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Greater Power, Great Responsibility
This movie is one of my fondest highlights during the summer of 2004.
Having enjoyed the first ‘Spider-Man’ movie so much in Christmas 2002, I just couldn’t wait to see ‘Spider-Man 2’. I couldn’t wait to actually watch it in the cinemas when it came out in July 2004. I wanted to know what would happen to Peter Parker as he continues being Spider-Man in this movie.
It was a period of two years I had to endure before going to the cinema to see Spidey on the big screen. I knew how to patient and it was going to be very worthwhile to see it in the cinemas. I was looking forward to seeing Spidey fight against his evil arch-nemesis, Doctor Octopus aka Doc Ock.
The DVD of ‘Spider-Man 2’ is a 2-disc set. Disc 1 contains the movie and Disc 2 contains special features. This movie stars Tobey Maguire who returns as Peter Parker/Spider-Man with Kirsten Dunst and James Franco. There’s also Alfred Molina who stars the four-armed menace, Doc Ock.
In the week leading up to ‘Spider-Man 2’, I was on a work experience placement in Cardiff at a computer shop. It was my first work experience and it wasn’t a pleasant and good one. I felt like Peter Parker who had to endure problems with work and life in general which was interesting.
But I had the pleasure of listening to all the media coverage of ‘Spider-Man 2’ on the radio during my work placement and enjoyed reading the magazines promoting the movie. I got through that week and on Saturday I went to see the movie at the cinema with my parents. I was very happy watching ‘Spider-Man 2’ and it is a true masterpiece!
The story of ‘Spider-Man 2’ is based on the comic book issue #50 of ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ series, bearing the title ‘Spider-Man, No More’. It’s about Peter Parker giving up his life as Spider-Man when his life is crammed with dual roles as a young man and as a superhero. He wants to have a life for himself.
Two years have passed, and Peter has been the web-slinging superhero for some time. But it’s not easy for Peter, who struggles to balance his two lives including his personal life; going to work; going to college; dealing with his friend Harry Osborn and dealing with his love for Mary Jane Watson.
Tobey Maguire returns as Peter Parker/Spider-Man. He’s really into the role of Peter, understanding the character and what he goes through in this movie. Tobey gives an honest and true performance in this movie and I can really relate to him when Tobey plays him as both Peter and Spider-Man.
Kirsten Dunst returns as Mary Jane Watson (MJ). Kirsten plays MJ on a new level. It’s been two years since MJ and Peter last saw each other. MJ’s grown up and more independent as an actress on stage and gets engaged to astronaut John Jameson, son of J. Jonah Jameson. Will Peter lose her forever?
James Franco returns as Harry Osborn. James portrays a darker side to Harry as he blames Spidey for the death of his father, Norman Osborn from the first ‘Spider-Man’ movie. Peter is reluctant to tell Harry about what happened to his father. It makes Harry bitter and strains his friendship with Peter.
Alfred Molina stars as the villainous Dr Otto Octavius aka Doctor Octopus aka Doc Ock. Alfred is brilliant as Doc Ock, who is a scientist that has an accident in an experiment, causing four mechanical arms to fuse to his body. He goes insane and becomes a supervillain for Spidey in New York.
Rosemary Harris returns as Aunt May. Rosemary does a wonderfully marvellous performance as Aunt May, who loves Peter very much and is coping with being a widow and living without Uncle Ben after two years. I like Peter’s scenes with Aunt May when he’s concerned about her being alone.
There’s also Donna Murphy as Rosie Octavius, Doc Ock’s wife. This is the first time I’d seen Donna, before I discovered her in ‘Star Trek: Insurrection’. Rosie is the sweet and loving wife of Dr Otto Octavius, who gets killed tragically in the movie when she helps him during Doc Ock’s experiment.
J.K. Simmons returns as J. Jonah Jameson and gets the character absolutely spot-on! Jameson always seems to be firing and rehiring Peter at the Daily Bugle for pictures of Spider-Man. Jameson delivers the comic relief and the Daily Bugle scenes are always a welcome treat when watching the movie.
