It has been two years since the end of the last film, and Peter Parker is finding a double
life very difficult. He loses a job, is having trouble with his estranged friend, Harry Osborn, who still blames his father's
death on Spider-Man (Harry doesn't know that Norman was actually the villanous Green Goblin of the first film), struggles
with his studies and school work, and finds that he is losing his powers. Moreover, he has learned that his potential girlfriend,
M.J., has acquired a new boyfriend, John Jameson, the son of Peter's employer, J. Jonah Jameson. M.J. turns increasingly hostile
to Peter after he fails to keep a promise to see a play in which she is the female lead.
Peter's idol, a brilliant, gentle scientist named Otto Octavius becomes a mechanically-controlled lunatic as the result
of a fusion accident. "Doc Ock", as he is now called (due to the metal tentacles wired to his spine), desperately wants to
rebuild his experiment, and Spider-Man must stop him from robbing a bank. Peter's morale hits a nadir when Harry lashes at
him in a drunken rage, MJ and Jameson Jr. announce their engagement and he loses his powers due to a form of burn-out syndrome.
Peter temporarily gives up Spider-Man. As Peter has much more spare time now,
his relationships improve. Peter and MJ connect once again, but as MJ is engaged, it seems too late. In the meanwhile, Doc
Ock and Harry Osborn make a deal: Harry supplies him with tritium for his experiment, and the Doctor agrees to capture Spider-Man
for him. MJ remembers the upside-down kiss she had with her saviour Spider-Man
in the first film, and that Peter's kiss suspiciously felt the same. She arranges a meeting with Peter, and although she is
very fond of him, Peter's secretive behaviour estranges and intrigues her. But before things can go on, they are attacked
by Doc Ock. Because he knows that Peter and Spider-Man are close (although he does not know that they are the same person),
he attacks Peter. Doc Ock threatens Peter and tells him to tell Spider-Man to fight him, unless he wants MJ killed. Then he
abducts her. This shock brings back Peter's powers. He has a great fight with
Doc Ock, and the crazy scientist forces Peter to rescue a rogue train. With an utmost effort, Peter stops the train before
it falls from an unfinished bridge. Before that, he took off his mask to avoid burning himself, but the people on the train
return his mask, promising not to tell anyone. Unfortunately, he is weak from stopping the train and is captured easily by
Doc Ock, and brought before Harry. Harry unmasks him and is shellshocked that Spider-Man is Peter Parker. Peter implores him
to tell him where Doc Ock went, or MJ will be killed. Peter finds Doc Ock in
an abandoned warehouse, where he holds MJ hostage and has just launched his doomsday experiment, which is clearly going rogue,
just as the one at the beginning of the film (extending flares, sucking up and incinerating anything metal). They fight a
second time, and in the end, Doc Ock regains his sanity. He ends his doomsday experiment by drowning it, sacrificing his life
and dying a hero ("I will not die a monster!"). MJ finds out that Peter is Spider-Man, and is stunned and full of joy at the
same time. But Peter tells her they can never be together, as he will always have deadly enemies, and MJ should spare herself
the grief of coming too close to him. In the end, MJ runs away from her marriage
with John Jameson. She gatecrashes Peter's apartment, telling him that she has decided to live with him - despite the risks
- because a full dangerous life is better than a half, carefree life. She - almost forcefully - persuades Peter to finally
be her boyfriend while accepting the need of his vows by letting him respond to a sudden call for help. As Peter joyfully
swings to the rescue, Mary Jane remains, still somewhat apprehensive of the bizarre and potentially dangerous relationship
they have committed themselves to.
In its first six days, Spider-Man 2 generated a record $180 million at the North American
box-office, which is a record as of 2005. It generated $88 million at the box office in its first weekend of sale, and on
its first day, it garnered a whopping estimate of $40 million, a record for a movie on opening (it was beat a year later by
Revenge of the Sith, which grossed about $10 million more). Altogether, Spider-man 2 made $373,585,825 in North
America, making it the 2nd highest grossing movie of
2004 (beaten by $68m by Shrek 2) and the 9th highest grossing movie in the U.S of all time. Worldwide, Spider-Man 2 made $783,964,497,
which made it the 3rd highest grossing movie of 2004 worldwide (behind Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and Shrek
2), as well as the 16th highest grossing movie worldwide of all time. Though this is not as much as its predecessor, it should
still be considered excellent, considering it is a sequel to a very highly regarded movie, and those usually do not do that
well in the box-office.
