Spider-Man 2 Blu-ray Review
SPIDER-MAN 2 has all of the elements that fans would expect from the second installment of a well-known superhero adventure: a girl he can’t love, a villain he can’t defeat, a personal choice he can’t make and the promise of a third installment that the viewing audience can’t ignore. Although the sequel moves at a slower, more emotional pace than its blockbuster predecessor, SPIDER-MAN 2 delivers the web-flinging action packed sequences that we’ve come to expect from the franchise helmed by Sam Raimi.
It’s been two years since Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) decided to introduce his alter ego to the citizens of New York City. Unfortunately, the streets are riddled with crime and Peter is unable to hold a job due to his responsibilities as Spider-Man. To make matters worse, because he has worked so hard to protect his long-time crush from harm’s way by faking any affection he may have, Mary Jane (Kirsten Dunst) is about to marry an astronaut, even though she suspects Peter’s true feelings.
Peter becomes so obsessed with the news of MJ’s nuptials that he convinces himself that he no longer needs to take on the responsibilities of crime fighting. He wants the girl more than the Spidey suit. With the words of his deceased Uncle Ben ringing in his ears, “With great power comes great responsibly,” Peter chooses to relinquish the super power and live a normal life. Naturally, at the same time, the brilliant scientist Doctor Otto Octavius (Alfred Molina) has inadvertently severed four mechanical tentacles to his spinal cord after an unfortunate meltdown involving a cold fusion experience. The tentacles do his every bidding and, of course, that bidding is to kill Spider-Man.
The first half of SPIDER-MAN 2 is heavy in character development and emotion. Peter deals with his unwillingness to play the part of superhero as he silently pines for Mary Jane. In turn, MJ battles with her secret love for Peter and pending marriage. Once Doc Ock hits the scene, action, explosions and adventure ensue at a fast pace.
I found it interesting that about half of the time Maquire was in the Spidey suit, he was not wearing the mask. Figuring that A-list actors secure face time on the silver screen in their contracts, it still felt a bit jarring. The storyline certainly helped the circumstances. With Peter’s internal struggle to live a life of superheroism or a college kid, those who saw him without the mask were able to appreciate him as both a hero and a young man.
I was pleasantly surprised by the tongue-and-cheek humorous scenes that were folded into the plot. J.K. Simmons as Daily Bugle publisher J.J. Jameson is simply a delight. He steals every scene, including the one where he wears Spider-Man’s discarded unitard and jumps around his office flinging invisible webs at non-existent bad guys. There’s another instance that includes a conversation with a guy and Spider-Man in an elevator. “Nice Spidey suit.”
SPIDER-MAN 2 may start off slow, but it ends with a bang. Maguire continues to play the superhero with affection and soul. Molina owns the role of Doc Ock. The audience is treated to an entertaining and action-filled journey that sets the stage nicely for another round of web-slinging adventure. All courtesy of your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.
Video: As with the original, SPIDER-MAN 2 was made to be viewed on Blu-ray. The action sequences were phenomenal. Especially the train sequence.
Audio: Again, the audio was amazing in Blu-ray. I enjoyed every minute.
Commentaries: There were three different commentaries that included cast and crew, technical and producer cuts. In my opinion, it was a bit much and you didn’t learn anything that wasn’t shared on the bonus features.
Making the Amazing (2:06:00): That’s right. This was TWO HOURS LONG. Most of the featurette is an interview with Sam Raimi. He never knew that the first SPIDER-MAN would be so well-received and such a huge hit. It was interesting to hear his perspective on how nervous he was for the sequel. Tobey Maquire admitted to being nervous too. He had signed up for three movies and wanted each one to be good, yet different. He said that building on the success of the first film gave him a “fear” that he needed for the second.
Hero in Crisis (14:50) : Tobey Maquire talks about how Peter doesn’t really want to be Spider-Man anymore and how the story was pulled from Stan Lee’s issue number 50 of the original comic books.
Ock-umentary: 8 Arms to Hold You (22:10): Stan Lee talks about how hard it is to come up with superhero villains. But he believes that Doc Ock is the worst because he is very similar to Spider-Man. He believes they recognize that about each other.
Blooper Reel (7:31): Most of the bloopers involve Alfred Molina and his mechanical tentacles. J.K. Simmons is in a few too. It’s worth watching.
Visual Effects Breakdown (32:39): This was an interesting bonus that discussed what all has to be done with visual effects in the span of two years. The industry changes and updates so rapidly, that they would find themselves “wishing” that something could be done and “hoping” that it would be invented by the time they were ready to shoot. Luckily, it always was available by the time they needed it.