Thursday Night Movie Club
Spider-Man 2
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Release Date: 30 June 2004

Director: Denis Villeneuve
Tobey Maguire
Kirsten Dunst
James Franco
Alfred Molina
Rosemary Harris
J.K. Simmons
Donna Murphy
Daniel Gillies
Dylan Baker
Bill Nunn
Vanessa Ferlito
Aasif Mandvi
Willem Dafoe
Cliff Robertson
Ted Raimi
Spider-Man/Peter Parker
Mary Jane Watson
Harry Osborn
Doc Ock/Dr. Otto Octavius
May Parker
J. Jonah Jameson
Rosalie Octavius
John Jameson
Dr. Curt Connors
Joseph 'Robbie' Robertson
Mr. Aziz
Green Goblin/Norman Osborn
Ben Parker
 movie poster  movie poster  movie poster
Click on the photo of Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson to link to the official movie website.Peter Parker is a blockhead! Well, there's no other way to put it gently. Not that this is a bad thing. What would any of us do under similar circumstances? Peter has been transformed into a "man-spider", given amazing powers. How would we use those powers? Would we use them for personal financial gains or would we have to suffer the loss of a loved one to show us our path in life? I wonder...

Spider-Man 2 picks up Peter Parker's continuing struggle about a year after the events of the previous installment. Peter is really having a tough time. His best friend, Harry, has abandoned him to run his late father's company. Peter is now living in a tenement, liviing day-to-day, barely able to hold down a job, let alone keep up with his college classes. Peter is a complete failure to all those around him.

But as his alter-ego, Spider-Man, Peter shows up at all times to continue his lonely struggle to keep the peace in New York City. As before, he cannot tell anyone his secrets. All he can do is mumble lame excuses. Peter even loses a job as a pizza delivery man. Even with his super powers, he is late delivering pizzas and is fired. Can things get any worse?

The answer to that is a simple, "Yes". Peter begins to question is purpose in life. When that happens, Peter begins to lose his spider powers. He is finally free of his curse! He becomes only Peter Parker, ace student and friend to Mary Jane and Aunt May. The dual identity crisis he suffered through is finally over!

Click on the poster of Dr. Otto Octavius (Doctor Octopus) to link to the official movie website.While Peter Parker's life returns to normal, Spider-Man's life gets extremely complicated. Harry Osborn begins to show the same symptoms of madness as his father Norman, The Green Goblin. Also, scientist Dr. Otto Octavius is beginning a dangerous experiment. Octavius hopes to harness immense powers for the good of mankind. Harry is bankrolling the project to put Oscorp on the map like his father never could.

A simple question by Peter, while researching Octavius for a college term paper, leads to the heart of the problem. Peter has quickly grasped Octavius' plans and finds the one fault with his research. Octavius, like Norman Osborn before him, believes he has found all of the errors in his project. He is ready to show them to the world.

The experiment goes horribly wrong! Octavius loses control of the power he tries to harness. The end result, the mechanical limbs he has attached to his body to assist his work become fused to his spinal cord, transforming him into Dr. Octopus. Otto Octavius still believes his experiment will work. Without Harry's backing, he is forced to find new sources of capital.

But back to our hero, Peter desperately tries to make things right with Mary Jane Watson. He attempts to see her onstage, but as usual, he is late. Mary Jane realized she can't wait for Peter to get his act together. She accepts the marriage proposal of John Jameson, famous astronaut and son of Daily Bugle publisher, J. Jonah Jameson. What a mess!

Click on the photo of Spider-Man to link to the official movie website.The story is a mess! This in not a bad thing. The second installment of any series (Star Wars, Batman, Superman) is uncumbered with explaining the conflicts set up by the first one. Director Sam Raimi and his writers are free to delve more deeply into the characters, and delve the do!

This story is so much more coplicated, complex. Peter questions his gift/curse and in the process loses his powers. He is free! But how free is he really? He decides to take his Aunt May's advice and begin to open up. Peter confesses to his aunt how Uncle Ben's death was his fault. He tells Mary Jane of his love for him. This only pushes Peter further into trouble, but it is a good thing. Honest is, afterall, the best policy. But Peter learns another important lesson in life, thanks to Aunt May. She tells Peter a story about a young boy who is going through his own troubles. This boy believes in Spider-Man, that he will make things right, that Spider-Man is a hero. Through shear willpower, Peter regains his amazing powers and becomes who he must become! Awesome!

J.K. Simmons once again steals the show with his tour de force depiction of J. Jonah Jameson. Alfred Molina is an odd casting to play Dr. Octavius (in the comics, Octavius is German). Rosemary Harris takes Aunt May's character to a new level, as the comics did. Peter would be lost without his aunt's guidance. Even though Uncle Ben is dead, Peter still talks to and gets good advice from his uncle, probably due to Uncle Ben's influence on Peter's growth.

I could go on for days analyzing the nuances of this movie. Suffice it to say, this is one of the rare sequels that takes the greatness of the original and expands on it.

Next up is the third installment. With Superman and Star Wars, this is where the story started to lose its effect (although I thought Val Kilmer was much better as Bruce Wayne/Batman). With Raimi still at the helm, I'm hoping for the best!

(Note: the ending of Spider-Man 2 shows Harry growing further insane and stumbling upon his father's secret identity. Will the next installment include the new Green Goblin, I hope not. I'd rather see what happens with Dr. Curt Connors.

There is one problem with Spider-Man 2 I didn't like, Peter reveals his true identity to way too many people than is good for him. I wonder how this will play out...