Daniel Giles appears as John, Jameson’s son. John is the man who MJ is engaged to marry. John’s a national hero and an astronaut who has journeyed to the moon. He’s the man that Peter Parker isn’t. He’s successful and adorable and possibly the perfect man for MJ to marry. Will she though?
The movie is well-directed by Sam Raimi, who does it again with his love for ‘Spider-Man’, and it is magnificent triumphant. I’m really pleased with the way Raimi directs this film with such passion and thought. There’s a balance of ‘Spider-Man’ fandom as well as sense of real life throughout this film.
The sets for this film are very spectacular. I loved the Doc Ock laboratory scenes both on land and on an island where the final climatic battle between Spidey and Doc Ock takes place. It was also great revisiting the Daily Bugle which has been redressed and redecorated including Jameson’s office.
The special effects including Doc Ock’s tentacles are truly spectacular. John Dykstra returns to his role as visual effects supervisor and again makes the fight scenes and web-slinging of Spider-Man truly spectacular. The Spydercam was used to create Spider-Man swinging through New York City.
The DVD special features are as follows. On Disc 1, there’s a cast and crew audio commentary with director Sam Raimi and Tobey Maguire; producer Avid Arad and co-producer Grant Curtis. There’s also a technical audio commentary that includes John Dykstra and his special effects team.
There’s also the ‘Spidey Sense 2’ info-text commentary option to enjoy and four web-i-sodes that were shown online prior to the movie’s cinema release. These focus on four aspects of ‘Spider-Man 2’ including Spidey’s ‘Costume Design’; ‘Doc Ock Q&A’; ‘J. Jonah Jameson’ and ‘Peter Parker and Mary Jane’.
There’s also a music video of ‘Ordinary’ by Train which can be found on the ‘Music From And Inspired By Spider-Man 2’ CD. And there are movie trailers, including one for ‘Spider-Man 2’.
On Disc 2, there’s a 12-part making-of documentary called ‘Making the Amazing….’ This looks at various aspects of the making of ‘Spider-Man 2’ including pre-production; production; post-production; story; stunts and the eventual release of the movie at cinemas and premieres.
There are also three featurettes looking at three certain aspects of ‘Spider-Man 2’ and the world of Spider-Man. These include ‘Hero in Crisis’ that focuses on Peter Parker’s story in ‘Spider-Man 2’; ‘Ock-Umentary: Eight Arms to Hold You’ about Doc Ock and ‘Interwoven: The Loves of Spider-Man’.
There’s an ‘Enter the Web’ multi-angle demonstration which focuses on the climatic fight scene between Spidey and Doc Ock. There’s also a photo art gallery on images for the opening titles of ‘Spider-Man 2’.
There’s also an ‘Interactive’ section featuring a trailer and a making-of featurette of the ‘Spider-Man 2’ video game and some DVD content. There are two amusing Easter Eggs to look out for that both feature Doc Ock.
Lately, I’ve seen the ‘Spider-Man 2.1’ DVD. This DVD features never-before-seen footage of the movie. It was lovely to have the extended DVD edition of ‘Spider-Man 2’ and watch the movie afresh with some brand-new scenes for me to enjoy!
Beforehand, I had read the brilliant novelization by Peter David on ‘Spider-Man 2’. I was expecting scenes that I remembered from reading the novel in the extended movie. Some of the scenes were in the DVD!
‘Spider-Man 2.1’ was brilliant, as I enjoyed the new extended action scenes and new scenes that feature character development for Peter Parker; Mary Jane; Harry Osborn; Aunt May; Doc Ock and J. Jonah Jameson. I was very funny when J. Jonah Jameson tried out the Spider-Man outfit in his office!
I found the first half of ‘Spider-Man 2.1’ better than the second half. There were more extended and new scenes in the first half compared to the second. But that didn’t worry me, as ‘Spider-Man 2’ is still a great masterpiece of a superhero movie and the news scenes helped to enjoy this movie more.
The DVD special features for the 2-disc DVD of ‘Spider-Man 2.1’ are as follows. On Disc 1, there’s an audio commentary with producer Laura Ziskin and screenwriter Alvin Sargent. There’s also the ‘Spidey Sense 2.1’ info-text commentary option to enjoy.
