REVIEW: ‘SPIDER-MAN 2’

We just got home from New York City where Conor and Ron attended an advance screening of Spider-Man 2! What did we think of it? Did we love it? Did we hate it? Did the preview trailer really indeed show too much? Click to find out!

*** No spoilers will be posted until after Wednesday 6/30 when the movie enters general release ***

Turn the clock back to May of 2002, as we walked out of the theater and onto 34th street, Ron beaming because he loved Spider-Man and Conor grumbling because he hated it. The reactions this time around were quite different. Once again, Ron thoroughly enjoyed the movie but this time, Conor was singing its praises as well. Quite the turnaround from a few years ago.

Like X2: X-Men United, Spider-Man 2 flourishes in the ability to tell a story without having to re-tell who Spider-Man is and how he got his powers. They assume you saw the first movie and simply dive right into the story. It seems that the actors, Sam Raimi, the director, and the many writers of the movie really have matured since the last one and focused on telling a quality, Spider-Man-type story.

As in the first movie, there are enough comic book geek references and nods to make any fanboy happy, as well as direct influences from the comics into both the storyline and the visuals. Once again, it really feels at times that you are watching a classic Spider-Man comic book on the the big screen.

The returning cast fell back into their roles as if they were made to act these characters. Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst excel as Peter and Mary Jane, while James Franco as Harry Osborn is still as stiff as a piece of cardboard. Despite his inability to have realistic reactions/emotions, he plays the heir to Norman Osborn well and drives a significant part of the movie. Alfred Molina was fantastic as Dr. Octopus and everyone’s favorite J. Jonah Jameson, J.K. Simmons steals the show again.

In terms of the feel of the movie, Raimi must have felt much more comfortable this time around. There was a lot more humor and light-heartedness in this one. Additionally, there was also quite a bit of the Raimi-esque, kitschy, horror-movie type moments that made you smile. Whether it was the nod to the Evil Dead franchise, or just a woman screaming straight into the camera, you could tell that Raimi and crew must have simply had fun making this. There is one sequence in particular, right in the middle of the movie that is just too bizarre for words, it just has to be seen. It’s still making me laugh, two hours later.

In discussing the movie afterwards, we were looking for the best way to sum up what we thought of it and came up with the following:

The first movie, while good, was imbalanced. It was 1/3 good and 2/3 not so good. Spider-Man 2, on the other hand, was 2/3 good and 1/3 not so good. It was by no means perfect. We threw our hands up in the air in agony/disbelief several times (those times we’ll share after you all see it), but not nearly as much as the first movie.

All in all, the movie is a blast for anyone, comic fan or not. For us comic fans though, its like an extra special blast — purely in its pages come to life way — and not in a way that makes you embarrassed to read funny books (as we suspect Catwoman might).

Oh and to answer the question above: No, the trailer didn’t give too much away. 🙂

Go see it and tell us what you think!

Comments

  1. damn you both!!!!!
    ;p

    i go tonight, i heard from someone else that it wasn’t as good as the first. but i still expect to enjoy it a lot.

    he said “Phat phat movie. Not as good as the first. A couple things I didnt like (mostly all the mushy crap) & didnt understand why they happened, but the movie was awesome. Doc Ock was cool as hell.”

    so i’ll let ya know what i think tomorrow

    punks…

  2. I wouldn’t trust anyone’s opinion who uses the word “phat” in a non-ironic fashion.

    It’s much, much better than the first one.

  3. PS – The “mushy crap” was indeed crap – in the first one. It’s handled much better this time around.

  4. Since the movie opens today…

    *** SPOILERS AHOY ***

    Don’t read any further posts if you haven’t seen the movie yet and want to go in clean.

  5. wow
    that was amazing
    definitly felt it was better than the first
    even though a few scenes made me feel like i was still watching the first one.
    Dr. Octopus was phat. i thought when he was in the hospital and his arms came to life that was kind of intense. a few kids in the theatre started crying.
    wow was this a good movie
    everyone started claping at the end when MJ said go get um tiger. i got goosebumps.
    it did seem like alot of people saw his face, even though none of them knew who he was…still. one sketch artist in the group and BAM. robbie already suspects. i kind of think ant may does too.

    so it ends and sets up for another one.
    looks like green goblin 2, the lizard maybe or man wolf. 2 of those villians have a reason to go after peter and one of the 2 has a reason to go after both peter and spiderman.

    god i hope they start shooting now and they should do them LOTR style. film like 3 in a row. that would be so great.

