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Spider-Man 2
Album Cover Art
Composed and Produced by:

Additional Music by:
Christopher Young
John Debney

Conducted by:
Pete Anthony

Orchestrated by:
Steve Bartek
Edgardo Simone
David Sloanaker
Mark McKenzie
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Columbia/Sony Music Soundtrax
(July 27th, 2004)
Availability Icon
Regular U.S. release. A song compilation album featuring two Elfman cues was released prior to the score-only album. The Young and Debney material has never been officially released, though bootlegs with this (and/or Elfman's full score) exist on the secondary market.
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   Availability | Viewer Ratings | Comments | Audio & Track Listings | Notes
Buy it... if you wish to hear Danny Elfman's very strong, thematically satisfying sequel score in its original form, separate from the film's awkwardly poor treatment of it.

Avoid it... if you were hoping for a more contemporary and stylish turn to the franchise's scores or if, like many, you wonder why the director would force Christopher Young's music from Hellraiser II into this picture.
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WRITTEN 8/6/04, REVISED 8/29/11
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Spider-Man 2: (Danny Elfman) With the first installment of the Spider-Man franchise performing very well on the big screen in 2002, the cast and crew of the hit film soon began signing contracts for not just one sequel, but two. The comic-book hero is certainly not short on villains with whom he can battle in these movies, with a new badguy, Doc Ock, seeking his death in Spider-Man 2 and shades of that old Green Goblin coming back to haunt Peter Parker as well. The sequel has been heralded by both critics and audiences as being superior to the original, with a better combination of stress and love, a more intriguing villain, and the further development of tension between Parker and his crush, Mary Jane. Particularly striking in all three of the original Spider-Man films is the extremely sympathetic nature of its villains, each entry yielding progressively three-dimensional foes for the protagonist and each of whom requiring some dose of forgiveness for their actions. Despite the popularity of Danny Elfman's score for the first film in the series, the situation concerning director Sam Raimi and his evolving taste in music for the concept started causing problems in Spider-Man 2 that would lead to Elfman's departure from the franchise. He still completed a full score for the second film, however, strengthening his reputation as a superhero music guru in Hollywood. Despite a plethora of other active contemporary composers with more training in orchestral writing, Elfman brings an element of imagination and capacity for frantic artistry that allows him to perhaps better keep pace with Spider-Man's vast swings, both emotionally and quite literally, than others in the composer's field. He is also no stranger to sequel scoring, either, having written an intellectually marvelous score for Batman Returns that loyal fans of the composer cite as one of the best sequel scores in memory (despite its devastating performance and recording issues). Regardless of the fact that Elfman was happy with what he wrote and recorded for Spider-Man 2, Raimi requested substantial re-writes to his music too late in the post-production process for Elfman to complete (he had headed off to London to work on Tim Burton's 2005 films). At that point, a number of other composers, including veterans Christopher Young and John Debney, stepped in to adapt Raimi's temp track or rearrange a number of important cues in the film. Not surprisingly, Elfman, despite some initial rumors that he would participate in Spider-Man 3, was done with the franchise.

What exists as another very strong composition by Elfman for Spider-Man 2 is surprisingly one of the few strangely dissatisfying aspects of the film itself. Before discussing how the composer did (or did not) get dangled from the short end of the web, it's important to appreciate this sequel score as Elfman intended it to be heard, represented by a commercial album presentation loyal to his work. Unlike Batman Returns, the arguably less complicated Spider-Man 2 remains much more consistent in tone, thematic development, and instrumentation to the original film in the franchise. Elfman seems to have become better able to harness the excitement of comic book heroes and their villains without going overboard on each individual character's musical identity and thus losing focus of the overall tones of the franchise. Some listeners have remarked that the very consistent extension of musical identity from the first to second score is the weakness of the latter, and during the opening credits and finale, the rehashes of identical bars of music may indeed bother those seeking greater narrative evolution. But where Elfman maintains the orchestral integrity of the first film to a triumphant degree is in the central mass of Spider-Man 2. The opening titles and finale pieces were probably rehashed note-for-note at the demand of the filmmakers, although Elfman does offer the new Doc Ock theme as the appropriate interlude in the titles at the 1:20 mark in this recording. Comparing the titles for sheer power of performance, a case could be made that the recording of the second film's score features a more robust stance, highlighted by the statement of the main theme at 1:40 and offering Elfman's choral colors at their best. The rest of the Spider-Man 2 score similarly improves upon the first score's symphonic stature, the composer pulling some very impressive, awe-inspiring action sequences out of his hat and thus keeping the sequel refreshing to the ears. The choral presence, extending out of the titles and into several major cues, is managed well in Spider-Man 2, culminating in the inspiring "Really Big Web" cue near the end. The love theme for Peter Parker and M.J. has a more believable heart behind its performances as well, a greater quantity of tender moments between them in this score leading to additional development of the idea (and culminating in the still slightly troubled "At Long Last, Love"). Most importantly, Elfman's techniques at mutating and weaving themes together can be heard extensively in the entirety of Spider-Man 2, the significant amount of time devoted to their interactions a definite plus.

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Average: 3.53 Stars
***** 613 5 Stars
**** 631 4 Stars
*** 579 3 Stars
** 306 2 Stars
* 164 1 Stars
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(Comment Deleted by Poster)   Expand >>
Mitchell Kyler Martin - December 29, 2016, at 8:31 p.m.
2 comments  (733 views)
Newest: February 5, 2017, at 4:09 p.m. by
Alternate Review at Best Original Scores
orion_mk3 - June 21, 2014, at 3:44 p.m.
1 comment  (928 views)
Elfman doesn't thank Raimi on album.
hewhomustnotbenamed - November 27, 2011, at 4:51 a.m.
1 comment  (2010 views)
Appreciation is in the film
Mark Malmstrøm - May 11, 2010, at 2:48 a.m.
1 comment  (1697 views)
Jimbo - October 8, 2007, at 7:33 p.m.
1 comment  (1983 views)
Brass Section (Hollywood Studio Symphony)   Expand >>
N.R.Q. - April 15, 2007, at 2:07 a.m.
2 comments  (3201 views)
Newest: October 17, 2007, at 3:19 p.m. by

Track Listings Icon
Audio Samples   ▼
Total Time: 48:01
• 1. Spider-Man 2 Main Title (3:21)
• 2. M.J.'s New Life/Spidus Interruptus (2:31)
• 3. Doc Ock is Born (2:22)
• 4. Angry Arms/Rebuilding (2:51)
• 5. A Phone Call/The Wrong Kiss/Peter's Birthday (2:06)
• 6. The Mugging/Peter's Turmoil (4:27)
• 7. The Bank/Saving May (3:21)
• 8. He's Back! (1:42)
• 9. Doc Ock's Machine (1:50)
• 10. Train/Appreciation* (6:15)
• 11. Aunt May Packs* (2:51)
• 12. Armageddon/A Really Big Web! (6:27)
• 13. The Goblin Returns (1:36)
• 14. At Long Last, Love (2:59)
• 15. Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head - Performed by B.J. Thomas (3:14)
* bonus cue rejected from the film

Notes Icon
The insert includes a list of performers but no extra information about the score or film.
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The reviews and other textual content contained on the site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten
or redistributed without the prior written authority of Christian Clemmensen at Filmtracks Publications. All artwork and sound clips from Spider-Man 2 are Copyright © 2004, Columbia/Sony Music Soundtrax and cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 8/6/04 and last updated 8/29/11.
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