliant Superman 2, from the opening recapping of the first film to our hero giving up his super alter ego for the woman he loves. Copying perfect film structure isn’t the only thing going for this film. Tobey and Kirsten are perfect in their roles as well is Alfred Molina, the evil yet compassionate Doc Ock. The music from Danny Elfman is soaring and stirring and creepy and, for those of you who pay attention to these kinds of things, uses reoccurring themes from the original that create a great sense of unity between the two films and it’s characters and emotions.


I haven’t said much about the first Spiderman because when it came out I was a little disappointed. It was entertaining, but on the same level as X-Men, just not completely realized. I’ve watched it again and sure enough it plays a lot better having now seen where the characters end up in Spiderman 2. This is the action movie of the summer even for those of you who don’t like summer movies. This one is too much fun and if you don’t like it you are obviously just stupid.
Here’s kind of an afterthought. I’ve recently noticed in Spiderman 2 and The Chronicals of Riddick the hero of each removing an article of clothing from his face. Be it his mask or his protective goggles. The removal of each particular item should be dramatic. Like Batman Returns, when Batman tears off his mask, in an effort to calm the Catwoman. It’s a powerful and dramatic moment that plays to each character’s theme. In Spiderman 2 Peter Parker takes off his mask several times, including a time in the middle of an action scene when he’s stopping the train. I heard someone say that seeing Parker’s face in all of its anguish, trying to stop the train, was important. Sorry, it didn’t work. As for Riddick, he just couldn’t leave the goggles on. It seemed like more of an annoyance for the bulky Vin Deisel rather than a dramatic decision. I was remembering the moment when John Belushi removed his glasses in the Blues Brothers in order to calm the destructive Carrie Fisher. It’s another powerful character moment that is completely unexpected and when you see Belushi’s baby blue eyes you’re completely won over. This is just a note to comic book movie makers. Keep the mask/glasses on. Constantly removing them only makes the hero and alter ego appear as one and in this context I think we’re supposed to see the struggle in the characters duality, not the abscence of duality.


~ by fumikaelson on July 22, 2004.

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