#5. Spider-Man 2 (2004)
Why fight it? This movie is a kind of biography. I don’t feel the need to talk too much in detail about my personal life, but if I were to do it, the parallels would be pretty blatant, and not just because pretty much everyone who’s ever seen me insists I’m a dead ringer for good ol’ Peter Parker here.
The Aunt May/Uncle Ben stuff and the ultra-nerdy high-school years in the first Spider-Man and the Black Period in Spider-Man 3 have their specific correlations to periods of my life, but it’s Spider-Man 2 that hits it pretty square on the nose — and not for nothing, but that one is widely considered to be the best of the three, cinematically speaking. It’s the most “Sam Raimi” of the great director’s three Spider-Man movies, with a hospital scene straight out of his earlier Evil Dead work and probably the funniest Bruce Campbell performance of the three.
Spider-Man 2 is one of the best-looking action films of the decade, courtesy of Bill Pope, and is expertly edited by Bob Murawski, who won an Academy Award at decade’s end. Poor Dylan Baker and Elizabeth Banks never did get the spotlight they deserved in this franchise, but at least Bill Nunn got more to do. J.K. Simmons was impeccable as always, as was Alfred Molina, as the anti-hero Otto Octavius, definitely the best “villain” in franchise history to date. (#3’s Thomas Haden Church was great casting for Sandman, but he got lost in the phenomenal FX. Molina never gets outshone by his robot costars.) It’s also fun to watch the cavalcade of future TV stars in the periphery, such as Emily Deschanel (Bones), Daniel Dae Kim (Hawaii 5-0), and Joel McHale (Community).
And, you know, the kid who plays me is pretty good also. He probably doesn’t make enough movies, I don’t think.
The genius of Spider-Man 2 is that everybody who sees it can relate. That’s the masterstroke of Stan Lee and Sam Raimi and Tobey Maguire. It’s only if you know me personally that you might read it as a JA documentary with a huge budget. Especially the accurate-yet-inaccurate assessement, “Brilliant but lazy.” Many have labelled me as such. Obviously I’m brilliant, but my creative output is less than prodigious. But hey, you don’t know what I’m doing when I’m not on the internet. I could be out saving the world. Besides, if I were all that lazy, would I be able to find this many movie posters…?