Spider-Man 2

Rated 4.0 Director Sam Raimi does it again with this second installment in the series. Alfred Molina makes for a great Doc Ock, a deranged villain with iron tentacles, the result of a well-meaning experiment gone awry. His battles with Spidey top the Green Goblin confrontations from the first. The love story between Spidey and M.J. is moving and effective, thanks to great work from Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst. Spider-Man 2 owes a lot to Superman II in that many themes and character revelations are similar. This isn’t a bad thing because Raimi and company make these reexamined themes fresh again. The effects are first rate (Spider-Man’s swings through the city are killer), and the cinematography perfect for a comic book movie. The film has a few corny moments that seem out of sync with the rest of the film, but those moments don’t take away from the film. Watch for a great inside joke involving Maguire’s back. He almost dropped out of the film series due to a Seabiscuit back injury, and Raimi has great fun with that notion. This one is certainly better, in some ways, than the first.