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Worth A Look: 26.92%
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12 reviews, 214 user ratings

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Spider-Man 2
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by Scott Weinberg

"If only HALF of all movie sequels looked like this..."
5 stars

It's just one blissful fluke of pop culture nature that the world's coolest superhero has now yielded two of the greatest superhero movies. No disrespect to men both Super and Bat in nature, nor to our beloved X-Mutants, Hulks and Blades, but THIS is how you bring the world of comic-book heroes to giddy and glorious life: equal parts spectacle and humanity, wit and wonder, gee-whiz bedazzlement and aw-shucks sentimentality. If "Spider-Man 2" isn't the finest superhero film ever made, well then it's pretty damn close...and it's unlikely that many others will ever travel half this far.

Let's get right to it: Spider-Man 2 is about a good a time as you can possibly have at a movie during the summertime, period. And that's not to say that it's laden with wall-to-wall action and perpetual explosions. This is a movie that, much like its widely adored predecessor, values character above all else. You can throw $150 million worth of eye candy at the screen and you'll tickle a whole lot of retinas, but without a foundation of basic humanity ... well, then you're stuck watching something called Van Helsing: a hollow shell of a film, a flimsy framework of false fronts and meaningless ruckus.

Allow the moviegoer to feel some sort of sincere and basic emotion and they'll be putty in your hands, both knowingly and willingly. Both Spider-Man movies put most blockbusters to shame, simply because they offer the formula that so many filmmakers simply ignore: it starts with plain ol' people.

Of course these people do include an amazingly acrobatic arachnid avenger and a multi-limbed maniacal malcontent, but that's the beauty of the thing: In the world of the comic book, this stuff is Shakespeare. And it takes a filmmaker as distinct as Sam Raimi to treat this material with the cockeyed respect it resoundingly deserves.

Plot in a nutshell: Spidey's been doing his part to fight crime in NYC for a few years. Consequently, Spidey's human side (Peter Parker) finds it exceedingly difficult to balance a life laden with college exams, part-time jobs, overdue rent checks and gorgeous gals who got away. Throw a few hours of crime-fighting into the equation and you're looking at a workload that even Clark Kent would have real trouble with.

Still subconsciously on the lookout for another ironic father-figure, Peter befriends a soon-to-be-mad-scientist who aims to create and harness the power of several small suns. To this end, Dr. Octavius creates an elaborate system of amazingly creepy steel-clawed tentacles, which he then happily attaches to his spinal cord via needles. Eww.

You know the rest of this tune: An experiment goes horribly awry, unfortunate deaths occur, and the formerly benevolent (if far-reaching) scientist is now a borderline-insane lunatic running around with four indestructible steel tentacles attached to his body. Only in the deliriously slick world of comic-bookdom would we be privy to a villain like Dr. Octopus.

While the most logical appeal of a Spider-Man 2 is that of the action stuff (top notch across the board here, with an elevated train sequence that will soon rank among the greatest action sequences, perhaps ever), the supporting braces of the film come from a variety of colorful locales. That Parker is such an admirably conflicted and likable character is a testament to the many screenwriters who worked on both movies. (Tobey Maguire also deserves a big share of the credit, obviously.) If you don't in some way relate to or connect with this schnook, then Spider-Man 2 is just a string of action bits. Credited to Alvin Sargent, with noteworthy contributions from Michael Chabon, Miles Millar & Alfred Gough (not to mention Spidey creators Steve Ditko & Stan Lee), this script is a thing of well-balanced beauty. The plot threads lead logically to fits of kinetic wall-climbing; the scenes of slam-bang butt-kickin' ease slowly down and drive right back into the arc of the narrative, and we actually welcome the 'talky bits' because we actually give a slap about the story! Basically, it's what's known as 'an excellent screenplay'.

