Friday, June 08, 2012

Penny Thoughts ‘12—Spider-Man 2 (2004) ****

PG-13, 127 min.
Director: Sam Raimi
Writers: Alvin Sargent, Alfred Gough, Miles Millar, Michael Chabon, Stan Lee (comic book), Steve Ditko (comic book)
Starring: Toby Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, Alfred Molina, James Franco, Rosemary Harris, J.K. Simmons, Donna Murphy, Daniel Gillies, Dylan Baker, Bill Nunn, Ted Raimi, Elizabeth Banks, Bruce Campbell

For the first time in about 6 times that I’ve seen this movie, I’ve upgraded my star rating from 3½ to 4. There was one element of the movie that always bothered me—the on-again off-again feelings of Peter and MJ toward each other. The whole “I’m going to tell her, I’m not going to tell her" thing, and her with the “I’ll wait, I’m not going to wait for him” thing. I always felt they went around it one too many times. For some reason, it felt just about right this time.

Perhaps that’s because for the first time, I really didn’t focus on their relationship as much as I did before. I really saw the whole movie as simply Peter’s journey this time. I was always a fan of the Peter and MJ pairing in the comics. I started reading Spidey just after they were finally married. Anytime they had trouble in the comics, I got angry. I just wanted them to be together, and the whole back and forth thing in the movie always had me thinking, “Come on already!”

However, there’s much more going on here than just Peter and MJ. Peter has a great line to Harry Osborne when his Spidey identity is revealed to his former friend. He says, “There are things going on here that are bigger than us.” Or something like that. That just sums up everything great about Spidey. Peter’s problems are always so big to him, just as our problems are for all of us, but he’s always able to take a step back and realize that he’s really still a small bug in the grand scheme of things. It’s that quality where Peter’s true heroism manifests itself. There aren’t many superheroes that operate on that level. This is why you’ll never see Spidey in The Avengers.  That and there’s the whole character ownership thing between the studios.

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