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Spider-Man 1 and 2 (Four Disc Box Set) [DVD]
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Double bill of blockbuster action adventure films based on the classic Marvel comic strip. In 'Spider-Man' (2002), high-school student Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) is bitten by a genetically-altered spider while on a visit to a scientific institute, and soon begins to experience unusual side-effects - such as increased strength, enhanced wall-climbing skills, and the ability to spin webs out of his wrists. Peter first attempts to make use of these skills to impress girl-next-door Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst), but after his Uncle Ben (Cliff Robertson) is killed in an armed robbery, he is compelled to work for the greater good and reinvents himself as Spider-Man, the enemy of criminals everywhere. Meanwhile, arms manufacturer Norman Osborn (Willem Dafoe) transforms himself into the Green Goblin, begins to terrorize the city, and lays down the gauntlet to Spider-Man by abducting his beloved Mary Jane. In the sequel, 'Spider-Man 2' (2004), two years have passed since the events in the first film, and the mild-mannered Peter Parker faces new challenges as he struggles with 'the gift and the curse', desperately trying to balance his dual identities as the web-slinging superhero Spider-Man and his life as a college student. Tormented by his secrets, Peter finds that his relationships with all those he holds dear are in danger of unraveling. His life-long yearning for Mary Jane becomes even stronger as he fights the impulse to reveal his secret life and declare his love. His friendship with Harry Osborn (James Franco) is complicated by the young Osborn's bitterness over his father's death and his growing vendetta against Spider-Man. Even Peter's beloved Aunt May (Rosemary Harris), who has fallen on hard times since the death of Uncle Ben, begins to have doubts about her nephew.
More than a few critics hailed Spider-Man 2 as "the best superhero movie ever," and there's no compelling reason to argue--thanks to a bigger budget, better special effects and a dynamic, character-driven plot, it's a notch above Spider-Man in terms of emotional depth and rich comic-book sensibility. Ordinary People Oscar-winner Alvin Sargent received screenplay credit, and celebrated author and comic-book expert Michael Chabon worked on the story, but it's director Sam Raimi's affinity for the material that brings Spidey 2 to vivid life. When a fusion experiment goes terribly wrong, a brilliant physicist (Alfred Molina) is turned into Spidey's newest nemesis, the deranged, mechanically tentacled "Doctor Octopus," obsessed with completing his experiment and killing Spider-Man (Tobey Maguire) in the process.
Even more compelling is Peter Parker's urgent dilemma: continue his burdensome, lonely life of crime-fighting as Spider-Man, or pursue love and happiness with Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst)? Molina's outstanding as a tragic villain controlled by his own invention, and the action sequences are nothing less than breathtaking, but the real success of Spider-Man 2 is its sense of priorities. With all of Hollywood's biggest and best toys at his disposal, Raimi and his writers stay true to the Marvel mythology, honoring Spider-Man creators Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, and setting the bar impressively high for the challenge of Spider-Man 3. --Jeff Shannon
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Now, I'm not a fan of comic books, neither am I fan of action movies, but by the end of watching both films I was pleasantly surprised at how much I had enjoyed the whole package.
Both films are fun in the extreme. The acting, whilst hardly being Shakespeare standard, is great fun, the special effects are stunning and the plot fast moving and very entertaining.
Apparently according to my son anyhow, the films are also very true to the original comic book idea, which is quite comforting to know.
If you don't already own these on DVD, or if you have managed to miss them in the cinema, this set will be a very healthy addition to your collection of DVDs. And while you're on Amazon, check out the wonderful Spider-Man comics currently being written by Brian Michael Bendis.
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