Is it a criticism to say that Spider-Man 2 had the same plot as Superman 2? Probably not, one way or another the film was going to be based on something, and rather another relatively successful film than some untried comics. Whilst not a direct rehash of the Superman 2 plot, it had more than enough similarities to give it some form of narrative arc. The first film was happily stuffed with the origin. Now he is Spider-Man how do we give him a motivation.

The performance anxiety aspects of Spider-Man 2 are a bit difficult to take from a character fan point of view. They are also a bit of a red herring. The key point is when Parker decides not to be Spider-Man anymore. He does not trek upto the north pole to get his powers taken away. As far as we understand he still has his powers one way or another, just a nurosis over using them. It makes it much more meaningful to watch someone choose not to help someone, rather than being unable, as happened to Clark Kent. It also means we don’t get any silly slight of hand like at the end of Superman 2.

The film has plenty of plot holes which you ignore because the heart of the movie is in the right place. Raimi understands the importance of emotional investment, even if some of his pacing and choices from above (why does Spider-Man keep taking his mask off!) make little sense. But as spectacle, as it should be, it has been unmatched in quite some time.