Ebert:1/2 Rolling Stone: TV Guide:1/2
Spiderman 2 (2004)
Warning, minor plot points revealed!
The first summer blockbuster of the year 2002 is Spiderman. Even if you never read the comics or watched The Electric Company this movie has all the elements of a prefect super hero film. I went into this movie with huge, completely unrealistic expectations and I was not disappointed in the least. It was everything I hoped it would be and more!
Spiderman tells the origin story of it's hero Peter Parker. As I'm sure you know, orphaned nerd Peter is raised by his aunt and uncle, bitten by a genetically enhanced spider on a high school field trip, endowed with super powers from the bite, in love with Mary Jane Watson, unsure what to do with newly acquired super powers, given direction by tragedy, and eventually becomes the protector of the people...Spiderman.
Tobey Maguire was the perfect choice for Peter Parker. He has a quiet intelligence that keeps your attention completely focused. As in The Cider House Rules, Pleasantville, Wonderboys, and The Ice Storm he really makes you care about the character he's playing. Willem Dafoe, Green Goblin/Norman Osborn, is a great and sometimes sympathetic villain. Kirsten Dunst is sexy and vulnerable as Mary Jane Watson. And the rest of the supporting cast are all splendid in their roles. I especially liked that J.K. Simmons (Dr. Skoda on Law & Order) as Daily Bugle editor J. Jonah Jameson actually looked just like the guy in the comic books.
The special effects in this film are crazy-cool! They have captured exactly the way comic geeks everywhere have imagined Spidey's movement. The blending of live action, stunt man stand-ins, and CGI is flawless. The action has some rapid edits, as we see more and more in the post-Matrix world, but we also get to see wide angle sustained shots with Spiderman wildly swinging his way down the street chasing people. Its the slightly out of control acrobatics that add to the excitement of the action sequences. I can't even really explain how much fun it was to watch this movie!
Many comic nerds were upset that they chose to make the webbing a biological mutation as opposed to the artificially produced variety seen in the books, but I think this is just senseless nitpicking. Its way cooler this way nerds! Just deal with it!
If I were to complain about anything it would be that the movie eventually ended. As with all movies that I really enjoy, I just never wanted it to be over. Hopefully the DVD will have all sorts of extra stuff that had to be cut for time. Spiderman is a perfect movie and I'm sure I'll be watching it many times again in the years to come.
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