Katy’s review published on Letterboxd:
Punch me, I bleed.
Spider-Man 2 honestly feels like three movies in one. Peter puts all of his self-worth and stress into being a hero, while his personal and professional life falls apart. Once he starts losing his spidey-abilities, he's able to commit to being honest about perpetuating Ben's death and his feelings for MJ - but that tug in the back of his mind that he could do more is always there. It's hard to think of another huge climatic Marvel or DCEU moment of an alter-ego and the character merging together as one than Peter almost splitting himself in half to stop the speeding train, the passengers realizing he's a just 'kid', and standing up for him against Doc Ock. Taking the weight of Peter's responsibilities and letting him struggle to find a balance between the two not only gives him more development than the first movie, it also heightens the mortality of the action scenes too - because you never know when his skills will run out on him and hurt him for good.
While the supporting characters move at a slower pace, everyone is given enough space to grow just enough for it to be satisfying and linger hope for the third movie. Dr. Octavius shares a little too many similarities with Norman/The Green Goblin. But luckily, Alfred follows in Willem's footsteps by not hamming it up, which makes his last-minute redemption come full circle and his sacrifice feels worthy. The only element that's too dated is MJ as a damsel and love interest. Tobey and Kirsten's chemistry is as quaint as the first one, but I was hoping for something more other than MJ being in danger re-awakening Peter's defenses, and MJ having to choose between Peter or her fiance. Otherwise, Sam Raimi still maintains a good through-line of action, romance, and goofiness, even if the length runs a little long.
The only thing that comes to mind in preparing for Spider-Man 3 is wondering how it all goes wrong...because this is such a solid follow-up.