Many will agree that the second entry to original Spider-Man trilogy ranks as one of the superhero genre's best works, certainly improving upon the already superb original thanks to greater emotional depth as well as an exceptional performance from Alfred Molina as the sinister Doctor Octopus.
Still, as is unavoidable with most superhero flicks, it's not free of some confusing plot holes...
- Perhaps the most commonly addressed plot hole in the film is Doc Ock's strange invincibility to Spider-Man's attacks. As we all know, Doc Ock is not a superhuman. His arms possess incredible strength and flexibility, but that doesn't beef up his own strength or physique in any way. Not only are Spider-Man's punches not tearing Doc Ock's head off, or at least giving him nasty bruises, but he is also seen smashing out windows and slamming into cars, falling off towers and crashing onto speeding trains, and even being viciously electrocuted, ultimately surviving with no apparent injuries. People usually counter this debate with how Spidey pulls punches to avoid killing his foes; however, you'd assume that if he was punching Doc Ock constantly, that he'd at least being doing so to knock him out, which wouldn't be a tricky task. If not, why does he keep punching him? That argument also doesn't explain Doc Ock's apparent invincibility to all the other aforementioned trauma he sustains.
- One of many key reasons Doc Ock is so successful in his public attacks is because the police, as is the case with most superhero films, and so strangely tolerant. A violent, armed thug would perhaps be told to freeze at gunpoint, with a chance to drop their weapon and be arrested without harm, but I'm sure a mad scientist attached to some indestructible metal tentacles and wreaking havoc with them in public would prompt a more severe response. Their eventual attempts to shoot Doc Ock following the bank robbery all miss, justified somewhat by their great distance from him, but once he makes good his escape they make no further effort to pursue him. Why?
- Not a lot of people seem to care about Doc Ock's tentacles when he unveils them to his audience. Yes, the main event was his fusion reactor project, but creating such tentacles alone would certainly lead to public fame and render him rich and famous beyond all measure. Nobody seems too amazed by this remarkable invention, instead just quite impressed.
- I never quite understood why Ock's tentacles, constructed to merely help him operate the hazardous fusion generator, have huge spikes inside them which are clearly weapons of some sort. Perhaps he fitted them when reviving his fusion project, but he has it whilst robbing the bank; at that point he was still penniless and homeless. What were these blatant weapons required for to begin with?
- The film seems to pick and choose what powers Peter loses with no clear definition. He tests his abilities by leaping off a fairly tall building, confident that his superhero powers have returned, but this ultimately leaves him soaring downward and crashing onto a car with great force. He seems to have a badly injured back, but this is never addressed again. It seems his superhuman strength was in fact still working the entire time.
- Doc Ock notably tosses a taxi at Peter and Mary Jane as they meet in the café for an emotional conversation; while it's never made clear if this was deliberate or if it was just collateral damage from all the chaos he was causing in the streets, but before rushing into such actions maybe Doc Ock should've considered that certainly almost killing someone isn't the best way to interrogate them. Yes, Peter's spider sense kicked in and allowed him to avoid the danger with perfect timing, but Doc Ock is unaware that Peter is Spider-Man and so couldn't possibly have deduced that such a thing would happen.
- Adding to this, what certainly is deliberate is Doc Ock tossing Peter into a brick wall and allowing heaps of rubble to violently crush him. Once again, Ock does not know Peter possesses superhuman strength; consequently, for all he knows, such actions certainly could've killed or even seriously injured Peter, preventing him from seeking Spider-Man as Doc Ock requested. For a scientist of such intellectual magnificence, he doesn't seem to boast much common sense.
- When Spidey and Doc Ock plummet from the clock tower and crash onto the train, the passengers are clearly alerted to the chaos around them not only by the noise but also when Spidey himself is thrown into the train during the scuffle. So why was the driver never alerted and the train never stopped? It's a commonly mentioned plot hole when discussing Skyfall's opening scene, and is certainly just as relevant within this film.
- Why does it take so long for Ock's second fusion reactor to start absorbing the metal building around it? It may only attract small objects at first, but is then seen pulling in cars among other things from miles away - yet conveniently only destroys the building as the set piece comes to a conclusion.
Still a great movie without a doubt.
Thanks for reading!