Movies: Spider-Man 2

April 30, 2005 at 1:23 AM (General)

I finally watched Spider-Man 2 on CD last night.  I thought it was a very good movie!

I suppose everyone knows the story already, but let me just repeat it here: it’s two years after the events of the first Spider-Man film, and Peter Parker’s (Tobey Maguire) life is in a shambles thanks to his secret identity.  His relationship with Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst) is going from bad to worse, his grades are declining, and he’s unable to pay the rent.  Besides all that, there’s the emotional baggage he’s carrying, knowing that he was partly responsible for his Uncle Ben’s death.  Anyway, as things turn out, Peter meets Dr. Otto Octavius (Alfred Molina) for research work on a paper he’s writing.  The doctor is working on an experiment related to fusion, funded by Osborn Industries, which after the death of Norman Osborn is now run by son Harry (James Franco).  Of course, things go wrong during a critical experiment, and the four mechanical arms that Dr. Otto used to handle the radioactive materials are now permanent parts of his nervous system.  They’re also interfaced with his brain, and he is convinced that he needs to try the experiment again, so he takes to stealing to support the research — as new super-criminal Doctor Octopus or Doc Ock.  Spider-Man attempts to stop him, but certain events lead him to abandon his identity and go back to being just Peter Parker.

Will Spider-Man return to stop Doc Ock?  How does Spider-Man/Peter Parker deal with his personal problems?  All these things are very satisfyingly dealt with in the movie.  Not only does it work as an action/adventure film (the train sequence is breathtaking), it also worked on an emotional level.  I had a great time.

The movie is directed by Sam Raimi and scripted by Alvin Sargent (story by Alfred Gough & Miles Millar and Michael Chabon).

The scene where Doc Ock is hospitalised after the accident is very reminiscent of director Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead II — not literally, rather, in the way it’s filmed and edited.  The beautiful paintings that you see during the opening credits (they basically summarise the first movie) were done by master artist Alex Ross.  You can download those paintings from his site.

The only criticism I have about the movie is that I was never really convinced with the transition of Doc Ock from what seemed to be a very levelheaded scientist to a maniacal villain.  He seemed like too reasonable a guy to do the things he did, regardless of whether the arms were "talking" to him or not!

I do hope the (inevitable?) sequel will have The Lizard or Venom as the main villain.  Both are superb creations in the comics, and I really look forward to seeing them on screen.  Every time Dr. Curt Connors (Dylan Baker) was on screen in this movie, I couldn’t help thinking of what the film version of The Lizard would look like.  It’s probably foreshadowing the villain for the next movie, though I later learnt that there is a reference to "Eddie" (for Eddie Brock a.k.a. Venom) in the first film itself.  I probably need to watch the first film again, to spot this reference (I didn’t know about Venom when I watched the first movie) as well as to compare it with Spider-Man 2.

Oh, and I finished reading The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.  It’s an awesome book and I actually got more out of it now than when I read it originally!  Now I suppose I’ll have to read the second and third books again as well, since I read them quite a while ago.  Or should I read the fourth and fifth books, since I have not read them at all!!

Anyway, while I make up my mind about that, I am currently on Part 4 (of 12) of DC Comics’ 1986 Watchmen.  My description for this amazing graphic novel by Alan Moore (writer), Dave Gibbons (artist) and John Higgins (colourist) would go something like this — a superbly written book with great depth, breadth and scope, wonderful characters, and enough subplots to choke any screenwriter attempting to make a movie out of it!

And that’s after reading just two parts out of the total twelve.  I’ll write in detail about it later.

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