Spider-Man 2 (2004)

A promotional still of Tobey Maguire in Spider-Man 2. Sony

This is one of the best superhero movies ever made, because of the serious questions it asks about what it takes to be a hero. Can Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) be the savior of New York City as Spider-Man, and also carve out a small measure of happiness with Mary Jane (Kirsten Dunst)? Director Sam Raimi doesn’t make it easy.

But in the film’s greatest moment, after a stunning subway battle with Doctor Octopus (Alfred Molina), Peter learns that he doesn’t always have to save the city. Sometimes the city can save him. It’s one of the most obvious choices of the many superhero sequels better than the originals.

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