But an excellent screenplay without the right actors is doomed for trouble. This is obviously not the case with Spider-Man 2. Tobey Maguire was the perfect choice from the outset, and the kid continues to deliver superlative work, balancing reluctant heroics with heart-touchingly realistic nerd-dom. You just like the guy as a schmo, which helps you to love the guy when he's a spider. Kirsten Dunst and James Franco are each given more to do this time around, and both show clear evidence of having settled into their roles. That both are contracted for Part 3 now feels comforting instead of curious. Alfred Molina is criminally cool as Doc Ock; his pre-loony scenes imply a fascinating, warm and subtly off-balanced man. As is often the case in well-crafted adventure flicks, the supporting cast of characters is a veritable goldmine: Rosemary Harris as Peter's Aunt May effortlessly avoids that air of doddering-old-ninnyism, JK Simmons (as Parker's blustery editor) steals every single scene with his cigar-chomping abrasiveness, and yes (!), the ever-groovy Bruce Campbell earns yet another rascally cameo that's sure to be a crowd-pleaser.

A query reserved for only the most anticipated sequels: "Is it better than the first one?" Logically, the best-case scenario would be a reply of "Yes." But Spider-Man 2 trumps even that lofty accolade; it's not necessarily better than its high-powered predecessor, but Part 2 actually seems to make Part 1 even more enjoyable, replicating that softly satisying emotion that comes when you finally get those two puzzle pieces to fit together. Spider-Man 2 is a sequel that soaringly stands on its own, but there are several fan-centric plot threads that snake through both entries. Subtle character shadings are allowed to evolve; set-ups for Part III seem well-conceived and delicious in an Empire Strikes Back sort of way. And it's not many sequels that garner my comparison to ESB, so draw your own conclusions there.

There's one shining corner in which Part 2 does trump its papa, and that's in the humor department. That's not to imply that David Koepp's Spider-Man screenplay was dry or lacking in the laughs, but the sequel is all but laden with clever gags, both silly in nature and craftily character-driven. An unexpected elevator trip proves dryly hilarious; Mr. Parker has a struggle with a broom closet that is absolutely Homer-esque. (Simpson, that is.)

No, Spider-Man 2 is not the most perfect thing under the sun (one could hope for just a little tightening in Act II and perhaps 5% more action) but any minor flaws you may find are easily overshadowed by the pure moviegoing experience that only comes when the flashy stuff is constructed on a dense layer of heart, wit, depth of character and an obvious respect for a classic comic-book icon. And his octo-fied nemesis.

Spider-Man 2 deserves every nickel its bound to make. It's what happens when filmmakers focus on "let's make a good movie" instead of "let's make a sequel".

"Spider-Man 2" is a perfect example of why movie critics are often so venomously dismissive of "Popcorn Flicks". Sam Raimi and his team of Spidermakers have proven that there's absolutely no excuse for "brainless" moviemaking, that you can achieve filmmaking excellence in a 'genre' field, and that no amount of CGI caterwauling will save you if your tentpole emperor has no freaking clothes. Actually, they've done it twice now. I'll take Part 3 this Christmas if at all possible.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=10131&reviewer=128
originally posted: 06/29/04 22:22:47
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User Comments

