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Spider-Man 2 (2004)
Loads of fun; surprising drama; (SPOILERS)
*****(MULTIPLE SPOILERS HERE) *****
Well worth seeing. Peter Parker is growing up, trying to deal with the transition from teenage to adulthood - difficult for any one of us, even those of us who are not superheroes! Poor Peter faces a plethora of stressors - he can't deliver the pizza in time for the 29-minute guarantee (His pizza boss: "Peter, you just don't know what a promise means!"); he deals with his guilt over Uncle Ben's death; he is worried about Aunt May and her financial situation; he is failing at school because he keeps on missing lectures and has no time to study; he loves Mary Jane but is afraid to tell her - he wants to, but fears she will be a target for Spider-Man's enemies; and, worst of all, when he washes his Spider-Man suit in the laundromat, it puts blue and red stains all over his underwear.
Supporting characters are great. (MULTIPLE SPOILERS HERE) Aunt May is coming to terms with her husband's death. Harry Osborn is getting more and more deranged, although this might be partly due to alcohol abuse (he's bending his elbow in practically every scene he is in) and is obsessing about Spider-Man causing his father's death; Mary Jane is torn between her long-time friendship and love for Peter vs him not being dependable. J. Jonah Jameson is great as the comic interludes - (e.g., Betty Brant: "Your wife called - she lost her checkbook!" JJJ - "Thanks for the good news!") Doctor Octopus is a good guy at the start who turns insane/bad due to the destruction of his life's dream.
In the end, the stress on Peter is so great that he decides to quit being Spider-Man. A poignant scene - the Spider-Man costume is in a garbage can and Peter is walking away.
But, as all Spidey fans know, this cannot be! Peter will regain his commitment and save New York once again!
(MULTIPLE SPOILERS HERE!) Bits from the movie that are particularly comedic: Peter is photographing a charity ball; waiters carry trays of hors d'oeuvres and drinks throughout the crowd; whenever Peter tries to snag a bite, someone else grabs it first.
A garbageman brings J. Jonah Jameson the Spider-Man suit. JJJ: "I'll give you $50 for that." Garbageman: "I can get more than that on Ebay!"
Spider-Man, his powers failing, having to take the elevator down from the top story, and another man getting onto the elevator and seeing him in costume: "Doesn't that costume get sort of hot?" "Yes, it does a little; and it rides up in the crotch, too."
The filmmakers do a great job of pointing this sort of thing out: If you were a superhero and couldn't tell anyone, where do you get the time to do your laundry? How would you hold down a regular job if every hour you were running off to stop a mugging? Superheroes need a paycheck too! Based on movie #1, it seems very unlikely (or impossible) that Peter will use his super powers for gain, for that is how Uncle Ben was killed. So basically he's working an unpaid job being Spider-Man and getting vilified for it by the Daily Bugle. Could you do your regular work, then work another unpaid job?
(SPOILERS) Spider-Man does reveal his identity to a lot of people in this movie, mostly not by choice. In the exciting runaway train sequence, he loses his hood; the commuters all see him as he falls unconscious ("He's just a kid!") but they promise not to tell. Doctor Octopus kidnaps him, brings him to Harry Osborn - Harry removes his mask and is thunderstricken. And in the battle with Doc Ock, Mary Jane finds out it is Peter under the mask. But that is all to the good, because with his secret out, he can confess his true feelings for her.
All in all, a wonderful movie about growth, development, and hard choices, with an backdrop of exciting action, thrilling adventure, and occasional laugh-out-loud comedy. Don't miss it.