The main reason I even got into superheroes was because of my dad. He recorded pretty much every superhero cartoon show on the now ancient VHS tapes. Spider-Man, X-Men, Batman animated series, Superman, you name it, I saw it when I was a kid. I’ve said it before in my previous reviews, but Spider-Man was one of the first heroes I remember seeing. In my Spider-Man review (go read it if you haven’t yet) I talked about what Spidey meant to me as a kid. I’m not special in the fact that I like Spider-Man, but I do believe I am special in what he means to me. We all are. Superheroes mean something different to everybody. Someone might not like Batman because of his cool gadgets or fighting skills, but they might love the character of Bruce Wayne more. My point is, the original Spider-Man introduced me to the possibilities a comic book movie had. Spider-Man 2, as it gets older, remains a classic in my eyes. Did it do anything new in terms of storytelling or action? No. What about plot? Not really. Spider-Man 2 may never be looked upon with the greatness of say a Dark Knight, especially by the casual fan but it deserves it. I hear fans now that complain about Tobey Maguire being too much of a “bitch.” I don’t even want to type the word, but I see and hear it so often. I won’t try to argue why that’s a ludicrous statement, but it is. Spider-Man 2 to me will stand as one of the definitive Spider-Man movies now no matter what comes out later. Tom Holland will more than likely kill it as Spidey and the MCU has proven they take care of their superstars. But people, especially these comic book companies, shouldn’t forget the past, because it could lead to mediocre, bland movies in the future.
I mentioned in my Spider-Man review, that a focused Spider-Man poses problems for any superhero. There are exceptions of course, but I’d match Spidey up with any superhero or villain and would say he probably could beat them. The crazy thing is, Spidey doesn’t even train. He isn’t a master martial artist or anything. Being a superhero isn’t the only thing he lives for. Spider-Man 2 perfectly, and I mean perfectly illustrates that in their movie from the moment we see Peter Parker. He’s struggling to balance everything in his life. He doesn’t live in the Avengers mansion so he has to pay rent for an apartment. He doesn’t have government funding or anything so he has to get a job. And he’s not a celebrity or anything, so he’s forced to get a job any normal person would have. That’s the struggle of Peter Parker that almost no superhero can relate too. It makes him a class above some too. Spider-Man knows what the word struggle means outside of being a masked hero. He understands what it’s like to feel hungry every once in a while because you’re so broke. Does that ever affect him? Well he is human so sometimes life throws him off course from time to time. But when we usually see Spidey, he always is cracking jokes or talking. Sometimes it makes him lose focus a bit, but Spidey is determined to laugh in the face of life no matter what happens to him.
As the movie goes on, we learn more about what’s happened since the last movie. Aunt May is struggling to keep her home. This is sad scene because she gives Peter some money but he doesn’t want to take it. Of course he could use it, but he’d rather starve then see Aunt May in pain. We also learn that Harry has made it his mission to find Spider-Man. His friendship with Peter is strained. Mary Jane is now an actress, but Peter can’t find time to come see her play. Spider-Man is keeping him away from being Peter Parker. We’re also introduced to Doctor Connors. He tells Peter he is dangerously close to failing his course. Peter tells him he wants to write his paper on Doctor Otto Octavius. The movie gives us a glimpse at the price Peter has had to pay to be Spider-Man. It’s a rough life to live no doubt.
One of the main reasons this film works so well is the development of the main villain. Marvel is struggling right now to find good villains to use in the MCU. I’m interested but also nervous to see where they go after their big dog, Thanos is taken out or sent away to another dimension. This problem doesn’t exist for Spider-Man. His list of villains is insane. The same goes for Wolverine. Doctor Octopus to me wasn’t that interesting in the cartoon. I was a huge fan of Venom and Kingpin. This movie develops him beautifully though as a tragic villain. He’s introduced early on when Harry introduces Peter to Octavius. They chat a bit about the current project Octavius is working on. This scene is cool, because I think people sometimes forget how intelligent Spider-Man is. I used to love it in the animated cartoon when he would team up with the X-Men. The nerdy conversations between him and Beast were awesome. Anyways, we learn of Octavius’ love for science but also of his wife. The two have great chemistry on screen and the writers build up the “from two different worlds” romance well. Octavius also gives Peter advice on love, which is a cool scene because how often do we see our hero getting and taking advice from a villain. By the end of their conversation, we get a hint of what is about to come. Peter asked Octavius if he was 100% sure about the consequences of his experiment. Of course, Octavius says yes, but the foreshadowing here is present.
