Friday, July 16, 2004

Movie Review(Spider-Man 2)...

Spider-Man 2

Set two years on from the events of the first film, Spider-Man 2 focuses on Peter Parker’s (Tobey Maguire) struggle to cope with his dual identity. Simultaneously a gift and a curse, he is reminded that with great power, comes great responsibility. Desperately trying to balance his time between crime fighting and living a normal teenage life, Peter finds that his relationships with all those close to him are in danger of imploding. Harry Osborn’s (James Franco) growing hatred of Spider-Man, whom he blames for the death of his father, takes its toll on Peter. The love of his life, Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst) has found a new boyfriend in the form of John Jameson, astronaut and son of Parker’s boss Jonah. Even Peter's beloved Aunt May (Rosemary Harris) has fallen on hard times, unable to meet her mortgage repayments after the death of Uncle Ben.

Cult director Sam Raimi (Evil Dead Trilogy), improves upon the first film in almost every way. First time around, Raimi was under huge pressure to deliver a competent film, which had to satisfy the generations of fans the character had acquired since his first appearance in Marvel comics’ Amazing Fantasy #15 in 1963. Raimi has clearly gained confidence from both the critical and record breaking financial successes of film one. Undoubtedly allowed more freedom by the studio and with a whopping rumoured budget in excess of $200 million, Raimi has delivered a fantastic film. Although focusing more on characterisation and story development than would be traditionally expected from a comic book movie, the visuals are nothing short of stunning. Along with Raimi, veteran visual effects supervisor John Dykstra (Star Wars), has crafted the most exciting action set piece of the year in the form of an exhilarating clock tower/train top fight sequence.

Tobey Maguire delivers a subtle performance as Peter Parker, convincingly conveying the range of emotions with which the young photographer is forced to struggle. The standout performance here though is Alfred Molina (Frida, Identity) as Doctor Otto Octavious, a scientist working on an infinitely renewable energy source, and one of Peter Parkers idols. Hamming it up when required, but also portraying the conflicted nature of ‘Doc Ock’, Molina provides a far more effective and entertaining villain than Willem Dafoe’s ‘Green Goblin’ of film one. Kirsten Dunst is respectable enough as M.J., while J.K. Simmons steals every scene he’s in as Peter’s hilarious boss at the Daily Bugle. Spider-Man 2 is the best summer movie of 2004. Highly recommended.

4 out of 5