An enjoyable sequel to 2002’s blockbuster. This time around, Spider-Man’s alter ego Peter Parker (Maguire) is having something of a mid-life crisis. At the end of the first film, he chose duty over his love for Mary Jane (Dunst), but he is still hankering after her and his conflicting emotions are even causing a bit of performance anxiety – sometimes when he flicks his wrist (stop sniggering at the back), the webs that usually shoot from his hands refuse to materialise. What’s a superhero to do? Well, it looks like he may ditch his red and blue spandex costume and resume a normal life, but then along comes nuclear scientist Octavius (Alfred Molina). He’s working on some newfangled thingie for Peter’s old pal Harry (James Franco), now the head of Osborn Industries since the death of his dad (Willem Dafoe) in the first film. But something goes wrong with an experiment, and the formerly genial Octavius ends up fused to an eight-legged metal contraption that turns him into an angry, rather powerful and impressively mobile bad guy intent on squishing the webbed one like a bug.
All in all, this is a decent follow-up that should satisfy young and old fans of Spider-Man. Perhaps a bit too much time is spent on Peter/Spidey’s crisis of faith to keep young viewers engaged (also, the scarier bits are probably not suitable for viewers under eight anyway), but the action picks up in the second half in two terrific sequences: a showdown at an old pier and, most notably, a battle between Doc Ock (as the Daily Bugle dubs Octavius) and Spider-Man on an out-of-control subway train. Maguire and Dunst renew their on-screen chemistry, while Molina makes a terrific baddie, growling and looking suitably crazed.
Is Spider-Man 2 suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...
As mentioned above, this is aimed at over-8s. It is slightly less scary than Part One (hence the PG certificate) but young viewers may be frightened by Doc Ock’s metal tentacles.
A scene in which he kills a group of surgeons is particularly disturbing.