The day of his experiment comes and Octavius holds a special event. At the event, his mechanical arms are revealed. (They look cooler the more I see them.) The arms are going to be used to contain the energy from his experiment. A reporter there asks Octavius if the arms can control his brain. He shows everyone the chip he created so he controls the arms, not the other way around. The experiment starts and all hell breaks loose. Octavius can’t contain the energy, his chip is fried, and his wife dies during the accident. Peter manages to shut the machine off but the damage is already done. The hospital scene after is brutal as well. Octavius wakes up to realize what has happened. The arms are in his head now. They want him to rebuild the machine. A villain is born, but you can’t help but feel bad for him.
The plot moves along nicely after this. Peter is at the bank with his Aunt May trying to work something out about her home. Doc Ock is there though to rob the bank so he can fund another experiment. The fight here was a spectacle for sure. Spidey loses his powers a bit, but continues to fight. When they get outside, Doc Ock takes Aunt May. Peter has to throw her up the side of the building where she hangs on a ledge. The fight here between the two is epic. My biggest complaint with The Amazing Spider-Man series is Spidey’s fighting style. Go watch those two movies again and count the times Spider-Man throws a punch on the Lizard or Green Goblin. You might find 5 and I’m being generous. All Spidey did in those two movies was swing around. He has a bit of a brutal, but swift fighting style where he punches all the time. I love the close combat here on the side of the building. Spidey uses his web to get close enough to punch Doc Ock. The punch he lands is brutal! Aunt May hits Doc Ock in the side of the head forcing him to drop her. Spidey catches her and we see a change of heart in Aunt May, who didn’t really like Spidey.
SPIDER-MAN NO MORE
This is one of the most interesting parts of the movie. This movie is about the balance between Peter Parker and Spider-Man. Can there ever be a healthy balance? Does one need to suffer for the other one to prosper? It’s an interesting question, especially since Peter Parker isn’t anyone special. He’s just a struggling young adult from New York. He begins to have trouble with his powers early in the movie. He falls onto the roof of a building one day while swinging. Another time, he’s swinging through the city, and he takes a nasty spill into an alley. He takes off his mask to see what’s going on. He tries to climb a wall but slides down. A newspaper is on the ground that says Doc Ock and Spider-Man robbed the bank together. Peter throws it in frustration because he hates that Jonah is still painting Spider-Man as a villain. He also couldn’t read the paper too well since his powers were going away. Peter later goes to a Doctor to see if anything is actually wrong with him. He tells the doctor about a dream his friend is having about being Spider-Man but he can’t do it. The doctor tells Peter that maybe his friend isn’t meant to be Spider-Man. This leads to a heartbreaking scene where Peter is talking to Uncle Ben. It’s some kind of dream or vision. Peter tells Uncle Ben he’s in love with Mary Jane. Ben tells Peter he has a gift, that he must use that gift to help people. With great power, comes great responsibility. Peter says he can’t do that anymore. He says that he is only Peter Parker and that he wants a life of his own. Uncle Ben gestures for Peter to grab his hand. Peter can’t. With tears in his eyes, he denies Uncle Ben. “I’m just Peter Parker, I’m Spider-Man no more.” I well up with tears as I type this because the character of Spider-Man truly dies here. In my Spider-Man review I talked about how the birth of Spider-Man, as a character and as a hero, came directly from Uncle Ben’s death. If Uncle Ben didn’t die, Peter might have went down the wrong path. To hear him say those words, “Spider-Man no more,” breaks my heart because Peter knows he’s dishonoring the memory of his uncle by not being Spider-Man. Peter then leaves the suit in the garbage, symbolizing the end of his hero career.
Things turn around for Peter quickly. The song they play here is so cheesy but it fits Peter’s nerdy personality. He starts to do better in class, he doesn’t have to worry about crime, and he finally goes to see Mary Jane’s play. The movie reinforces the fact that life for Peter will always be difficult, whether he’s Spider-Man or not. He learns that Mary Jane is marrying Jonah’s son. Harry also has a breakdown, slapping Peter at the same party. A moment happens to where he saves a little girl from a fire. It is clear that his desire to help people isn’t as dead as he thought it was. Another sad moment comes later when Peter reveals to Aunt May that he is responsible for Uncle Ben’s death. She is deeply saddened by the news but her and Peter eventually talk about it again. She tells him that she hopes Spider-Man comes back so kids like Henry, the one who was helping her move, have someone to look up to. It’s here that I guessed that Aunt May more than likely knows what’s going on with Peter.
