(Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, Alfred Molina, James Franco / PG-13 / 97 mins / Sony Pictures)
Overview: It's been two years since the mild-mannered Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) first began struggling with "the gift and the curse," and in 'Spider-Man 2', he's still coming to terms with his dual identity as the web-slinging crime superhero Spider-Man. Now Peter's in college, and his relationships with the people he cares most about are crumbling. He wants to reveal his secret identity to Mary Jane (Kirsten Dunst), his friendship with Harry Osborn is stressed by Harry's growing hatred of Spider-Man, and Peter's Aunt May has fallen on hard times. When a new foe, Dr. Otto Octavius (Alfred Molina), appears, Peter and Spidey face a new challenge.
Verdict: In truth, sequels don't get much better than 'Spider-Man 2'. Smarter, hipper, faster, funnier, and flat-out more electrifying than the original, 'Spider-Man 2' is a superhero flick bursting at the seams with big emotions. Spidey's not so sure he's the right fit for the bodysuit anymore. Parker's inner struggles come to the forefront as he contemplates his continual aw-shucks crush on Mary Jane Watson, while, at the same time, battling to exterminate a hands-on madman known as Dr. Octopus. Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst and franchise newcomer Alfred Molina skillfully handle this comic-book plot, despite James Franco's screen-sucking, brooding rants. And by blending better CGI, comedy, character-driven storytelling, director Sam Raimi spins an inescapable web of popcorn-munching perfection that's superer than the original.
CLICK HERE to watch the 'Spider-Man 2' trailer!