OFC title

Spider-Man 2

Directed by Sam Raimi

 Spiderman Spider-Man 2 combines all of the strong points of the original Spider-Man movie with an even more interesting villain -- one fine Dr. Otto Octavius (played with just the right flair by Alfred Molina). The decision to a cast summer action film with the quiet, thoughtful Tobey Maguire in the lead and to present Spider-Man as having a vulnerable, self-doubting human side not only made these movies great but - combined with the astronomical box office success of both - will influence how youth-oriented movies will be made for years to come. This departure from the usual formula-driven archetype for action heroes should secure financing for films with thought-provoking, humanized characters like Tobey Maguire's Peter Parker/Spider-Man. Spider-Man 2 is also very well executed in every technical sense: special effects, editing, cinematography, and production design.

Doc OckI can't heap too much praise on Alfred Molina's Dr. Otto Octavius (Doc Ock for short) - a mad nuclear physicist trying to build a next-generation nuclear power plant. This character is a classic comic villain - a perfect balance is struck between making him funny (the huge mechanical arms attached to his body) and keeping him at least a little scary since he is supposed to terrorize NYC. The film makers resisted the temptation to make him a purely evil, greedy, power-hungry type - Doc Ock is a mad scientist that reminds me of some of the old sci-fi movies of the 1950s and 1960s - not totally evil but just insane and obsessed with his work. I even loved the way he moved - walking and climbing with the mechanical arms. My only regret is that the filmmakers didn't give him even more screen time. It would have been a worthwhile tradeoff to cut some of the human drama (the scenes concerning Peter Parker's back story - the death of his uncle and Aunt May's financial troubles - they were good but, given the choice, I would go with more Doc Ock) in favor of a more detailed development of Doc Ock's background, experiments and plans.

Train FightThe fight scenes between Spider-Man and Doc Ock are pure summer-movie fun - very impressive visually but not so graphic that small children should avoid the film. The fight scene on an above-ground train (ok, ok -- so New York hasn't had one of those train tracks in years) was my favorite - I got a very strong sense of movement just sitting in the second row looking up at the big screen. I also like what they did with the romantic angle - Peter Parker and Mary Jane (Kirsten Dunst) - they have a passionate but frustrated and troubled relationship because of Peter's alter ego- you really don't know if they ever will get together. I would have made the film a little more sci-fi and cut some of the chatty drama - but as is, this is a great movie and definitely one to see one the big screen for full impact.

Images are copyright Sony Pictures.

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