book movie for adults? No way!
In "Spider-Man" we got the introduction, and now we get the story -- a darker, deeper, more poignant tale that defies the boundaries of comic book movies and dares to venture into the territory of motion picture excellence.
The first "Spider-Man" was a very good movie, and one of my favorite films from 2002. It contained a sort of underlying complexity, surrounded by a simple cover that made it worthy of recommendation. The setup of Peter Parker's superhero powers was the most entertaining aspect of the movie, and its fight scenes were explosive in more ways than just one. Doc Ock was always my favorite villain from the Spider-Man franchise (closely followed, or equaled, by Venom, who is rumored to show up in the next installment), and Alfred Molina does a commendable job of portraying him. He isn't exactly how I had imagined him, but far more believable given the circumstances of his transformation. Maguire once again proves that he can handle this role and Dunst is given a larger part in the film, whereas Franco is thankfully given less screen time (although the implications of his final appearance in the movie are breathtaking).
|Now, in "Spider-Man 2," the complexity becomes even more elaborate. The film takes on a dark edge that deals with the hero behind the mask -- Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire), the human being, not Spider-Man, the invincible superhero alter ego. The action is reduced to secondary importance; the characters take first place. It studies them, their motivations; what makes them tick. The first film didn't only introduce Spider-Man, but also his friends -- now, we sit back and watch their progression unfold on screen.|
|The film picks up two years after the original. Peter Parker (Tobey
Maguire) continues his academic pursuits, whilst parading about as Spider-Man when he
finds the time. However, with his grades falling, his part-time jobs failing, his love
life crashing and his social life burning, Peter decides to abandon his alter ego persona
and develop a social life. Then "Dr. Octopus" (Alfred Molina) -- an eight-limbed
fusion of human form and robotics -- begins to terrorize the city, in the hopes of
resurrecting a science project that turned him into the "mechanical monster" he
The four extra limbs have altered the Doctor's personality, and he is no longer a friendly scientist but a deadly villain. With crime rate up 75%, Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst) marrying a famous astronaut, Harry Osborn (James Franco) planning revenge on Spider-Man, and Aunt May (Rosemary Harris) losing trust in her nephew, Peter must choose between his friends and his duties -- be Spider-Man, or Peter Parker?
|His final decision is predictable, but the film deals with
his course of actions leading up to his final decision, and adds a strong sense of
humanity and realistic struggle to a rather unrealistic story.
Some action enthusiasts might be disappointed in the lack of constant
fighting in "Spider-Man 2," and the majority of the film is indeed spent
focusing on the characters. I liked this. "Spider-Man 2" returns to the roots of
comic books, in which the characters are the focus -- not the action. I am not a comic
book fan, but one thing I have gathered over the years is that comic books do present an
extraordinary medium for character study -- comics allow people across the world to share
the trials and tribulations of the story's protagonist(s). "X-Men" was
successful because it utilized this structure of storytelling, placing unbelievable
characters in a believable world; "Spider-Man 2" is even better, one of the most
thrilling rides in years. It creates a surge of joy that I haven't experienced since the
first "Spider-Man" came out.