Of course everyone knew Peter was going to get his powers back. I do love how they explored his life as Peter Parker though. They showed us how there is no going back now for Peter. Spider-Man is a symbol for people and he shouldn’t stop just because he’s struggling personally. It’s a sacrifice that must be made. I love that message, and Peter shows maturity by understanding it as well. His powers come back during a meeting with Mary Jane. Doc Ock plans on capturing him so Harry will give him the tritium needed for his reactor. Peter saves Mary Jane when Doc Ock throws a car through the coffee shop. Doc Ock still takes Mary Jane though so he can bait Spider-Man. The fight scene that follows is my favorite in any superhero movie. We have a determined Spider-Man vs. a desperate Doc Ock. It looks fantastic, the action shows different aspects of each characters strength, and the plot built up to this point nicely. It was intense and every time I watch it, I get excited. They start on a clock tower but eventually end up on a moving train. The scene where he flies through the walkway above the train is still one of the coolest Spidey moments. They fight everywhere too. On the side of the train, on top, and even inside. Doc Ock starts to toss people out of the train too. Being the genius he is, Spidey makes web beds for them so they don’t fall to their death.
Doc Ock then breaks the train’s lever so it will accelerate off of the tracks. Spider-Man decides to stop the train himself. He attempts to stop it with his leg at first, but is unsuccessful. He then shoots as many webs as he can to try and stop the train. The weight of the train is taking everything out him. His suit begins to tear and he’s screaming in pain. Spidey stops the train and before he falls, the people catch him. His unconscious body is passed along the people. They put him down and Spider-Man realizes his mask is off. The people on the train look at him in admiration. Two kids then come to give him his mask back. I don’t need to explain why this scene is awesome. Spider-Man means so much to the people of New York. Kids, adults, he is a symbol to everyone. Doc Ock ruins this moment by capturing Spidey soon after.
Doc Ock then take Spidey to Harry’s place. Harry removes the mask and finds out the truth. He’s stunned, and can’t focus. Spider-Man learns about Doc Ock’s plans to rebuild the machine, so he goes to the abandoned warehouse to rescue Mary Jane and stop Octavius. Our final battle has arrived and the journey it took to get here was incredible. The last fight between the two is good. Octavius is injured. His arms become damaged. A moment happens too where Octavius realizes what he has become. Peter reveals himself to Octavius and their first meeting is referenced. Octavius decides to risk his own life to save the city. This awesome because Octavius was never evil to begin with. His origin is a tragic one, but the man was just trying to see his creation come to life. He didn’t want to hurt anyone or kill anyone. All he wanted was his science to change the world. Sacrificing him here in this scene gives him that full development Marvel sometimes lack in their villains. “I will not die a monster.” I loved it then and still love it now. During all of this though, Mary Jane sees that Peter is Spider-Man. Their relationship has been elevated to new heights. By the end of the movie, she leaves her wedding to be with Peter, the man she’s always loved. Spider-Man and Peter Parker finally get something to go their way by the end and it is extremely satisfying.
Without a doubt, this is my favorite superhero movie of all time. Days of Future Past is close on that list as well. The movie gave us everything. Emotion, action, a solid plot, and great characters. This movie nails what it means to be Spider-Man and Peter Parker better than any of the other four movies did. It dug deep down to its core to explore what Peter Parker was really about. The inclusion of the Uncle Ben scene summed up the Spider-Man no more story brilliantly. All the Spider-Man stuff was on point, as it should be. But this movie nails the villain. They don’t make him the centerpiece by any means, but his role in the movie is nice. Not too much but enough to develop him into the tragic man we ended up seeing. My only little complaint in this movie is Harry. His role in Spider-Man 3 bothered me but I honestly couldn’t figure out what the writers could/should have done with him. The Peter and Harry subplot never interested me too much, and I was a bit disappointed it was so heavy in the last film. I also didn’t like how often Spider-Man’s mask was taken off. Still, those two things don’t really take away from this movie at all. It’s a classic in my book, and always will be. A perfect 10/10
Next week I will review Spider-Man 3!! Remember to follow me on Twitter @Hero_Review if you like this review, please make sure to like it, share it on social media, and give my blog a follow. More reviews to come! Hope you enjoyed this one. Until next time!