Metascore
83

Universal acclaim - based on 41 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 37 out of 41
  2. Negative: 0 out of 41
  1. 100
    It's a real movie, full-blooded and smart, with qualities even for those who have no idea who Stan Lee is. It's a superhero movie for people who don't go to superhero movies, and for those who do, it's the one they've been yearning for.
  2. 100
    A masterpiece of pop filmmaking -- a fantastic, exuberant entertainment that manages to be both sleek and substantial without being patronizing.
  3. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    100
    With special effects so convincing you don't even think about them, a head-case hero and a three-dimensional villain who is his equal, socko Spider-Man 2 has something for everyone.
  4. Reviewed by: Aaron Hillis
    100
    Fantastic news, true believers: Spider-Man 2 is smarter, hipper, faster, funnier, and flat-out more electrifying than the original, swinging to new summer-movie heights as the greatest comic-book adaptation yet made.
  5. 100
    Spider-Man 2 offers one emotional or action-packed aria after another; at the end you feel like giving it a standing O.
  6. This triumphant sequel to the hard-to-top 2002 original may be the first great comic-book movie in the age of self-help and CGI wizardry, an entertainment in which both the thrills and the therapeutic personal growth are well earned.
  7. 100
    The filmmakers smartly counter heavy drama with goofy comedy, mining a rich vein of humor in the juxtaposition of the mundane and the superheroic. Maguire and Molina excel at opposite ends of the moral spectrum, but the film is stolen once again by J.K. Simmons.
  8. 100
    Where Peter was yee-ha giddy with the discovery of his newfound powers in the first film, he's crushed by the weight of responsibility that comes with them in its far superior successor.
  9. Reviewed by: Sean Smith
    100
    Amazingly, it's not all the visual splendor or killer action sequences that elevate Spider-Man 2 above its predecessor and almost every superhero movie that has come before.
  10. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    100
    The pleasure is doubled in Spider-Man 2. Crackerjack entertainment from start to finish, this rousing yarn about a reluctant superhero and his equally conflicted friends and enemies improves in every way on its predecessor and is arguably about as good a live-action picture as anyone's ever made using comicbook characters.
  11. Reviewed by: M. E. Russell
    91
    Spider-Man 2 succeeds in pretty much the same way "Superman II" did -- only more so.
  12. Forget "Raising Helen" and "The Notebook," this is the movie summer's most touching young romance.
  13. It's refreshing to witness a superhero with doubts. Maguire and Dunst again display the depth of talent they bring to these roles by injecting such everydayness into larger-than-life characters.
  14. Better than its predecessor, and also superior to most other comic-book-based movies. It has a more credible (and more frightening) villain, a more capacious and original story and a self-confidence based not only on the huge success of the first "Spider-Man" but also on Mr. Raimi's intuitive and enthusiastic grasp of the material.
  15. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    90
    It's the tone of the picture that's most striking. This is nothing less than a superhero's lament--Spidey Agonistes, a comic-book spectacle in which the primary struggles are behind the mask.
  16. A lot of talent to lavish on a single movie, but the result is uncommonly smart for the genre, and not just smart but tremendously enjoyable.
  17. The cutting is so sinuous and breathtaking, the music (by Danny Elfman after too much coffee) so onrushing and the camera so penetrative of the depths and heights of midtown Manhattan at cloud level, that the illusion, despite its artificiality, works. You don't believe it but you "believe" it.
  18. This movie, directed with precision and an appreciation for (relatively) rich character texture by Sam Raimi, remembers all the fine elements of the original film (and the comic book story). It reprises them perfectly, including wonderfully choreographed, skyscraper-hanging fights.
  19. 89
    Love, death, hope, and hatred: Spider-Man 2 has ’em all, in spades.
  20. 88
    A sequel of twisted thrills and sly surprises.
  21. 88
    Until it develops a bad case of verbosity toward the end, it improves upon its predecessor in almost every way, delivering flashier thrills while digging deeper into its characters and adding an overlay of wit.
  22. A perfect blend of summer action, a big movie with a deeply personal story.
  23. 88
    Sequels don't get much better - or smarter - than the action-, drama-, romance- and comedy-packed Spider-Man 2, which miraculously improves on the webslinger's hugely popular first screen adventure in every imaginable department.
