Ahoy, squirts! Quint here. In keeping with my spoiler-free approach to the upcoming sequel, I just skimmed these reviews, turning my eyes from the computer screen at even a hint of a spoiler. Now if I can just figure out some way to bribe Sony to let me into the early screening of Spidey 2 in Austin... Hrmm... Anyway, beware spoilers below and away we go!!!
...and I have to agree with Moriarty completely. It was much better than the first and a completely satisfying experience. I'm convinced they held this sneak in L.A. for the general public and some press because they knew they have a huge homerun on their hands and want to get the word-of-mouth going to as many people as possible. My wife loved it and she was initially bummed that S2 was the movie we were about to see at this unannounced screening. I loved it and I didn't like the first one very much. It's a big improvement on it. Here's why:
1) The humor. Much funnier than the first one. In-jokes like Bruce Campbell's appearance were great.
2) The effects. They no longer look like they were pulled from the video game.
3) The acting. Toby does a great job. Dunst looks more awake in this one and less stoned. Molina is terrific.
4) The action sequences. Well-choreographed, easy to follow and exciting. Just wish there had been more (like during the dragging middle of the film).
5) The reveals. I was surprised how much the characters got to know about each other.
6) The set up for the sequel. Brilliant. But I hope you-know-who isn't the only villain.
7) The sound. Loud, but good.
That being said, the movie is not perfect. Here's a few of things that could have stood to have been improved:
1) The middle sagged. Too long between action sequences.
2) Aunt May's speech was way too heavy-handed. I wanted to say "shut up already". The worst scene in the film.
3) Parker losing his powers solely as a result of his identity crisis was a big stretch. An additional compounding reason would have been better.
4) Molina becomes real evil real fast. Should have been more inner conflict there.
5) Correct me if I'm wrong, but wouldn't a miniature sun emit a more than a little bit of HEAT? Forget the magnetic attraction, it would have toasted everyone in the vicinity. The biggest plot hole in the film.
Feel free to post this on your site with a spoiler alert.
I like the beginning of this next review (the only part I read, btw... this one seems ripe with spoilers, fyi)... He loved the movie, but says the hype comparing it to EMPIRE STRIKES BACK might be setting the bar a little too high. Read Ford Fairlane's review below!
I've been reading on this site for over a week now about the second coming of Christ that is Spider Man 2, and at first didn't want to write a review on it. But now it seems the time has come. I saw it at the Avco on Wilshire this past Saturday, and here we go.
The movie great. It's worth your money. You won't be disappointed. Unless you keep reading these reviews that claim it's "as good as X2" or "better than Empire Strikes Back". Because it's not. Not even close. That doesn't mean it's bad, it just means it's not breaking open the annals of film history here. Often, many of the reviews I read online are way off in their statements, claiming that so many movies are the greatest ever. I personally thought the Matrix films were overrated, and rather derivitive of the essential story of The Terminator. But you guys jerked off all over those films too.
I won't bother you with the story, because, well, it's a f*&king Spider Man movie, and it's pretty obvious. Can Peter Parker maintain life and sanity, while defending New York and Mary Jane from this week's super villains? I don't mean to diminish the story, but you know what you're getting when you go see SpiderMan. I love comic books, read them all my life, still read them, and am gearing up for Fox to completely fuck up my favorite, The Fantastic Four, coming to a theater near you next summer.
The characters in Spider Man 2 are great. Of course, one of the most important thing to many fans, especially my pal Walker, is that Bruce Campbell returns, in full comic glory. As does Ted Raimi. Jonah Jameson is on fire with every line of dialogue. Bring It On shows up sans pom poms, and she does a good turn as Mary Jane, once again. The main problem with her is that her character in this film is rather uneven. We are told in the beginning of the film that she is still pining for Peter Parker. At the end of this same night, she admits to seeing someone else. The very next night, Parker misses her play, and at the end of the week she is engaged to an astronaut. (another great piece of allusion used by Raimi, the astronaut part, that is) That's a hell of a lot of change in someone in a given week.
James Franco shows up at Harry Osborne, rich asshole friend of Peter Parker. He has a rough time in this film because his company goes to shit when Doc Ock blows up their lab that Oscorp has funded, and apparently, since Harry and Mary Jane broke up, Harry can't find any other girls in NY interested in an extremely rich kid that was cast as James Dean two years ago. No, apparently New York women have no interest in multi BILLIONAIRE pretty boys. And I thought it was hard to get laid in Los Angeles. So he basically sits around, drinking lots of scotch, contemplating when 'The Great Raid' will ever see theaters, while planning the eventual demise of Spider Man, who he still belives killed his father. There's even one of those 'check out my stack of newspaper clippings' of all of the Spider Man newspaper headlines that Harry reads while sitting around with some dagger from the Medievil Times gift shop and a bottle of scotch. Wouldn't it be great if they did a kickass crossover between this movie and Swingers, and Harry Osborne comes in town, and goes to the Dresden, and walks around with his dagger and scotch, and while the others talk to the beautiful babies, he just gets drunk, and talks about wanting to kill Spider Man, causing chicks to do that "whatever" look and walk away, while Ron Livingston constantly looks uneasy, and Vince Vaughn has to constantly give him the "Let it go, and let's go meet some chicks speech." Am I the only one who sees this as goldmine? At the end of the movie, he can meet a chick with a Green Goblin tattoo or something, and fall in love. No?? Let's move on.
