Spider-Man vs. Dr. Otto Octavius in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 2

JD Smith Nelson, Staff Writer

Hot off the heels of his record-breaking box-office smash, Sam Raimi immediately went to work on a sequel to blow “Spider-Man” out of the water. After a couple scrapped sub-plots, a faked back injury from Tobey Maguire and a deal with a new cinematographer, production for “Spider-Man 2” was underway.  

This sequel stars returning actors Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker, Kirsten Dunst as Mary Jane Watson, James Franco as Harry Osborn and Rosemary Harris as Aunt May. The cast of characters from the Daily Bugle office also return and play an even bigger role in this movie. The new big-bad is Doctor Octopus, portrayed by Alfred Molina, as well as eight puppeteers that control Otto’s four mechanical arms. 

When we check in with Peter Parker at the beginning of this film, we see the cost that Spider-Man has on Peter’s personal life. He gets fired from his pizza delivery job, is nearly failing his class at E.S.U. with Curt Connors, nearly gets fired from his job at the Daily Bugle and manages to forget his own birthday. As well as this, Harry Osborn has a strained friendship with Peter since he believes that Spider-Man killed his father, and that Peter must know who he is.  

Mary Jane, having been rejected by Peter in the previous film also makes it clear that she is dating someone now. All the while Pete still needs to suit up and be the hero to New York that he swore to be after capturing his uncle’s killer. Peter, as part of an assignment, also meets Otto Octavius. Otto is a good man, a genius and a loving husband. However, Otto’s ambition leads to disaster, and it is up to Spider-Man to save the day from Otto’s fusion reactor device. All these stakes and more come together to create the most gripping character drama Spider-Man media has ever produced.  

The new cinematographer, Bill Pope, brings in a new visual style for this film as well as “Spider-Man 3.” Using harsh shadows and pink lighting to create a warm yet bold look that fits the film’s dramatic yet uplifting tone.  

As well as the upgrade to cinema-tography, the visual effects have taken a significant leap in quality as well. No longer does Spider-Man look like a video game character super-imposed over a real bit of New York footage. Now, the shadows, movement, and heft give Spider-Man, Doc Ock and other models a truly believable presence within the film’s portrayal of the Big Apple. Speaking of, New York is a living breathing character in all these movies, especially in “Spider-Man 2.”  

The cast of side characters is abundant, from MJ’s fiancé John Jameson, to Peter’s grouchy landlord Mr. Ditkovich. All the characters are memorable and add to the feeling that the city is worth saving.  

The film is filled with gripping drama, bold visual effects and a wonderful cast of unique characters. It carries the comic book inspired tone of the first film while adding a level of prestige not yet seen in Marvel movies at the time. This all adds up to “Spider-Man 2” not only being better than “Spider-Man.” It propels it to the top of many comic-book-movie fans’ lists.  

To top off this rightful acclaim, there’s one last reason “Spider-Man 2” is a must-watch. Dr. Otto Octavius will be making a standout appearance in this year’s “Spider-Man No Way Home” so if you want his backstory, this film is essential. Next issue will round off this Spider-Marathon, so stay tuned webheads!