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Musings and Meanderings
Thursday, July 22, 2004
We had Lucas over for the day to spend with Alex. His only full day home without Grandparents, as Emmy arrives tomorrow to whisk him off to California Saturday AM early.
So we decided last night to go see a matinee of Spiderman 2 today. What a fantastic movie. From the superb opening credits (you don't hear that often) to the final scene this is great movie making. My good friend cwritesj said it well; this is just not a great action film. It is just a great film.
There is much wink wink as to exactly who knows Peter is Spiderman during the film, especially in a very poignant scene with Aunt May (Rosemary Harris) where she tell Peter how people need hero's. This movie had a message about sacrificing what you want to do for what is right. Ironically Peter gets both in the end. In addition I have a strong weakness for the goodness of people. There were two scenes, one where Peter (not Spiderman) goes in and saves a little girl in a fire, and another where he is protected from the villain by the common folk who he has just saved that particularly touched me.
Alfred Molina as Doc Ock was just brilliant, although his transformation from Dr. Octavius to the villain Doc Ock I felt missed the mark just a tad, when the four AI tentacles took over his personality. I felt it should have been a bit more pronounced this transition. Molina’s performance was excellent in each of the three phases of his role, as Dr. Octavius, then as Doc Ock and finally as Dr. Octavius at the very end. His was a very poignant ending.
Of course Toby McGuire was completely in his zone as Peter Parker and Spiderman. His portrayal of the conflicted super hero was very believable. His quiet mannerisms as Peter Parker are a far cry from the comic book or animated cartoon versions, but they are a great interpretation of the legend. The whole loss of powers sequence was well done showing how his internal conflicts affected his physical well being. A lesson for many of us I'm sure. Even if we have not been bitten by a radioactive genetically enhanced spider.
One of my favorite scenes was the entire sequence of Doc Oc fighting Spiderman and capturing him for Harry Osborn (the very talented James Franco). McGuire's portrayal of the effort to stop the run away train, as well as his dialog with Harry Osborn after he broke his barbwire bonds was completely believable. Think about that, we are talking about a comic book character, a super hero. Completely believable.
Last but certainly not least the wonderful Kirsten Dunst as Mary Jane again captured the whole conflicted love interest perfectly. I greatly enjoyed the ending where she goes to Peter. I was always troubled by Peter's decision not to be happy with her, and MJ's dialog at the end regarding letting it be her choice was excellent.
I am however troubled by the obvious string left dangling for the third movie. One of the joys of the Batman movies (one of few) was that we got to see different bad guys. If Spiderman 3 ends up being about Harry's revenge as the newly created Goblin I will be disappointed. However perhaps we will see a villainous team in Spiderman 3, the Goblin and some other of Spiderman's various Villains. Alex really wants to see Venom or Kingpin. Alex is a big Spiderman fan.
I also want to give a quick nod again to the cameo by Bruce Cambell and the portrayal of J Jonah Jameson by J.K. Simmons. Cambell is always a delight, though I don't remember his cameo from the first movie (GOSH I guess I'll have to see it again.) In both One and Two JK Simmons hits JJ's role so perfectly I thought he had been somehow pulled directly out of the comic book.
I give this one a solid "A". This movie has a great script, great acting and superb action. The special effects, though sometimes a bit shimmery at the edges, were not overdone; this was not a special effect movie, but a film about people in conflict. Always a great recipe for a fine film.