Tobey Maguire as Parker is as good as ever. Always looking a little clueless. Unsure of himself. Still trying to completely come to grips with these powers he has obtained. Always finding himself a little cooler under pressure as Spider Man. Always seeming to fall on his face every so often as Peter Parker. Good stuff.
The real star here are three essential set pieces. One, when Doc Ock really becomes Doc Ock in the hospital. This scene, which I understand they showed at last year's Comic Con, is the biggest homage to Evil Dead, obviously Raimi tipping his hat and winking at the audience, ever. It's so much fun. There's the Evil P.O.V. camera going, there's chainsaws blazing. Everything. It's great. There's even possession so to speak. This starts it off rather well.
Second, would be the fight scene outside of the bank. This is one of those "Oh my God" scenes where you just feel like you have no clue what could happen next, while these two kick the absolute shit out of each other, with Aunt May hanging in the balance. The scene of her feet touching the balcony was classic, and this scene, which I don't want to reveal to much, just kicked an amazing amount of ass.
Third, the fight with Spidey and Doc Ock that starts on a building and ends on a fucking train. This includes the scene in the trailer of Spidey kind of waterskiing through traffic with his web. It's visually amazing. Some of the greatest CGI I have ever seen.
And this brings me to the problem of the film. Fair Warning that this is a slight spoiler. The final battle between Spidey and Doc Ock isn't a true final battle like it was in Spider Man when Spidey had to defeat the Green Goblin. Half way into it, they have to team up, and destroy the fusion thing, and then Doc Ock sacrifices himself. Notice that Spidey saves Mary jane, while Doc Ock really saves New York. So it doesn't feel like a true win for Spidey.
The other thing about Empire Strikes Back, Wrath of Khan, and X2 that made them so good is that after a big win in the first films, the good guys all get a little ass kicking in the sequel to end on. Han Solo is kidnapped, and look is minus one hand in Empire. Spock dies in Wrath of Khan, plus Captain Kirk found out that he knocked up a doctor many moons ago, pun intended. And in X2, because they don't know yet, Famke is dead. In this one, everything is great in the end. I won't go into specifics to ruin the film, but let's just say, it's pretty cool to be Peter Parker these days.
Let me now finish with the problems of the film. I went to see this with a guy I know who I will call Saturn Boy for reasons not to be revealed. Saturn Boy and I agreed and disagreed on many problems. In the film, Aunt May gives a speech about heroes which I thought worked for the film, and he absolutely loathed. It is a little long, and a little long winded. It could be trimmed a bit, and it would help the film a bit. Personally, I don't find it to be a big problem. Second, there is a sub plot of this girl that is Peter Parker's landlord's daughter. She has a crush on him. When things aren't working out with Mary Jane, she comes over. She flirts. She brings him cake and milk. She wears those jeans that show your hips like they are a buffet meant for munching. She completely vanishes from the film without any explanation. She basically plays Winona Ryder's character from 'Lucas' or Margaret Wang from 'Rushmore', but she is completely dropped, never to be seen again. The introduction to the third films villain I felt was a little over the top, they way they smash you over the head with a frying pan a la Tom and Jerry to show you every detail of what the bad guy has to work with now. (underlying message: if you drink a lot of scotch, you will go completely insane and eventually have to kill people) Saturn Boy liked James Franco a lot. Like I said, there is a movie for everyone in this film. Spidey's half hour struggle of losing his powers, quitting being Spider Man, etc. starts to get tedious. And his dream of sitting in the car in the clouds talking to Uncle Ben was a bit much for me. There's another cameo in this movie that makes you think that every single person from Spidey 1 signed a contract for part 2-regardless of whether they lived through part one or not. There is a great cameo though from the guy who played Kellerman on Homocide in Mary-Jane's play.
Last thing. The greatest scene in the film is with Spidey in a elevator with Hal Sparks. Classic.
I've rambled incoherently enough. The Doc Ock footage is amazing to watch. It's everything you liked of Spidey in Part 1. If you couldn't handle part 1, then you probably won't like part 2. And if that's the case, then you're a sorry sorry sad excuse for a human being.
