Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Sam Raimi|
|Produced by||Avi Arad
|Screenplay by||Alvin Sargent|
|Story by||Alfred Gough
by Stan Lee
|Music by||Danny Elfman|
|Editing by||Bob Murawski|
Laura Ziskin Productions
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
|Running time||127 minutes|
Spider-Man 2 is a 2004 American superhero film directed by Sam Raimi and written by Alvin Sargent from a story by Alfred Gough, Miles Millar, and Michael Chabon. The sequel to the 2002 film Spider-Man, it is the second film in Raimi's Spider-Man film trilogy based on the fictional Marvel Comics character of the same name. Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, and James Franco reprise their roles as Peter Parker, Mary Jane Watson, and Harry Osborn, respectively.
Set two years after the events of Spider-Man, the film focuses on Peter Parker struggling to manage both his personal life and his duties as Spider-Man, and Dr. Otto Octavius (Alfred Molina), who takes a turn for the diabolical following a failed experiment and his wife's death. Using his mechanical tentacles, Octavius is dubbed "Doctor Octopus" and threatens to endanger the lives of New York City's residents. Spider-Man must stop him from annihilating the city.
Spider-Man 2 was released in both conventional and IMAX theaters on June 30, 2004, receiving high acclaim from critics and continuing to be featured frequently on lists of the best superhero films of all time. It grossed over $783 million worldwide and won the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects. It also received five awards at the Saturn Awards ceremony including Best Fantasy Film and Best Director for Raimi. The film's success led to Spider-Man 3, released in 2007.
||This article's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. (December 2012)|
Peter Parker struggles to balance his crime-fighting duties as Spider-Man with the demands of his normal life. Parker is estranged from both love interest Mary Jane Watson and best friend Harry Osborn, the latter still bent on revenge for Spider-Man's involvement in his father Norman's death.
Harry, now head of Oscorp's research division, sponsors the research of brilliant nuclear scientist Otto Octavius. Octavius, who dreams of perfecting fusion power, wears a harness of powerful robotic arms with artificial intelligence for an experiment in sustained fusion. It quickly becomes unstable; Octavius' wife is killed, the neural inhibitor chip which prevents the arms from influencing his mind is destroyed, and the arms are fused to his spine. He is taken to a hospital, but the tentacles savagely kill the medical crew. The tentacles lead him to the resolution that he must complete his experiment. To finance his work, Octavius - now called Doctor Octopus or "Doc Ock" by the Daily Bugle - robs a bank.
Peter misses Mary Jane's debut play, and in retaliation she becomes engaged to J. Jonah Jameson's son, renowned astronaut John Jameson. Peter soon discovers that his powers prove unreliable due to his emotional breakdown, and decides to abandon his alter ego altogether and live normally as Peter Parker. He tries to reconcile with Mary Jane, to no avail.
A garbageman brings Spider-Man's discarded costume to J. Jonah Jameson, who takes credit for Spider-Man's disappearance. Meanwhile, Peter, out of guilt, tells his aunt May that it was his fault for his uncle Ben's death. May forgives Peter, but when his nine-year-old neighbor becomes aware of Spider-Man's disappearance and the rising crime rate in New York City a major concern, Peter decides to fight his personal evils and become Spider-Man once again, after much-needed advice from May that every person "needs a hero".
Ock, having restored his project, needs tritium for his reactor, and goes to Harry to get it. Harry agrees to give Octavius all the tritium he possesses in exchange for bringing Spider-Man to him, and tells him that Peter, who is supposedly good friends with Spider-Man, is the key to finding him; however, he tells Ock not to harm Peter. Ock finds Peter and tells him to find Spider-Man, and abducts Mary Jane in the process. Determined to bring her back, and realizing that his powers are restored, he dons his costume again after stealing it from the Bugle.
