MOVIE REVIEW: Spider-Man 2

That’s right, the middle movie. I could hardly see the third film without having seen the second. And I saw it in a theater. Sort of.

At our vacation place in the Berkshires, there is a 40-seat theater in one of the buildings, showing some interesting-sounding films. As I mentioned, early in the week, Carol took Lydia to see Charlotte’s Web, but Lydia found the darkened theater experience too intense and so they bailed. The first Fantastic Four film was also showing that week, but it seemed that I should pick the movie I most wanted to see. I liked the first Spidey film and own it on VHS (pre-ownership of the DVD player), so on June 28, I head over to the movie theater.

In retrospect, it seemed almost predestined that I see the film on that day. The day before (June 27), it was Tobey Maguire’s 32nd birthday, and he appeared on Live with Regis and Kelly. I didn’t see that, but I did see the next day’s trivia question, which was asking for the name of Spider-Man’s alter ego. The contestant on the show muffed it, but anyone who’s worked in a comic book store, or has collected the four-color item MUST know Peter Parker. Moreover, the movie was showing on cable that week. TWICE I saw the scene when Mary Jane Watson says to Peter, “Don’t disappoint me.”

So, I get a tiny bag of free popcorn and sit in the theater with maybe a dozen people. And I’m liking the movie until six older people come into the room. It IS pitch black, except for the light from the screen, and they loudly make it known that it’s dark, all through that birthday party scene. I didn’t mind it so much when they were seeking their seats -though GETTING THERE ON TIME would have alleviated the problem – but their recapping (“Boy, it sure is dark in here – I had trouble finding my seat” AFTER they were all in place was REALLY annoying. I mean, SHUT. UP. ALREADY. I thought that, didn’t say it.

The rest of the film went down easy, with a very credible villain in Alfred Molina’s Doc Ock, the right amount of personal tension in Peter Parker’s life, especially vis a vis Mary Jane, great action sequences, and the continuing Harry Osborn thread. Great balance, great pacing.

Roger Ebert gave this film four stars. Entertainment Weekly gave the DVD release an A-, and put it on its list of Top 25 action films. Despite the early distraction, a very enjoyable film.

(And there was popcorn left at the end, so I took another tiny bag to go.)


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