Spider-Man 2

Spider-Man 2 ★★★½

Where were you, photographing squirrels? You're fired!

Okay, first things first. J.K Simmons as Jameson is the highlight of the entire film and I'm so glad they gave him the extra screen time he so sorely needed. I haven't seen the third film yet, but I hope it's just him badgering hapless employees and then "secretly" pretending to be Spiderman for the entire length.
Anyway. Toby Maguire still boggles my mind, I'm not convinced the guy can act and he makes such strange faces (the end of the train scene comes to mind) that sometimes they actually lift me out of the film. The guy looks like he's giving birth, it's not his fault, but it's just the way his face works and Raimi for some reason zooms right up in on it. Other than that and some irritating will they-won't they-just do it already love scenes, this is a pretty big improvement on the first.
Molina is fantastic as Doc Oc, a villain easily comparable with the best that the Marvel franchise has ever put on screen, and the rest of the film just feels more well rounded, more real, and again, as though it has more heart. Some of that credit has to go to Maguire who, weird as he is, is so clearly innocent and heartfelt in everything he does that I can't help but root for him. The fight scenes (particularly the train one) are incredibly well filmed and kinetic, and the CGI game is surprisingly solid considering this film is nearly 15 years old - Doc Ocs arms still look great to this day on Bluray.
Overall, one of the better superhero movies out there, one that feels like it was made with passion and heart rather than a by the numbers checklist guaranteed to print out another Marvel hit.