Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.5. USA, 2004. Columbia Pictures Corporation, Marvel Enterprises, Laura Ziskin Productions. Story by Alfred Gough, Miles Millar, Michael Chabon, Screenplay by Alvin Sargent, based on the comic book by Stan Lee, Steve Ditko. Cinematography by Bill Pope. Produced by Avi Arad, Lorne Orleans, Laura Ziskin. Music by Danny Elfman. Production Design by Neil Spisak. Costume Design by James Acheson, Gary Jones. Film Editing by Bob Murawski. Academy Awards 2004. AFI Awards 2004.
It’s been two years since Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) was bitten by a radioactive spider and turned into the Manhattan superhero Spider-Man, and he’s still spinning webs across town keeping people safe from harm. No matter how well Spider-Man does at stopping crime, Peter Parker himself is having a hard time keeping up with his real-life responsibilities: he’s getting fired from jobs, he can’t keep up with school work, and he can’t stop thinking about the love of his life (Kirsten Dunst), whom he feels he can’t be with because of his duties as a masked crimefighter. When his superpowers start to dwindle thanks to stress and lack of self-confidence, Parker decides to throw in the towel and abandon the cowl, only to find out that the city is in great danger from being destroyed by a nuclear scientist turned madman (Alfred Molina). Sam Raimi’s sequel to his 2002 hit is an improvement in every way, with better writing, cinematography and even more impressive visual effects, not to mention a much more interesting and challenging villain and more complex relationships between the main characters. James Franco returns as Parker’s best friend Harry Osborn, who wants revenge on Spider-Man for his father’s death in the first instalment, and Rosemary Harris lends exquisite drama to her scenes as Peter’s loving aunt. Maguire shows no strain in the lead role, effortlessly carrying a giant blockbuster with ease and his trademark charisma. It’s thrilling and exciting, and surprisingly an emotionally effective film as well, plenty to enjoy for anyone who watches it.