Eight-Legged Freaks

When we last left our spandex-clad hero, he had just walked away from Norman Osbourne’s funeral and a shot at the girl he loved. Thanks to some brilliant artwork by Alex Ross that scrolls behind the opening credits, we are reminded of these and other events of the first chapter in Spidey’s saga.

We open up to find out that Peter Parker is trying to balance school, a lucrative pizza delivery career, friends and being the local vigilante with no success. He loses his job, finds out that he’s close to failing, and realizes that he’s just not able to be counted on when it comes to Harry and M.J.

The only thing that keeps him afloat is his freelance job selling photos of Spider-Man to J. Jonah Jameson, once again superbly played by J.K. Simmons. This part-time gig annoys the crap out of young Harry, who is now running OsCorp since his father’s death at Spidey’s hands.

Harry remains obsessed with the web slinger, and constantly needles Peter for info on him, but finally lets it go long enough to introduce Peter to one of his heroes, fusion expert Dr. Otto Octavius.

Octavius is to be OsCorp’s savior, with a new four-armed machine that attaches to the spine and is controlled by the mind. As it is with every Spider-villain, something goes wrong, stuff blows up and bang, instant bad guy. This sets us up for the ultimate eight- legged duel, spider vs. octopus.

Spider-Man 2 was a bit slower at points than its predecessor, but I think the filmmakers were bold in taking the movie in this direction. It’s really important to develop a character, and unlike some other action movies, this amazing sequel takes the time to do so.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that there is a lack of action. In fact, I found this film to be far more violent than the first, and the action scenes were much better. The CGI Spidey was more realistic and less rubbery than in the first film, and Doc Ock’s arms were created perfectly.

To be honest, I was just as drawn in by cast performances. James Franco was convincing, Alfred Molina was perfect casting, and while Kirsten Dunst gave her usual so-so performance, Tobey Maguire didn’t let it slow him down a bit.

There were also several great cameos of note. The mighty Bruce Campbell popped in as an usher who takes his job way too seriously. Hal Sparks has a scene with Spidey that will make you wet yourself laughing. Donnel Rawlings, a Chappelle’s Show regular, pops in, along with Molly Cheek (Jim’s mom in American Pie), director John Landis, and of course a quickie from Stan Lee.

I highly recommend this film to all. It is quite enjoyable, and it sets us up for a third film without any doubts of where the story will lead.

Cast: A+

Story: A+

Action: A+

Special Effects: A+

Overall Rating: A+

Check out more on Spider-Man 2 at the official website spiderman.sonypictures.com.

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