181. Spiderman 2 (US 2004)

          

Spiderman relinquishes his powers for the love of his life.

d. Sam Raimi

starring: Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, Alfred Molina

bit part: Cliff Robertson (ming)

interesting fact:  Alfred Molina plays Joe Orton's 'lover'/murderer Kenneth Halliwell in the Orton biopic 'Prick Up Your Ears'.  Molina is accosted by a ratty looking gentleman in a London Park.

"Fancy a fuck?" says the errant toilet trader.

"No thanks," replies Molina/Halliwell.

"Oh well, no harm in asking," is the stranger's cheery reply.

Which is much better than "Why ask for the moon when we've got the stars?"

           Spidey's choice of first sexual partner was guaranteed to raise eyebrows.

Not that there's any competition, but Spiderman 2 is the best comic book/superhero film by a long way. Anyone who's endured 'The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen', 'X Men' or 'Hulk' (what happened to the definite article in the title: was this the Yorkshire version?) will know that these films are usually shite of the highest order.

The film benefits from a good script, a great cast (Cliff Rubbishson excepted) and a director of immense talent.

I try to avoid blockbuster type thingies in 'the list', but brilliantly directed action sequences with lots of obviously symbolic elements and cinematic references (even nods to Superman 2) make this a difficult film to dismiss (its summer rival 'I Robot' is v.poor in comparison).

                Molina: "Fancy a fuck?"

The best scene of all involves Spiderman stopping a runaway train using webs and will power and faith. There's a rich vein of Jesus imagery throughout the film, the most obvious being Peter Parker's crucifix pose at the front of the train. The exhausted Spiderman is saved from falling from the train and into oblivion by the outreaching hands of the train's passengers.

Spiderman's unmasking by a previously antagonistic Joe Public is the best part of the film: "But he's just a kid," says one of the train commuters before he and his fellow travellers make a vow not to reveal their secret.

A non-Burger King 'movie' next time.

Oh, and Cliff Robertson won best actor for 'Charly' in 1969.

             Mersey TV's tender for the Spiderman franchise was rejected by the Sony Corporation.