Noah Thompson’s review published on Letterboxd:
Somehow forgot to mention J. Jonah Jameson in my review for the first film, which I will rectify here. I'm in luck because I think J.K. Simmons is at his absolute best as the character here. Toss out Hugh Jackman, Christopher Reeve, and Robert Downey Jr., it's J.K. Simmons as Jameson that is the greatest casting for any superhero film. (So good that when the MCU needed someone to play the character again, they then asked themselves "Why change perfection?") Part of me feels like I should love this movie more than I do, but I also just try not to worry about that. The intense enamored feeling I have for the first I don't have for Spider-Man 2, yet don't get me wrong, I do still think this is a very good movie. Molina is incredible as Doc Ock, another case of strong casting, and having an actual great actor bring gravitas to a character that could have been used as little more than an action figure. (I like that there is even more of a horror presence in the first film, yet the scariest moment, and of course one of the best in this entire Raimi trilogy, is the hospital scene. Absolutely breaks my brain that it was in a movie that is ostensibly for children.) The romance between Peter and M.J. reaches its apex here, and as usual, I really do adore Maguire and Dunst in these roles and as an iconic movie couple. (I still even really like James Franco in these films, which continues to feel like some bit of a miracle, though maybe it works because these movies recognize that Franco works as someone who is mostly unlikable even as a "friendly" presence.) Spidey on the train, how much physical strain he portrays, the people of that train becoming his own protectors, him in some way becoming an American spandex NYC Jesus rules so much. If nothing else, I also gotta retroactively admire this movie for it offering the killer video game, and through that also being the movie where we get to see what it's like for a superhero to be a delivery boy. (I hear the sped up version of that pizza delivery theme from the game in my nightmares to this day.) Let an earnest and intense movie like this comfort your inner kid and even unleash your inner hero.