Spider-Man 2 (2004): Sam Raimi returns to direct the second instalment in the original Spider-Man trilogy where Peter Parker, played again by Tobey Maguire, tries to find a balance between life as Peter and the webslinger until a mad scientist threatens New York. Spider-Man 2 is easily the best of the trilogy, and may even be one of the best superhero movies of all time - the script perfectly captures Parker trying to find his purpose and the internal conflicts of being a superhero, making him a really likeable, sympathetic character for the audience. While Maguire may not be the best actor in the world, his performance works well for his character. Alfred Molina as Dr. Octavius is brilliant as a likeable scientist turned evil after he has everything taken from him, he really is a compelling villain even if his motivation is somewhat forced. The fight sequences between these two characters are some of the most exciting in any film of the genre including an exhilarating train sequence that proves that, given the resources, Sam Raimi can direct almost anything. These fights are helped by the vastly improved special effects that won the film its only Academy Award however Danny Elfman can feel aggrieved that his rousing score was not nominated as it creates a grand atmosphere while also capturing the smaller emotional core of the script. Despite how solid the script is, there are a few hiccups, the biggest being the conflict between Parker and Mary Jane Watson, reprised by Kirsten Dunst, which in itself is good but the underdevelopment of MJ’s love interest really doesn’t make for the satisfying impact at the end of the film. Her character is also once again used as a plot device. James Franco’s Harry Osbourne is a much more compelling character and his arc is well set up for the third film. Spider-Man 2 is as a good as a Spider-Man movie comes; it has great characters, exciting action, and Raimi’s classic sense of humour (complete with Bruce Campbell) to deliver everything that’s great about the characters and the world they live in. One of the greatest superhero films of all time but definitely the best Spider-Man movie. Rating: 8.3.