Spider-Man meets and battles Ock, where they fall onto a passing train. Ock increases the train's throttle to full, then disables the controls and jumps off. With great effort, Spider-Man manages to stop the train before it can plunge over the end of the track. The passengers express their gratitude, but suddenly Ock returns, knocks Spider-Man unconscious and delivers him to Harry.
After giving Ock the tritium, Harry prepares to kill Spider-Man, only to see Peter behind the mask. Peter convinces Harry to reveal Ock's whereabouts and makes his way to his waterfront laboratory. Spider-Man arrives at the waterfront and Mary Jane is tied up. Although Spider-Man attempts to rescue Mary Jane discreetly, one of Ock's tentacles senses him and they fight once more. Spider-Man ultimately subdues Ock and reveals his identity to him, and convinces him to let go of one's own ambitions for the benefit of the greater good. Octavius finally relents and commands his tentacles to obey him; he decides to drown the fusion reactor into the Hudson River to prevent it from leveling the city, taking his own life in the process. Mary Jane finally learns of Spider-Man's true identity and true feelings, as well as why they can't be together. He returns Mary Jane to John and leaves.
Meanwhile, Harry, still traumatized by what he witnessed, is visited by the ghost of his father in a hanging mirror, pleading him to avenge his death. Refusing to hurt Peter, Harry shatters the mirror, revealing a secret room containing the Green Goblin's equipment.
Mary Jane, on her wedding day, changes her mind and arrives at Peter's apartment, admitting her true feelings for him. After a passionate kiss, they witness a police chase and Mary Jane encourages Peter to respond as Spider-Man.
- A superhero, a Columbia University physics student and photographer for the Daily Bugle. Juggling these separate lives means he briefly gives up his responsibilities as a superhero in a moment of adversity. When Maguire signed on to portray Spider-Man in 2000, he was given a three-film contract. While filming Seabiscuit in late 2002, Maguire suffered injuries to his back and Sony was faced with the possibility of recasting their lead. Negotiations arose to replace Maguire with Jake Gyllenhaal, who at the time was dating Kirsten Dunst, who portrayed Mary Jane Watson. However, Maguire recovered and was able to reprise his role, with a salary of $17 million.
- A friend Peter Parker has loved since he was a child, yet he gave up the chance of being with her due to his obligations as a superhero.
- Oscorp's leader and Norman Osborn's son who holds a resentment against Spider-Man over his father's death.
- A scientist and Peter's role model who goes insane after his failure to create a self-sustaining fusion reaction. Octavius is bonded with his handling equipment, four artificially intelligent mechanical tentacles. Molina was cast as Octavius in February 2003 and immediately began physical training for the role. Raimi had been impressed by his performance in Frida and also felt he had the physicality. Molina only briefly discussed the role and was not aware that he was a strong contender for the role, and was excited, being a big fan of Marvel Comics. Although he wasn't familiar with Doc Ock, Molina found one element of the comics that he wanted to maintain, and that was the character's cruel, sardonic sense of humor.
- Ben Parker's widow and Peter's aunt.
- The miserly chief of the Daily Bugle who carries a personal vendetta against Spider-Man, whom he considers a criminal.
- Donna Murphy as Rosalie Octavius
- Otto Octavius' wife and assistant
- J. Jonah Jameson's son, Mary Jane's fiancé and a national hero.
- One of Peter's college physics professors. He is a colleague of Octavius.
- Harry Osborn's deceased father who appears as a hallucination. Dafoe came up with the idea during promotion for Spider-Man, which he compared to King Hamlet haunting his son to avenge him.
