Spider-Man 2 ★★★★

2018 Superhero Rewatch: In which I return to superhero movies I've seen before to see how time has treated them.

So much to like about this movie. The characters develop exponentially beyond the first film, and there's so many great moments. Peter spurning Mary Jane to protect her and losing his powers psychosomatically are quintessential Spider-Man. Alfred Molina takes a villain who had always been somewhat cardboard and made him a figure of tragedy. The scene with May's pep talk is spectacular -- it's never followed up, but Rosemary Harris plays it EXACTLY like a woman who knows what she's really doing, even if it's going to remain unspoken. And then the scene on the train... I'm a sucker for those bits where the ordinary citizens step up and save the hero.

It's not perfect. There's some cheesy dialogue and James Franco goes way over the top, but it's easily the best of the Raimi/Maguire Spider-Man movies.