2004 Certificate: pg


There's no rest for the arachnid as Tobey Maguire's Spider-Man tries to rid New York of Alfred Molina's eight-armed madman Doctor Octopus. To add to his problems, poor old Peter Parker is still having issues with his sweetheart Mary-Jane (Kirsten Dunst). Yet again, director Sam Raimi spins an inescapable web of eye-popping, Oscar-winning SFX, heart-stopping drama and superguy-meets-girl romance. Best sequel ever made? Forget about it. Best comic book movie ever made - that's closer to the mark.


  • Sam Raimi


  • Tobey Maguire

  • Kirsten Dunst

  • Alfred Molina

  • James Franco

  • JK Simmons

  • Rosemary Harris


The vast strides in the art of special effects prompted film-makers to make celluloid flesh the heroes of comic books from Batman to the obscure Hellboy.

But somewhere along the way, the computers deleted the virtues of a good, old-fashioned story well told and overwhelmed them with a barrage of sfx.

Thankfully, Sam Raimi's original Spider-Man pulled back from the mainframe-generated morass and this triumphant sequel delivers the perfect match of plot and pyrotechnics.

Peter Parker aka Spider-Man (Maguire) is overburdened by his calling as public protector and is staggering towards burn-out.

His college work is suffering, he can't hold down a job and he cannot declare his love for Mary Jane Watson (Dunst) because he fears his enemies will put her life in danger.

Torn between "the gift and the curse" - his duty to the citizens of city - and the pull of his heartstrings, it's decision time.

And just to make things worse, there's a new adversary on the street - Alfred Molina's multi-tentacled scientist-turned-crimmo, Doc Ock.

Working equally well as a riveting drama and an adrenalin-fuelled action caper, Raimi effortlessly juggles the two in a rip-roaring juggernaut bursting with heart and sinew.

Few superhero capers have featured acting as subtly nuanced as Maguire's doubt-ridden crusader or Dunst's perpetually let-down young love.

There's also sharp humour, mainly thanks to the return of acid-tongued newspaper editor J Jonah Jameson (JK Simmons).

In a stunning display of directorial plate spinning, it's a perfectly balanced package with all the constituent parts complementing one another.

Used wisely and sparingly, the action setpieces - particularly a stunning stunt involving a runaway train - guarantee jaws will be dropped.

Tim Burton's Batman promised much but failed to deliver on the emotional front. Ang Lee took the cerebral approach to Hulk and blew it. Daredevil had Ben Affleck in it.

Raimi makes no such mistakes - it's superheroic film-making and the genre daddy against which everything else will be measured.

Tim Evans