As with the previous film, Bruce Campbell has a cameo appearance as a rude usher who refuses to let Peter enter the theater when he is late for Mary Jane's play, thus causing a rift in their relationship. Spider-Man co-creator Stan Lee portrays a man on the street who saves a woman from falling debris during a battle between Spider-Man and Doc Ock. Scott Spiegel portrays a man who attempts to eat some pizza Spider-Man is delivering, only to have it webbed from his hands. Joel McHale portrays the teller in the bank who refuses Aunt May's loan. Hal Sparks portrays an elevator passenger who has a conversation with Spider-Man. Donnell Rawlings portrays the New Yorker who exclaims that Spider-Man stole "some guy's" pizza. Emily Deschanel portrays the receptionist who tells Parker she is not paying for the late pizza. Aasif Mandvi portrays Mr. Aziz, the pizza store owner who later dismisses Parker. Joey Diaz portrays a train passenger who tells Doctor Octopus that he has to get past him to get to Spider-Man. Vanessa Ferlito portrays one of Mary Jane's co-stars. Joy Bryant has a cameo appearance as a spectator that witnesses Spider-Man in action. John Landis plays one of the doctors who operates on Doctor Octopus. Phil LaMarr portrays a train passenger who is most easily seen to the right of Spider-Man when he is holding two webs to slow the train down.
Immediately after finishing Spider-Man, director Sam Raimi segued into directing a sequel. In April 2002, Sony hired Alfred Gough and Miles Millar to write a script with Doctor Octopus, the Lizard and Black Cat as villains. On May 8, 2002, following Spider-Man's record breaking $115 million opening weekend, Sony Pictures announced a sequel for 2004. Entitled The Amazing Spider-Man, after the character's main comic book title, the film was given a budget of $200 million and aimed for a release date of May 7, 2004. The following month, David Koepp was added to co-write with Gough and Millar.
In September 2002, Michael Chabon was hired to rewrite. His draft had a younger Doc Ock, who becomes infatuated with Mary Jane. His mechanical limbs use endorphins to counteract the pain of being attached to his body, which he enjoys. When he injures two muggers on a date, this horrifies Mary Jane and in the resulting battle with Spider-Man his tentacles are fused together, and the fusion begins to kill him. In the script, Octavius is the creator of the genetically-altered spider from the first film, and gives Peter an antidote to remove his powers: this means when Octavius is dying with his tentacles, he wants to extract Spider-Man's spine to save himself. This leads to the alliance with Harry in the final film. Beforehand, Harry and the Daily Bugle put a $10 million price on Spider-Man's head, causing the city's citizens to turn against him. Producer Avi Arad rejected the love triangle angle on Ock, and found Harry putting a price on Spider-Man's head unsubtle.
Raimi sifted through the previous drafts by Gough, Millar, Koepp and Chabon, picking what he liked with screenwriter Alvin Sargent. He felt that thematically the film had to explore Peter's conflict with his personal wants against his responsibility, exploring the positive and negatives of his chosen path, and how he ultimately decides that he can be happy as a heroic figure. Raimi stated the story was partly influenced by Superman II, which also explored the titular hero giving up his responsibilities. The story is mainly taken from The Amazing Spider-Man No. 50, "Spider-Man No More!" It was decided that Doc Ock would be kept as the villain, as he was both a visually interesting villain who was a physical match for Spider-Man, and a sympathetic figure with humanity. Raimi changed much of the character's backstory however, adding the idea of Otto Octavius being a hero of Peter, and how their conflict was about trying to rescue him from his demons rather than kill him.
Spider-Man 2 was shot on over one hundred sets and locations, beginning with a pre-shoot on the Loop in Chicago during two days in November 2002. The crew bought a carriage, placing sixteen cameras for background shots of Spider-Man and Doc Oc's train fight. Principal photography began on April 12, 2003 in New York City. The crew moved on May 13 to Los Angeles, shooting on ten major sets created by production designer Neil Spisak. After the scare surrounding his back pains, Tobey Maguire relished performing many of his stunts, even creating a joke of it with Raimi, creating the line "My back, my back" as Spider-Man tries to regain his powers. Even Rosemary Harris took a turn, putting her stunt double out of work. In contrast, Alfred Molina joked that the stunt team would "trick" him into performing a stunt time and again.
Filming was put on hiatus for eight weeks, in order to build Doc Ock's pier lair. It had been Spisak's idea to use a collapsed pier as Ock's lair, reflecting an exploded version of the previous lab and representing how Octavius' life had collapsed and grown more monstrous, evoking the cinema of Fritz Lang and the film The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. Filming then resumed on that set, having taken fifteen weeks to build, occupying Sony's Stage 30. It was 60 feet (18 m) by 120 feet (37 m) long, and 40 feet (12 m) high, and a quarter-scale miniature was also built for the finale as it collapses. Filming was still going after Christmas 2003.
A camera system called the Spydercam was used to allow filmmakers to express more of Spider-Man's world view, at times dropping fifty stories and with shot lengths of just over 2,400 feet (730 m) in New York or 3,200 feet (980 m) in Los Angeles. For some shots the camera would shoot at six frames per second for a faster playback increasing the sense of speed. Shots using the Spydercam were pre-planned in digital versions of cities, and the camera's movement was controlled with motion control, making it highly cost-effective. The camera system was only used in the previous film for the final shot.
Although roughly the same, costume designer James Acheson made numerous subtle changes to Spider-Man's costume. The colors were made richer and bolder, the spider emblem was given more elegant lines and enlarged, the eye-lenses were somewhat smaller, and the muscle suit underneath was made into pieces, to give a better sense of movement. The helmet Maguire wore under his mask was also improved, with better movement for the false jaw and magnetic eye pieces, which were easier to remove.
To create Doctor Octopus' mechanical tentacles, Edge FX was hired to create a corset, a metal and rubber girdle, a rubber spine and four foam rubber tentacles which were 8 feet (2.4 m) long, which altogether weighed 100 pounds (45 kg). The claws of each tentacle, which were dubbed "death flowers", were controlled by a single puppeteer in a chair, to control every available form on the claw. Each tentacle was controlled by four people, who rehearsed every scene with Molina to give a natural sense of movement as if the tentacles were moving due to Octavius' muscle movement. On-set, Molina christened his co-stars "Larry", "Harry", "Moe" and "Flo", with "Flo" being the top-right tentacle.
Edge FX was only hired to do scenes where Octavius carries his tentacles. CGI was used for when the tentacles carry Octavius: a 20 ft (6.1 m) high rig held Molina to glide through his surroundings, with CG tentacles added later. The CG versions were scanned straight from the practical ones. However, using the practical versions was always preferred to save money, and each scene was always filmed first with Edge FX's creations to see if CGI was truly necessary. Completing the illusion, the sound designers chose not to use servo sound effects, feeling it would rob the tentacles of the sense that they were part of Octavius' body, and instead used motorcycle chains and piano wires.
Blender 3D played a role in the film's development: "As an animatic artist working in the storyboard department of Spider-Man 2, I used Blender's 3D modeling and character animation tools to enhance the storyboards, re-creating sets and props, and putting into motion action and camera moves in 3D space to help make Sam Raimi's vision as clear to other departments as possible" – Anthony Zierhut, Animatic Artist, Los Angeles.
Spider-Man 2 opened in the United States on June 30, 2004 and grossed $40.4 million in its first day; this broke the first film's opening day record of $39.4 million until it was surpassed a year later by Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith ($50.0 million). The film also broke The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King's record ($34.5 million) for the highest-grossing Wednesday of all time. It held the Wednesday record for three years until it was topped by Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix ($44.2 million). It's Friday-to-Sunday gross reached a total of $88,156,227, which was the highest-Independence Day weekend, breaking Men in Black II's record ($52.1 million), until it was broken seven years later by Transformers: Dark of the Moon ($97.9 million). In its first six days, the film had grossed over $180 million. The film also eventually went on to gross $373.5 million, becoming 2004's second-highest grossing film, behind Shrek 2. Worldwide, the film grossed $783.7 million, ranking as 2004's third highest-grossing film behind Shrek 2 and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Spider-Man 2's gross is currently among the all-time top twenty grossing films in the U.S. and Canada (No. 20).