The general critical reaction to the film was enthusiastic, with many critics saying the film
had a dramatic power and emotional content that many summer blockbusters lack. Metacritic gave the film a collective rating
of 80 out of 100 based on an average of 41 reviews. Rotten Tomatoes gave it a
rating of 93%, based on 195 reviews.
Roger Ebert who panned the first film praised the second movie giving the movie four stars.
He went on to call it the 'greatest super-hero movie since Superman'
The film received excellent critical reviews from the following newspapers: Baltimore Sun,
Chicago Sun-Times, Dallas Observer, Entertainment Weekly, Miami Herald, Newsweek, The Onion, Premiere, San Francisco Chronicle,
USA Today, Variety, Portland Oregonian, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, The Hollywood Reporter, The New York Times, Slate, The
Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Austin Chronicle, Chicago Tribune, The Globe and Mail The New York Daily News, The
New York Post, Rolling Stone Magazine
The following publications have given the film good reviews: Film Threat, LA Weekly, Los Angeles
Times, TV Guide, Boston Globe, Christian Science Monitor, The Philadelphia Inquirer, ReelViews, Chicago Reader, New York Magazine,
The movie was listed in AFI's Top Ten Films of 2004
The New Yorker rated it as average while Salon.com and Village Voice rated it as poor.
In the 77th Academy Awards, the movie won the Academy Award for Visual Effects. It was also
nominated for the Academy Award for Sound and the Academy Award for Sound Editing.
The soundtrack for Spider-Man 2 has reached the top 10 of the US album charts and has also reached the top 40 of the Australian album charts. "Vindicated" by Dashboard Confessional
reached the top of a world composite soundtrack chart in June 2004 and the top 20 of a composite world and US modern rock chart. "Ordinary" by Train has also reached the top 20 of the US adult top 40 singles charts. "I Am" by Killing Heidi has been added to the Australian version of the soundtrack and
has been released as a single in the country. "I Am" debuted at #16 on the charts on July 19, 2004.
At different points in the film, Peter and Harry both sport the same outfit as Ash from the
Evil Dead films.
Promotion, marketing and anticipation for this film had grown so much in late 2003, Sony was
considering putting webbing along with the Spider-Man 2 logo on the bases at the 2003 World Series.
Elements of the film's plot are taken from the Stan Lee written Spider-Man storylines "If
this be My Destiny" (Amazing Spider-Man 31-33), Amazing Spider-Man #50, and the first Spider-Man annual.
Fans were somewhat skeptical when Alfred Molina was cast as Dr. Octopus, because Molina is
Hipanic and speaks British English, unlike his comic counterpart, who is a Caucasian American and speaks American English.
However, after the film, Molina was widely lauded for his performance.
Before the film was released, it was well-publicised that Tobey Maguire may have had to pull
out of doing the film due to severe back pain. At one point, the producers had Jake Gyllenhaal on standby to take up the part.
However, Maguire was in the end cleared to reprise his role as Peter Parker. The controversy was rumored to have made early
shooting on the movie somewhat uncomfortable, as Kirsten Dunst was dating Gyllenhaal at the time, but the actors were eventually
able to put the controversy behind them.
Throughout the whole movie, the only points when Otto Octavius is called 'Doc Ock' or 'Doctor
Octopus' are when Jonah Jameson suggests the names at the Daily Bugle, and in the final battle at the docks, where Spider-Man
calls him "Ock." One of the suggested names is Doctor Strange, which is Steve Ditko's other major co-creation for Marvel Comics.
The name of Peter's landlord, "Ditkovitch", was an obvious hat-tip to Spider-Man co-creator
Spider-Man creator Stan Lee makes yet another cameo appearance (as he did in Spider-Man) during
Spidey's first battle with Doc Ock at the side of building walls.
Actor Bruce Campbell also makes another cameo as the usher who won't let Peter into Mary Jane's
Voice actor Phil LaMarr makes a cameo as an extra. He is the man in the far right during the
scene where Spider-Man stops the train.
Tobey Maguire is a vegetarian. In the scene where Parker watches police cars go by, he is
actually eating a tofu hot dog.
At the end of the movie, when Harry Osborn, played by James Franco, discovers his father's
hidden Green Goblin hideout, he walks up to a wall of shelves filled with pumpkin bombs. When he turns to look down the enormous
wall of shelves and bombs, his reflection can be seen in a mirror used to create the illusion of a wall of pumpkin bombs.
