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13 March, 2005

Review: Spiderman 2 (2004)

I signed up to Amazon's DVD Rental scheme last week (four DVDs per month for £7.99 is pretty good), and watched my first this evening: 'Spiderman 2'.

It's a fun, moderately spectacular film which I found quite compelling (though I wouldn't say more than 'moderately' and 'quite'). On the other hand, the number of holes in the plot is only exceeded by the annoyingly improbable science. I'm not the sort to obsessively evaluate movie physics and spot miniscule inconsistencies, but these were particularly blatent. To an extent, one could argue that it's just 'a film of a comic', and a loose interpretation of reality is in keeping with the genre, but at least I found it a turn-off.

Surprisingly, the CGI footage of Spiderman himself looked particularly false. I suppose it's inevitable that a figure in a bright red, skin-tight costume was going to look contrived, but it was more than that; there was something not quite right about the ambient lighting and surface opacity, which made Spiderman look like a digital sprite superimposed onto a background – suspension of disbelief was totally ruined.
Dr. Octopus was depicted well, if not quite as I remember him from the comics (a mismatch probably explained by my not having seen a Spiderman comic for about twenty years!).

There's room in a 'comic book movie' for angst, and the concept of Spiderman losing his powers due to psychological problems was promising, but the execution was disappointingly dull. I don't know for sure, but I suspect the same issues were introduced to readers of the comics gradually, the character of Peter Parker/Spiderman evolving over a matter of years. That slow process of character development is obviously incompatible with the time available in two-hour films, and regretably I feel the paraphrasing/compression attempted by the screenplay achieved very limited success.
The "with power comes responsibility" subplot was effective in the first film, but having already made the point then, it felt merely laboured in the sequel.

In summary: fun, but lightweight and ultimately disposable.

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