On Disc 2, there’s a sneak peek ‘Spider-Man 3’ featurette and trailer. There’s also some VFX breakdowns which look at the visual effects of ‘Spider-Man 2.1‘. There’s an ‘Inside 2.1.’ documentary, a ‘Villains of Spider-Man’ featurette; a ‘With Great Effort Comes Great Recognition’ featurette and a ‘Multi-Angle Score’.
‘Spider-Man 2’ is a true masterpiece superhero movie. It’s brilliantly directed by Sam Raimi and features a good story about Peter Parker; an amazing villain in Doc Ock and a wonderfully told story about the romance between Peter and Mary Jane that reduced me to tears when I watched it.
‘Spider-Man 2’ rating – 10/10
‘SPIDER-MAN 2’ (NOVELIZATION)
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Spider-Man No More
Peter David does it again with another ‘Spider-Man’ movie novelization!
This is ‘Spider-Man 2’ the novelization, based on the motion picture and was published in 2004, the same time the movie was released at the cinemas! Having enjoyed the first ‘Spider-Man’ novelization by Peter David, I was keen to continue reading the original ‘Spider-Man’ movies in book form.
This book is based on the screenplay by Alvin Sargent; based on the screen story by David Koepp, Alfred Gough and Miles Millar and based on the Marvel comic book by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. This is the best version of a novelization of ‘Spider-Man 2’, as that is my favourite movie from the trilogy.
It was when I purchased all three novelizations of the ‘Spider-Man’ trilogy in 2007 that I got into reading ‘Spider-Man 2’ as a book. Like the first ‘Spider-Man’ book, ‘Spider-Man 2’ is a very engrossing read as I enjoyed reading the characters and exploring more of the world of Spider-Man.
The book is divided in 27 chapters. Peter David more or less carries on from where he left on in the first ‘Spider-Man’ movie. He does well tackling with Peter’s journey to being Spider-Man no more in book form and clearly enjoyed adding more flesh to scenes seen in the movie as well as new scenes.
As I understand it, many scenes of ‘Spider-Man 2’ were cut out from the finished theatrical release. Some of those scenes have been reincorporated into the extended cut of ‘Spider-Man 2.1’ on DVD. I hope I’ll get to see ‘Spider-Man 2.1’ on DVD very soon. I hope some scenes from the book are in it.
Again, Peter David enhances more on the characters and their emotions in this story, especially with Peter Parker. I like how Peter’s journey as Spider-Man is enhanced by his consuming guilt for letting his uncle down, especially when he’s haunted by his ghost, before he decides giving up being Spidey.
I could easily relate to Peter Parker in the book as well as the film how he was struggling to cope with the pressures of balancing his normal life to being Spidey. His pain of losing Mary Jane forever because of his role as Spider-Man was very heart and gut-wrenching to read as I felt those emotions.
The book opens with two new chapters that weren’t featured in the film. These new chapters were added by Peter David. The first chapter has Dr. Octavius meeting Dr. Connors at ESU University before they get attacked by a man in a robot. Spidey swings in and rescues Octavius from the robot.
This new first chapter adds more depth to Octavius and Connor’s friendship, as well as adding a mystery for Peter when he hears from the man who controlled the robot that Octavius is developing ‘arms’. This helps to build up to reveal of the arms that Octavius uses for his experiments in fusion.
Chapter 2 is also new as it focuses on Mary Jane and John Jameson meeting J. Jonah Jameson at a restaurant. This helps to establish that MJ has been having a relationship with John and that she gets to meet his father for the first time. There are more scenes where between MJ and John in the book.
I love the relationship scenes between Peter and Mary Jane. There is more exploration of emotions, especially when MJ gets so frustrated with Peter for messing things up and letting her down. There was one point when MJ wanted to both kill and feel for Peter at the same time.
Uncle Ben makes a larger appearance in ‘Spider-Man 2’ compared to his cameo in the movie. As I said before, Uncle Ben haunts Peter in his life when he’s having doubts about his life as Spider-Man. The dream sequences where Peter is with Uncle Ben in his old car before he died are very effective.
There was a character I didn’t expect to find while reading the book. At Doc Ock’s demo of his fusion reaction, one of the scientists there is called Henry Pym. Henry Pym in the Marvel universe is actually Ant-Man. This was a surprise and there are references to Ant-Man during the action scenes.
