Please feel free to comment on my review.
Greater Power, Great Responsibility
This ‘Spider-Man’ 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 couldn’t wait to see ‘Spider-Man 2’. I couldn’t wait to actually watch it at the cinema when it came out in July 2004. I wanted to know what would happen to Peter Parker, as he continued to be 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 be patient and it was going to be worthwhile to see it at the cinema. I was so looking forward to seeing Spidey fight against his evil arch-nemesis, Doctor Octopus a.k.a. Doc Ock. 🙂
‘Spider-Man 2’ stars Tobey Maguire, who returns as Peter Parker/Spider-Man, with Kirsten Dunst and James Franco. There’s also Alfred Molina who plays Doc Ock. I currently have the film as part of the ‘Spider-Man: Five-Movie Collection’ Blu-ray box set. The Blu-ray contains two versions of the movie.
There’s the theatrical version of the film and there’s the extended version which is called ‘Spider-Man 2.1’. Of course, I saw the theatrical version of ‘Spider-Man 2’ first before I saw ‘Spider-Man 2.1’ on DVD in December 2016. I’ll discuss more about the extended version of ‘Spider-Man 2’ later on. 🙂
In the week leading up to ‘Spider-Man 2’ in 2004, I was on a work experience placement in Cardiff at a computer shop. It was my first work experience and it wasn’t very pleasant for me. I felt like Peter Parker who had to endure problems with work and life in general, which was very interesting to see.
During that time, I had the pleasure of listening to all the media coverage of ‘Spider-Man 2’ on the radio during my work placement. I also enjoyed checking out and reading the magazines that promoted the film. I got through that work placement week well with something to look forward to.
On the following Saturday, I saw ‘Spider-Man 2’ at the cinema with my parents. I came away from the cinema with happy memories of seeing ‘Spider-Man 2’. I saw ‘Spider-Man 2’ more than three times at the cinema in the summer of 2004. I found it (and still do) a very true masterpiece of a film!
The story of ‘Spider-Man 2’ is based on Issue #50 of the ‘Amazing Spider-Man’ comic 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. Peter has been the web-slinging superhero for some time. But it’s not easy for him, as he struggles to balance his two lives, which involves his personal life, going to work, going to college, dealing with his best 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 in terms of what he goes through in the movie. Tobey delivers an honest and truthful performance as Peter, as I could really relate to him when Tobey played both Peter and Spider-Man.
It’s an interesting angle to take a superhero character like Peter/Spidey, when he has to balance the everyday activities of his life with him fighting crime in New York. It’s an angle that Spider-Man co-creator Stan Lee handled well in the comics and it’s certainly well-handled in ‘Spider-Man 2’ as a film.
Kirsten Dunst returns as Mary Jane Watson. Kirsten plays MJ on a new level. It’s been two years since MJ and Peter last saw each other. MJ is grown up and more independent as an actress on the stage. She’s also engaged to astronaut John Jameson, who is the son of J. Jonah Jameson, in the film.
I felt anxious about Peter about to lose MJ forever when she was about to marry John Jameson. I honestly thought that things weren’t going to go in Peter’s favour by the film’s end. Thankfully, the film does conclude satisfactorily in terms of whether Peter gets to have the girl of his dreams or not.
James Franco returns as Harry Osborn. James portrays a darker side to Harry. 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, as it strains his friendship with Peter.
It was a shock when Spidey was captured and tied up in the Osborn house, according to the film’s trailers I’d seen. Harry was about to kill him with a dagger and unmask him. Before I actually watched the movie at the cinema, I wondered what would happen once Harry realised who Spider-Man was.
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. Ock is a scientist who has an accident in an experiment, causing four mechanical arms to be fused to his body. He goes insane and becomes a supervillain for our Spidey in New York.
Before seeing Doc Ock in ‘Spider-Man 2’, I’d seen him before in episodes of the 1990s animated series of ‘Spider-Man’. It was a contrast to see Doc Ock in ‘Spider-Man 2’ compared to the animated series, especially when there’s a connection made for Peter in being an admirer of Otto Octavius in the film.
Rosemary Harris returns as Aunt May and she delivers a wonderful performance as the character. Aunt May loves Peter very much, and she copes being a widow and living without Uncle Ben after two years. I liked Peter’s scenes with Aunt May, as he’s very concerned about her being on her own.
