Sam Raimi has confirmed that he will re-adapt a comic in ‘Doctor Strange: In the multiverse of Madness’, which was called to be the first horror movie in the Marvel Kinematic Universe. And it is that the director of ‘Infernal Possession’ (Evil Dead, 1981) had abandoned his beloved Spider-Man after the tepid third part. But first, he achieved what is today one of the few superhero films that can be considered a masterpiece of its genre: ‘Spider-Man 2’ (2004).
The doubts remain after the departure of Scott Derrickson, who did see the sequel to his film as a genuine horror film, but the statements of Kevin Feige, stating that it would be an adventure film, with “Some intense scenes”, I foresaw what ended up happening. Derrickson left the project due to creative differences to be replaced by Raimi, which despite its horror film heritage, is more likely to deliver lighter work, in which his humor and comic book visual inventiveness soften the darker vision planned.
It remains the thorn of not seeing what the director of ‘Sinister’ (2012) could have done, but at least, with Raimi’s career we know what to expect. It should not be forgotten that he is the creator of a superhero film that set the pattern for the entire Marvel universe and developed a formula and tone that the company’s films have followed from ‘Iron Man’ (2008). The first ‘Spider-Man‘(2002), despite some pacing problems in its final part, is full of discoveries that we will later see in later Marvel cinema.
For example, the effect slow motion with which superheroes like Mercury or Flash see reality when they use their speed, it already appeared in the first installment. Also, Raimi it really brought the cinematographic narrative closer to that of a comic, using the tone that he had already used in his ‘Darkman’ (1990), his horror antihero comic that also legitimizes him for the sequel to Dr. Strange. His look at Spider-Man is seen today as a transition between DC’s canonical adaptations of Tim Burton Y Richard Donner and later Marvel.
The renovating transition of superhero cinema
Inheritances of ancient ways can be noted, especially in the fanfare of Danny Elfman, with inevitable connections to his’ Batman ‘(1989) and his’Darkman‘, but the hesitations of the first installment would become a work with its own legs in’Spider-Man 2‘, everything a fan of John Romita’s golden stage could ask for. Despite what may appear to be the mindless tone of youthful adventure The last two ‘Spider-Man’ couldn’t be further from the original Steve Ditko and Stan Lee stories.
Peter Parker is a teenager, yes, but one forced to mature before his time, with problems that other peers his age do not have. And, first of all, the first comics of the wall-crawler, well, his golden stage, are authentic teen romance dramas and dilemmas caused by the difficulties of being a hero by accident and also not have a penny. They speak, without going any further, about the difficulty of being a superhero full of limitations and without any gratitude. The tone of the best Spider-Man comics becomes serious.
The joker personality, the jumps and the retreat against the criminals is part of the catharsis that Parker means to go out to solve the life of the neighborhood, it is his real double identity. A secret that weighs on him but gives him life, something that eats away at him but that he cannot give up. Meanwhile, in the new films of John Watts, Spider-Man not only has no financial difficulties, but he can do everything, because he is just a small Iron Man apprentice, a minion in an almighty suit and without any conflict in real life except for some clumsy comedy imitations of the eighties of John Hughes.
Old school pride
‘Spider-Man 2‘is not ashamed to function like an old school comic. Parker is a nerd, but one who sees how suddenly he has romantic dilemmas and attracts women. The central core of the film is the same as that of ‘Superman 2’ (1980) and ends up having the same arc for the character, the loss of his powers and the attempt to regain his daily life. And this is where the true strengths of the film emerge. Even with an actor who is not the round Parker like Tobey MaGuire, human conflicts matter.
There are a perfect balance between Parker’s inability to carry on his life and action scenes, the threat to New York resulting from Doctor Octopus. Few current Marvel movies maintain that conflict between interest in the character and what happens to him – perhaps only those dedicated to Iron Man and Ant-Man – and the threat of the villain or villains on duty. It may not be so important in other types of adaptations, in other comic films, but in those of Spider-Man they were looking for these dilemmas of a serial, and Raimi alternates it with mastery.
The square between the University and the Daily Bugle, the landlord asking for the rent, Mary Jane and the eviction of Tïa May is portrayed with alternating rhythm, tightening until it affects the existence of Spider-Man in an organic way. Many of the great moments of the film do not occur in the most spectacular moments, but in small intimate scenes like Parker confessing to Aunt May what happened to Uncle Ben, shot between a devastating medium shot, and the detail of the hands, with the unexpected rejection of her mother figure.
The hidden precedent of ‘La La Land’
Spider-Man’s isolation from Mary Jane’s love, to avoid a life of danger, leaves an ending more bitter than romantic, bittersweet and full of textures despite playing with topics like abandoning the altar at the last moment. In reality, it is still the story of two young lovers who try to pursue their dreams in the big city: one wants to be an actress and the other cannot not be Spider-man. In the renunciation of those ideals by the other is the heart of the film, which if it ended up on the Internet scene could be the ‘La La Land’ (2016) of superhero cinema.
But if it works emotionally, in action scenes created a new standard that continues to work like clockwork. Not only changed the aspect ratio and photograph at a wide angleAlthough some digital effects are noticeable today, the way in which the fight sequences between Spider-Man and Doctor Octopus are designed is pure adrenaline. Assembly strokes and meticulous planning that also seek a plastic beauty in broad daylight that tries to amaze in its design.The special edition, ‘Spider-Man 2.1‘includes extensions to these scenes that make the overall experience even more satisfying.
Raimi’s personality is noticeable shot by shot and leaves his mark in the best scene of the film, a horror mini-short in the operating room in which Doc Ock’s tentacles take on a life of their own and cause a carnage Shot in the style of his ‘Evil Dead’ saga, with a nod to the included chainsaw. Speaking of Ash, the cameo of Bruce Campbell in this installment it is especially funny and there is a little more of it in the extended edition. The film is full of those self-winks, but also showing a great love for the fantastic classic.
The return of the King
The mad scientist cinema of the 50s makes an appearance again, and although the scenes with Octopus carrying a screaming Mary Jane are inevitable recreations of ‘King Kong’ (1933), the presence of New York and a good man who transforms into a monster makes us think of films of terror of the atomic age as ‘The Colossus of New York’ (The Colossus of New York, 1958) y Raimi doesn’t hide his retro streak one bit, just like I avoided the high school teen comedy a lo ‘American Pie‘(1999) to present the origin of the character with a tone of high school films of the 50s.
Perhaps the worst of ‘Spider-Man 2’ sea your mortgage with a third party that we already know was not up to par, and the scenes of James Franco with his obsession with the wall-crawler and his desire for revenge work as opposed to Peter’s secret identity with a broken friendship thread that remains somewhat off the hook to be closed in a spectacular way in the next installment. But of course, if we compare the light brushstrokes of film in context with the “multiverse effect” and the codependency of the new Marvel films, it is irrelevant.
The name of Sam Raimi He has not stopped spinning on the screen from the position of producer, with hits like ‘Underwater Hell’ (Crawl, 2019), but it has been too long since he directed a blockbuster film. It is difficult to predict what creative phase the author is in, but meet again with the Raimi of an almost perfect work like ‘Spider-Man 2’ it’s unrealistic though yeah illusions the possibility of a different Marvel, less corseted and more permeable to authorship and the unpredictable forces of the fantastic.