The film follows Peter Parker (Toby Maguire) and his constant battle of balancing being a superhero and a regular guy. Down on his luck with the love of his life Mary Jane (Kirsten Dunst), and loosing the trust of his best friend Harry Osborn (James Franco), Peter is faced with who he really is. Despite considering stopping, he still has to be our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. Dr. Otto Octavius (Alfred Molina), a scientist and mentor of Peter, believes he has an invention to change the world, but when his experiment takes a turn for the worst, his four mechanical arms gain their own consciousness and assist Octavius, now Doctor Octopus, to finish his work, no matter who, or what, gets in the way.
The film isn't called Peter Parker 2 though, it's called Spider-Man 2, and the Spider-Man scenes, including everything from his flipping to his swinging, are breathtaking. Spider-Man is established almost instantly in the hilarious pizza delivery scene, and every action scene tops the next. The car chase, the bank heist and the train scene. That train scene is the best action scene in a Spider-Man film, and it's one of my favorite action scenes of all time. It's always moving (literally) and the variety of thrills keeps the legnthy scene fresh, all the way up unil the extremely tense and emotional finale.
Speaking of the finale, that's where we finally get a payoff to Mary Jane's subplot. Here, she finds out Peter is Spider-Man. It's one of my favourite scenes in the whole film, although I do think a lot of the Mary Jane plot isnt all that great. The character is much more interesting this time around, but there's still a few aspects of her that I couldn't latch onto, especially the plots involving her marriage and job. It's all necessary for setting up the finale, and her inevitable relationship with Peter, but it drags down the film a tad. However, I would certainly take this over damsel in distress any day of the week.
The humor is Spider-Man 2 is a highlight. It's subtle, with so many little moments making me laugh so hard, like when the only two things in his closet are a business suit and his Spider-Man suit. Also, the big comedic bits are great, the elevator scene being the funniest scene in the whole series. And goddamn, J. Jonah Jameson is even better here than he is in the first film. I always forget just how good his lines are. He says so many outlandish things, and every time he's on screen I get more excited than I probably should.
Overall, Spider-Man 2 is a juggernaut of a film. It's character driven, exciting, touching, funny, and directed brilliantly. It' s everything you want it to be and more. It's the quintessential Spider-Man film, for now. We'll just have to wait and see what Marvel has to offer next.