10/29/16 morris campbell good sequel 4 stars
3/28/16 Aj wales Still impressive after 12 years. Never boring throughout. Excellent. 5 stars
7/10/14 Turner Blah. Spiderman sucks 1 stars
10/12/13 David H. one of the best sequels ever made 5 stars
7/21/13 Ronin T2 still wins by a wide margin. Good, that this one includes a few touching moments 5 stars
2/04/13 dr.lao If you liked the first movie, you will love this one! 5 stars
9/06/12 austin love it 5 stars
4/21/12 Kcaj didnt touch the heart as much as the first film, but still worth watching and likeable 4 stars
1/18/12 Marc DC too much talking not enough action, and Kirsten Dunst isn't that pretty for all the drama. 2 stars
11/28/11 Jeff Wilder The best of the Spider-Man movies. 5 stars
5/09/10 James OOooooo Loooookie Boooookie GAH GAH GAH GAHHHH!!! 5 stars
6/08/09 freak great 5 stars
1/07/09 Shaun Wallner Thought this was a good film. 5 stars
10/09/08 man great 5 stars
10/09/08 dude fantastic 5 stars
9/07/08 Samantha Pruitt better than the first, fav superhero movie for sure 5 stars
1/25/08 man best superhero movie ever 5 stars
11/26/07 dude superior sequel 5 stars
10/02/07 wall one of the best sequesl ever 5 stars
9/13/07 dude amazingly good 5 stars
6/08/07 Danielle Ophelia How amazing is this? (Plus Doc Ock's dying words had me in full hysterics.) 5 stars
5/26/07 WalkingDisaster Incredible! I'd give it 6 stars. 5 stars
5/24/07 ebert awesome 5 stars
5/16/07 spanky it was awesome 1 stars
5/07/07 Tracey Chambers the first one was really good this one is even better 5 stars
5/03/07 Adrian The new extended cut definitely cements it as my favorite comic book movie ever. 5 stars
4/05/07 movieman best comic book movie ever 5 stars
4/04/07 Dave best comic book movie ever 5 stars
3/22/07 David This movie is just as great as it was almost 3 years ago. 5 stars
3/06/07 man best comic book movie ever 5 stars
2/28/07 action movie fan great sequel spidey does it again one of the best of 2004 5 stars
2/16/07 Vip Ebriega Terrific adventure. Superb FX. 4 stars
1/19/07 johnnyfog Perfect Doc Ock!! Kirsten's hotter with red hair 5 stars
12/05/06 Dude SCREW Batman, and SCREW Superman 5 stars
11/14/06 Beau best sequel ever to a movie ever made. BRILLIANT!! deserves a best movie award 5 stars
11/10/06 David Pollastrini great fx 5 stars
10/27/06 Richard Fun, clever spider-tool use. 4 stars
10/16/06 David Great film that exceeded the first. 5 stars
10/03/06 Jeremy Davies better than the first movie 4 stars
8/19/06 Beau all-time fav superhero film, better than 1st one. great fight scenes and outstanding acting 5 stars
7/05/06 Tom Groholski Fantastic 5 stars
6/10/06 Billy A B-Grade follow up to one of the best superheroe movies ever. 4 stars
6/05/06 drydock54321 better than the first one! 5 stars
5/05/06 Cuenzie Wunzie Good but nothing Great. 6.6 \ 10 4 stars
4/17/06 Jack Good movie. A bit Dissapointing 4 stars
4/02/06 JRE i change my mind. this is the best superhero movie ever made 5 stars
3/27/06 Brian Meyer A little too depressed. But the action is hotter and Bruce Cambell's back! A++ 5 stars
3/02/06 Anthony Feor A great sequel, fun for everyone 4 stars
2/09/06 nora Love it 5 stars
1/13/06 JM Synth Shallow, a soap opera interspersed with piss-poor comedy. Still, the fans seem to like it 2 stars
1/01/06 cody a superior movie to the first one, with a better story and more action, great acting, cool 4 stars
11/15/05 Adrian More wit and smarter action, a more than worthy sequel to Spiderman. 5 stars
10/22/05 shawn perry jk your show is awsome. 5 stars
10/07/05 Jonathon Holmes a damn good comic book movie 5 stars
10/06/05 Carolyn Rathburn Awsome, I loved it very well done 5 stars
9/17/05 tony Sometimes annoying, but is a great movie. 4 stars
9/04/05 Gregor Erickson Spiderman 2 resonates with emotion. It is the best comic based film to date. 5 stars
9/03/05 Quigley the acting was atrocious, the one liners horrid, but the action redeemed this one! see it! 5 stars
8/25/05 Ca-Dizzle Much better than the first, much better villain (green goblin sucked). 5 stars
