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"Spider-Man 2"

ALL HEROES must eventually face nemesis. And as it was said in the first part `with great power comes great responsibility' Peter Parker or Spiderman must face his moral dilemmas.

In this Columbia Pictures' sequel, Peter is trying to live a normal life as a college student but his secret identity as Spiderman, the high flying super hero who comes to the rescue of the distressed and the attacked, keeps getting in the way. And he is hardly able to spend any time with Mary Jane (Kristen Dunst), the woman he loves. And when she asks him to come and see her play, a mission delays him. Burdening him further is his guilt in never having told his loving Aunt May (Rosemary Harris) the truth about his role in the death of her husband and his uncle.

Then there is Dr. Otto Octavius (Alfred Molina) who he must stop at any cost — the scientist who is on the verge of winning a Nobel Prize and has come up with a new project that is capable of providing a cheap source of energy through sustained fusion!

To handle `the power of the sun' in his hands he has electrical appendages fused into his spinal chord.

The experiment goes wrong killing his wife and turning him into a power-hungry mad man who will stop at nothing to realise his dream.

Then there is Harry Osborn (James Franco), who believes that he must avenge his father's death. And that can be done only when Spiderman is eliminated from the world.

All these developments combine to create a true vocational challenge for Peter. He wants to live a normal life and give love a chance and when this happens he finds his powers diminishing. And ends up dumping his costume in the trash can and goes to tell Mary Jane his true feelings. He may just be on time before she decides to marry astronaut John Jameson (Daniel Gillies). It is at this point that the story develops a soul that is truly touching and warm. As the human side is being developed, the director Sam Raimi never loses focus on the thrilling special effects, terrific swinging and a unique villain. Some scenes bring you to the edge of the seat.

The director has not forgotten the comic element — watch out for the scene when Spiderman is caught in an elevator with a stranger wondering about him!

Predictably, the film paves the way for the third instalment. But mostly the director handles the film skilfully.

Tobey Maguire gives a good performance as the vulnerable and troubled young man. Without Spiderman, crime rate shoots up and then just in time Peter hears some wise counsel that helps him decide his destiny. Those moments could apply to anyone. It's a good lesson to many, especially children above 14.

CHITRA MAHESH

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