An image of Spider-Man
from a poster of Spider-Man 2
Spider-Man 2 is the sequel to the popular 2002 film Spider-Man and was released in the U.S. on June 30, 2004.
The film, directed by Sam Raimi, stars Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst and James Franco reprising their roles of Peter Parker (Spider-Man), Mary Jane Watson and Harry Osborn, respectively. Alfred Molina plays the role of the villain, Doctor Octopus ("Doc Ock").
The screenplay is credited to Alvin Sargent, with screen story credit given to Alfred Gough, Miles Millar, and Michael Chabon. Stan Lee and Steve Ditko receive additional screen credit for "comic book & characters".
Peter Parker is having a difficult time as he tries to keep his job as a superhero as well as his normal life. His double-life finally results in his loss of his girlfriend, and his job as a pizza delivery boy.
Since Norman Osborn's death, Harry is now in charge of Oscorp, and a new project is underway, nuclear fusion, headed by nuclear physicist Otto Octavius. Harry introduces Peter Parker to the scientist, and the two become fast friends. Peter Parker attends the fusion demonstration, where several lasers are applied to a small amount of tritium until it implodes, resulting in a small sun. Before this fusion reaction, however, Otto Octvius attaches a set of four adamantium tentacles to his body. The tentacles, he explains, are impervious to heat and magnetism. Therefore, they are able to touch things too dangerous for human hands to handle. The tentacles also have some artificial intelligence in them, so to keep them from taking over his brain, he has a built-in 'inhibitor chip'.
The fusion reactor is succesful at first, but then it flares up, sucking everything metal into it. Peter quickly transferrs to Spider-Man and shuts down the reactor. However, Otto's wife is killed in the accident, and Otto is electrocuted by the magnetism of the reactor, which promptly destroys the inhibitor chip.
Otto is quickly taken to an emergency room where the doctors attempt to remove his tentacles. However, the accident fused the mechanical arms to Otto's body and destroyed his control over them. While he is unconcious, the tentacles lash out, killing the surgeons and trashing the emergency room.
Otto wakes up and sees the damage his tentacles have done. He escapes down to the waterfront where he is taken with grief and remorse over the loss of his dream and his wife. The tentacles then begin to control him, and he decides to rebuild the fusion machine. In the meantime, Peter finds he is losing his powers. However, this causes him to be able to pay more attention to his studies, to MJ, and to his job as a photographer. However, crime is skyrocketing in New York City, so Peter finds himself being unfulfilled. However, he is beginning to win MJ back.
One day, Peter accompanies his Aunt May to the bank to attempt to take out a loan. The application is rejected however. It's fortunate that Peter is at the bank, for Otto Octavius(now Doctor Octopus) is there attempting to steal money to finance his next fusion expiriment. Peter transforms into Spider-Man and the two fight, then Peter begins to notice his powers failing. However, he is able to rescue Aunt May from Doc Ock, and the villain disappears with the robbed money.
Meanwhile, Harry is becoming drunk and even more angry with Spider-Man for killing his father. He is paid a visit by Doc Ock, having just finished his new fusion machine and in need of more tritium. The two strike up a deal that if Otto brings Spider-Man to Harry alive, Harry will give Octopus the tritium he needs.
While Peter and Mary Jane are visiting in a diner to try to resolve their problem, Doc Ock hurls an SUV into the diner, and Peter quicly rescues Mary Jane from the flying car. Doctor Octopus tells Peter to find Spider-Man, or he will kill MJ. It is then that Peter finds his powers returning to him. Spider-Man meets Doc Ock at the Westside Tower and the two fight, almost resulting in Doc Ock's destruction of an elevated train. Otto succeeds in defeating Spider-Man and taking him to the Oscorp mansion. Harry is about to kill Spider-Man, then is shocked and horrified to discover that Peter is the one who supposedly killed his father.
Spider-Man quickly flies to the ruined building where Doc Ock is holding MJ hostage, and where he is igniting another fusion reaction. Peter and Doc Ock fight once again, and Peter is able to unplug the machine. Unfortunately, the generated sun is too strong, and it does not shut down.
It is here the Doc Ock reclaims his former identity as Otto Octavius after Peter reveals his identity to him. Peter is able to convince him to drown the fusion reaction in the river, but he himself drowns in the process. Then Peter explains to Mary Jane why they can't be together; Spider-Man's enemies would attack MJ.
Meanwhile, Harry sees a hallucination of his dead father, in the same way that Norman was often visited by the Green Goblin. Harry smashes the mirror where his father is appearing, and he discovers his father's hideout in an unknown part of the house. Harry finds the serum that transformed Norman into the Green Goblin, and he also finds some equipment of his father's. Whether or not he used the serum is a question that has yet to be answered, perhaps in Spider-Man 3.
MJ has arranged to marry another man, however, she loves Peter too much. At her wedding the day after the death of Doc Ock, she runs out of the church and to Peter's apartment, where the two elope. Right after, Peter hears the sound of sirens and transforms into Spider-Man and hurries off to the rescue. MJ, knowing the dangers they will face together, encourages him to continue to fight crime; "go get em', tiger," she says to him.
