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Empire's 50 Greatest Movie Sequels | The follow-ups that achieve greatness in their own right

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Spider-Man II
DIRECTED BY SAM RAIMI
RELEASED: 2004

Why's it so good? It's got high stakes, a wonderfully nuanced bad guy, a plot that moves like a train, a train that moves like a bullet and some super-fight scenes that are just wonderful. It also has Alfred Molina, always a win, and that wonderful trademark Raimi operation scene.

Spider-Man II Spider-Man II
How does it stack up to the original? It's probably better. Freed of the need to establish Spidey's origins, there's more time to spend on actual tangling with the big bad, and you can sense Raimi's growing confidence, now that he's proved he can be trusted with a big budget, in the quirky flourishes that make the mainstream action so much more compelling.

Glaring error: "I've always been standing in your doorway"? No she hasn't! She's been shagging his mate!


GAP BETWEEN SEQUEL AND ORIGINAL: 25 MONTHS


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