Who can walk and chew gum … throw a taxi cab, smash a window, pour a drink, and pat you on the back, all at the same time?

That would be Otto Octavius—or "Doc Ock," as he's best known to Spider-man fans. He's the multi-limbed scientist whose malevolent, metallic appendages override his better instincts in Spider-Man 2, Sam Raimi's exhilarating, super-sized superhero sequel. Alfred Molina storms onto the screen and becomes the most formidable supervillain we've yet seen in a comic-book movie. Many Marvel fans will agree that this is the greatest comic book movie ever made, and one of the many things Raimi gets right is casting Molina in this role.

But Spider-Man 2 has more than just a villain. It's the best film of Raimi's career, full of renzied comedy-packed action. (Note to parents: It's an extremely violent movie in a way that only comic-book movies can be.) But more surprisingly, this is also his most emotional film. Perhaps more impressive is the moral backbone of the Spider-Man story. Octavius becomes a striking metaphor for the way that power corrupts—and for the dilemma of weapons of mass destruction.

Peter Parker faces some truly challenging choices in this film, as he ponders the burden of responsibility, and how his true calling may require him to sacrifice his own personal desires. In a society saturated with movies that tell us the most important ethic is to "follow your dreams," the Spider-Man franchise offers an admirable alternative: There is something more important, something bigger, than you and I—and in order to overcome evil with good, we will have to turn away from our personal preferences and lay down our lives for others. Hard to believe such heavy stuff can come from the comic ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Tags: