|Spider-Man 2 (2004)
Starring: Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, Alfred Molina, James Franco
Director: Sam Raimi
Check out where it ranked on our list of the Best 15 Film Sequels.
The web-slinger’s second big-screen adventure delves into the mind of the man behind the mask, Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire), a train wreck of a young adult whose constant balancing act between saving the day and maintaining a normal life has dampened his spirits, grades and any chance he once had with Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst). Fanatical about getting revenge against Spider-Man for killing his father, Peter’s best friend Harry (James Franco) is now in charge of Oscorp and is financing the research of a new scientist, Dr. Otto Octavius (Alfred Molina).
But when his latest project goes horribly wrong, Octavius finds himself confined to a set of four robotic arms and feverishly commits himself to the life of a criminal in order to rebuild his shattered dream. Peter, meanwhile, begins to lose his special powers and, in turn, contemplates his role as the city’s savior. Now, without Spider-Man to save the day, the newly-born “Doc Ock” ravages the streets of NYC.
“Spider-Man 2” is one of those rare sequels that won’t disappoint fans of the comic book series of the original film. The movie’s special effects will absolutely blow your mind while the script continues to invest in its characters - a quality rarely found in summer blockbusters. Maguire and Dunst play the perfect couple, and James Franco brings a new layer of sophistication to the underdeveloped, rich brat from the original, but it’s the film’s villain that steals the show once again. Taking key pointers from Willem Dafoe’s sinfully delightful portrayal of the Green Goblin, Molina shines as an equally wicked (but compassionate) villain whose love for science has poisoned his outlook on mankind.
“Spider-Man 2” succeeds as a film precisely because it doesn’t follow Hollywood’s unfortunate theory that every sequel should spend more time wowing the audience with action rather than offering them a compelling story. Because of this, “Spider-Man 2” is not what you expect from the typical summer blockbuster, but you’ll still eat it up like a bag of popcorn.
Spider-Man 2.1 DVD Review:
We already know that Sony is a double-dipping son of a gun, but this is just getting out of hand. Why in the world do we need an extended version of “Spider-Man 2” when the theatrical cut was already near-flawless? The answer is, we don’t, but with the next installment of the popular series less than a month away, it’s the perfect time to cash in on all those diehard fanboys would want a piece of everything Spider-Man.
The extended cut of the film isn’t much different (8 additional minutes have been added in all, with most of the new footage merely added bits to preexisting scenes), but the real zinger is in the special features department. The highlight of the disc is an audio commentary by producer Laura Ziskin and writer Alvin Sargent (two people who are so clueless that they can’t even agree on simple topics like whether the latter read many “Spider-Man” comics before shooting the film), and a “Spidey Sense 2.1” trivia track with integrated video pop-ups. The second disc of the set includes a short featurette (“Inside 2.1”) discussing the differences in the new cut, two featurettes (“With Great Effort Comes Great Recognition,” “VFX Breakdowns”) on the special effects guys, and quick spotlight on composer Danny Elfman.
None of these are even worth considering trading your old DVD in for – not even the “Spider-Man 3” sneak peak, which runs just under three minutes and features footage that any true fan has already seen several times. Plus, who cares about a sneak peak of a movie that you’re going to see in two weeks anyways?