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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 over Christmas 2002, I just couldn’t wait to see ‘Spider-Man 2’. I couldn’t wait to actually watch it at 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 at the cinemas. I was looking forward to seeing Spidey fight against his evil arch-nemesis, Doctor Octopus a.k.a. Doc Ock.
The movie stars Tobey Maguire who returns as Peter Parker/Spider-Man with Kirsten Dunst and James Franco. There’s also Alfred Molina who stars as Doc Ock. I now have the movie as part of the ‘Spider-Man: Five-Movie Collection’ Blu-ray box set. The Blu-ray contains two versions of the movie.
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 very pleasant for me. I felt like Peter Parker who had to endure problems with work and life in general which was very 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 came away happy seeing ‘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 gets 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 of 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 during the movie. Tobey gives an honest and truthful performance as Peter Parker. I could really relate to him when Tobey plays as both Peter Parker 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. She also 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 a.k.a. Doctor Octopus a.k.a. 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. She’s coping with being a widow and living without Uncle Ben after two years. I like Peter’s scenes with Aunt May. He’s very concerned about her being on her own.
There’s also Donna Murphy as Rosie Octavius, Doc Ock’s wife. This is the first time I’d seen Donna Murphy, before I saw 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 a dangerous 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 stars as John Jameson, J. Jonah Jameson’s son. John is the man whom MJ’s engaged to marry. John’s a national hero and an astronaut. He has journeyed to the moon and is the man Peter Parker isn’t. He’s successful; adorable and possibly the perfect man for MJ to marry. But will she though?
The movie is well-directed by Sam Raimi, who does it again with his love for ‘Spider-Man’ since it is magnificent triumphant. I’m really pleased with the way Sam Raimi directs this film with such passion and effort. There’s a balance of ‘Spider-Man’ fandom as well as sense of realism throughout the film.
The sets for the film are pretty spectacular. I love 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 the visual effects supervisor and once again makes the fight scenes and the web-slinging of Spider-Man truly spectacular. The Spydercam was used to create Spider-Man swinging through New York City.
When I first had ‘Spider-Man 2’ for Christmas 2004 on DVD, it was on a 2-disc DVD set. Disc 1 contained the movie and Disc 2 contained the special features. The Blu-ray keeps most of the original DVD special features and also contains both the theatrical and extended versions of the film.
The original 2-disc DVD special features were as follows. On Disc 1, there was a cast commentary with director Sam Raimi; Tobey Maguire; producer Avi Arad and co-producer Grant Curtis. There was also a technical commentary with John Dykstra and his special effects crew. These commentaries are for the theatrical version of the film. The two commentaries are now on the Blu-ray as well as a commentary with producer Laura Ziskin and writer Alvin Sargent for the movie’s 2.1 version. There was a ‘Spidey Sense 2’ info-text commentary option to enjoy and four web-i-sodes that were shown online prior to the movie’s cinematic release. These focus on four aspects of ‘Spider-Man 2’, including Spidey’s ‘Costume Design’; the ‘Doc Ock Q&A’ at San Diego Comic Con 2003; ‘J. Jonah Jameson’ and ‘Peter Parker and Mary Jane’. There was also a music video for ‘Ordinary’ by Train on the original DVD. There were also movie trailers, including one for ‘Spider-Man 2’, featured on the original DVD.
On Disc 2 of the original 2-disc DVD, there was 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. ‘Making the Amazing…’ is one of the original DVD special features found on the Blu-ray. On the original DVD, there were 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’. Only ‘Hero In Crisis’ and ‘Ock-Umentary: Eight Arms To Hold You’ are included on the Blu-ray, not ‘Interwoven: The Loves of Spider-Man’, which to me is wrong. I love that documentary! There was an ‘Enter The Web’ multi-angle demonstration on the original DVD. This focused on the climatic fight scene between Spidey and Doc Ock. The ‘Enter The Web’ multi-angle demonstration is not included on the Blu-ray. There’s also a blooper-reel on the Blu-ray that was not included on the DVD. On the original DVD, there was a photo art gallery on images for the opening titles of ‘Spider-Man 2’. There was also an ‘Interactive’ section that featured a trailer and a making-of featurette of the ‘Spider-Man 2’ video game as well as some DVD content. There were also two amusing Easter Eggs to look out for that both featured Doc Ock. Sadly these DVD special features aren’t on the Blu-ray.
