Dalton Ross
December 03, 2004 AT 05:00 AM EST

Spider-Man 2

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
PG-13
Wide Release Date
06/30/04
performer
Kirsten Dunst, Tobey Maguire, James Franco, Daniel Gillies, Rosemary Harris, Alfred Molina, Ted Raimi, J.K. Simmons
director
Sam Raimi
Producer
Avi Arad
distributor
Columbia Pictures
author
Michael Chabon, Alfred Gough, Miles Millar
genre
Sci-fi and Fantasy

We gave it an A-

Much is made throughout Spider-Man 2 and its DVD bonus features about how the movie is so unique because Peter Parker is a reluctant superhero who relinquishes his powers to live a normal existence. That’s all fine, but didn’t Clark Kent do the exact same thing in Superman II before General Zod and company started tossing buses around Metropolis and stuff? Just wanted to throw that out there.

Even while saddled with an often unwilling webslinger, Spider-Man 2 is a blast, which makes sense once you see what fun the cast and crew seemed to be having during the shoot. In a comprehensive two-plus-hour documentary, we catch director Sam Raimi — who never met an actor he didn’t love to torture — jokingly threatening to dismiss his principals: ”Now you’re gonna do it like I tell you to do it, or you can get off the set,” he dryly instructs Maguire. Then there’s the blooper reel showing Raimi bashing his star in the head with a backpack (one take of which ended up in the final film), as well as an Easter egg in which the director enlists Willem Dafoe to prank Alfred Molina by standing in for a scene as Doc Ock.

But a mischievous mind is not all Raimi brings to the table. His unique visual style (the hospital massacre scene could be straight out of Evil Dead II) and mastery of the source material are what drive the film, proving you don’t have to beat up your talent to make a successful blockbuster. But it certainly can’t hurt…unless, of course, Raimi’s the one carrying the backpack.

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