Monday, December 17

Spider-man 2 Review

The version played for review: Blu-Ray
Available on: DVD, Blu-Ray, 4K Disc and most online rental services
The price I paid: £8 (3 Film boxset)
Other Notes: N/A

Spider-man started the modern superhero film craze that continues well into 2018 so of course, Sony Pictures had plans for a sequel. While I love Sam Raimi as a director I felt his history with horror had him feeling mismatched for the first film. So is the fan favourite any more impressive than it’s predecessor? Will it correct any of the problems I had with the original? Let’s take a closer look at Spider-man 2 and find out.

We open up with Peter Parker once again narrating to the audience about his life and explaining that he’s Spider-man. This is a nice call back to the opening of the first film and allows us to see what has changed in the 2 years between films. Peter now lives in the city and delivers pizzas for work but due to his commitment as Spider-man, he's always running late. This leads to Peter being given one more chance which he blows. Later we learn that he is also failing his college course and is struggling to keep up with his friends Harry Osborne and Mary Jane Watson. His double life proves too hard to maintain which leads to him losing his powers. After some reflection, he gives up his life as Spider-man. While this is happening Doctor Octavius is working on his fusion reactor project. In order to help him manage this dangerous technology, he has created a set of 4 robotic arms. During a demonstration of his reactor the machine overloads and fuses these arms to Octavius permanently. Now obsessed with recreating his life’s work he uses his metal arms to steal resources for his reactor. I won’t spoil the second and third acts of the film as they are rather interesting but this is the basic set up for the plot.

If we focus on Peter’s story of struggling with his duel life and ultimately giving up as Spider-man then we can see a few problems I have. You see Spider-man 2 wastes a lot of time retreading the same ground covered during the first film. Ultimately Peter struggling with and then losing his powers represents him not living up to their obligation. Then when he gets them back it’s him learning once again ‘with great power comes great responsibility’. I see what Sam Raimi was trying to do with having Peter doubt himself. Sadly, in reality, this doesn’t work because Peter ends this film more or less at the same place he ended the last one. On the other hand, Mary Jane, Aunt May and Harry Osborne all change a lot. Each of them learning new information and changing their personality, alliances and motivation along with this. In a strange way, Peter is the only person to not grow from the events that take place. Saying that I do love the supporting cast with Aunt May being a personal favourite of mine. The events of the final film are set up very well here and this helps Spider-man 2 feel like it’s more than just a disconnected story. These characters feel very much like they’re part of something bigger.

Let’s move on and look at the tone of this film seeing as this was one of my biggest issues with the first one. Sam Raimi is most well known for the amazing Evil Dead series. I love these films with their very strange and often camp style. The way he is able to blend the power fantasy of an action film with the gore and monsters of a horror is brilliant. No matter how impressive this is the matter of the fact is that this is not what Spider-man is about. Allowing Sam Raimi to make a Spider-man film just mixes up these two very different styles. Don’t get me wrong the campness works for Spidey but Raimi’s urge to frame everything like a horror just doesn’t. A good example of what I mean is the scene where Oct Doc breaks out of the hospital. We have a woman scratching strips out of the floor with her nails as she is pulled into the darkness by an arm. You can see Raimi’s iconic horror style and how it feels so out of place in a Spider-man film. It’s not like it’s one or two moments as well as these scenes show up throughout the film. As it’s own thing I kinda love it but as a Spider-man film, it feels wrong. Sadly this is the single biggest problem with Spider-man 2.

I’ve said a lot of negative things about the film so far but it’s not bad and does do a few things really well. One of these things is the action. Although not perfect the special effects really help to sell the speed and power of both Spider-man and Doctor Octopus. This can be seen to it’s fullest effect during the fight scene on the clock tower and then the train. Each punch really feeling like it connects. Then you have Raimi’s interesting use of camera placement and shooting style that really sells how fast and agile Spider-man is. We also have slower moments with Doc Ock talking to his arms. The tiny actions and jesters they are able to make really help sell them as real. These slower moments really do bring the Doc Ock I remember from the comics to life. You also have the fact that Spider-man 2 may have some of the best Spider-man action scenes ever put to film in it.

While I will admit I don’t think this film is as fantastic as people seem to remember it being it’s still a lot of fun. I just think that Sam Raimi was the wrong choice for the director as he has a style that clashes with the style of Spider-man. But then you have the jaw-dropping action and softer more subtle moments with Doctor Octopus trying to reason with the AI of his robotic limbs. If you’re a fan of superheroes or Spider-man himself then this is very much worth watching. Just expect a few odd scenes of campy action horror now and again.

Recommendation Rating: 8 out of 10.

1 comment:

  1. Spider-man 2 is a movie that has been mentioned in my house many times. Thats because my two sons are constantly talking about it. They love the action, special effects, and of course the humor that comes with this film. We recently had an opportunity to go to website to hire writers for our help. And we were pretty excited when it arrived because they were already so familiar with this movie.