It's been a good twenty four hours or so since I saw this which gives me a pretty fair amount of distance to state my opinion.

It rocks.

Although I really enjoy the first Spider-Man (until he puts on the costume and it becomes a "Power Rangers" episode), director extraordinaire Sam Raimi creates not just another sequel, but rather another great "issue" of the Spidey-verse. Much like Tim Burton's second Bat-film, "Batman Returns" , Sam Raimi's return to the franchise has allowed him to step away from being a "director for hire", and allowed his own auteurship take over.

Much like his Evil Dead films, Spider-Man 2 is funny, suspenseful, full of slapstick and heart. What makes this film far more interesting than the other rash of Marvel films of late is that it's focus is truely on n'er do well Peter Parker, magnificently played by Tobey Maguire. Parker's personal problems are what set the character apart way back when by Lee and Ditko were on the book and in the the film we truely see that, despite the tights, he's just another poor bastard trying to get by.

The supporting cast including Kirsten "I get kidnapped again" Dunst, also features several fantastic performances from J.K. Simmons, an understated Bill Nunn, James Franco, and Rosemary Harris. Plus, Ted Raimi and Bruce Campbell make me laugh.

A good hero is only as good as his villian and Alfred Molina's performance is fantastic. Otto Octavious is a genius who loves his wife and is focused on making the world a better place through science. There is gravity and heart to his character, something missing from Willem Dafoe's Goblin (despite his talent and creepiness).

I also want to note that this is the first "big budget" movie that I've seen in some time that isn't just about the special effects sequences. Raimi's talent as a director shines here, as each character actually has a purpose. Many people will credit Smallville creators Miles Millar and Alfred Gough and Pulitzer Prize winning author Michael Chabon for this, as they do receive story credit. Much more interesting to me is the actual screenwriter, seventy three year old, two time Oscar winner Alvin Sargent (Ordinary People, Paper Noon, Julia) who somehow got hired despite not being a flavor of the month. He's a class act and a true talent and his screenplay was as powerful as the visuals themselves.

I love comics, and I love the world they create, and Sam Raimi and his cast and crew have brought them to life more successfully the second time around.

See it and tell me what you think.