Thursday, July 5, 2012

Spider-Man 2 (2004) - Review

The second installment of a trilogy is often considered the best; at the very least, it's usually a worthy contender when pitted against the original.  Spider-Man 2 is pretty widely regarded as one of the best superhero movies of all time.  And... strangely enough, it's my least favorite in the trilogy.  Before you shout contrarian, let me explain.

While I do have reasons, it mostly comes down to preference.  I definitely see why people would consider this one the best; it's definitely the darkest in terms of tone, despite ratcheting up the cheesiness in some portions.  That stark, musicless scene in which Doc Ock murders all the doctors is pretty chilling; it wouldn't feel out of place in the first Evil Dead flick.  In fact, Alfred Molina as Doc Ock does a great job all around, even if many of the silly moments stem from him (like the melodramatic shouting "Noooooo!" into the sky, for instance).

It's also probably the deepest in terms of characterization.  Pete goes through a lot of inner turmoil, including the decision to give up being Spidey, and ultimately realizing that he must carry on.  It's a fantastic movie.  Tobey Maguire gives another incredible performance, managing to make Peter Parker vulnerable without making him cloying or whiny.  It's a very natural continuation of the Pete/Spidey character, and it flows very well.  The movie is also loaded with this quirky little moments here and there, like the Hal Sparks elevator scene, the Joel McHale bank scene, and of course, the requisite Bruce Campbell cameo.  The comedy feels less natural in this movie, but it's still pretty funny at times.  My personal favorite is Emily Deschanel with the cheesy New Yorker accent: "Ya late, I'm not payin' fa those".

The only problem I have with it is the pacing.  While it's consistently entertaining the entire way through, the structure seems a bit off.  The movie tends to drag ever so slightly towards the middle of the movie, and then overcompensate by rushing things at the end.  All things considered, it's a relatively small point, but it does lead to a movie whose first half is far more enjoyable than its second half.  Despite the nitpicks, though, it's still a classic worthy of any film fan's collection.

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