    J.K. Simmons definitly stole the show. he was amazing. laughed so hard every scene he was in. i didn’t remember him being that funny in the first one.

    i definitly plan on seeing it again but this time i’m gonna do it right. watch the first one and then go see the second one. guy at work says he has it on dvd. see if i can’t borrow it and watch it over and over.

    wow

  6. “Dr. Octopus was phat. i thought when he was in the hospital and his arms came to life that was kind of intense. a few kids in the theatre started crying.”

    We saw this scene at the Spider-Man 2 panel at San Diego last year. Total EVIL DEAD homage.

    “it did seem like alot of people saw his face, even though none of them knew who he was…still. one sketch artist in the group and BAM. robbie already suspects. i kind of think ant may does too”

    Robbie totally suspects and Aunt May totally knows. But the train scene… I understand that you have Tobey Maguire so you’re going to try to get his mask off as much as possible so that he can actually act, but that was just ridiculous. You’re telling me that there’ not going to be just one person on that train who doesn’t need $10,000 of the Daily Bugle’s money? Awful.

    I can’t deicide who was better in the movie, Alfred Molina or J.K. Simmons.

    Also, I disagree with Ron. I like James Franco. He’s good in the role and he’s a good actor overall.

  7. (AP) – “Spider-Man 2” took in $40.5 million in its first day, a record debut that positions the film to beat more box-office highs through the Fourth of July weekend. Paul Dergarabedian, president of box-office tracker Exhibitor Relations, said Thursday that “Spider-Man 2” could go on to shatter other debut records, including the best three-day weekend of $114.8 million for “Spider-Man.”

  8. I haven’t read any of this, but I bought my tickets to go tonight.

    eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. My only real critique is:
    Could he just keep the damn mask on? How hard is it? It’s supposed to be a SECRET identity…Geez, show some more New Yorkers your face, why don’t you?

    but then again, they are sorta modeling this after Ultimate Spider-Man, where EVERYONE knows its Peter…so that could explain it.

    James Franco is a horrible actor stretching to be as good as he actually is in Spider-Man. He was good in Freaks and Geeks only because I don’t think he was acting in that one…

  10. i’ve heard you mention these pah-null-zzzz before. i miss out on all the good stuff. don’t remember you guys talking much about it then though.

    unghhh the torture. i’ll be in san diego 4 days before the con starts this year…. i’ll smell the comics in the air. and buffy will be there this year. why do you mock me g~d…WHYYYYYYYYY

    i say out of the 2, J.K. Simmons was better. Alfred Molina was still great.

    not sure on James Franco though. he seemed forced to me, and i wasn’t buying. i can’t put my finger on why i didn’t like him. maybe just too stiff

    i bet you it beats out the first spiderman movie and brings in mucho money this weekend.

  11. SO AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Bring on the Revenge of the Green Goblin!!!!!!!!!! I like James Franco. I think he’ll be perfect as a drugged out Gobby with Dafoe cackling over his shoulder. I also think they’re ready for 2 villians. Lizard and Goblin would work. I think Venom and Goblin would be too much. Hopefully for the third one they can narrow down the focus a little. Spidey vs Goblin/Peter vs Drugged out Harry. NO other side plots. the fight scenes were amazing. no pun intended. it’s interesting to see how much the action in the first one doesn’t work in comparison to this one.

    yay!

  12. the Salon review of Spidey 2 is moronic. Normally they “get it”. This person did not.

  13. Yeah, that was the worst review I’ve seen of a movie in a long time.

  14. J.K. Simmons rules

    “How about Dr. Strange”

    “Nah, that’s taken!”

  15. Franco was awful. Laughably awful. “I’m ruined!”

    Action scenes and fights take the cake. There were some really lame bits as well. I shall let it sink in and write more tomorrow.

    I always always always forget about the children factor with movies like these. I hate children.