Dr. Otto Octavius. Octavius is a deeply conflicted and ambiguous villain. The early scenes in the movie with his wife and Peter establish him as a gentle, peace-loving man who desires to help mankind (he tells Peter: "Intelligence is a gift, and you use it for the good of mankind.") This makes it all the more tragic and horrifying when we see what he beomes later on: a half-mechanical lunatic who's willing to risk destroying the city to realize his ambitions. His descent into villainy is often interpreted as possession by the mechanical tenatacles, but it's far deeper than that: when we see him on the waterfront after the accident, he's a broken man, having lost his wife and his fusion dreams, and he's contemplating suicide ("These monstrous things [the tentacles] should be at the bottom of the river, along with me," he says). The AI in the tentacles then offer him an escape from his failure and agony, and a chance to rebuild his experiment, since it's all he has left; and he willingly listens to them and lets them guide him. It's only at the end, when Peter makes him realize the true cost of his dreams, that he turns away from the tentacles' influence and reclaims his former identity. His final act of self-sacrifice redeems him, and, echoing Aunt May's speech on heroism earlier in the movie, he dies with honor.
Box office success
In its first six days, Spider-Man generated a record $180 million at the US box-office, which is a record as of 2004. It generated $88 million at the box office in its first week of sale.
The general critical reaction to the film was almost unanimously enthusiastic, with the general opinion that the film is superior to the original, possessing a dramatic power and emotional content that many summer blockbusters lack. Metacritic.com gave the film a collective rating of 80 out of 100 based on an average of 41 reviews.  (http://www.metacritic.com/film/titles/spiderman2/) Rotten Tomatoes gave it a rating of 93%, based on 195 reviews.  (http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/SpiderMan2-1133520/reviews.php)
The film received excellent critical reviews from the following newspapers: Baltimore Sun, Chicago Sun-Times, Dallas Observer, Entertainment Weekly, Miami Herald, Newsweek, The Onion, Premiere, San Francisco Chronicle, USA Today, Variety, Portland Oregonian, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, The Hollywood Reporter, The New York Times, Slate, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Austin Chronicle, Chicago Tribune, The Globe and Mail The New York Daily News, The New York Post, Rolling Stone Magazine
The following publications have given the film good reviews: Film Threat, LA Weekly, Los Angeles Times, TV Guide, Boston Globe, Christian Science Monitor, Philadelphia Inquirer, ReelViews, Chicago Reader, New York Magazine, Charlotte Observer
The New Yorker rated it as average while Salon.com and Village Voice rated it as poor.
The soundtrack for Spider-Man 2 has reached the top 10 of the US album charts and has also reached the top 40 of the Australian album charts. "Vindicated" by Dashboard Confessional reached the top of a world composite soundtrack chart in June 2004 and the top 20 of a composite world and US modern rock chart. "Ordinary" by Train has also reached the top 20 of the US adult top 40 singles charts. "I Am" by Killing Heidi has been added to the Australian version of the soundtrack and has been released as a single in the country. "I Am" debuted at #16 on the charts on 19 July 2004.
The track listing for the US version of the soundtrack is:
- "Vindicated" by Dashboard Confessional
- "Ordinary" by Train
- "Did You" by Hoobastank
- "Hold On" by Jet
- "Gifts and Curses" by Yellowcard
- "Woman" by Maroon 5
- "This Photograph Is Proof (I Know You Know)" by Taking Back Sunday
- "Give it Up" by Midtown
- "Lucky You" by lostprophets
- "Who I Am" by Smile Empty Soul
- "The Night That the Lights Went Out in NYC" by The Ataris
- "We Are" by Ana Johnsson
- "Someone to Die For" by Jimmy Gneco and Brian May
- "Spidey Suite" by Danny Elfman
- "Doc Ock Suite" by Danny Elfman.
On the Australian version of the soundtrack, "I Am" by Killing Heidi appears as Track 17 and is a single. On the Japanese version of the soundtrack, "Web of Night" by TM Revolution appears and was a popular single in Japan.
Allmusic.com best tracks are "Hold On", "Someone to Die For" and "Spidey Suite".
Notes and trivia
- Otto Octavious's catchphrase - "The power of the sun - in the palm of my hand" is strikingly close to a slogan for a handheld gaming device called Pixter - "The power of Pixter in the palm of my hand."
- Throughout the whole movie, the only point when Otto Octavius is called 'Doc Ock' or 'Doctor Octopus' are only when Jonah Jameson suggests the names at the Daily Bugle. One of the suggested names is Doctor Strange, which is Steve Ditko's other major co-creation for Marvel Comics.
- Spider-Man creator Stan Lee makes yet another cameo appearance (as he did in Spider-Man) during Spidey's first battle with Doc Ock at the side of building walls.
- Actor Bruce Campbell also makes another cameo as the usher who won't let Peter into Mary Jane's play.
- Voice actor Phil LaMarr makes a cameo too. He is the man in the far right during the scene where Spider Man stops the wagon.
- Tobey Maguire is a vegetarian. In the scene where Parker watches police cars go by, he is actually eating a tofu hot dog.
- Official site (http://www.spiderman.sonypictures.com/)
- Spider-Man 2 (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0316654/) at the Internet Movie Database
- Metacritic Spider-Man 2 review summary (http://www.metacritic.com/film/titles/spiderman2/)
- Allmusic.com soundtrack review (http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&uid=UIDMISS70311071654390588&sql=A2vjleat64xg7/)