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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Spider-Man 2 (2004)

#2 - 2004 Box Office: Gross $373,585,825

 Sacrifice. Destiny. Choice.
Sam Raimi's sequel picks up two years after the first ended with Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) trying to balance his everyday life with the great responsibility he has as Spider-Man. His childhood crush—Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst)—has a starring role on Broadway, his best friend—Harry Osborn (James Franco)—is convinced Spider-Man is responsible for his father's death and after the death of Peter's uncle, his Aunt May (Rosemary Harris) faces foreclosure. Meanwhile, one of Oscorp's nuclear scientists, Otto Octavius (Alfred Molina), suffers a terrible accident causing intelligent robotic arms to weld themselves onto his back and into his mind.  Dubbed "Doc Ock" by the vociferous Daily Bugle editor, J. Jonah Jameson (J.K. Simmons), Spider-Man has a new enemy who threatens to destroy the city with a huge fusion reactor.  Parker's powers falter and after a visit with a two-armed doctor, he believes the reason his powers aren't working is due to the stress of protecting the city.  And so, he decides to be Spider-Man, no more.  Doc Ock needs Harry's help with his reactor so Harry asks Ock to bring him Spider-Man to avenge his father's death. MJ gets kidnapped, Peter has to become Spider-Man once more and try to save the city and himself.

Trivia (mostly courtesy of the IMDb)
  • Took the record for biggest opening day ever with $40.4 million from its predecessor Spider-Man
  • Sam Raimi officially signed on to direct this sequel more than a month before Spider-Man opened and filming began in 2003 before an official script was finished
  • The opening credits feature artwork by artist Alex Ross, which recaps the events in Spider-Man
  • Alfred Molina gave names to his four mechanical tentacles—Larry, Harry, Flo and Moe. Flo was the top right tentacle, because it was operated by a female grip and that particular tentacle was the most motherly, removing his sunglasses and giving him sips of his drink
  • As a vegetarian, Tobey Maguire ate a tofu hot dog during the scene where police cars zoom by
  • The lines of poetry Peter quotes to MJ ("Day by day he gazed upon her / Day by day he sighed with passion") are from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem "The Four Winds"
  • While filming Seabiscuit, Maguire suffered back injuries serious enough to cause the studio to negotiate with Jake Gyllenhaal to replace Maguire. Maguire recovered enough to play Peter Parker, once more, however the "My back!" joke after Peter falls from the roof was purely coincidental, having been written into the script before Maguire's injuries
  • The man who steals a slice of pizza dropped off on a rooftop while Spider-Man does some hero stuff is played by Scott Spiegel, who co-wrote Evil Dead II  with director Sam Raimi
You have a train to catch...
Not very often do you get a sequel that outperforms the original, but there are so many things to love about this movie.  First, there's the wonderful comic-book-esque opening credit sequence created by Alex Ross that tells the story of Spider-Man rather than wasting any time having the characters retell the important parts.  Then, you have the wonderfully created villain of Doc Ock.  Willem Dafoe was great as the Green Goblin—loved his arguments in the mirror, but his villain was often subconscious and hid behind a green body suit.  Here, Molina gets to have a similar internal struggle between his good-natured scientist and the evil robotic arms, but you get to see the villain at every turn (and he's pretty sarcastic and funny to boot).  Then, there's just the campiness of certain scenes—when the doctors try to saw the arms off of Otto, the scene goes to Evil Dead-like levels of "horror" and I loved every second of it!

Ponch's Rating:

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