Golly. 2014 wasn’t a dull year for Spider-Man was it? Sony were living it large thinking they were unstoppable until The Amazing Spider-Man 2‘s box office and reviews crashed the tour bus. With that, every week seemed to produce a news story focusing on the future of the rebooted series, with rumours that Andrew Garfield had been fired, a reboot of the reboot was on the table, fifty or so new proposed movies including an Aunt May prequel story(!), and hacked e-mails revealed Sony and Marvel had been in talks to share the webhead but talks fell through. But on February 9th, 2015, Disney and Marvel announced that Spider-Man was going to appear in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, starting with next year’s Captain America: Civil War. An interesting rumour was that Sam Raimi was going to be invited back to direct a new trilogy, despite the rude discarding of him and his own Spider-Man trilogy a few years ago.
Which brings me to the subject of this list – Spider-Man 2. In my personal opinion, not only is Spider-Man 2 the perfect Spider-Man film but one of the greatest superhero films made. The characters are perfect, the acting is wonderful, the action is awesome and some of the best in the business. And as Roger Ebert put it, the film’s heart is the emotional conflicts that Peter Parker goes through when trying to be Spider-Man. That is how you make a good superhero flick, and even a good movie. So, in honour of this movie, I’m counting down my seven favourite moments that make Spider-Man 2 such a kickass film.
7. The Music
One thing that I loved throughout the Raimi trilogy was the music and the soundtrack. Composed by Danny Elfman, the music has his unique flair and quality to it. It moves and flows perfectly with the film from scene-to-scene. I think my favourite musical moment has to be that deep musical piece when Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) gives up being Spider-Man, a musical piece that was also used in the first film when the Green Goblin dies, and again at the end of the exciting train rescue sequence. Another personal favourite is the opening theme known as the “Spider-Man Suite”. Elfman is a very talented composer and the score for Spider-Man 2 is some of his finest work.
6. Rocky Relationships
Peter’s commitment to being Spider-Man takes a heavy toll on his life, affecting his relationships with his loved ones including Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst), Harry Osborn (James Franco), and Aunt May (Rosemary Harris). While his relationship with Aunt May survives despite the sorrowful reveal of Peter’s whereabouts during Uncle Ben’s death, his relationship with Harry completely disintegrates, with Harry nuts about avenging his dad Norman Osborn. Of course, Peter’s relationship with Mary Jane drives much of the movie, who is going to marry John Jameson since Peter can’t be with her. However, while Mary Jones acts a bit haughty towards him, I do enjoy the relationship the two have, particularly when they meet to have a heart-to-heart chat as friends. Of course, the two get together but it is the journey they take that adds to the fun of this movie.
5. I’m Spider-Man, No More
One of the most iconic images from The Amazing Spider-Man comic was when Peter quit being Spider-Man and dumped his costume in the garbage. This is recreated in the film where Peter draws a line in the sand and decides to abandon being Spider-Man, tired of struggling to lead a normal life and getting nothing for his sacrifices – he can’t hold a job, his best friend hates his alter ego, the love of his life is marrying another man, and his own superpowers are failing him. So, after rejecting the promise he made to Uncle Ben, Peter ditches his costume, which is eventually obtained by J. Jonah Jameson. It is a very sad moment, though the jovial montage that follows helps brighten things for both Peter and the audience.
4. Aunt May’s Speech
Just about every casting choice in this movie is perfect, and Rosemary Harris is the personification of Aunt May. Sally Field did a decent job in the Amazing films, but Harris is just perfect as the character, bringing some great humanity to Aunt May who is kind of deadweight in other depictions. It is Aunt May’s rousing speech to Peter about heroes that got her on this:
“He knows a hero when he sees one. Too few characters out there, flying around like that saving old girls like me. And Lord knows, kids like Henry need a hero—courageous, self-sacrificing people setting examples for all of us. Everybody loves a hero. People line up for them…cheer them…scream their names. And years later, they’ll tell how they stood in the rain for hours just to get a glimpse of the one who taught them to hold on a second longer. I believe there’s a hero in all of us…that keeps us honest…gives us strength…makes us noble…and finally allows us to die with pride, even though sometimes we have to be steady and give up the thing we want the most – even our dreams. Spider-Man did that for Henry and he wonders where he’s gone. He needs him.”