8/22/05 Eden Better than the first, but still overhyped. The villain is crap. Again. 3 stars
8/18/05 ES Can't believe we have to sit through another goblin movie (SM3) before we get to see Venom 4 stars
7/25/05 Anthony Blazing Awesome! 5 stars
7/25/05 Eric Rollins Doc Ock isn't a sympathetic character so what's with the pathos? 3 stars
7/20/05 Brandy Harrington Best superhero movie ever. 5 stars
7/20/05 Chris Much better than the first one, but the romance flops 4 stars
7/20/05 Sir Dude Just shy of awesome. Much better than the first one though. 4 stars
7/05/05 Taylor Fladgate I was not impressed. Very predictable. Don't understand the rave reviews. 2 stars
6/21/05 Manu Ginobli Great. 5 stars
6/16/05 Quigley had some pretty classic action sequences, but also embarrasing and horrid dialog and acting 4 stars
6/09/05 Tod Well It was a good movie- people should watch it 4 stars
6/07/05 Darcy superhero and a story too - almost too good to be true 5 stars
6/04/05 Ubu the Ripper OK, but not one for the archives. 4 stars
6/04/05 Charlene Javier A sleeper. Literally. 3 stars
6/04/05 Mike Jozic Better than the first and does everything a sequel is supposed to do. 4 stars
6/03/05 Christy Schultz Lived up to the first one. 5 stars
6/02/05 deadwiz A decent sequel, worth watching. 4 stars
5/24/05 The shizz you guys are morons. lets see you niggs make something better? You cant, eat a dick haters 5 stars
5/19/05 ad gimme a break! 1 stars
5/14/05 Joe Better than the first one, at least... NEEDS MORE ACTION! 5 stars
4/28/05 Quigley sam raimi is one of the worst directiors ever, but he knows how to weave good action 4 stars
4/20/05 brody thanks alot sam you fucked up a good franchise 1 stars
4/17/05 ELI how the fuck can you call this bad??????You guys don't know what a good movie is. 5 stars
3/04/05 Sam Eskenazi simply awful; writing and acting much worse than the first 2 stars
2/26/05 Alice Colwell much better than the first one 4 stars
2/16/05 Lou & Chaz the best film ever! we love it tobey maguire is hot 5 stars
2/05/05 Tom Benton "Spider-Man 2" is the best superhero movie I've ever seen; astonishingly good. 5 stars
1/27/05 Charlie Sucky Crap! 1 stars
1/14/05 Jeff Anderson The best superhero movie and the best sequel ever made. Director Sam Raimi is a GENIUS! 5 stars
12/26/04 kl; hilarious!! 5 stars
12/24/04 Freddy can't wait for part 3! 5 stars
12/23/04 Raven sucked but not as bad as the first because the villian wasnt just a big robot pez dispenser 1 stars
12/22/04 jonnyboy was abit turd 2 stars
12/19/04 movie fan it sucked 5 stars
12/18/04 Nicole I was subjected to this on a plane - lost interest after 15 minutes. Bleck! 2 stars
12/18/04 ELI First spiderman SUCKED compared to second 5 stars
12/14/04 Jake bad raters=same person. Great movie overall 5 stars
12/07/04 JaseP If you're a guy and don't dig this movie, take off yer skirt... 5 stars
12/02/04 tatum Sometimes heavy handed in a 90210 way, but incredible action and Simmons needs an Oscar 4 stars
12/02/04 Mockingbird Sorry,but this is just masturbation fodder for overgrown boys,check the bitchslappers:males 1 stars
11/30/04 keithers.. Definetly worth seeing....some bad scenes and some amazing scenes 4 stars
11/17/04 chris great action pieces,the rest boring and turgid 2 stars
11/04/04 Duncan a part of me died. it was the 10 year old boy who used to dress up as spiderman 1 stars
10/18/04 james mercer the bomb!!! 5 stars
9/19/04 angel good script, funny, great action scenes! best movie i've seen in a while! 5 stars
9/06/04 owerofdajoint top grade! truly great across every possible aspect!!!! 5 stars
8/28/04 Conor classic 5 stars
8/27/04 Mike Stanbridge almost perfect 5 stars
8/25/04 danny The worst movie ever saw 1 stars
8/22/04 Snickerdoodle A perfect blend of cool action scenes and deep philosophical stuff. 5 stars
8/21/04 Chlo-mo-bo Cliched? Sure - but I fucking loved this movie none-the-less!!! 5 stars
8/15/04 Dallas Moye Fantastic 5 stars