Spider-Man 2 received critical acclaim. Based on 243 reviews collected by review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, Spider-Man 2 has a 93% overall approval rating from critics, with an average score of 8.3 out of 10. By comparison, Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, calculated an average score of 83, based on 41 reviews. The film was placed at No. 411 on Empire magazine's top 500 movies of all time list.
Chicago Tribune's Mark Caro stated that Alfred Molina was a "pleasingly complex" villain, and the film as a whole "improves upon its predecessor in almost every way." Kenneth Turan, of the Los Angeles Times, gave the film 4 out of 5 stars, and concurred with Caro when he stated, "Doc Ock grabs this film with his quartet of sinisterly serpentine mechanical arms and refuses to let go." Roger Ebert, who had given the first film only two and a half stars, gave Spider-Man 2 a perfect four out of four stars, calling it "The best superhero movie since the modern genre was launched with Superman (1978)", and praising the film for "effortlessly [combining] special effects and a human story, keeping its parallel plots alive and moving." He later called it the fourth best film of 2004." IGN's Richard George felt "Sam Raimi and his writing team delivered an iconic, compelling version of Spider-Man's classic foe... We almost wish there was a way to retroactively add some of these elements to the original character."
Conversely, J. Hoberman, of The Village Voice, thought the first half of the film was "talky bordering on tiresome", with the film often stopping to showcase Raimi's idea of humor. Charles Taylor believed, "The script's miscalculation of Peter's decision feeds into the pedestrian quality of Raimi's direction and into Maguire's weightlessness... [Maguire] simply does not suggest a heroic presence", and suggested that "Dunst appears to be chafing against strictures she cannot articulate."
Awards and nominations
Spider-Man 2 won the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects, and was nominated for Best Sound Mixing (Kevin O'Connell, Greg P. Russell, Jeffrey J. Haboush and Joseph Geisinger) and Best Sound Editing, but lost to Ray and The Incredibles, respectively. The film won Saturn Awards for Best Actor, Best Director, Best Fantasy Film, Best Special Effects, and Best Writer, while being nominated for Best Supporting Actor and Best Music. It was nominated for two British Academy Film Awards for Special Visual Effects and Sound, but lost to The Day After Tomorrow and Ray, respectively. The AFI listed the film as one of the 2004's ten best films, and nominated it for positions on the lists of the top 10 fantasy films, the 100 most inspiring American films, and the 100 greatest American films. Spider-Man 2 topped Rotten Tomatoes's list of the best-reviewed comic book films of all time, beating out X2: X-Men United, Batman Begins and Superman. It would remain the highest-rated superhero film until the release of Iron Man (94%) and The Dark Knight (94%) and currently ties with The Avengers for second best-reviewed superhero film both at 93%. In 2007, Entertainment Weekly named it the No. 21 greatest action film of all time.
The film was initially released on DVD as a two-disc special edition on November 30, 2004. It was available in both anamorphic widescreen and Pan-and-Scan "fullscreen", as well as a Superbit edition and in a box-set with the first film. There was also a collector's edition including a reprint of The Amazing Spider-Man #50.
An extended cut of the film, with eight minutes of new footage, was released as Spider-Man 2.1 on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on April 17, 2007 and on October 30, 2007. In addition to the new cut, the DVD also included new special features not on the original release, as well as a sneak preview of Spider-Man 3.
The film was released on Blu-ray high definition format in October 2007 as a part of the Spider-Man: The High Definition Trilogy box set. It was also released separately on Blu-ray in November 2010 as well as the previous film as part of Sony's Blu-ray Essentials Collection. The Spider-Man series was re-released on Blu-ray with a different audio transfer on June 12, 2012.
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- Official website
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- Spider-Man 2 at Metacritic
- Spider-Man 2 at Box Office Mojo
- Spider-Man 2 at Marvel.com