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Clear Reasons 'Spider-Man 2' Is The Greatest Superhero Sequel Ever Made

Updated August 19, 2020 4.7k votes 591 voters 18.6k views13 items

List RulesVote up the reasons why the 2004 Spidey sequel is a masterpiece of superhero moviemaking.

Spider-Man 2 is a far more amazing film than the falsely labeled Amazing Spider-Man 2. In fact, Spider-Man 2 might be the best superhero sequel ever (with all due respect to The Dark Knight, Superman II, and Captain America: The Winter Soldier). 

There is plenty of evidence that illustrates why Spider-Man 2 is the best super-sequel of all time. Whereas Iron Man 2 lost the original's buoyant energy and Ghost Rider 2 made you wish the fire would engulf more than just the protagonist's head, Spider-Man 2 — like all the best sequel movies — built upon its predecessor. The scope was larger but more intimate, the plot funnier yet more serious.  

If it's been a while since you've revisited Sam Raimi's original Spidey films, read on so you can understand why Spider-Man 2 remains the greatest superhero sequel to date. If you already believe these Spider-Man 2 truths to be self-evident, then this list will only confirm your good taste.

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  • 1

    J.K. Kills It As J.J.

    The always fantastic J.K. Simmons's portrayal of J. Jonah Jameson may be the purest translation of any comic book character to the big screen. He manages to be larger than life, broadly comic, and completely believable all at once. 

    Spider-Man 2 works him more directly into the plot by having his son get engaged to Mary Jane. When MJ goes full Runaway Bride, the ever-frugal J. Jonah's biggest concern is canceling the catering. He might not win Father of the Year, but we expect nothing less from Spidey's irritable boss.

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  • 2

    The Runaway Subway Scene Is Comic Book Magic

    The Runaway Subway Scene Is Co is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Clear Reasons 'Spider-Man 2' Is The Greatest Superhero Sequel Ever Made
    Video: YouTube

    For diehard superhero fans, few things are more exciting than flipping through a comic book's action scenes. With each subsequent page, you are left to wonder, "How will Spidey get out of THAT?"  

    When you go to see a superhero movie, you hope the film can match the excitement of tearing through a good comic book. X2: X-Men United and X-Men: Days of Future Past both feature Magneto enacting wildly inventive prison escapes, Captain America: Civil War contains the ultimate superhero battle royale, and Spider-Man 2 has our hero trying to stop a speeding subway.

    This would be a relatively easy task for Superman, but for Peter Parker, the crisis presents a real challenge. It's a tension-filled, visually arresting setpiece that culminates with the passengers saving an unconscious Spider-Man from plummeting off the front of the train. What more can viewers ask for?

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  • 3

    The Effects Are A Major Step Forward

    Despite being made only a few years later, Spider-Man 2 manages to make the first film look old and outdated. The CG body of Spider-Man seems more fluid, especially when he's swinging along the NYC skyline. During combat sequences, his brawls with Doc Ock feel far less cartoony than his fights against the Green Goblin.

    Ff all the second film's visual improvements, the greatest might be making Doc Ock's tentacles look so photorealistic. If that effect hadn't landed believably, the film wouldn't have worked.

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  • 4

    Only Alfred Molina Can Talk To A Metal Arm

    Willem Dafoe is a talented, Academy Award-nominated performer. Despite this, the original 2002 Spider-Man put him in a situation few actors could smoothly pull off. As he loses grip on reality, Norman Osborn begins speaking to his imaginary frenemy: himself.  It leads to some of the first movie's sillier moments and detracts from Dafoe's performance.

    Alfred Molina was asked to do something equally difficult in Spider-Man 2. Doc Ock has to talk to his tentacles as though they are alive and cognizant. Somehow, Molina makes it seem like he's actually reasoning with his own metal arms. If that's not acting talent, what is?

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