Before Spider-Man 2 was even released, it was announced that Spider-Man 3 would be released
in 2007. Reports claim that the studio hopes to make at least six films.
When Doctor Octopus kidnaps Mary Jane, he knocks down a banner attached to a building. Moments
later, when Peter exits the ruined cafe, the banner has reattached to the building.
A hospital scene with the attempted removal of Octavius' tentacles is an allusion to scenes
in Raimi's earlier Evil Dead films.
Spider-Man 2 is the first movie to be released in UMD format for the PSP. The first one million
copies of the US PSP included the movie free.
Doctor Octopus (Alfred Molina) uses tritium to create nuclear fusion. The device he uses seems
to be inspired by those used for inertial confinement fusion.
In the film, Peter Parker is a physics major at Columbia University, interested in experimental nuclear physics and fusion power, while his comic book counterpart studies biochemistry/biophysics
at the fictitious Empire State University
When MJ runs through the park in her wedding dress, she passes a man in black on the right
side of the screen. That's Thomas Jane's stunt double from the Punisher, a covert reference to the character (since Sony Pictures
didn't have the film rights to use him explicitly).
The movie includes multiple references to the comic story arc where John Jameson becomes Man-Wolf.
Jameson wears the same medallion that in the comics turned him into Man-Wolf. Jameson is portrayed next to a full moon in
one scene, and in John Jameson's final scene, he makes a mildly-superhuman leap from the docks onto a platform while coming
to the aid of Mary Jane.
When Peter stops the runaway subway, he makes references to two separate characters from literature/history.
His first attempt, sticking his foot out onto the tracks, is reminiscent of Superman's usual method of stopping a train by
catching it by the locomotive and planting his feet until it stops. His second attempt, when Peter fires webs against the
buildings and uses himself as the lynchpin to stop the train is reminiscent of Jesus Christ's crucifixion; his physical appearance
with feet down and arms outstretched is very much like a man on the cross. Also, when he is passed back through the car afterwards,
the wound Doc Ock inflicted on his side is very similar to the stigmata inflicted when a Roman guard stabbed Christ with a
The second time Spider-Man lost his spidey powers, he fell down into a back alley. That alley
was the same place he discovered his powers.
When Peter went up to the rooftops to test his powers, the building he was on was the same
building used in the first movie, where Peter was practicing his web slinging.
Some of the ideas in this movie were also in the Spider-Man animated cartoon (with 3D buildings).
The scene in which Peter is late for MJ's theater performance was taken from the animated episode involving the Chameleon
(with the Chameleon disguising himself as Peter).
The scene with Aunt May receiving bills was from the animated episode in which Peter is asked to take a photograph of the
The scene with Peter losing his powers was taken from the animated episode where he had problems with his powers, prior to
turning into a six-armed monster.
The woman with the violin sings a song about Spider-Man. That song was actually the theme
song of the original early cartoon series. The tone and tempo was changed in the movie. It was also used in the first movie
with the guy singing inside the subway station.
The scene in which J.K. Simmons (as J. Jonah Jameson) shouts "Spider-Man was... A THIEF!",
caused much hilarity. During shootings, Simmons is wearing false teeth for Jameson's trademark scrooge smile, and whenever
he tried to form the "TH", he spat out his false teeth. These scenes can be seen on the blooper reel of the DVD.
Spider-Man's costume is different from the first movie: This time his outline shines all the
time, and the spider sign on his chest has increased in size.
The typeface used for publicity and title purposes within the film is also used for the logo
of PlayStation 3, also made by Sony.
The film is often compared to another superhero film, Superman II, in that there are some
basic plot elements that are apparent in both films, including the hero losing his powers, the love interest finding out the
secret identity, etc. This film is not looked at as trying to copy those, as the story stands on its own in a very profound
Several scenes in Spider-Man 2 can be compared to the original King Kong film. One scene has
Doc Ock kidnapping Mary Jane, and carrying her screaming to the top of a small building. This is reminiscent of the scene
in King Kong in which Kong carries a screaming Ann Darrow to the top of a motel. Also, the scene where Doc Ock nearly causes
an elevated train to go off the terminus is similar to a scene in King Kong, where Kong smashes a section of the elevated
tracks and the train partially goes off.
There is a cameo of Queer as Folk star Hal Sparks, in the elevator scene when Spider-Man had
lost his powers, as a reference to the character of Michael Novotny, a comic nerd in the television series.