I’ve come across arguments saying that Aunt May tends to be long-winded in her speeches. I would argue against that, as Aunt May provides the inspiration to Peter in her speech about being a hero. This involves ‘giving up the thing we want the most’ and ‘even our dreams’. I found that captivating.
There’s also Donna Murphy as Rosie Octavius, Doc Ock’s wife. This is the first time I saw Donna Murphy in a film before I saw her in ‘Star Trek: Insurrection’. Rosie is the sweet, loving wife of Otto Octavius, who tragically gets killed in the movie when she helps him during a dangerous experiment.
It’s interesting that Doc Ock has a wife in Rosie, since there wasn’t a wife for Doc Ock in the ‘Spider-Man’ comics, I don’t think, especially in the 1960s ones. It was nice to see Peter’s admiration of Otto Octavius and Rosie as a married couple, since he aspires to be in a similar position with Mary Jane. 🙂
J. K. Simmons returns as J. Jonah Jameson. He definitely gets the character spot-on! Jameson always seems to be firing and rehiring Peter at the Daily Bugle for taking photos of Spidey. Jameson delivers the film’s comic relief and the Daily Bugle scenes are always a welcome treat in watching the movie.
Daniel Gillies stars as John Jameson, J. Jonah Jameson’s son. John is the man whom MJ is engaged to marry. John’s a national hero and an astronaut. He journeyed to the moon and is the man Peter Parker isn’t. He’s successful and quite possibly the perfect man for MJ to marry. But will she though?
The cast also includes Bruce Campbell (who was in the previous film) as an obnoxious usher. 😀 There’s a quick cameo of Stan Lee, Dylan Baker as Dr. Curt Connors, Elizabeth Banks as Betty Brant, Ted Raimi as Hoffman, Bill Nunn as Robbie Robertson and John Paxton as Bernard the Osborn butler.
Willem Dafoe makes a surprise appearance as the ghost of Norman Osborn in the film. There’s also Elya Baskin as Mr. Ditkovitch, Peter’s landlord and Mageina Tovah as his daughter Ursula. Cliff Robertson also makes an appearance as Uncle Ben in a dream sequence that features him and Peter.
There’s Vanessa Ferlito as Louise, one of Mary Jane’s co-star friends in the play ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’. I saw the 2002 film of that play after seeing ‘Spider-Man 2’. There’s Joey Diaz (who would later appear in ‘The Dog Who Saved…’ films) as a passenger on the train that Spider-Man saves.
The train sequence between Spidey and Doc Ock is one of the best action sequences to be featured in ‘Spider-Man 2’. This is especially when Spidey and Ock are fighting each other on the train and when Spidey gets to save the train from going off the rails. The scene is better in ‘Spider-Man 2.1’. 🙂
‘Spider-Man 2’ is well-directed by Sam Raimi. He does it again with his love for ‘Spider-Man’, making this film a magnificent triumphant. I’m pleased with the way Sam Raimi directs this film with passion and effort. There’s a balance of Spider-Man fandom as well as sense of realism throughout the film.
The set design for the film is 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 to revisit the Daily Bugle, which has been redressed and redecorated. This does include Jameson’s office.
The visual effects including Doc Ock’s tentacles are spectacular. John Dykstra returns to the role of 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’ on DVD for Christmas 2004, 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 it contains both the theatrical and extended versions of the film. 🙂
The original 2-disc DVD special features are as follows. On Disc 1, there’s a cast audio commentary with director Sam Raimi, Tobey Maguire, producer Avi Arad and co-producer Grant Curtis. There’s also a technical audio commentary with John Dykstra and his special effects crew. These audio commentaries are for the theatrical version of the film. The two audio commentaries are now on the Blu-ray as well as an audio commentary with producer Laura Ziskin and writer Alvin Sargent for ‘Spider-Man 2.1’. There’s 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. They focus on four aspects of ‘Spider-Man 2’, including Spider-Man’s ‘Costume Design’; the ‘Doc Ock Q&A’ at the ‘San Diego Comic Con’ in 2003; ‘J. Jonah Jameson’ and ‘Peter Parker and Mary Jane’. There’s also a music video for the song called ‘Ordinary’ by Train on the original DVD. There are also movie trailers, including one for ‘Spider-Man 2’, featured on the original DVD.
