Reviewed by: Ed Cox
|Featuring:||Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, J.K. Simmons, Alfred Molina, Rosemary Harris|
|Distributor:||Columbia Pictures (Sony)|
Here’s what the distributor says about their film: “In Spider-Man 2, the latest installment in the blockbuster Spider-Man® series, based on the classic Marvel Comics hero, Tobey Maguire returns as the mild-mannered Peter Parker, who is juggling the delicate balance of his dual life as a college student and a superhuman crime fighter.
The entertaining adventure escalates and Spider-Man’s life becomes even more complicated when he confronts a new nemesis, the brilliant Otto Octavius, (Alfred Molina) who has been reincarnated as the maniacal and multi-tentacled “Doc Ock.”
To continue the review of the story line, this installment of what promises to be a multi-movie sequel sequence (stories range from three to six total installments), this is a much darker version of Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire). We see and feel the rolling thunder of anguish as Peter continues to struggle with his calling (being a hero that others look up to) and his own selfish desires (marry MJ, be a regular guy). For those that read the comic book, this movie compresses a couple of decade’s worth of “what’s happened to Spidey” into the script.
This movie is a more intense than the previous (a word of caution to those with young children). I attended with my 14 year-old, commenting to him that we were going to hear some crying of frightened children before the end—we were not disappointed. To be blunt, while the action is not bloody (the franchise is cared for well in this film, too), but the intensity level is something to consider with those under the age of 12.
There are a few language problems (two h*ll, one a** by my count, nothing in the profane category), two kissing scenes (one bland, one passionate). There are no drugs or references to same, no revealing costumes, no blood, nothing out of wedlock, etc. For Hollywood this is about as wholesome as an action movie can get.
While the first movie offered a glimpse of God (i.e., Aunt Mae saying the Lord’s Prayer at the dinner table, while the Green Goblin bears down on her), this movie does less in that regard. There is a scene where Aunt Mae kindly thanks an angel (don’t want to spoil any more than that), but when offered the opportunity to counsel Peter Parker, the encouragement is about how we all have a hero inside of us, helping us to do what is right. Obviously, in different hands, this scene could have been a wonderful testimony for Christ.
We see the intense struggle that Peter Parker is going through in this film. The secular reviews talk about how this movie is rife with character development, and they are dead right. Before too long, you begin to ache for Peter as he continues to see what he is missing by heeding his calling. Eventually, this pain breaks the man, causing him to chase what he wants, and not what he has been called to do (we see this same scenario in a number of stories in the Bible, such as Jonah heading the wrong direction from God and ending up as lunch for a whale).
As with those stories, Peter eventually sees that his calling is in fact who he is. This realization leads to a resurgence in his committeemen and offers a stirring climax.
Spiderman has always been an everyman superhero, the one most attainable to the common man. His struggle with purpose and direction, his passionate (but never realized) love interest, his conflict at wanting a thing but being called to another are all very real struggles that people deal with. It is no wonder this character continues to lead the charts in all things superhero.
I found myself with actual, physical manifestations of Peter Parker’s pain—my shoulders were tight, my stomach in a knot, pleading for a break for this guy—a long road indeed.
This is a much stronger effort than the first movie. It is obvious that those making this film knew the special effects that were so forceful in the first film were not going to carry the day solo this time out. The script is rich with character development, with explanations and furthering from the first film, as well as setting up the next. Be assured that this offering from Hollywood is as good as the summer movie fare is going to get, which is a go-see blockbuster.
Violence: Moderate / Profanity: Minor / Sex/Nudity: None