ninth symphony films - movie reviews


DIRECTOR  -  sam raimi

RATED  -  pg-13

GENRE  -  comedy

LENGTH  -  127 minutes

RELEASED  -  30 june 2004

DISTRIBUTOR  -  sony pictures

OFFICIAL SITE  -  spider-man 2

ESTIMATED BUDGET  -  $200,000,000
spider-man 2 - a shot from the film


buy the dvd from spider-man 2 at

buy the dvd from starsky & hutch at

peter parker, aka spider-man is beset with numerous personal problems while he confronts the brilliant "doc ock," a multi-tentacled menace.


poster from spider-man 2
buy the poster

approximately $54 million was spent on digital effects alone.


picture from spider-man 2

picture from spider-man 2

picture from spider-man 2

picture from spider-man 2


one out of four possible stars

The phenomenal success of Spider-Man in during the summer 2002 season all but assured that a sequel would hit the screens and in fact, stars Tobey McGuire and Kirsten Dunst reportedly signed on for multiple movies before shooting on the first one had even begun. The interesting thing about the first Spider's success was that the film wasn't really that good. On the scale of big-budget action spectaculars, it probably would rate as "good," and not really deserving of the incredibly huge box office take it received. Probably a product of hype, 2002's Spider-Man is a perfect example of a film's success snowballing because of an intensely costly marketing campaign.

Where Spider-Man 2 differs from its predecessor is in its worthiness to receive such accolades as a gigantic box office. A more engaging film on all fronts, this sequel can boast a much more interesting script, with credited screenwriter Alvin Sargent producing a far superior script than Spidey One's writer, David Koepp. Any number of elements contribute to the success of a large budget action film, but the more successful ones aren't the films with the superior special effects. They're the films with the characters that catch the audiences' hearts and with no effort, roll viewers to the ending credits.

Spider-Man 2 does that exceedingly well and makes the journey a continuously exciting one. Finding the balance of character development and action that the first film failed to find, this film movie blends the two opposing elements with an easy grace. The pace of the film isn't interrupted by a slamming of the brakes whenever a character development or something emotional has to occur. As the plot unfolds, so do the temperaments of the characters. Perhaps this symbiotic relationship between the character development and the plot is made easier by the fact that audiences are already familiar with many of these characters given their appearance in the first film.

But there is still an admirable amount of attention paid to the characters and they evolve a great deal over the course of the film, those changes falling easily in-step with the intense amount of special effects and action scenes. And the lead stars of this film also make an impressive case in allowing this film to be a more interesting race than the first Spider-Man. Seemingly more at ease in the duel role of Spider-Man and Peter Parker, star Tobey Maguire shows much more maturity and knowledge of his role, making his performance in this sequel "deep," without causing audience boredom in the quieter scenes.

So often, a summer blockbuster can suffer from over-inhalation of action scenes, mindlessly barreling forward toward a finish that few viewers would care to stay the length of the film to see. Or the filmmakers decide to leave humor and heart out of the screenplay completely in order to stuff as much action into each frame as possible. Spidey 2 does none of this. Improving on its special effects (particularly the "swinging" scenes where Spider-Man trots around Manhattan via the city's rooftops), the CGI artists have created some beautiful and wholly believable sequences.

But the talents of the special effects crew would be worth a lot less if the casting of the film had been completed with less finesse. Reprising her role as "Mary Jane Watson," Kirsten Dunst again plays her role with ease, the success of her performance improving on the strength of the script. Likewise, James Franco, playing Spider-Man's sometime-friend, "Harry Osborn," pushes his character into one of the best performances of the film, an honor he could also claim in the first Spider-Man. As both of these actors improve upon their already strong roles of the first film, their success is probably based on a combination of a better script and increased feature film experience.

As the villain of the moment for 2, the well-chosen Alfred Molina plays the famous, "Doc Ock," a scientist whose experiment with atomic energy goes horribly wrong (something always goes "horribly wrong" for the villain, right?), resulting in a set of mechanical arms being fused to his spinal cord (thereby giving him the look of an octopus). Having given beautiful a beautiful performance in the dramatically-bent Frida of 2002, Molina jumps the divide easily into the realm of the action film, creating a wonderfully evil yet sympathetic character.

In addition to successes in casting, script, and special effects, the film can boast as equally outstanding cinematography (by director of photography Bill Pope) and musical score (by composer Danny Elfman), the two final elements that make this such an impressive action film. But in the face of so many well-constructed elements, Spider-Man 2 remains, at its heart, a perfect summer popcorn movie. It was never meant to be a dramatic entry into the grouping of 2004's best picture entries, but in its own way, the film is a perfect example of a big budget action spectacular, thereby deserving respect nonetheless. A truly exciting theatrical experience, Spider-Man 2 is well-worth seeing on the biggest movie screen you can find.

Review by Kelsey Wyatt.

content 2000 - 2005 - ninth symphony films - photographs sony pictures 2004
home | archive | ratings | links | about | contact