The Flick Chicks

Judy Thorburn's Movie Reviews

Spiderman II

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Judy Thorburn

Spiderman II

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Flick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil

“SPIDER-MAN 2” – SPINS ANOTHER MARVEL-OUS WEB

When people start lining up at 1 PM in the afternoon for a 7 PM preview movie screening that should tell you something. That doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it usually is a sign that the movie is going to be a smash.

Two years ago, in May of 2002, the live action big screen version of Stan Lee’s Marvel comics creation, Spider-Man broke records when it brought in more than $400 million in the domestic U.S. to become the fifth largest grossing picture of all time.  That film was so well received by audiences and critics alike, that fans couldn’t wait to see the next installment.  So, it was no surprise that throngs of Spidey fans of all ages showed up at the special free preview I attended, eager to be one of the first to see the highly anticipated follow up, Spider-Man 2. Good news is that with their wait came a reward, because Spider-Man 2 is even better than the original. Part 2 is a genuine crowd pleaser, a perfect summer escapist fantasy with everything going for it – an absorbing story filled with romance, angst, humor, action, well-rounded characters, and masterful eye popping CGI effects, all in one tightly knit package.

Tobey Maguire is back as Peter Parker/Spider-Man along with Kirsten Dunst as love interest Mary Jane Watson, Rosemary Harris as Aunt May, and James Franco as Peter’s best friend Harry Osborn, the son of his former nemesis, The Green Goblin.

It has been two years since Peter got the “bug” that would change his life forever.    Realizing that with “great power comes great responsibility” Peter has become a conflicted young man torn between his love for Mary Jane, and his gift that seems more like a curse. Mary Jane, unaware that Peter has sacrificed his love for her in order to keep her safe from Spiderman’s enemies, is now a successful model/actress newly engaged to a handsome astronaut.  Peter, on the other hand, is about to lose his job as a pizza delivery boy. Nothing seems to be going right. He’s financially strapped, failing in school and undergoing an identity crisis, all causing a lack of focus, which has an ill effect on his Spider-Man powers. Adding to this dilemma is the fact that his beloved Aunt May’s house is in foreclosure, and Peter is guilt ridden over the death of her husband, his Uncle Ben, which he feels responsible for. Overwhelmed with these problems and the burden of being the sole super savior of New York City whenever he is needed, Peter decides to toss his costume. But, that doesn’t last long when a new menace rears its ugly head and threatens to obliterate all of New York City.

The villain in this new episode comes in the form of Dr. Otto Octavius (Alfred Molina, Frida), soon to be known as Doc Ock, as in octopus.  He’s a brilliant, sincere scientist who turns into an evil half man half machine monster when a well-meaning experiment to utilize fusion as a new energy source goes terribly awry, and enables the four high tech robotic tentacles melded to his spine, to control to his brain. These dangerous appendages come across as distinct characters by themselves. How cool is that?  Their role in doc’s transformation is what sets the course for some dynamite battle sequences and the ultimate face off with our troubled superhero.

Director Sam Raimi keeps the flow going at a wonderful pace.  I loved the thrilling moments of watching Spider Man fly through the air and bounce from one skyscraper to another with the greatest of ease, stop a bank robbery, and save a toddler from a burning building. The confrontations, suspenseful action,  and lively visuals kept me on the edge of my seat.  The special effects were impressive in the original.  But, John Dykstra’s FX team delivers a much improved, seamless blend of CGI with live action that looks much more realistic.  Especially memorable is the extended sequence where Spidey stops a runaway train on its way to disaster. It is one of the most exciting, hold on to your seat, action sequences to be experienced in any recent fantasy adventure.  Raimi manages to keep a perfect balance between the thrills and human aspects of the story.

The cast couldn’t be better.  Tobey Maguire again captures the vulnerability and inner turmoil a character that questions his purpose in life.  He has a natural chemistry between his leading lady lovely red haired, Kirsten Dunst, who returns as a more self assured, stronger character.  To think, Tobey was almost replaced by Jake Gyllenhaal, when an injury nearly forced him to back out.

Alfred Molina is superb as Doc Ock, the terribly altered scientist who intended for his life work to be meant for the good of mankind. He delivers a powerful performance that is never over the top and perfectly captures both the evil monster and genuine caring human at odds within his body.

His part is small, but J.K. Simmons is a scene-stealer as J.Jonah Jameson, the fast-talking, cigar chomping, Daily Bugle editor whose quick quips supply much of the humor.  He reminds me of a white Eddie Murphy.

Rosemary Harris lends support as the loving, strong Aunt who gives Peter something to think about as she supplies advice and much needed wisdom on life to her nephew.

So there you have it, a comic book super hero adventure that is sure to be the ultimate summer blockbuster.  Not only is Spider-Man 2 the best super hero movie since Christopher Reeve’s first take as Superman, this one has a richer, more emotionally connecting narrative with a moral message.  Nerdy or cool, there is a hero in all of us.

It doesn’t take a spider bite to find that out.