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Movie Review: Spider-Man 2

Alternate Title: The Web Master

Story: Is it worth being a super hero therefore having to miss out on all of life's goodies? What's a fellow to do? That is the premise of director Sam Raimi's entertaining sequel.

It is two years later and we find Peter Parker living in a dump, getting fired from a job delivering pizza and still in love with Mary Jane. His crime fighting has interfered with his life. Conflicted, he decides to live a normal life, reclaim Mary Jane and just be Peter Parker, physicist. Alas, enter Dr. Octavius, whose fusion experiment goes awry and not surprisingly, mayhem ensues pulling Spidey back into the perpetual good vs. evil saga.

What gives this film that extra something that is usually lost in a sequel is the on-screen charm of Tobey Maguire, the talented supporting cast, the special effects, the soundtrack and the script.

Have yourself a little summer fun and go see this entertaining film before the next installment arrives.

Acting: Tobey (I've got that forlorn expression wired) Maguire nails his role as the conflicted Super Hero. He is sweet, brave, strong (when needed) and is ready for more battles in the next Spidey film. Kirsten Dunst continues to be annoying. I still am confounded as to how she still gets these big parts. Alfred Molina had a great time as Dr. Octavius. James Franco (the spitting image of James Dean) will get much more screen time when the next installment of Spidey comes to our big screen.

Predilection: I like Super Heroes and I like men in tights. I also like films shot in NYC. I once again spotted my apartment house right across from the Flatiron building which is seen as The Daily Bugle.

Critters: None.

Blatant Product Placement: I was surprised to find that there were not many obvious products (that earns points in my book). Spidey was flying by so fast almost everything was a blur. I do recall a D'agostino's market.

Soundtrack: Lots of fun.

Opening Titles: Snazzy, colorful, fun and Marvel comic-ish.

Theater Audience: Empty, but for a few people. (It was very early in the morning) We laughed in sync.

Sappy Factor: 5

Predictability Level: High

Oscar Worthy: No.

Nit Picking: I try to suspend belief when dealing with a film like this but I could not help but laugh at how NYC was turned topsy turvy as Spidey flew through the streets. Uptown and downtown seemed to merge as one. And I laughed heartily when during one of the critical good vs. evil scenes we are suddenly on the Chicago transit elevated rail system which seemed to be miraculously winding thorough the streets of Manhattan. Cool!

I also have to say that reminders of other films such as The Graduate and King Kong were hard to dismiss. I think these days they call this type of stuff 'appropriating' or in music I believe it is called 'sampling.' Boo!

Big Screen or Rental: Big screen for sure. Super heroes should be larger than life. For some other Tobey Maguire films, try, Seabiscuit, Spider-Man, Wonder Boys, The Cider House Rules and Pleasantville.

Length: Under two hours.