Spider-Man 2

release year: 2004
genre: super-hero drama/action
viewing setting: theater, 7/17/04

synopsis: Young teenaged hero Spider-Man must cope with a bunch of personal problems as well as intermittent loss of his powers, while a new villain plots to destroy the city.

impressions: This was more drama than action, more character than fighting...which is fine, but it caused the movie to drag a bit. I had some more plot-specific problems, though; chief among these was the on/off nature of Peter Parker's love for Mary Jane. I mean, in the last movie he decided that he couldn't love her because it was too dangerous for her, which is fine, but now he wants her again, which would be fine except that when he gets the chance to say so, he decides not to, and then she finds another guy, and he's all upset...and so on and so forth. This goes beyond teen angst - it's stupidity within a character. Another gripe: far too many people saw his true identity here, and it's not something I can rationalize away as being okay. Third gripe: in the final battle, he rescues Mary Jane and tells her to leave, but she doesn't and so he has to rescue her again and almost gets killed himself! Just how stupid IS this woman? Final gripe: Peter takes too much sh!t from too many people in his civilian life. We're talking about a kid who can bench-press a car and soar through the sky on webs; by being a doormat in his normal identity, he is utterly failing to live up to his potential. I know this is faithful to the comics, but it's still something to think about. Notable positives: good menacing villain in Doctor Octopus, foundation laid for new characters and villains for next movie.

things to watch for: The big fight at the end - it was the only relief after two hours of little to no action.

something this movie has that no other movie has: A guy with four murderous mechanical arms.

acting: Tobey McGuire and Kirsten Dunst reprised their roles well, including all the non-action drama and teenaged love angst you could ask for. The guy who played newspaper chief (and total jerk) Jonah Jameson was convincing again. Alfred Molina was quite entertaining as the dangerous Doctor Octopus.

final word: Good sequel, but low on action and high on boring drama.

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