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Spider-Man 2 (2-Disc Special Edition) - action/adventure DVD review
Spider-Man 2 (2-Disc Special Edition) rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America rating: 3 stars
Actors: Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, James Franco, Alfred Molina, Rosemary Harris
Director: Sam Raimi   Studio: Sony Pictures
DVD release: 30 Nov. 2004   Runtime: 127 minutes (2 discs)
Format: AC-3, Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, Special Edition, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
DVD Features: Subtitles (English, Spanish, French), Audio Tracks (English, Dolby Digital 5.1; English, Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround; French, Dolby Digital 5.1; Spanish,Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), Commentary by Sam Raimi, Tobey Maguire, producer Avi Arad, coproducer Grant Curtis & technical supervisors, "Spidey Sense 2" pop-up trivia track, Blooper reel, 4 Web-isodes, Train music video: "Ordinary", "Making the Amazing," "Hero in Crisis," "Ock-umentary: Eight Arms to Hold You," "Interwoven: The Women of Spider-Man," "Enter the Web," Art gallery, Behind-the-scenes look at the Activision game

Tobey Maguire reprises the role of Spider-Man/Peter Parker in the sequel to 2002's summer blockbuster Spider-Man. Also back is Kirsten Dunst as Mary Jane Watson, the love interest over whom he is so greatly conflicted that he declares he's quitting the superhero life. Enter into the picture his new archenemy, Dr. Otto "Doc Ock" Octavius (Alfred Molina), and the stage is set for lots of conflict for the web-wielding superhero. The long and short of this movie is that it's a love story. Parker desperately wants to tell Mary Jane he loves her but is afraid that as Spider-Man, he will always have enemies and she will always be in harm's way.

Both Peter Parker and Spider-Man are torn: he super wants the rent money, his aunt can't pay the mortgage, his boss is tough, he disappoints Mary Jane, shows up late for class, and so on and so forth. But - and this is a big but - this is supposed to be a superhero movie with lots of action and adventure. There is action - some, anyway (best is the train sequence), but the way the movie cuts from action to drama made gave it an uneven flow; it goes from high-octane action to very sappy, almost Lifetime-network melodrama. I can appreciate serious drama, and I know the multitude of conflicts make Parker seem more real, and I know that people will complain about mindless summer action blockbusters, but I still prefer my superheroes to be super, not dysfunctional. Spidey having trouble shooting his webs only makes me feel like he needs the equivalent of web Viagra. With that said, the movie did gross over seven hundred and eighty million dollars worldwide. Despite my gripes, the film's formula worked tremendously.

Overall, the movie is at best okay, as it is neither a true love story nor an all-out action film. The actor's performances are decent enough, with James Franco's (Parker's best friend, Harry Osborn) character being the only real standout. I didn't have a real problem with the CGI in the film - I've seen much worse than this (check out the CGI hyenas in The Exorcist: The Beginning). You have to suspend your disbelief when watching a movie but I did begin to wonder where Spider-Man was swinging from when he was shooting his webs into the sky and taking off; hypercritical, maybe, but after the second, third, and fourth times it became laughable.

The DVD comes loaded with ten hours worth of extras: featurettes, commentaries and a blooper reel that isn't as funny as the one from Rush Hour. Ostensibly, the only function of Spider-Man 2 (2-Disc Special Edition) is to set up for Spider-Man 3, which fans await with bated breath.
reviewed by Bobby Blades
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