With Spider-Man: Far From Home right around the corner, it’s time for the return of a question that never exhausts itself: is Spider-Man 2 overrated? Some say no, others say it’s all nostalgia. But what if the constant praise of the 2004 flick really is due to more than just Spider ‘Stalgia? I for one have some good reasons in favour of Sam Raimi’s praised sequel.
The Hospital Scene
One scene in particular that is still as horrifying and remorseless in the cinematic comic book world today as it was back in 2004 is watching Dr. Octavius’ tentacles murder the doctors who wanted to remove them from Octavius’ body. They were thrown everywhere, had their skulls caved in and one was dragged into the darkest part of room, leaving behind long claw marks on the floor. No soundtrack, only screams and death. This made for a well-directed, iconic scene.
It’s More Personal
I’m not going to say just because Spider-Man 2 is a great movie that means Spider-Man: Homecoming is awful. The MCU’s addition to the franchise was a fun venture, no questions asked. What I’m getting at is how much more personal Spider-Man 2 is in comparison and how well it still holds up today. The character development of Peter Parker is front and centre when he temporarily stops being Spider-Man. We get this in-depth look at what has made him Spider-Man and what he needs to keep being a hero. Although Tom Holland’s version proved you don’t need those elements to have a great end-result, it remains as another reason as to why Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man still stands out after all these years.
To explain this reason, I quote one of my older posts, The Emotional Execution of Good Writing:
“We get to see Tobey McGuire’s Peter Parker’s struggle to balance his personal & superhero lives. He’s at the top of his game as Spider-Man, bringing smiles to the entire city, but fails to keep the smile of the love of his life in the process, Mary-Jane. It isn’t until Peter loses the majority of his powers that he’s able to make more time for her. This movie perfectly balances Peter’s life of love and loss by constantly having one aspect that’s made him who he is while being without the other. It’s both a satisfying and a frustrating narrative, but still isn’t the most emotionally-riveting arc.
As the hero deals with one form of gain and forfeiture, Dr. Otto Octavius’ comes from a much, much darker place which ultimately leads to him becoming the villain known as Dr. Octopus. Long story short, he loses his wife after a demonstration of his work goes horribly wrong and gains now-sentient mechanical tentacles, becoming influenced by them as the events of the movie progress. Peter Parker’s lack of balance comes from light and Dr. Octopus’ comes from darkness, ironically balancing the movie itself perfectly. It’s no wonder how ‘Spider-Man 2’ still remains as one of the most emotionally-riveting movies of the superhero genre.“
The Train Scene
My words probably won’t do this explanation justice, therefore I leave it to you to check out this ‘Den of Geek‘ post from earlier this year explaining in detail why this train scene is “superhero cinema’s greatest action scene”.
Whether it’s Spider-Man: Homecoming, Spider-Man: Far From Home or even Spider-Man PS4, there’s a constant back-and-forth debate about where Spider-Man 2 stands. The new material has not diminished it in any way. Regardless of the fact that not everyone is going to like it, you can’t talk about the superhero genre without mentioning this movie.