starring Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, James Franco, Alfred Molina
screenplay by Alvin Sargent
directed by Sam Raimi
by Walter Chaw Just as the best parts of Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings movies evoked the lo-fi ingenuity of Jackson's splatter flicks (Braindead, Bad Taste), a surgery scene in Sam Raimi's Spider-Man 2 reminds a lot of Raimi's Evil Dead days--probably something to do with the chainsaw. Still, it's uncomfortable, inappropriate, violent, the Three Stooges gone really, really wrong, and it's stuck right smack dab in the middle of what is arguably the most anticipated film of the summer. Raimi's tutelage in the school of zero-budget exploitation has taught him the importance of narrative and subtext, of internal logic and thematic coherence. You can buy limitless razzle-dazzle; you can't buy a strong foundation in fun and at least a rudiment of sense. And as Raimi's budget has soared from the rumoured twenty grand for The Evil Dead to somewhere in the neighbourhood of Ireland's GNP for Spider-Man 2, his foundation in economical thrills anchors his blockbusters in humanity.