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Published on June 20th, 2008 | by simeon

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Spider-Man 2

There comes a time in every young persons life where they have to make a series of decisions regarding their future. For many the pressures of finance, school, work, and ever-changing social dynamic force individuals to take a look at their values and what is important, adjusting their lives as needed.

For many this is a difficult situation that is often accomplished through trial and error marking the difficult transition into adulthood. For Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire), the added pressure of dealing with his dual identity of Spider-Man has driven him to the edge.

Since Peter spends his evenings scouring New York fighting crime, his college studies and job have become seriously neglected. With difficulties paying the bills and making it to class and work on time, Peter has become weary of his life, as Spider-Man has made it close to impossible for him to lead any semblance of normality.

Further hindering Peter’s life is his strong feelings for Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst), who he keeps at a distance to protect her from reprisals from enemies of his alter ego, though it is causing him endless emotional turmoil to do so.

Faced with losing the woman of his dreams and his lives goals, Peter decides to abandon his alter ego and live life as a normal person allowing his energies to be focused on his studies and pursuit of science.

Peter’s new found freedom is interrupted by the emergence of a new villain named Dr. Octopus (Alfred Molina), who is a brilliant scientist turned evil as a result of an experiment gone awry. The Doctor has four metallic limbs grafted to his body and is capable of amazing feats of strength and copious amounts of destruction and mayhem due to his unrestrained madness.

The cause of the good doctors wrath is to complete the experiment that disabled him and avenge the loss of his wife in the accident that created him. Towards that end, the Doctor needs an abundance of financial assets and a rare fuel source that can only be provided by his former employer Harry Osborn (James Franco). Harry is only to happy to comply as he still blames Spider-Man for the death of his father in the previous film, and promises to supply the Doctor if he delivers Spider-Man to him. The recent failure of the Doctors experiment, have pushed Norman to the edge as what was to be a shining achievement for the company has now left him reeling and looking for answers, straining his relationship with Peter and Mary Jane.

What follows is a wild ride of action, romance, drama, and comedy as the tangled web that is Peter Parker’s life unfolds and it is one wild ride.

“Spider-Man 2” is a solid film that will delight fans of the first film as well as the comic and will provide a welcome presence at the theaters this Summer from the flock of big budget disappointments that have been the norm.

Sam Raimi paces the film at a slow pace to start with and allows the action and pace of the film to unfold. The film never seems in your face as despite the intense action sequences, the film remains a character driven piece as the relationship between Peter and those he cares for are central elements to the film.

As adventure films go, “Spider-Man 2” has a very complex storyline as several mature issues are developed and explored which helps round out the characters from comic book icons to people that you actually care about.

If I had to find fault with the film, and it would be nitpicking, would be that Doctor Octopus did not stand out as menacing a threat as The Green Goblin did in the last film, as he does not embody the same level of fear and evil. That being said, Maguire is amazing as he does a great job of making Peter a realistic character by showing the audience the pain and conflict as well as the joy that Peter experiences being Spider-Man.

The special effects are amazing but never overshadow the human performance and tone of the film, as after all, this is still a story about a regular guy, with regular problems and extraordinary abilities that are part gift and part curse.

The supporting work of Franco and Dunst is solid and there chemistry amongst the leads is evident. The ending of the film sets the stage perfectly for the next chapter in the series and here is hoping that the winning formula continues as “Spider-Man 2” is not only the best comic inspired film ever made, but one of the best films of the year.

5 stars out of 5


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