On Disc 2 of the original 2-disc DVD, 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 the cinemas and premieres. ‘Making the Amazing…’ is one of the original DVD special features found on the Blu-ray release. Also on the original DVD, there are three featurettes looking at three certain aspects of ‘Spider-Man 2’ and the world of Spider-Man. They 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 release. ‘Interwoven: The Loves of Spider-Man’ isn’t included, which, to me, is wrong. I love that documentary! There’s an ‘Enter the Web’ multi-angle demonstration on the original DVD. This focuses on the climatic fight scene between Spidey and Doc Ock on Ock’s island. The ‘Enter the Web’ multi-angle demonstration isn’t included on the Blu-ray release. There’s a blooper reel on the Blu-ray, which wasn’t included on the DVD. On the original DVD, there’s a photo art gallery on images by Alex Ross for the impressive opening titles sequence of ‘Spider-Man 2’. There’s also an ‘Interactive’ section, which features a trailer and a making-of featurette of the ‘Spider-Man 2’ video game as well as some DVD-ROM content. There’s also two amusing Easter Eggs to look out for on the DVD, which both feature Doc Ock. Sadly, the Alex Ross photo art gallery and the two amusing DVD Easter Eggs featuring Doc Ock aren’t included on the Blu-ray release.
As established, before I had ‘Spider-Man 2’ on Blu-ray, I came across the ‘Spider-Man 2.1’ DVD for Christmas in December 2016. It had the extended version of the film with never-before-seen footage. It was nice to check out the extended version of ‘Spider-Man 2’, as I was seeing it afresh with new scenes to enjoy.
Beforehand, I had read the brilliant novelization of ‘Spider-Man 2’ by Peter David. I was expecting scenes that I remembered from reading the novelization to be included in the extended version of the film. Most scenes from the book are in the extended cut, though I did expect there to be more.
‘Spider-Man 2.1’ is brilliant, as I enjoyed the new extended action scenes and the 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 to see Jameson try out the Spider-Man outfit in his office! 😀
I found the first half of ‘Spider-Man 2.1’ better than the second half. There are more new and extended 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 to enjoy. 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 audio commentary with producer Laura Ziskin and screenwriter Alvin Sargent, there’s also the ‘Spidey Sense 2.1’ info-text commentary option to enjoy. No info-text commentary can be found on the Blu-ray release. 😦
On Disc 2 of the ‘Spider-Man 2.1’ 2-disc DVD, there are some visual effects breakdowns which look into the visual effects of ‘Spider-Man 2.1’. These visual effects breakdowns are included on the Blu-ray release. There’s 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’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’ demonstration. Sadly, these DVD special features aren’t on the Blu-ray. Why that is, I don’t know.
‘Spider-Man 2’ is a true masterpiece of a superhero film! It’s brilliantly directed by Sam Raimi, features a good story about Peter Parker, has an amazing villain in Doc Ock, and there’s a wonderfully-told story about the romance between Peter and Mary Jane that reduced me to tears. 🙂
From seeing ‘Spider-Man 2’ many times on the big screen at the cinema and on DVD at home, I looked forward to seeing ‘Spider-Man 3’ next at the cinema. It built up to be an exciting film, especially with the villains in it and the romance between Peter and MJ. Would it be good though? 😐
‘Spider-Man 2’ rating – 10/10
‘SPIDER-MAN 2’ (NOVELIZATION)
Please feel free to comment on my review.
Spider-Man No More!
Peter David does it again with another ‘Spider-Man’ movie novelization!
This is the movie novelization of ‘Spider-Man 2’, based on the motion picture. It was published in 2004, the same year that the movie was released at cinemas! Having enjoyed the first ‘Spider-Man’ movie novelization by Peter David, I was keen to continue reading the original ‘Spider-Man’ film trilogy in book form.
The second movie novelization is based on the screenplay by Alvin Sargent, based on the screen story by David Koepp (or is it Michael Chabon?), Alfred Gough and Miles Millar, and based on the Marvel comic book by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. This is the best of the three movie novelizations of the original trilogy, as ‘Spider-Man 2’ is my favourite out of the trilogy.
It was when I purchased all three movie novelizations of the ‘Spider-Man’ film 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 exploring 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 with tackling Peter’s journey from being ‘Spider-Man no more’ to being Spider-Man again in book form. He clearly enjoyed adding more to scenes featured in the movie as well as writing new scenes.
As I understand it, many scenes of ‘Spider-Man 2’ were cut 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 I can recall reading some of the new and extended scenes in the book.
Again, Peter David enhances more on the characters and their emotions throughout 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 Spider-Man.