  16. It’s strange that the reaction for James Franco is either horrible or fantastic. Nothing in between. I thought he was great far from awful. If anyting it was the script giving him lines like: “I’m ruined” Regardless, I’m anxiously looking forward to his Goblin. If anybody was terrible it was Kirsten Dunst. Worst MJ ever. She redeemed herself in the end, but I think a pancake could have said the tiger line and I would have thought it was great.

  17. I thought it was a nice touch that Harry SLAPS (not punches) Peter at the shindig. That’s such a wussy Harry rich-boy thing to do.

  18. “That’s such a wussy Harry rich-boy thing to do.”

    Fine observation.

  19. definitely. Tt was much better than having him just haul off and pop him in the mouth.

  20. Also, slapping someone in front of a big crowd is way more humiliating for the victim than getting cold cocked.

    Franco rocked.

  21. I laughed out loud at the slapping..

    hey for a good time check out the comic adaptation of the movie. One of my earlies comic memories is of the comic adaptation of Return of the Jedi. I love how now, to meet schedules, they give the artist the script but he doesn’t see the movie – so there are subtle differences, like in the comic adaptation the owner of the Pizza place is old and fat, not fairly young and thin…its just a different interpretation…fun.

  22. Did that pizza place owner look familiar to anyone? Wait, I guess I can just go to IMBd.

    Hang on…

    Can’t figure out who he is. Mr. Aziz? He was on Oz a couple times. Sounds too old.

    Betty Brant, hot.

  23. I remember him from OZ.

    Betty Brant is indeed hot. We needed more of her.

  24. Rain drops keep falling on my head.

  25. I wanted Butch and Sundance to show up.

    Bruce. Good.

    Stan Lee, life saver.

  26. The day after the movie I felt let down and was complaining to everyone that asked me about the movie about the cheesy parts. Miles Millar took ENTIRE SCENES from Smallville (If they cut out half the episodes, it would be a good show) and threw them into spiderman. I’m sure at least one other person has seen clark kent standing on the other side of the street looking at lana lang while some other dude hugs her or kisses her. Then, a bus passes by and Kent has disappeared.

    6 Days later, i think the movie is incredible and I’m dying to see it again. Time makes you forget the bad parts.

    The thing of it is, You can tell the creators of the movie love their characters (except maybe harry) and want to see them all be happy. The film exudes that. Sam Raimi and the writers really want Peter and Mary Jane and Aunt May to be happy.

    By the way, I want to look really knowledgeable at work. What issue was that costume-in-a-garbage-can scene taken from?

  27. Amazing Spider-Man #50

    http://www.brokenfrontier.com/BFvault/columns/retroflect/archive/rfmarch29.htm

    For bonus points, it’s on page 10.

  28. ‘Spider-Man 2’ Success Astounds Director

    TOKYO – The director of the summer blockbuster “Spider-Man 2” is “flabbergasted” by the film’s record-breaking success at the box office, but Sam Raimi said Tuesday that he’s too busy writing Part Three to relax and enjoy the victory.

    The film already has outdone the original Spider Man, pulling in a record US$180 million in its first six days in North American theaters, opening just ahead of the Fourth of July holiday weekend in the United States. It is well on its way toward setting the speed record for grossing $200 million.

    “The box office is just a surprise,” said Raimi, who was in Japan ahead of the film’s opening here Saturday. “I’m flabbergasted.”

    The “Spider-Man 2” showing was well above the previous best six-day opening of $146.7 million set last year by “The Matrix Reloaded.” From Friday to Sunday, “Spider-Man 2” took in $88.3 million, missing out on the best three-day weekend record of $114.8 million held by the first “Spider-Man.”

    “Spider-Man 2” originally was scheduled to open the Friday before the Fourth of July, but the studio moved it up two days to get a jump on the holiday weekend.

    Raimi said he felt pressure to repeat the success of the original Spider Man

  29. I saw it again tonight.

    The things that I liked the first time, I really liked the second time (Molina and Simmons were sublime).

    The things I didn’t like I really didn’t like the second time (the mask always coming off).

    As we left the theater, my mom asked “Does he take his mask off all the time in the comics too?”