Spider-Man 2

Spider-Man 2 ★★★★½

I love superhero films though never saw myself as a particular Spider-Man fan. Yet, this was my favorite live action superhero film for the longest time. I still think it's a great watch.

Tobey Maguire is more engaging and intriguing here as opposed to before. I really like his personal journey here and he does an effective job juggling all his responsibilities.
Kirsten Dunst offers strong support. I care more of her relationship with Peter here. She's a bit too "dead-eyes" though. James Franco and J.K. Simmons are decent additions as well. I note the cameos of Phil LaMarr, Bruce Campbell, Joel McHale and Emily Deschanel.
My personal stand-out is Alfred Molina as Doctor Octopus. He's entertaining, compelling, sympatatic and tragic. A great antagonist.

I really like the human story, how Peter struggles with all his responsibilities: hero, student, employee whilst desiring to be with MJ. Resulting halfway in him quitting being a hero, becoming happier and better yet still unable to get with MJ. That's where it does drag though, but I still like this take. The scene where Peter confesses to Aunt May the truth about Uncle Ben's death is emotionally effective.

The special effects are quite improved, with plenty of cool shots & visuals, though it can look rather iffy in moments. It doesn't look as campy & colorful as before, but it still has a strong, energized look to it. Like the sun is about to set.
The action sequences are also pretty great. The train scene is exhilarating and the climax is quite exciting too.
Gotta appreciate the practical effects with Doc Ock's mechanical tentacles. Also the score has some pretty good moments.

I really enjoy it. The hero and villain are great, it has good themes, strikes a good balance between quiet, heartfelt and action scenes and has a good emotional focus. I think it's the best Raimi Spider-Man flick, and a favorite of mine.

Spider-Man (2002) review
Spider-Man 3 (2007) review

Ranking: Marvel Comics based Superhero films
Ranking: Spider-Man films

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