You’ve heard about how the appeal of Spider-Man is due to his everyman quality. He’s just a middle-class kid from Queens who gains great power and therefore must assume great responsibility. And yes, that’s a big part of what makes this sequel, which is funny and romantic and scary, so great. There’s also Alfred Molina’s Dr. Octopus, a villain both exciting to look at and easy to sympathize with. But Spider-Man 2 is also one of the only superhero movies that dares give equal weight to the people around the superhero. Aunt May, Mary Jane, Harry Osborn, even Doc Ock himself, who starts the movie as Peter’s idol. The film’s true web is the interconnectedness of all the characters, who lend support to the main character yet exist fully in their own rights. There’s a sense of history and family and friendship that increases the stakes for everything that happens in the film. We care because they care. It’s a hard trick to pull off in any movie, let alone a comic-book one.
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