Putu the Cat

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Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Spiderman II

Starring Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, Alfred Molina
Director: Sam Raimi

”With great power comes great responsibility.” This was the oft-repeated message in the first Spiderman movie, which introduced troubled teenager Peter Parker and his wall-crawling alter-ego to the big screen.
The cast and crew of Spiderman 2 obviously got the message. They had great power – the studio, the comic-book, the talent - and with it great responsibility; the expectations of moviegoers world-wide. A responsibility they have fulfilled beyond all expectations - Spiderman 2 not only overshadows its predecessor, but is also the best superhero movie made yet.
While the special effects, especially the free-falling fight sequences, are spectacular, the strong characters and involved acting are what reel you into the web. This is a movie where the costumed caperer is unmasked both physically and emotionally. Maguire and Dunst excel as Parker/Spiderman and the love of his life, Mary Jane Watson. But the key character is the fabulous villain, Doc Ock, played with maniacal charisma by the superb Alfred Molina. In all comic-book movies, it’s the villain who makes or breaks the movie – Jack Nicholson as the Joker in Batman, for example – and Molina’s performance as a benign-turned-mad scientist battling for control of his own mind against his creation, four AI-powered anaconda-like cigar-lighting, bone-crushing, bank-robbing metal tentacles, as he strives obsessively towards a successful fusion experiment, earns him superhero-movie immortality.
At the end of Spiderman, Parker chose duty over Dunst, and it is the conflicts engendered by this choice that drive most of the movie. It’s not easy being a superhero. In trying to balance a life of spandex-clad vigilante-hood with normality – a pizza-delivery job, a science degree and a tiny rented flat – Parker begins to lose the people dearest to him and wonders whether it’s all worthwhile. Worse still, his powers start malfunctioning, leading to spectacular crashes off the tops of skyscrapers. When Mary Jane gets engaged to a handsome astronaut, his depression leads him to throw his costume into a trash can and start over as a normal young man. His life seems easier, but the superhero’s call is not easily denied. Because to defend the city against a maniacal eight-limbed monster, you need a superhero, even if his costume itches a bit…
Spiderman 2 is intelligent, colourful and vibrant popular cinema, full of action, adventure, romance, drama and humour. Watch it.

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