I like how Octavius growth as a good person into a villain develops in the book. His motivations to conduct his fusion reaction experiments are justified, before it goes pear-shaped and he goes mad. It was fascinating to note the difference between Octavius at the beginning of the book and the end.
The metal arms of Doc Ock’s also have voices of their own that can be heard in the book. In the movie, the voices weren’t heard as they were inside Ock’s head. From reading the book, I found it disturbing how the arms treated Ock as their ‘father’ and they were behaving like naughty children.
Peter Parker’s reaction to Octavius before and after he became a monster are interesting to compare. Peter admires the happy, romantic relationship shared between Octavius and his wife Rosie, before he becomes horrified and angry when Ock becomes a villain and threatens Mary Jane.
Harry Osborn is also developed well as a character in the book. It was interesting how Harry’s obsession for killing Spider-Man for the death of his father goes to extremes here. Harry gets plastered during his dark moods which were disturbing to read as well as him discovering ‘the truth’.
I noticed that the garbage man who brought the Spidey costume into the Daily Bugle after Peter dumped it has an extended cameo. I liked those moments when Betty Brant was appalled that Jameson was giving the ‘bum’ a low cheque of cash before giving him a larger amount as a reward.
There is a scene that is included in the ‘Spider-Man 2.1’ DVD cut of the movie and that’s the moment where Jameson dons Spidey’s costume in his office at the Daily Bugle. I’ve seen that scene on DVD to believe it. Just like Betty Brant, I can’t believe that Jameson would don Spidey’s costume. 😀
There’s also a shopping scene between Mary Jane and her actress friend Louise when they talk about her engagement to John at the planetarium. Louise questions MJ’s acceptance of John’s proposal to marry him. I was very pleased to see that scene when I got ‘Spider-Man 2.1’ on DVD.
It’s also not just Louise who questions Mary Jane’s acceptance of John’s proposal, but also John himself. The scene where MJ and John sort out wedding invitations and she gives him the upside-down kiss are extended in the book. I liked John’s line when he says, “Houston, we have a problem.”
Aunt May is also well-developed in the book. I found it gut-wrenching when I read the scene of Peter telling Aunt May the truth of Uncle Ben’s demise. She’s heard crying before shouting at Peter to leave. It was a relief when she eventually forgave Peter and she inspires him to be Spider-Man again.
The action sequences are very well enhanced in the book. I found the descriptive detail given by Peter David of the fights between Spidey and Doc Ock very engaging to read. I could easily imagine them whilst reading the book, although the train scenes seem to be truncated compared to the film.
I love the extended ending in the ‘Spider-Man 2’ book. It was good to read scenes between Mary Jane, her mother Madeline and her father Phil on her wedding day. Those moments were nice to read as Phil and Madeline know of MJ’s love for Peter and they tell her to back out of the wedding.
I also liked that last dream scene between Peter and Uncle Ben. Uncle Ben is very disappointed with Peter for letting MJ go and not being happy with her. I wished that scene was in the movie. It’s not even in the ‘Spider-Man 2.1’ version of the movie on DVD, which is sad. I’m happy though to have read that scene in the book.
There’s a lot to talk about the ‘Spider-Man 2’ novelization. But here’s the best place to stop. Peter David has done a fantastic, marvellous job with novelizing the ‘Spider-Man 2’ film into a book. I enjoyed reading the book and found it very refreshing to see the movie in a new light in prose form.
I would like to hear this novelization of ‘Spider-Man 2’ by Peter David as an audiobook someday. I can imagine Kirsten Dunst reading the audiobook, as it would be great for her to re-create an era of ‘Spider-Man’ that she was so involved with and is a personal favourite from my youth. Let it happen!
‘Spider-Man 2’ the novelization by Peter David has been great book to read, following on from the first ‘Spider-Man’ novelization. I enjoyed reading more of Peter Parker and Mary Jane as well as the adventures of Spider-Man. I was so looking forward to reading the ‘Spider-Man 3’ novelization next.
‘Spider-Man 2’ (Novelization) rating – 10/10
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