I could easily relate to Peter Parker in the book as well as in the film on how he struggled 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 in the book, 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 Connors’ friendship as well as adding a mystery for Peter when he hears from the man that controls the robot that Dr. Octavius is developing ‘arms’. This helps to build up to the reveal of the ‘arms’ that Octavius utilises for his experiments in fusion.
Chapter 2 of the movie novelization 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 she gets to meet his father for the very first time. There are more scenes between MJ and John in the book.
I love the relationship scenes between Peter and Mary Jane in the book. There is more exploration of their emotions, especially when MJ becomes so frustrated with Peter for messing things up and for letting her down. There is one point where MJ wanted to both kill and feel for Peter at the same time.
Uncle Ben makes a larger appearance in the ‘Spider-Man 2’ book 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 appear when reading the book. At Doc Ock’s demo of his fusion reactor, one of the scientists there happens to be Henry Pym. Henry Pym, in the Marvel Comics 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 from being a good person to becoming 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 becomes a monster are interesting to check out. Peter admires the happy, romantic relationship shared between Octavius and his wife Rosie, before he becomes horrified and angry when Octavius is 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. It was also disturbing when he discovered the truth about Spidey.
I noticed that the garbage man, who brought in the Spider-Man costume at the Daily Bugle after Peter dumped it, has an extended cameo in the book. I liked those moments where Betty Brant was appalled that Jameson was giving the ‘bum’ a low paycheque before he gives him a larger amount as a reward.
There is a scene that’s 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 and Blu-ray to believe it. Just like Betty Brant, I couldn’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 of marriage to her. I was very pleased to see that scene when I watched ‘Spider-Man 2.1’ on DVD.
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 of dialogue 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 about Uncle Ben’s death. She’s heard crying before she comes down and shouts at Peter to leave. It was a relief when she eventually forgave Peter and she inspired 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 fight scenes 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 wish that scene was included in the movie. It’s not even in the ‘Spider-Man 2.1’ version of the film, which is sad. I’m happy to have read the scene in the book though.
There’s a lot to talk about regarding the ‘Spider-Man 2’ novelization, but here’s the best place to stop. Peter David has done a fantastic and marvellous job with novelizing ‘Spider-Man 2’ into book form. I enjoyed reading the book and found it very refreshing to check out the movie in a different light via prose.
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 in and it’s a personal favourite from my youth. Let it happen!
‘Spider-Man 2’ the movie novelization by Peter David has been a great book to check out, following on from the first ‘Spider-Man’ movie novelization! I enjoyed reading more of Peter Parker and Mary Jane’s relationship as well as the adventures of Spider-Man. I was looking forward to checking out the ‘Spider-Man 3’ movie novelization next!
‘Spider-Man 2’ (Novelization) rating – 10/10
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The best Spider-Man film to date in my own personal opinion although i prefer the 2.1 extended cut of the movie as it contains more action, i think the emotional connection between the three main characters made this a emotional rollercoaster & the action scenes throughout were amazing.
A excellent review of the film Tim 10/10 is spot on for this comic book movie masterpiece.
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Thanks Timelord Simon.
I’ll have to get around to purchasing the 2.1 extended version of ‘Spider-Man 2’. It sounds pretty good the way you talk about it.
I’m glad you find ‘Spider-Man 2′ is the best superhero/’Spider-Man’ movie to date. It certainly is, as I feel the first two movies of the Tobey Maguire era were masterpieces compared to later movies with Spider-Man. I enjoyed the emotional dramas in this movie as well as the action. I loved Peter and MJ’s relationship and the fight scenes between Spidey and Doc Ock.
Thanks again, Timelord. Very pleased you agree with my rating for this movie.
Great novel adaption Tim i like how you include the novels extra scenes, i love this film i seen it 6 times at the cinema in 2004 lol awesomeness, best Spider-Man film…..EVER lol.
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Yeah I saw ‘Spider-Man 2’ more than once and loved seeing it again and again. I wish I can go back to those days as seeing ‘Spider-Man 2’ at the cinema in 2004 was a wonderful time.
Glad you enjoyed my review on the movie and the novelization, Simon.
Still the best Spiderman movie IMO it features great action scenes, well written characters & a engaging heartfelt storyline.
Tom Holland maybe a good Spiderman but Maguire Spidey had the best characters & story’s.
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Yes ‘Spider-Man 2’ is still a great movie and my absolute favourite. ‘Spider-Man 2’, ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ and the first ‘Spider-Man’ film with Tobey Maguire are the best films in the series in my humble opinion.