Raimi has managed to please fans of the comic books and those less familiar with Spider-Man's antics again, by focusing on the fascinating characters created by the Marvel team. It seems everyone in this film has their own stuff going on, whether its money troubles, unrequited love, revenge or coming to terms with bereavement. Of course, Peter Parker has it worst of all as he is placed in the middle of all this and has the oft-ungrateful citizens of New York to protect at the same time.
As he struggles to do his college work, support his friends and family and pay the rent, Peter loses the willpower, and therefore the ability, to be Spider-Man. Unfortunately, at the same time brilliant scientist Otto Octavius is developing a fission device for OsCorp, and decides to bolt four massive arms to his back to help him, which must make getting in to lifts pretty awkward. Each arm has its own eye, and some artificial intelligence, which is inherently evil and hell bent on destroying New York. Luckily, Otto has thought of that, and invented a small and easily broken chip to stop the arms taking over his brain and turning him into the evil Doctor Octopus.
This sequel really has the same look and feel as the last film, and Raimi has kept up the trend of introducing future bad guys early on, with characters appearing that fans will recognise as Man-Wolf and The Lizard, hotly tipped to be one of the bad guys in the third film.
It is good to see that the makers of this film haven't fallen in to the trap of rushing though the storylines available from the vast history of Spider-Man, but are instead taking their time to set up a truly memorable movie franchise. This is not to say that the film itself is slow-paced though - on the contrary the action sequences in this movie are frequent, well crafted and really get the adrenalin pumping.
As far as comic book heroes go, Spider-Man has to be one of the best. He has a unique set of skills and the fact he is a misunderstood hero who rescues the very people that slander his name really makes an interesting dynamic. This is looking like one of the must-not-miss releases of 2004.