Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern


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Movie Review: Spider-Man 2

Maybe superhero movies should forgo their initial chapters and just start with sequels. After last year’s triumphant “X2,” which dwarfed its exposition-heavy predecessor, this summer we have the glorious “Spider-Man 2,” an action movie of the highest order that also provides us with a healthy dose of superhero angst.

“Spider-Man 2” wisely and consciously incorporates blockbuster elements into the film’s seamless, near-flawless script by “Ordinary People” scribe Alvin Sargent. Save the obvious one-dimensionality of the embittered and vengeful Harry Osborn (played by the still-excellent James Dean look-alike, James Franco) and a convenient articulation of all the movie’s major themes by Aunt May (Rosemary Harris) in a ridiculous speech to Peter Parker/Spider-Man (Tobey Maguire), this is almost a perfectly conceived movie.

Peter is having a pretty tough time. He apparently is enrolled at Columbia University, and who knows how he’s paying tuition, considering he can’t hold down a job at a pizza place or the Daily Bugle, neither he nor Aunt May can pay rent, and Mary Jane (Kirsten Dunst) — whom he so honorably deserted at the end of the first film — is about to get married.

Peter befriends Dr. Otto Octavius (a wonderful Alfred Molina), a brilliant scientist who is attempting to harness fusion energy. And then the comic book begins — first the scientific catastrophe and then Otto’s subsequent demise into Doc Ock, a megalomaniacal villain with four robotic arms coming out of his spine.

The budget for “Spider-Man 2” has been reported to be $200 million, but I’ll be damned if it doesn’t show. There are at least five knock-’em-dead action sequences in this movie, each one eliciting a different emotion. Spider-Man’s initial crimefighting that opens the film is a joy, and the disaster that creates Doc Ock is tense, even frightening.

Director Sam Raimi then reaches back about 25 years and delivers a scene inspired by his breakthrough 1981 film “The Evil Dead” (budgeted for $250,000), complete with chainsaw and amateurish, expressionistic lighting.

The fighting between Spider-Man and Doc Ock is downright beautiful. The car-through-the-caf

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Movie Review: Spider-Man 2