Last week, CraveOnline and Sofa Dogs teamed up for a feature-length commentary track for Sam Raimi's 2002 superhero blockbuster Spider-Man, a film which jumpstarted the costumed crimefighter subgenre into the industry-dominating force it is today. With the recent release of The Amazing Spider-Man, a reboot of the original franchise, audiences have begun reevaluating the earlier series and, as John Pavlich and I have found, often juding them harshly. Are these criticisms warranted? Has the passing of a mere ten years already blinded fans to the context in which they were produced? And is it really fair to deny these films their enormous cultural influence just because some audience members – and not even all of us – prefer the newer, grittier interpretation of the character?
These are the questions John and I have decided to answer with our ongoing series of feature-length commentary tracks for each of the theatrically-released Spider-Man movies. This week, we continue with 2004's Spider-Man 2, a motion picture then considered by many to be the finest superhero saga ever filmed, and in spite of the recent retroactive criticism of Sam Raimi's original trilogy, still thought to be the best film of the franchise.
Does Spider-Man 2 hold up to close scrutiny? Could it be argued that the first Spider-Man, for all its flaws (discussed in detail last week), actually proves to the be the superior film for all its dramatic subtext? Does Mary Jane Watson prove, in the end, to be a truly unlikable character? Or does Spider-Man 2, with its clever parallels between the heroic Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) and the villainous Doctor Octopus (Alfred Molina), have the narrative focus and bravura action sequences necessary to hold its own in a field now dominated by superhero classics like The Dark Knight, Iron Man and The Avengers?
And what's up with Sam Raimi's fixation on Kirsten Dunst's nipples, anyhow?
That's what we're discussing on this week's commentary track for Spider-Man 2, which you can download at the Sofa Dogs website right now. Come back soon, as we're going to be taking a closer look at Spider-Man 3 – which may be as bad as you remember after all – and Marc Webb's Amazing Spider-Man, which may or may not have been worth the trouble of producing in the first place.
For more updates, follow William Bibbiani on Twitter at @WilliamBibbiani.
You can also download Bibbs' and John's commentary tracks for: