Spider-Man 2 (2004) starring Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, James Franco, Alfred Molina, Rosemary Harris, J.K. Simmons, Donna Murphy, Bill Nunn directed by Sam Raimi Movie Review

Spider-Man 2 (2004)   4/54/54/54/54/5

Tobey Maguire in Spider-Man 2 (2004)

Spidey Suffers Doc Ock Shock

So following on from the success of "Spider-Man" we got the inevitable sequel "Spider-Man 2" and what a sequel it is. New villains, romance, comedy, self loathing, old baddies, drama, action, special effects it really does cover almost every base going. And what is more shocking is that it works, director Sam Raimi builds a movie which develops and grows to be a rollercoaster ride of entertainment that gives everyone at least something to enjoy.

Two years since he transformed himself into Spider-Man and Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire - Seabiscuit) is still struggling to balance his dual life. He still loves Mary Jane (Kirsten Dunst - Wimbledon), but because of his secret he keeps on letting her down and as such she is moving on with her life. Best friend Harry (James Franco - Pineapple Express) blames Spider-Man for his father's death and so things are strained between them. And as such Peter is having doubts to whether he still wants to be Spider-Man. If that wasn't enough his hero, scientist Dr. Otto Octavius (Alfred Molina - Chocolat) is involved in a serious scientific accident turning him into the evil Doc Ock.

Alfred Molina in Spider-Man 2 (2004)

Where do you start when it comes to the storyline to "Spider-Man 2" because there is a lot of storyline going on. Firstly it builds on what we already know, it develops the characters so that it feels almost like a continuation. Things which occurred in the first "Spider-Man" have a knock on effect as to what happens this time around and it makes it like the next chapter in the life of Spider-Man. But then it builds upon this as relations between Peter Parker, Mary Jane and Harry Osborn have changed giving it extra storylines, a romance and a case of revenge.

All of which is great because it gives you that continuation of the whole Spider-Man story but then we get even more. We get Peter Parker's almost self loathing at what his life has become because of his choices which leads to decisions to be made about whether he stays as Spider-Man. And to add to this we have the expected new baddie in Dr. Otto Octavius/ Doc Ock who thanks to a bodged experiment turns from good to bad.

As you can see there is a lot going on and in lesser hands it could have ended up messy with each storyline competing for screen time. But Sam Raimi balances it all so each storyline has it's moment and more importantly creates a natural flow to them so that say when Peter Parker is deciding on his future as a hero it leads into the relationship with Mary Jane. It's cleverly done and creates a movie which delivers something for everyone such as drama, action, romance and even comedy.

Talking of which one of the joys of "Spider-man 2" is that it doesn't mind poking fun at itself. It delivers moments which are genuinely funny and it doesn't have to be big moments either, but something as stupid as Aunt May kicking the wrong leg under the desk at the bank. But rather than making a complete mockery of being a super hero movie these lighter moments add a different flavour, making it light hearted where it needs to be but allowing the more dramatic side of things to take hold where it's right.

And then there is the whole action/ special effects side of things and "Spider-Man 2" most certainly throws a lot of action sequences at you both small and large. The action is as you would expect quite brilliant with Spider-Man stopping cars in mid flight, swinging from building to building and so on. And as such there are some truly spectacular special effects scenes especially those which revolve around the failed experiment which turned Octavius into Doc Ock. But at the same time there are some which border on the slightly shaky, where the CGI effect shows up as being false. But they are minor moments in what otherwise is a movie jam packed of stunning action and effects.

Plus there are the performances and we have Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst and James Franco all returning and building up their characters with solid performances. Of course Tobey Maguire is central to everything and with "Spider-Man 2" he firmly cements himself as the perfect Peter Parker/ Spiderman slightly geeky but with that hero side to him. It's the fact that Maguire can play both the comedy side of the character and the serious so well that makes it such a great performance seamlessly blending the two different elements. Also returning is J.K. Simmons who as J. Jonah Jameson the editor of the paper and hater of Spider-Man delivers such a great character that he almost steals the movie from everyone else.

And then of course we have a new baddie in Dr. Otto Octavius aka Doc Ock played by Alfred Molina who it has to be said wouldn't have been my immediate choice to play a villain. But having said that he does it so well playing both sides of the character brilliantly, from the genius scientist through to the deranged baddie. And with the aid of the impressive CGI limbs is most certainly a menacing figure. Although there are times when the CGI let him down making powerful scenes a little weak because they look false.

What this all boils down to is that "Spider-Man 2" is for the most a perfect sequel. It gives us something new but then builds upon what we already know and as such feels like a continuation of the "Spider-Man" story. It does have some issues most notably the occasional shaky CGI effect but the fact that there is so much going on hides such weaknesses and most importantly keeps you entertained for it's entire duration.