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“Spider-Man 2″ (2004) – How Spidey Surpassed even Himself This Time Around

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Nutshell Analysis:

50% of the peanut: Why Batman is an old fogey: Incredible action, visuals, and even a sense of humor, not to mention a scientist gone mad with huge mechanical arms welded to his body to make one of the coolest of his villains that Spidey could meet on screen!

50% of the peanut: Why every other attempt at drama and love in an action flick becomes not only transparent, but now entirely pathetic: Not only does the action fly unbelievably high, but the dramatic portion of a full fledged action/super-hero flick soars to new heights.

Total: 100% web-spinning, Mary Jane lovin’, Spidey goodness!

Full Review: What more can be said for the webhead’s new movie but “perfection.” I still don’t agree in the least for the choice to have his webbing shoot straight from his body rather than the mechanical web shooter he builds in the comics, but the film makes you forget any comic altering complaints you may have. The action and visuals blow you away, the humor grabs you by the funny bone, and even the dramatic portion leaves you entirely consumed. No, I think whether he builds a web shooter or not does not matter at all anymore.

To begin with, as it is a super hero flick, the action was as amazing as the amazing Spider-Man himself. The fights really captured the skill and movement capable of such characters, and of the type of action portrayed in comics themselves. It is probably the first time that CG’ing an entire character for even close shots was not only appropriate, but entirely believable. Yes, you could still tell it was done on a computer. But no, it didn’t matter at all, nor did it detract in the least. In fact, it made the most accurate movements to capture the true dynamic and magic of comic book fight scenes that I have ever seen. For the first time, it was like seeing the powerful imagery and intensity in the frames of a well done comic book come to life before our eyes and actually believe it. No “POW”-“ZAP” fight scenes here. These are raw, intense, superhuman brawls without the need for such understated titles to feel it in right in our guts.

The visual aspect as a whole was perfectly impressive, and the film was just plain beautiful. Scenes of Spider-Man swooping through New York were breathtaking. The dingier sets were gratifyingly gritty with a slick, dark coolness about them. And everything genius-gone-mad-scientist related was undeniably awesome looking, including his final outlaw lab on the docks and his great experiment gone wrong. Set design astounded, and CG effects were thankfully well done so as to even make me a believer. But, that’s not all. As the final touch, the cinematography impressed, amplifying the entire experience with camera work to be readily applauded.

Despite it all, the greatest feat, if for no other reason than simply the difficulty in doing it well in such an action film, was the film’s dramatic content that was both robust and multi-dimensional. From personal doubt to family relations to the tensions and the personal release of love, ‘Spider-Man 2′ manages to spotlight all of them with unparalleled skill in an action film. The story grips the heart with ease, enveloping us in the emotions and conflicts of the characters, abandoning our own realities to become part of theirs. Powerful and intelligent dramatics even manage as much of a prominence in the film as the action focus and its own plot. The seemingly obligatory love story and other dramatic content in any action film produced always creates their greatest flaw, flailing around horribly in the background of the action plot. ‘Spider-Man 2′ rises far beyond this limitation, traversing the most treacherous terrain to afflict an action film with incredible success. But, despite all this packed into only a couple hours, the film still manages smart humor that always hits it mark, and breaks up any tension that may otherwise begin to build up and weigh us down. At just the right times, we will be struck with unexpected laughter that seems almost reflexive, but the mind never argues with but instead cheers along, recognizing their wit.

Action, drama, humor, and all done to near perfection. There truly is no better word for this film than ‘perfect’ for me, and I don’t generally rave about a film so one-sidedly unless it has exceptional merits. ‘Spider-Man 2′ has these exceptional merits, creating a perfect film that even eclipses it’s predecessor. I would normally be afraid to hype up the film, but it’s hard to imagine that any amount of hype could taint the experience. It’s rare to find every major element of a film done so well.

– By Josh Parkinson of http://www.eatingpeanuts.com/film/, updated regularly with reviews, previews, and new release summaries of both theater and DVD releases.

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