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

Updated September 23, 2021 4.5k votes 605 voters 19.1k 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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  • 5

    Peter Parker Has It Even Worse Than We Do

    In the original Spider-ManPeter spends half the film in high school, then moves into his buddy Harry Osborn's sprawling, two-level NYC bachelor pad. The awkward reality of his high school life feels untapped, especially when compared to the reboot Spider-Man: Homecoming, which focuses on teen drama. Besides, anyone who scores an apartment like that in Manhattan is winning at life. In short, Peter Parker isn't Peter Parker enough.

    Spider-Man 2 rectifies this and digs in deeper to what makes Peter Parker such a unique character in the comic book universe. This time around he delivers pizza, quickly loses his pizza delivery job, can barely focus on his college work, gets endlessly berated by J. Jonah Jameson, loses his powers, and lives in a minuscule walk-up NYC apartment (AKA what everyone who isn't Norman Osborn can afford in NYC).  

    He might have superpowers, but his everyday life is far from super.

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  • 6

    The Unbelievable Action Sequences Never Stop

    There's a reason why X-Men, Captain America, and Spider-Man got better in their second go-around. Once the hero's origin story has been covered, the writers have considerably more room to play.

    Spider-Man 2 took full advantage of this leeway by stringing together a number of great action scenes: Octavius's experiment going horribly wrong; the surgery scene where only the doctors get cut up; the bank robbery; the part where Doc Ock climbs the buildings of NYC, holding onto Aunt May like he's King Kong.

    The action scenes are a perfect mix of tension and adrenaline, with a touch of humor to soften the impact. The film deserves special recognition for presenting these sequences in an easy-to-follow manner. It may sound like a backhanded compliment, but the constant on-screen chaos of films like Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice reminds superhero audiences to never take visual clarity for granted.

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  • 7

    Average New Yorkers Protect Spider-Man

    The New Yorkers of Spider-Man (2002) are already shown to be brave, at one point pelting the Green Goblin with assorted pieces of garbage to buy Spider-Man some time. But in the sequel, those Yankee-loving New Yorkers are even more heroic.

    When Doc Ock is close to having Spidey in his clutches on the subway, the other passengers put their lives on the line to protect him. They only last a second against Ock's tentacles, but the scene is an exhilarating portrayal of that classic New York state of mind.

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  • 8

    Doctor Octopus Is The Ultimate Spidey Villain

    Otto Octavius was always one of the Spider-Man's greatest adversaries, even when he wore a green jumpsuit and Moe Howard haircutSpider-Man 2 absolutely understands what makes him such a fascinating nemesis, as does actor Alfred Molina. 

    The Tony-winning star created one of the more complicated villains in superhero cinema. He starts out as a decent person, only to become unhinged by grief. By the film's end, he has become purely evil, but eventually redeems himself in a moment that could have come off as clichéd in the hands of a lesser filmmaker.

    Every step of the way, the viewer understands why Doc Ock makes the choices he does. He's less a cartoon villain and more a fractured soul with an obsession. If you want to be even more impressed by Molina's performance, check out Jamie Foxx's work as Electro in the not so Amazing Spider-Man 2 for a comparison. Mr. Foxx is lucky the Academy didn't demand his Oscar back.

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