Second helping of web-slinging superhero mayhem beats all comers

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STARRING Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, James Franco, Alfred Molina

Opened July 15, Cert PG, 127 mins

After grossing more than $800 million in 2002 and converting comic-book sceptics the world over, Steve Ditko and Stan Lee’s iconic creation is back for another crack at web-spinning world domination.

Sam Raimi’s original cast and crew are reunited for this better, stronger, faster sequel. Ignore similar claims that may have been made (even by Uncut) on behalf of Raimi’s original, Richard Donner’s Superman or Bryan Singer’s X-Men 2?this, frankly, is the best superhero flick ever made.

The basic plot is ripped straight out of Ditko & Lee’s original comic books. Peter Parker (Maguire) is having trouble living up to his late Uncle Ben’s mantra: with great power comes great responsibility. Pining for a normal life where he can give up wall-crawling and spend more time with his girlfriend Mary Jane (Dunst), Peter attempts to bin his costume and retire from superheroics. Meanwhile, best friend Harry Osborn (Franco) is becoming obsessed with hunting down Spidey, who he blames for the death of his father, Norman Osborn aka The Green Goblin. When a horrific lab accident transforms Osborn-sponsored scientist Otto Octavius (Molina) into the psychotic, metal-tentacled Dr Octopus, Harry hires Doc Ock to track down the inactive wall-crawler?all of which culminates in one almighty face-off.

Raimi and his scriptwriters have distilled several years of comic-book continuity into a gripping action flick that’s both outrageously exciting and?yes?genuinely moving. Despite his undoubted genius for delivering audacious roving camera shots (back with a vengeance after being downplayed in the first instalment), Raimi’s major achievement with Spider-Man 2 is understanding that human drama lay at the heart of Spidey’s web-swinging superheroics. Peter Parker is a regular guy with regular problems who just happens to have been given an amazing gift and a set of deep-seated principles.

Stuffed with great performances, eye-popping special effects, bang-on-the-money humour and real drama, Spider-Man 2 is the ultimate slam-bang summer event movie. Where on earth can Raimi go with part three?


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