8/14/04 Peter James In many ways surpasses the original, but has unnessesary comedy 4 stars
8/13/04 Eloise too many ugly people doing ugly acting, yuk 1 stars
8/12/04 Nikolai Good by Euro standards awesome by Hollyweird's 4 stars
8/11/04 kc as a comic, great, as a movie terrible, in terms of plot/story telling/acting/originality 1 stars
8/10/04 f up good story, bad direction, shitty ass comic relief, but good moments 3 stars
8/08/04 Kitina Blues molina was the best...unarguably, he plays the best villian ive seen in a while!!!! 5 stars
8/06/04 Anthony G fucking owns all of you whores(andrea is a stupid bitch) 5 stars
8/06/04 JasonM this movie kicks the shit out of any action movie this summer by far 5 stars
8/05/04 Andrea Crap 1 stars
8/05/04 Chris movie has so much more to offer than just your typical comic book action flick. 5 stars
8/02/04 alice Loved it ! Never bore me ! 4 stars
8/01/04 S.F Why doesn't the aunt die! Molina is good, dialogue is delinquent,overrated! 3 stars
7/31/04 CharWar Definately better than the first - definately best superhero movie in a LOOOONNNNNGGG time. 5 stars
7/31/04 A.J. Stanson Usual average super-hero crap 2 stars
7/27/04 Mike Devans 1st one was better 4 stars
7/26/04 manjunathareedyr kingmaker 5 stars
7/25/04 Katie This movie is AWESOME! A true classic that will go down in history. 5 stars
7/25/04 Pure RAGE... It may've been overrated but for a good reason 5 stars
7/24/04 Ron Newbold Excellent sequel and superb superhero movie 5 stars
7/24/04 Celeste Great movie! The 3rd one is gonna be great! 5 stars
7/23/04 WES NILES very overrated 3 stars
7/23/04 Jannet Kwan This is a must see movie for the summer! 5 stars
7/23/04 Snaggler One great overrated movie. 4 stars
7/22/04 axe brings spidey outta dark alleys into the public eye...u gotta dig what u c 5 stars
7/20/04 sada amazing 5 stars
7/19/04 Ingo The perfect comic adaptation so far. 5 stars
7/18/04 none One of the worst movies ever, unless you're gay. 1 stars
7/17/04 jj awesome in all ways 5 stars
7/17/04 Jubbly Jubblers I liked the 1st slightly more, but this is a better than average "summer" flick 4 stars
7/17/04 legend Now, this is what a summer movie should be! Great Superhero film. 5 stars
7/16/04 Daveman Excellent, a vast improvement over the original in terms of depth, humor and suspense. 4 stars
7/16/04 Brandon Boudreau I was on the edge of my seat... threw the whole film!!! 5 stars
7/13/04 John McIntyre Freakin Sweet 5 stars
7/13/04 sumixam I thought it was gonna be bad - GLAD TO BE WRONG! 5 stars
7/11/04 clay arachnid artistry in motion..... all hail sam raimi 5 stars
7/10/04 Uncle Phucker The regulars were great. Molina was great. But Molina deserved better lines and scenes. 4 stars
7/09/04 naveed dezfoli BEST SUPER HERO MOVIE EVER 5 stars
7/09/04 Koitus W-O-W!!! I only read the opening and closing review comments, but I agree - 1 of the best! 5 stars
7/09/04 bullit16 A superhero movie where characters actually take center stage! 5 stars
7/08/04 Stevo Sure the hero crap goes on, but the action is good. 4 stars
7/07/04 Spinz good effects, but STOP KILLING GOOD THINGS 4 stars
7/07/04 the Grinch Am I the only sane person here? This was a poorly written Playstation 2 videogame! 2 stars
7/07/04 Mary Good movie, but there were some scenes that weren't necessary and just made the movie long. 4 stars
7/07/04 Margie cliched at times, but it was such a great ride that i forgave it for its tiny flaws. 5 stars
7/07/04 Ry Thought the first was ok, this one is a little better. 4 stars
7/06/04 Johnboy worthless movie. kirstin dunst looks fabulous though. 2 stars
7/06/04 Elizabeth Overrated. MaGuire wasn't quite as annoying as usual. Not a compelling villain. 3 stars
7/06/04 Mark D. Fulwiler A bit overrated, but good entertainment 4 stars
7/06/04 Kristina Kirsten looks like the lead singer of Smashing Pumpkins. 5 stars
7/06/04 Deckard Have people forgotten what a good story looks like? Nice effects. 3 stars
7/06/04 colleen danny elfman is the god of movie scores. 5 stars
