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"Spider-Man 2" DVD Fitting DVD For Fantastic Film

The greatest superhero film of all time–that’s Spider-Man 2 if you didn’t pick up on the hint in the headline–is finally coming to DVD.

Times are tough for troubled teen Peter Parker. His grades are declining, his Aunt May is being forced out of her home, and he still can’t balance out the issues with his alter ego. Feeling overwhelmed, and knowing that he’s about to lose the love of his life because of the costume, he decides he’s had enough. Spider-Man, no more.

Director Sam Raimi has developed the characters and poured his heart into them. Instead of making a sequel that is merely bigger, Raimi has wisely focused inwards and told a story that concentrates on the characters. A logical choice, obviously, but one rarely taken in Hollywood, as seen by a string of mediocre Batman sequels, which resorted to the typical “bring in the new villain, forgot about the hero” formula.

The original film was a fine tale, but the sequel tops it in every single way, delivering spectacular actions scenes, much-improved CGI, and a happy ending, after the heart-breaking original.

Highlights include a scene with a train and just about any scene with Doc Ock. The new villain in town leaves the rest of the supervillian competition looking like mere pretenders to his throne, no small feat considering Jack Nicholson, Gene Hackman, and John Travolta are the said competition. And this even though Alfred Molina delivers a very restrained performance, which is exactly what the character called for.

There are the usual complaints, from both film buffs and comic fanboys. The most popular one is that the film is a mere rip of Superman II, which is nonsense. Had they actually done the slightest bit of research, they would know the whole “giving up the costume” part was done a good ten years before the original Superman movie was made, way back in Amazing Spider-Man #50, which is commonly referred to as, you guessed it, “Spider-Man No More!” Another complaint is that the film is a carbon copy of the original. But what do you expect? It’s a Spider-Man movie, he fights bad guys, he still has money issues, and he has serious social and love life issues.

For a movie which is genuinely fun throughout, there is a good amount of scenes which tug at the heartstrings. Peter talking to his Aunt May about how her husband died, his conversation with MJ outside his house, and the aftermath of the final fight, in which he explains to Mary Jane how he can’t be Spider-Man and be with her. It manages to keep its humour throughout, which is a big plus.

There are four different versions of the Spider-Man 2 DVD: a standard two disc version (which comes in either widescreen or fullscreen (ugh)); a special collectors edition set; and a Superbit version.

The transfer is practically flawless. The CGI looks a lot better on DVD than it does on the big screen and makes the breathtaking webslinging scenes look better than ever before. I’m no expert on sound, but you haven’t heard Spider-Man fall on that pipe until you’ve heard it on this disc. No complaints here.

Being a massive fan of just about everything Spider-Man, I picked up the Collectors Edition. The additional features were very good, considering a lot of the goodies are usually there just to raise the price of said disc. It contains Amazing Spider-Man #50, which is what the film is roughly based on. It’s a fun little read, as most of the Stan Lee stories were. It also contains a nice little postcard set, featuring five of the posters used in the movie’s extensive promotional campaign. It’s a cool little thing to have, as the posters were damn cool. (A personal complaint: this reviewer’s favourite poster wasn’t used. A small grumble, but a grumble nonetheless.) The other ‘gift’ is a portfolio showing several different Spider-Man artists’ interpretations of the famed webslinger. The packaging itself is a vast improvement on the previous film’s DVD release.

For those of you who skipped on the Collector’s Set, there is a second disc full of features, and it’s safe to say that they are some of the best features ever to be seen on DVD. Making The Amazing is a beautiful, in-depth look at how Raimi and company brought the webslinger to life on the silver screen. It lasts two hours, the same length as the actual movie and covers everything from the changes of the famed red and blue spandex, to how difficult it is to create the sets for an actual picture this size. If I were to compare it to other similar features, I’d place it alongside those featured on the Superman: The Movie disc, as both are great and informative looks at just how these magical movies were created and where all those millions of dollars go. Raimi and staff manage to inform, but it’s done in a fun way with lots of laughs. Raimi himself is a riot, constantly telling the crew of his own brilliance, and telling them not to screw up, or “act better, be like Bruce Cambell.”

This humour is carried on throughout the commentary. Raimi is joined by Tobey Macguire, the star of the movie; Avi Arad, head of Marvel Studios; and co-producer Grant Curtis. The team explains the various complications of making the movie and explains what was cut and why it was cut. I wasn’t aware that The Black Cat was even supposed to be in the movie, let alone how big a part she was supposed to play. They also tease about the sequel and talk about the several different directions in which they could take. The director himself even admits it will be a daunting task choosing which adversary Spider-Man will tangle with next; for this film, he was sure from the beginning that he wanted to use Doc Ock .

It’s simply amazing, which is great considering both the previous Spider-Man movie DVDs have left a lot to be desired when it came to the features.

If you’re a fan of the film, the DVD is worth picking up. The movie itself still holds up after multiple viewings, and the features are definately worth your time. If you haven’t seen it, I’ll resist the urge to slap you and simply tell you that this movie is simply the best of its kind. Better than Batman, superior to Superman, and a worthy sequel to the spectacular original. Highly recommended.

And make note that aside from any theatrical trailers/sneek peeks on the disc, the seperate Region DVD releases are near identical in terms of extras and presentation.

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