§ July 2nd, 2004 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off on

Okay, so that Spider-Man 2 movie…I’m warnin’ you now, I will be making mention of elements of the movie that you may not want to know beforehand. So, if you don’t want to know that Venom (John Goodman) and Will O’ The Wisp (Eddie Murphy) team up to defeat Spidey (Kirk Cameron, replacing Tobey Maguire), then for God’s sake, skip this entry.

Look, I’ll even put SPOILER WARNING in bold letters right here:


There, now you have only yourselves to blame.

Now, this isn’t a real Roger Ebert-style review or anything…that would require “effort” and would be too much like “work,” and I’m too “lazy” to put together anything like that right now. So, here are a bunch of observations about the film slapped together in no particular order:

  • First off, this film is quite a bit better than the first one…the CGI effects are much less dodgy, the film flows a lot better, and there are no real draggy parts. It’s also a funnier film, which is nice…sometimes superhero movies are so determined to be taken seriously that they forget it’s okay to be funny once in a while.

  • What I particularly liked was the emphasis on just how screwed up Peter Parker’s life is, with his double-life as Spider-Man being primarily to blame. One of the main components of the comics is that being Spider-Man is simultaneously a burden and a release for Peter, which the movie does a good job of expressing.

  • Another nice feature of this movie is that there is some forward motion in the relationships of the characters…while “status quo — SUCCESSFULLY MAINTAINED!” (as pal Dorian likes to say) is the name of the game in the Marvel comics themselves, it’s nice to see the films not do the same — even if all they’re doing is following (kinda sorta) the plotlines in the comics.

  • Tobey Maguire is up to two emotions for this film, rather than the one that he had in the first. He can now do “weepy sadness” and “angry determination.” Well, maybe he can do three emotions, but I’m not committing until I figure out just what the heck he’s supposed to be feeling here:

  • Okay, so Harry is pushing Octavius’s work in the fusion field as a way to make a huge fortune (and Noble Prizes) for the company. Um…Doc Ock has four mechanical arms with sophisticated artificial intelligence that network directly with a human nervous system. Screw the fusion nonsense…market that!

  • If you have a problem with the idea that the arms’ artificial intelligence was controlling Doc Ock, I think you can make an argument that it was just a delusion of D.O.’s, transferring blame for his actions onto this…um…extremities, and not literally what was happening.

  • It came as a bit of a surprise that, in movie time as in real world time, two years have passed. Not much to say about that…just thought I’d note it.

  • Remember that part near the end of the first film, right as Green Goblin is about to be stuck right through the breadbasket by his own rocket sled? There’s that split-second close-up of Willem Dafoe saying “oh!” just before his perforation. At that point I thought to myself, “okay, I’m watching a Sam Raimi film.” Something similar happens in this movie, in a short and peculiar sequence near the middle, where I again suddenly think to myself, “okay, Sam Raimi is in charge of this film.” You’ll know which sequence it is…it’s the one with the last song you ever expected to hear in a superhero film.

  • By all rights, every single person in New York City should know that Spider-Man is Peter Parker by now. Why does he even have a mask? On the other hand, I did like the sequence with a maskless Peter facing a crowd of New Yorkers…yes, yes, in the real world every single one of those people would hightail it to the nearest tabloid with a story, but their reaction to Spidey did give the character (and the film) a slight mythic quality.

  • I did mention that I might have some spoilers in this little list of notes, didn’t I?

  • What did I want more of in the first film, and what did I get in the second? That’s right…J. Jonah Jameson. He’s a real scene stealer, and lots of fun. Alfred Molina is darn good as Doc Ock as well.

  • For just a brief moment, it almost looked as if Robbie Robertson (when he was holding the Spider-Man mask) was going to be a plot point instead of just window dressing for Jameson’s office antics. Alas, ’twas not to be.

  • I’m not sure I buy the whole reasoning behind Spidey’s intermittent powers. Because he’s insecure, he can no longer spurt stuff out of his body? And I’m not supposed to read anything into that?

  • By the way, this is yet another Big Hollywood Blockbuster Film in which the Good Guy wins by blowing something up that the Bad Guy owns (which I’ve discussed before). Okay, maybe Spidey doesn’t literally blow it up, but it is big, and it does get destroyed, and thus the Good Guy wins. I’m willing to let it go this time, though, since there’s a little more emotional depth to it than is usual for blockbuster action movies. And by “a little,” I mean, “very very little.” But some, at least.

  • Okay, show of hands…who thought “hey, Aunt May knows darn good and well that Peter is Spidey” during her little pep talk to him outside her house?

  • I know it looks like they blatantly set up the villain for the sequel here, but really, if it’s not Venom in the next movie, they’re really going to be pushing the patience of the kids in the audience. (And my girlfriend’s patience, for that matter.) Of course, if they do both Venom and the aforementioned set-up villain, then they’ll be getting into Batman movie sequel too-many-villains territory, and I don’t think they’re gonna want to kill the golden goose like that.


Well, if you read any of that and you haven’t seen the movie, and do plan on seeing the movie…hey, I warned you. At least don’t tell any of your friends about the surprise cameo by Madame Web (Bea Arthur).

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