Six corpses. Zero breasts. Shard of glass through the face. Poetry Fu. Gratuitous Oscar Wilde. Fire Fu. Tentacle Fu. Chainsaw against metal. Laundry Fu. Rock N Roll Detective Nomination for James Franco for saying "Give me the bottle" and "Pulitzer Prize." Exploding building. Flying cars. Flying vault doors. Gratuitous New Yorkers defending Spider Man. Cake Fu. Gratuitous late rent payment. Queer As Folk Fu. Rock n Roll Detective Nomination for Alfred Molina for saying "You throw me the idol, I'll throw you the whip." (just go with me on this one) Web Fu. Gratuitous De-Masking. Sequel Set Up Fu. Fusion Energy Ball in the harbor. Magnetized Fu. Gratuitous Bruce Campbell. Rock n Roll Detective Nomination for Peter Parker for saying "Sometimes it rides up in the crotch" and "If you touch her...."
Just because it isn't the greatest film of all time, doesn't mean it can't kick tons of ass. I'm just asking that we keep our parameters intact, and not to keep going overboard.
And now on to the final Spidey review of the night!
So I recently got a chance to see the final cut of Spider-Man 2, and thought that I should do my part and send in a review. I’ll try to keep it short and spoiler free.
First off, as I already read somewhere, the title sequence does an amazing job of summarizing the first movie, while getting you in the mood for what is coming, with beautiful still drawings highlighting important scenes in said movie. It really is very well done.
As for the movie itself, Doctor Octopus is fantastic. He is a much better villain than the Green Goblin (though I still liked Willem Dafoe). He is used sparingly, as I think has been mentioned, but he is excellent in every scene that he is in. Also, his arms are done beautifully. They are creatures in and of themselves, perfectly animated (I thought) and used to full effect. It is just plain fun to see them in action. And Molina is superb throughout. For me, he really made this film.
As to Spider-Man himself, man do they heap on the shit. I’m not going to go into details, but he has a very hard time, and Raimi does a good job in building up the unfair resentment that Peter must be feeling, as well as having satisfying releases when the time is right. It is very well done. And Toby again does well with all of his material.
As to the rest of the acting, the movie has a fairly melodramatic tone, but one that works well (I expect some melodrama from my comic movies). There is even another “You mess with one of us, you mess with all of us” scene where the people of the city hopelessly stand up for Spidey, ala the bridge scene from the first, though I like the set-up and response of this one much better. I have a problem with Kirsten Dunst, though. She just seems so vapid. I’ve liked her in other movies, but here, she just doesn’t seem to work. Still, her romance with Peter, the true heart of the film, is not hurt by her, but I don’t think she does all that much to help it either. On the other hand, Aunt May does a very good job. It is obvious that she and Ben were the source of Peter's values, and as such are just as big a part of Spider-Man as Peter himself is. She does make me worry as to her age and the film’s potential sequels, however (ala Dumbledore, though she seems much more lively than Harris did). I just couldn’t see anyone else taking the part. Which brings us to the work of J. K. Simmons. Every scene he is in is over the top, and hilarious. Guy is as crazy as they come, and should probably be on some serious medication. Thankfully for us, he is not. I c! ould see how he would irritate some people if used in excess, but I loved every minute of him. God bless him. His complete 180 at a critical moment is one of the highlights of the film.
The special effects were for the most part excellent. There were a few Spidey moves that were blatant computer animation (especially one towards the very end that is just horrible), but for the most part, the CGI was unobtrusive and as such, pleasant. Especially the arms. They always felt real, and were a joy to behold. The train sequence has been praised enough, and I honestly liked the King Kong style building climb/fight (with Auntie playing an important role) better. Not to say that either was bad, both were very well done (I particularly liked the outcome of the train fight, as Peter almost kills himself to save some people). But there is definitely more to the movie than the highly touted ! train fight.
Raimi also gets his touches in, the highlight for me being the resurrection of the hand-held chainsaw. You’ll know it when you see it, it’s unavoidable. And, of course, Bruce Campbell makes an appearance as the most irritating usher ever. I also recognized some camera techniques and stylistic effects from his previous works.
All in all, Spider-Man 2 was excellent, with Molina really making the film for me. His transformation and obsession is conveyed perfectly, and those arms are just badass. Toby also shows that he was the perfect casting decision for the role, handling the humour, anger, and angst beautifully. The only real down side for me was Kirsten, though she isn’t really that bad, and other people seemed to like her fine. So maybe it was just me. I still liked X-Men 2 better, but Spider-Man 2 easily continues in what should hopefully be a trend for comic sequels (or all sequels, really) that surpass the originals.
The Invid Invaders