Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Movie of the Week - Spider-Man 2

This week’s movie is Spider-Man 2 (2004).

The middle film in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man Trilogy, the film is about Peter Parker’s confliction between being Spider-Man and helping people at the cost of his personal life and wanting a life of his own: school, being with Mary Jane and really just being normal. However, this internal struggle is compounded by a new villain in New York City, Doctor Octopus. The film is directed by Sam Raimi, who infuses it with his campy style and slapstick humor (but not overly done like Spider-Man 3, which Sony ruined). It is the best film of Raimi’s career, both narratively and stylistically. It is almost (if not) a perfect film from a narrative structure perspective. Every scene works together building a fantastic story. Alvin Sargent wrote the script, but Raimi and Pulitzer Prize for Literature winner Michael Chabon crafted the wonderful story. Raimi also has an amazingly good crew on the film with composer Danny Elfman, cinematographer Bill Pope, editor Bob Murawski, and production designer Neil Spisak. The cast is fabulous as well, the three stars (Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst and James Franco) all do their best work of the series and Alfred Molina gives one of the best super villain performances, full of pain and hate, but also passion and regret (one of the few super villains that the audience can relate to and connect with). The film set the bar for all future superhero films to come, as at the time (and in my opinion still is, but The Dark Knight is really good too) it was the best of its kind – a film to be taken seriously as a piece of cinema, while also being fun and the box office tent pole/flagship film that Sony wanted it to be. It made AFI’s 2007 shortlist for the top 100 American films of all-time. The film is thrilling, funny and dramatically resonant. It is really a masterwork by Raimi. That being said, it is a must see for genre fans and cinema fans alike. Check out the trailer.

Available on Blu-ray (Trilogy Blu-ray), DVD and to Rent

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