  24. Raimi doesn't make the mistake of over-thinking the flimsy psychology of the genre. All this conflicted-hero stuff isn't meant to be profound; instead, it's there for the same reason as everything else -- to give the action (the interior action in this case) a healthy shot of pop energy.
  25. 80
    The rare sequel that actually improves on the original, this robust entertainment's intelligence and emotional impact belie conventional wisdom that summer movie spectaculars are by nature brainless nonsense and only a stupid snob would complain about their cynical insubstantiality.
  26. Reviewed by: Pete Vonder Haar
    80
    It’s easily the best movie of the summer so far. Sony has obviously given Raimi more freedom to run the show, and the results are very entertaining.
  27. Reviewed by: Dan Jolin
    80
    This summer's most satisfying, spectacle-packed movie. Like its predecessor, it offers a strong story rather than a feeble excuse to connect set-pieces.
  28. 80
    Molina is an actor of unusually elastic gifts, but unlike Willem Dafoe, who has only to bare his scary teeth to send us all scampering for the exits, there's no getting around the fact that Molina has the face of a kindly basset hound even when it's contorted into a deadly grimace.
  29. As played by Alfred Molina with both computer-generated and puppeteer assistance, Doc Ock grabs this film with his quartet of sinisterly serpentine mechanical arms and refuses to let go.
  30. The sequel is more exciting and surprising than the 2002 original, thanks largely to Molina's excellent acting. Only the strenuously comic scenes fall as flat as one of Spidey's leftover webs.
  31. I also like that when Our Hero starts swinging from skyscrapers, he's not just emulating Tarzan, but is working out the Newtonian physics of action and reaction.
  32. 75
    Raimi seems more comfortable being his outlandishly jokey, B-movie self, letting entire sequences play on the line between carefree schlock and Hollywood blockbusting.
  33. 75
    Although Sam Raimi's direction is generally solid (and, in some scenes, flawless), the film's middle act has instances when it seems repetitive and exposition-heavy.
  34. The set pieces, such as an unmasked Spider-Man trying to stop a runaway subway car, are furiously scary, and compensate for all the icky mooning and moping that Peter does whenever he's questioning his gift, which is most of the time.
  35. As Dr. Octopus, Alfred Molina makes a more baroque supervillain than Willem Dafoe did as the Green Goblin, but the other stars--seem happy to be giving us more of the same.
  36. Yet for all the fun the sequel provides, the series shows signs of wearing out quickly, unless characters get developed thoroughly and in unexpected ways.
  37. 60
    A silly comic book movie with provocative psychological overtones. Or a provocative character study with silly comic book overtones. Take your pick. Either way, it's hardly the cinematic milestone it's widely hailed as being.
  38. 60
    Never has a blockbuster, I would guess, required so many soliloquies. What with the mournful Molina, the hazed-over Dunst, and the puffy uncertainties of Maguire, we in the audience are the only ones who still believe, without qualification, in thrill and spill.
  39. 40
    For a big-budget action movie Spider-Man 2 is modest and not assaultive -- it has a boring decency.
  40. 40
    As much as I enjoy Spidey's high-flying Cheez-Doodle swoops through the skyscraper canyons of a digitally rearranged midtown Manhattan, I get no kick from his angst, especially since in this incarnation, as opposed to the '60s comic book version, he's more innocuously depressed than defensively paranoid.
User Score
7.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 624 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 27 out of 245
  1. Jan 21, 2011
    10
    Spider-Man 2 may be called a comic book movie, but is so much more than that. The film improves the action thanks to a larger budget, has awesome acting and characters, and an excellent script which has a heart and entertains. Spider-Man 2 is a movie you truly have to see to believe, it is the master of comic book movies along with The Dark Knight. Even if you are not a Spider-Man fan, SEE THIS MOVIE! Full Review »
  2. Apr 7, 2012
    10
    This movie is Amazing, Best Superhero movie of the last ten years, even better than the Dark Knight, Superb acting, mezmerizing effects and moments that'll last a life time, Sam Raimi has created a Cinematic masterpiece. Too Bad Spiderman 3 didn't do to well. Could JK Simmons please reprise his role in the new Spiderman movies? He was born to play the part. This movie is one for the ages, A masterpiece! Full Review »
  3. Aug 25, 2011
    9
    Head and shoulders above the first one. It's character-driven and much more interesting emotionally plus there's more realistic dialogue and a cooler villain Full Review »