Spider-Man 2 (2004)

Our review of the second Sam Raimi-directed Spider-Man movie. Better than the last one…but already cracks are beginning to show in the foundation of a series that was already off to a shaky start. And it’s all downhill from here.

4 thoughts on “Spider-Man 2 (2004)”

  1. Hate mail? Not from me. I think you’ve got this movie pretty well pegged. There are just enough good scenes in Spider-Man 2 to prevent me from saying outright, “It’s a bad movie.” Alfred Molina is quite good in his non-villainous scenes, for instance. And the scene where Peter Parker’s aunt turns her back on her nephew and leaves him all alone is a memorable one. As for the rest, though…James Franco leaves the worst impression (it doesn’t help that, especially when he’s pouting and sulking, he bears a striking resemblance to Annie Skywalker of Star Wars Episodes II and III) but Peter Parker with his boundless self-pity is almost as bad.

    Also, I can’t ignore how ludicrous the science fictional elements in this story are, even on their own terms. How can anyone believe that a viable power plant could be built around the daft notion of kindling a small sun that must be continuously prodded with semi-autonomous robot arms directly attached to a technician’s spine or it’ll destroy everything? Who knew that the East River was capable of extinguishing a small sun? And I laughed aloud when I first saw this movie and learned that tritium was a small cube of metal that could be safely kept in a wall safe. (And why the hell did Harry have tritium stored there? Don’t look in his liquor cabinet, there might be an ingot of plutonium in there for no reason.)

    1. Yeah, Harry really needed a scene where he put the moves on a hot girl by complaining about sand. Before he showed off his collection of fissionable materials. The plutonium’s common enough for the lab techs to keep a’hold of, but that tritium’s a rare collector’s item! You gotta keep it in the wall safe.

      Seriously, though, I intentionally forgot to talk about Ock’s Solar Power Plant (a) to keep the review flowing and focused on the anti-character development, and (b) because it’s just…so…dumb. Four lasers mounted on pylons that look like giant, demonic fingers reverse-melting out of the floor? That create a sun? On Earth? Were we live? And keep all our stuff? That screams “mad scientist” pretty effectively, too, even without the trench coat/sunglasses ensemble. Might as well throw up your hands (all six of them) and go the full nine, build the damn thing into a Cthulhu statue.

  2. I’ve never heard anyone really give M.J. shit for this movie. Her “Face It Tiger, You’ve Just Hit The Jackpot!” scene (as muted as it is) at the end basically said to me that she had finished character arc. As for Peter, while he does have a problem with shutting people out, I read his reaction at the end of the first movie as “MJ, I’ve got way too much going on in my life to even give the proper relationship you want right now.” Besides, nearly every superhero (save for Jaime Reyes and the Fantastic Four) all have secret identities they keep from their closest friends. Would Clark Kent ever give away his identity if he didn’t have to? (Save for Superman II, of course).

    1. First off, I’m glad the reviews of this film you’ve come across are less prone to knee-jerk sexism than the ones I’ve read. That gives me some hope…

      As for Clark Kent…do we really want to bring him into this? Because I’ll tell you right now, most of my hatred for the wheel-spinning non-relationships of modern superheros stems from the vast amount of Superman comics I absorbed during my childhood. Clark did indeed came out to Lois in Action Comics #662 (February, 1991) (after proposing to her, which was completely backwards, but Roger Stern’s Clark could be a big fat fucking dork like that on occasion). The two took five more years to actually get married in order for the comics to tie-in with the then-in-its-third-seasons TV series Lois and Clark, but during those years the two managed to come up against all the problems of an upscale yuppie marriage in the 90s…on top of all the constant supervillain attacks, near-Apocalypses and standard supervillain plots that are the price for living in the DC Universe(s).

      Now, comic-book Peter and MJ tied the knot in 1987, beating Lois and Clark down isle by a full nine years. Meaning that, while Superman’s writers were still struggling with their two-person love triangle, Spider-Man’s writers were already exploring all the material that would seem new to me when I read it in the Super-books. This is how I first “met” Spider-Man and the Mary-Jane he so loves: as a mature couple, working hard to maintain a relationship against all the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune…kinda like the crazy people I meet out here in the real world. Because of this, I have even less patience for the forced drama that so plagues their movie-selves. It makes them both look like mealy-mouthed invertebrates who could really use a close friend they aren’t sexually attracted to, someone who could help them has this out. Or point out the obvious: “You’re both miserable, and you, MJ, are already getting kidnapped by every supervillain that crosses your path, Parker. You two might as well have the sex. Then maybe you could both – revolutionary thought, I know. but hear me out here, – develop as characters.”

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