Spider-Man 2 Revisited: 5 Criticisms Nobody Ever Admits

4. Mary Jane's Kidnap Is Shoe-Horned In Cynically

Doc Ock Spider Man 2
Columbia Pictures

Spider-Man 2 goes to extraordinary lengths to solidify the trope of all of the Raimi-directed films, of having MJ unnecessarily kidnapped in a cheap attempt to raise the stakes for the third act.

Whereas the first film skillfully incorporated this plot development both narratively and thematically, the second film just kind of chucks it in as an afterthought. Octavius kidnaps Mary Jane, who he is not aware has any relationship with Spider-Man, solely in the hopes that this will somehow result in Peter (who again, he does not know is Spider-Man or even if he has any way of contacting Spider-Man) getting Spider-Man to show up.

This results in a third act that's just more of poor Kirsten Dunst screaming and looking helpless while Toby Maguire shouts, "Hold on, Mary Jane!" more times than you can shake a stick at. It's a cheap move that is blatantly just here so that Mary Jane can find out Spider-Man's identity.

For how well Peter and MJ's arc is built across these two movies (and how brilliantly it's ultimately left in the final frames of this film), this moment feels entirely under-developed and unearned.


A film enthusiast and writer, who'll explain to you why Jingle All The Way is a classic any day of the week.