Science fiction and fantasy                                            

Spider-Man 2

a Sam Raimi film

Spider-Man 2 poster  
In the second installment of the Spider-Man films, Peter Parker is buckling under the pressures of work, lack of money, study, and having a life, as well as crime-fighting as Spider-Man. Leading a double life isn't leaving him time to live even half of one. He's still in love with Mary Jane, who is disappointed in him for failing to go and watch her in her play. She has made it as an actress, whereas Peter appears to the rest of the world to be a lazy, unreliable and poor student.

Dr Otto Octavius is on the verge of discovering an unlimited fuel source, which involves creating miniature suns in the lab. These he controls with four robotics arms that are strapped to his body and connected directly to his brain. The arms require an inhibitor chip to keep them under control. Health and safety, never mind a microbe of common sense, just doesn't figure in movies like this. Needless to say everything blows up, people die, and the already unstable Doc Ock blames Spider-Man for all his troubles.

The battle with Doctor Octopus is something of a side issue, taking up little screen time. He's really just another villain in an odd costume. Thanks to him there are the set-piece battles and slick action sequences, but the depth of this movie lies elsewhere.

Harry Osbourne is still obsessing over Spider-Man, who he believes killed his father. He resents Peter for not revealing Spider-Man's identity to him, and he is becoming a very bitter man. The story with Harry is clearly setting things up for subsequent films.

But the main thread running through this movie is the conflict between Peter's responsibilities as Spider-Man and his love for Mary Jane. He feels that he can't have both, and considers giving up his crime-fighting secret identity. Taking the sexual metaphor of his spider powers a little further (all that shooting sticky webs from his wrists, you get the picture), he experiences performance anxiety and loses his abilities. It seems as though he is about to lose the woman he loves to another, without being able to tell her how he feels or why he can't be with her.

This film is more touchy-feely than most action blockbusters. Spider-Man is young and vulnerable, coming up against real-life problems such as paying the rent as well as engaging in heroics. He's a more human kind of superhero, portrayed with more than a touch of humour. Tobey Maguire continues to prove that he was an excellent choice for the role of this unassuming character. Spider-Man 2 will please anyone who likes a bit of romance and humour to go along with the lycra and swinging from tall buildings, and it's a worthy sequel to Spider-Man.

Film Details

Year: 2004

Categories: Films

  Science fiction

Classification: 12

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4 star rating

Review © Ros Jackson
Read more about Sam Raimi

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