7/05/04 JV too much love/ too predictable 3 stars
7/05/04 tyger,tyger Wow it was great.beautiful, and deep 5 stars
7/05/04 Wildcarde1 Must see more, so many ways to continue this great franchise 5 stars
7/05/04 Sparky Kristen Dunst is yummy 5 stars
7/05/04 Mrs. Mallika Very very marvelous movie 5 stars
7/05/04 Jiz That was REALLY good. Better fights, better plot, better villain, better movie 5 stars
7/05/04 Kev One of the best movies I've ever seen 5 stars
7/04/04 R.W. Welch Rare case of F/X extravaganza that is also dramatically effective. Strong score to boot. 5 stars
7/04/04 Ahnold Once again, weak plot, storyline and character development. Uninteresting video game 2 stars
7/04/04 Scarmiglion the lich loved the fight scenes way better then the 1st and theres gonna be a 3rd :D 5 stars
7/04/04 Shams Huque Overhyped and average film, just like the first. I wished for James Cameron's take... 3 stars
7/04/04 Jim Terrific, esp. final 3rd. Molina a superb villain. X2 still my fave superhero movie tho. 4 stars
7/04/04 Diego I love the movie I give you guys 10/10 5 stars
7/04/04 nick2k i liked the 1st one more...i guess it was the excessive dialogue in this one. eh. 3 stars
7/04/04 maxomai Character-driven, very Sam Raimi. Incredible. 5 stars
7/04/04 Spider-Fan Dr Ock was AWESOME. Great movie except Raindrops Keep Falling montage. 4 stars
7/03/04 Titus Very good. Certainly comparable to the first, probably better. 5 stars
7/03/04 othree It was SPIDERMAN! 4 stars
7/03/04 Edler Somehow, all the drama and romance really works! Shocking but true. 5 stars
7/03/04 Butterbean Way too much drama. Needed more Doc Ock. Molina is the best! 4 stars
7/03/04 This girl Loved it! Loved it! Loved it! 5 stars
7/02/04 alien assassin Even better than the original. Can't wait for Spidey 3 !!! 5 stars
7/02/04 roystgnr Melodramatic but very fun 5 stars
7/02/04 eqar better den da first 1, 10/10~~!!! fukn auwesom 5 stars
7/02/04 The Dude It was so good I shat myself. 5 stars
7/02/04 Mike Cecconi Despite melodrama and plot holes, rather good. 4 stars
7/01/04 Peteco Great movie! Waiting for the next one! 5 stars
7/01/04 KingNeutron JK Simmons 0wned his scenes. And give the black guy some more to do. 4 stars
7/01/04 Marce It's good... but I still feelt he editor should be shot! 4 stars
7/01/04 Human Shield What do you want me to say? It was good. Go see it, and have fun. 5 stars
7/01/04 fanboy malcolm MJ was supposed to say "face it, tiger. you hit the jackpot." 5 stars
7/01/04 ajay the movie that Hulk should've been. Nice blend of story/action. 5 stars
7/01/04 cinkcool Now THAT was a movie 5 stars
6/30/04 liquidBass worth having a look at, if only once 4 stars
6/30/04 Zurg *sniff* 'I am Spiderman...NO MORE!' For a comic nerd like me, high drama. 5 stars
6/30/04 John Best comic book movie ever! 5 stars
6/30/04 American Slasher Goddess Great sequel, but could have used a little more action to it 4 stars
6/30/04 Ayatolla of Rockinrolla It would have been nice to have Spider-Man show up occasionally instead of all Peter Parker 2 stars
6/30/04 Desperado great movie, the best super hero movie of all time, hands down 5 stars
6/30/04 David Superb 5 stars
6/30/04 Jack Bourbon Very good. Same league as Batman 1 and Superman 1 & 2. But please shut off Auntie Em. 4 stars
6/30/04 Ray Mindblowing 5 stars
6/30/04 BrianWilly Simply unbelievable...best superhero film of all time. 5 stars
6/30/04 T just as i pictured a spider man movie when i first read that comic as a kid. incredible 5 stars
6/30/04 too-much-coffee mistress I am fully coated in the cool that dripped off the screen 5 stars
6/30/04 djacosta Incredibly good! 5 stars
6/29/04 Mike V Jaw-dropingly great! Sam Raimi shows up BIG TIME! 5 stars
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  30-Jun-2004 (PG-13)
  DVD: 17-Apr-2007


  30-Jun-2004 (M)

Directed by
  Sam Raimi

Written by
  Alvin Sargent

  Tobey Maguire
  Kirsten Dunst
  James Franco
  J.K. Simmons
  Alfred Molina
  Dylan Baker

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