I Saw Spider-Man 2 in Theaters Again — And I Told Sam Raimi About It

“I really appreciate the crowd liking the movies.”

Sony Pictures

One thing has become increasingly clear about Saim Raimi’s Spider-Man movies: they don’t make ‘em like that anymore.

That was certainly the feeling at the Spider-Man 2 screening at New York City’s AMC Empire, one of 467 locations where Sam Raimi’s 2004 superhero movie was re-released for a day. The crowd was buzzing with excitement to see the comic book masterpiece on the big screen again; one fan dressed as Spider-Man even got a few whoops and several shouts of “Do a flip!”

That energy only grew stronger as the lights dimmed and the opening titles played. By the time Tobey Maguire’s Peter Parker appeared, walking alongside a row of posters of Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst), the crowd was in a frenzy. They cheered at everything, from Maguire’s corny “Pizza time!” when he delivers his pizzas, to every appearance of J.K. Simmons’ blowhard newspaper editor J. Jonah Jameson, and even the long-awaited kiss between Peter and MJ. There was no silent moment, save for the film’s most iconic scene: when Peter collapses after saving a runaway train, and the passengers carry him to safety.

Spider-Man 2’s train fight remains one of the best action scenes in superhero movies.

Sony Pictures

It plays just as powerfully 20 years later, and the audience knew it, practically holding their breath as the passengers gently set Peter down. No one loves Spider-Man as much as the New Yorkers of Raimi’s Spider-Man movies, and there might be no better experience than seeing Spider-Man 2 with a bunch of delighted New Yorkers. The only thing that could beat it would be informing Sam Raimi himself about how much people still love his movie, which is what I got to do the next day at the New York premiere of the Bill Skarsgard revenge thriller Boy Kills World, which Raimi produces.

“I really appreciate the crowd liking the movies,” Raimi tells Inverse. I can only describe his reaction to my story of seeing Spider-Man 2 with an overjoyed crowd as one of pleasant surprise.

Raimi humbly sidestepped speaking about how foundational his Spider-Man movies are, even though they’re still being referenced in Marvel Studios’ Spider-Man movies and form a crucial part of the Spider-Verse movies’ DNA. Instead, he strictly credits Stan Lee and his work creating the comic book character.

“I think it probably has to do with the character Stan Lee created and how he recognizes that we're all capable of making the right choice and doing good,” Raimi says. “And when that's put into a story or a movie, people are energized because they know it's true. They can make the right choices, they can do the right thing. And to see it play out on the screen is affirming.”

Sam Raimi at the Los Angeles premiere of Spider-Man 2.

L. Cohen/WireImage/Getty Images

Raimi undersells his own contributions — no MCU movie since has been as confidently stylish, brazen, and earnest as his Tobey Maguire-led superhero films — but he gets to the heart of why Spider-Man 2 still hits hard today. “With great power comes great responsibility” has become a cliche, but Raimi shows it was always the core of what made his Spider-Man films work.

Audiences are still responding. Spider-Man 2 grabbed the number two spot at Monday’s box office, grossing an impressive $805K. While this shows fans still love Raimi’s Spider-Man movies, the director has been vague on whether he would consider reuniting with Maguire for a fourth one. “I haven’t talked to Tobey about it, but maybe Marvel has, or Columbia Pictures,” Raimi told CBR earlier this month. “But, I just worked with Marvel on a movie called Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. So, I’m on great terms with them.”

As for whether he would return to direct another Marvel movie, Raimi tells Inverse, “We don't have any plans together yet, but I hope that we can.”

Boy Kills World opens in theaters April 26.

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