July 19, 2004

Spider-Man 2

II, Spider-Man

Spider-Man 2 posterSpider-Man 2
Starring: Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker/Spider-Man (able to lift a hundred times his own weight with his limpid eyes), Kirsten Dunst as Mary Jane Watson (unrequited love), Alfred Molina as Doc Ock (traumatised villain), James Franco as Harry Osborn (traumatised rich guy), Rosemary Harris as May Parker (knowing old aunt), J.K. Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson (pointy-haired boss), Donna Murphy as Rosalie Octavius (doomed love), and Ted Raimi (the director's brother)
Directed by: Sam Raimi
Written by: a bunch of guys to develop the immensely complex story, screenplay by Alvin Sargent, based on the comic book by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko.
MPAA says: Rated PG-13 for stylized action violence.
Running time: 127 minutes
Release date: July 7, 2004
Seen at: A cramped theatre on 95th and Broadway in Manhattan, near where my friend Successful Susan lives. It was cheap and convenient, and once you get accustomed to the weird smell you don't even notice it hardly much at all, sort of.

best movie eVaR! w00t w00t!
So I'm sitting in the hair salon yesterday, and this guy runs in with a DVD of I, Robot, and then the Spongebob Squarepants episode on the television goes to commercial break, and there's an advert for Spider-Man 2, and the line where Spider-Man complains about the fit of his outfit is changed to "Sometimes it gives me a wedgie," because I guess you can't say "rides up in the crotch" to little kids—

But I digress.

Mother says my review of I, Robot takes too long to get to the movie and too long on my obsession with fruit-coloured iPod Minis; so I'll try to be brief.

Have you seen Spider-Man 2, yet? The buzz around town is that everyone on the continent has, along with half the rest of the world, all the dolphins in the Pacific, and at least two-thirds the population of Mars.

Spider-Man 2 is summer fluff in which paper-thin characters struggle appealingly with two-dimensional emotions—namely Unrequited Love, Suffering for One's Art, and Performance Anxiety; in which the filmmakers graft Obviously Chicago onto Manhattan instead of venturing onto one of New York's own elevated train lines; in which the web-slinging superhero's computer-animated web-swinging is much sleeker than in the first movie and the bad guy is not so relentlessly unwatchable. The jokes are okay; the audience regularly chuckled. The cast is talented, though none of the performances is much more than adequate for the task, with the exception of J. K. Simmons (often seen as cynical psychiatrist Skoda on the Law & Order franchises) as Peter Parker's wonderfully scene-chewing boss. You can turn off your mind and look at the pretty flickering images for a while. You'll leave the theatre having better spent your time than watching the unrequited-love mooning in four Will & Grace reruns.

The praise from various critics has been excessively ebullient, one New York Times columnist elevating the movie above Fahrenheit 9/11 on some weird scale that amounted to, as Successful Susan put it, comparing apples and iceberg lettuce. I think my fellow critics have been numbed by too many Trojans and anchormen, and got a little tipsy on a movie that doesn't completely disappoint.

So, the reviewers say that once again they've discovered the feel-good movie of all time. You'll feel good through most of it, and you'll smile at the cardboard characters and their overly dramatic emotions. After all, Peter Parker lives in a broadly drawn world, and it's all in fun, and the gee-whiz special effects will keep you plenty entertained. Then, unless you've been taking notes, the movie will drift harmlessly out of your brain like gossamer webs and leave happy popcorn memories in shades of red and blue and flashes of Tobey Maguire's bunny-in-headlights eyes.

Oh, and don't worry about keeping Peter Parker's secret identity secret. It seems like everyone in Spideytown knows it by now.

Whoops, I nearly forgot—Outside Food: Susan brought licorice whips, but was unable to use them for swinging from skyscrapers. I brought wasabi green peas, because... uhm... would you believe they look like flies? Round, green, wasabi flies?

Posted by OutsideFood at July 19, 2004 11:54 AM

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