Spider-Man 2

Spider-Man 2 ★★★★★

I rewatched Spider-Man 2 earlier today because today is its 18th anniversary. This is a film that holds so much meaning to me after almost 18 years when I first saw it on DVD at my home. No comic book film ever managed to top Spider-Man 2 for me (not even The Dark Knight or The Batman) and I don’t think it will ever be topped. For this review, I want to highlight what’s possibly my favorite scene in this film and the trilogy as a whole: Peter Parker’s conversation with Uncle Ben.

In this scene, Peter is losing his powers. He starts questioning if he will ever have what he would desire and need: a life as Peter Parker. He then has a vision of him and Uncle Ben in the car reflecting their last conversation about responsibility. Back then, Peter didn’t want to hear what his Uncle Ben had to say. After he died, Peter honors Uncle Ben by being Spider-Man. Peter knows his mission. His responsibility. It’s a sign that back then, Peter wasn’t ready to listen then but he is ready now. “Peter, all the times we’ve talked of honesty, fairness, justice. All of those times I counted on you to have the courage to take those dreams out into the world.” Uncle Ben reminds Peter that he’s been given a gift and that “with great power comes great responsibility.” It’s really clear that Peter views his powers as a curse because Spider-Man is what prevents Peter Parker from having a life of his own, being with Mary Jane Watson. Peter Parker is just like all of us. He has dreams he wants to pursue. We have dreams we want to pursue. Seeing Peter tear up and not take his Uncle Ben’s hand as a sign that he can’t follow his uncle’s dreams anymore breaks me. “Take my hand, son.” “No, Uncle Ben. I’m just Peter Parker. I’m Spider-Man, no more.” Cliff Robertson and Tobey Maguire’s line deliveries were heart-shattering and never fail to make me shed tears. They both made this scene so special that it became my favorite scene from this film. 

Spider-Man 2 has a soul. Despite it being a film about a guy with spider powers fighting a guy with mechanical tentacle arms, this is the most grounded, realistic, personal, and down to earth comic book film I’ve ever seen. Thank you, Sam Raimi.

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