Before I had ‘Spider-Man 2’ on Blu-ray, I came across the ‘Spider-Man 2.1’ DVD for Christmas, December 2016. It featured the extended version of the film with never-before-seen footage of the movie. It was lovely to see the extended ‘Spider-Man 2’, seeing it afresh with new scenes to enjoy.
Beforehand, I’d read the brilliant novelization by Peter David on ‘Spider-Man 2’. I was expecting scenes that I remembered from reading the novelization to be included in the extended version. Most of the scenes from the book were in the extended cut, though I’d expected there to be more.
‘Spider-Man 2.1’ was brilliant, as I enjoyed the new extended action scenes and new scenes that featured character development for Peter Parker; Mary Jane; Harry Osborn; Aunt May; Doc Ock and J. Jonah Jameson. It was extremely funny when 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 new scenes helped me to enjoy the film more.
The ‘Spider-Man 2.1’ 2-disc DVD special features are as follows. On Disc 1, as well as the commentary with producer Laura Ziskin and screenwriter Alvin Sargent, there was also the ‘Spidey Sense 2.1’ info-text commentary option to enjoy. No info-text commentary is there for the Blu-ray.
On Disc 2 of the ‘Spider-Man 2.1’ 2-disc DVD, there were some VFX breakdowns that looked at the visual effects of ‘Spider-Man 2.1’. These VFX breakdowns are now included on the Blu-ray. There was also a sneak peak featurette and a trailer for ‘Spider-Man 3’, which aren’t included on the Blu-ray. On the ‘Spider-Man 2.1’ DVD, there was an ‘Inside 2.1’ documentary; a ‘Villains of Spider-Man’ featurette; a ‘With Great Effort Comes Great Recognition’ featurette and a ‘Multi-Angle Score’ demonstration. Sadly these DVD special features aren’t on the Blu-ray. Why that is, I do not know.
‘Spider-Man 2’ is a true masterpiece of a superhero movie! It’s brilliantly directed by Sam Raimi; features a good story about Peter Parker; an amazing villain in Doc Ock; and has 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. It was published in 2004, the same time that this 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 on ‘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 adding 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 called ‘Spider-Man 2.1’. I’ve now seen ‘Spider-Man 2.1’ on DVD and Blu-ray and recall reading some of the new scenes in the book.
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 to give up being Spidey.
I could easily relate to Peter Parker in the book as well as in the film on 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-breaking 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 the 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 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 whilst reading the book. At Doc Ock’s demo of his fusion reactor, 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 reactor experiments are justified, before it goes pear-shaped and he goes mad. It was fascinating to note the difference between Octavius at the beginning and at the end of the book.
The metal arms of Doc Ock 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 how 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, especially in threatening Mary Jane’s life.
Harry Osborn is also well-developed 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 pretty disturbing to read as well as him discovering ‘the truth’.
I noticed that the garbage man who had brought the Spidey costume into the Daily Bugle after Peter dumped it has an extended cameo in the book. 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’ extended cut of the movie and that’s the scene where Jameson dons Spidey’s costume in his office at the Daily Bugle. I’ve seen that scene on DVD/Blu-ray 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 to watch ‘Spider-Man 2.1’.
It also isn’t just Louise who questions Mary Jane’s acceptance of John’s proposal. John himself questions it too. The scene where MJ and John sort out wedding invitations and she gives him the upside-down kiss is 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 become Spider-Man again.
The action sequences are very well enhanced in the book. I found the descriptive detail given by Peter David on 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 the 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 being unhappy without her. I wished that scene was in the movie. It’s not even in the ‘Spider-Man 2.1’ version of the film, which is sad. I’m happy though to have read that scene in the book.
There’s a lot to talk about on the ‘Spider-Man 2’ novelization, but here’s the best place to stop. Peter David has done a fantastic and 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 via 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 a 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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