WHY WE CARE


Plugged In exists to shine a light on the world of popular entertainment while giving you and your family the essential tools you need to understand, navigate and impact the culture in which we live. Through reviews, articles and discussions, we want to spark intellectual thought, spiritual growth and a desire to follow the command of Colossians 2:8: "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."

YOUR STORIES


Family uses Plugged In as a ‘significant compass’

"I am at a loss for words to adequately express how much it means to my husband and me to know that there is an organization like Focus that is rooting for us. Just today I was reading Psalm 37 and thinking about how your ministry provides ways to 'dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.' We have two teenagers and an 8-year-old in our household...Plugged In has become a significant compass for our family. All three of our kids are dedicated to their walk with Christ but they still encounter challenges. Thanks for all of your research and persistence in helping us navigate through stormy waters."

Plugged In helps college student stand-up for his belief

"Thanks for the great job you do in posting movie and television reviews online. I’m a college freshman and I recently had a confrontational disagreement with my English professor regarding an R-rated film. It is her favorite movie and she wanted to show it in class. I went to your Web site to research the film’s content. Although I had not seen the movie myself, I was able to make an educated argument against it based on the concerns you outlined. The prof said that she was impressed by my stand and decided to poll the whole class and give us a choice. We overwhelmingly voted to watch a G-rated movie instead! I’ve learned that I can trust your site and I will be using it a lot in the future.”

Plugged In brings ‘Sanity and Order’ to Non-believer

“Even though I don’t consider myself a Christian, I find your Plugged In Web site useful and thought-provoking. No one reviews movies like you do. Instead of being judgmental, you put entertainment ‘on trial.’ After presenting the evidence, you allow the jury of your readers to decide for themselves what they should do. In my opinion, you bring sanity and order to the wild world of modern day entertainment. Keep up the good work!”

Mom thinks Plugged In is the ‘BEST Christian media review site’

"Our family doesn't go to the movies until we go online and check out your assessment of a given film. I think this is the BEST Christian media review website that I've found, and I recommend it to my family and friends. Keep up the good work!"

SUPPORT THE WORK OF PLUGGED IN

Our hope is that whether you're a parent, youth leader or teen, the information and tools at Plugged In will help you and your family make appropriate media decisions. We are privileged to do the work we do, and are continually thankful for the generosity and support from you, our loyal readers, listeners and friends.

PLUGGED IN RATING

Watch This Review

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Movie Review

"Spider-Man, Spider-Man/Does whatever a spider can/Spins a web, any size/Catches thieves just like flies/Look out! Here comes the Spider-Man!" Just about everybody remembers the theme song from the old TV series, but no one's ever seen it performed with the kind of self-effacing, twinkle-in-your-eye humor that fills Spider-Man 2. It quickly becomes something of a symbol for why this sequel works so well—even better than its predecessor (Spider-Man), which was already something of a tour de force.

Not having to spend any time setting up the story, Spidey 2 jumps right into the action with the bumbling and always-late Peter Parker trying to keep his job as a pizza delivery boy. With a 29-minute delivery guarantee ticking down, Peter finds himself facing the daunting—impossible—task of traversing 42 giant Manhattan blocks in only eight minutes. Peter, of course, can't do it, but Spider-Man can, so the next thing you know the red-and-blue human-arachnid is swinging from building to building dragging a stack of pies behind him. He would have made it, too, if a couple of doggone kids about to be run down by a truck hadn't distracted him along the way!

That's just who Peter Parker is, though. He can't turn away from citizens in need. And it's not pizza delivery crises that ultimately prove that here. The plot of this second-in-a-series movie rotates around Peter Parker's calling, and what it'll take for him to finally settle his mind about the state of his high-swinging alter ego.

To serve as his adversary and arch-villain this time around is Doc Ock, a gentle, intelligent scientist overcome by a manically sentient, multi-tentacled machine determined to invent the most powerful—dangerous—fusion reactor the world has ever seen.

Advertisement

Positive Elements

All of the positive themes from the first movie jump fluidly to this one, and there's a few new ones added besides. Peter consistently stands up for what's right and just, both in costume and out. He's brave and chivalrous, and rescues scores of innocents from death and injury. Even when his Spidey powers fail him, he puts his life on the line to save others, leaving us with a potent reminder that we don't have to have superpowers to do good and help those around us. Aunt May reinforces the idea when she says, "I believe there's a hero in all of us, that keeps us honest, gives us strength, makes us noble and finally allows us to die with pride."

Mary Jane demonstrates the potential we have to make the lives of those we love better. And Peter continues to put Mary Jane's well-being above his passion for her. When he finally gathers the courage to tell his Aunt May that a moment of wrong thinking (he wanted revenge instead of justice) caused the chain of events leading up to Uncle Ben's death, he expresses genuine sorrow for what he did, and it's easy to see a resolve building inside of him never to do it again. "Uncle Ben was killed that night for being the only one who did the right thing," he laments. Flashback scenes recall Uncle Ben's wise words, "Remember, with great power comes great responsibility."

An added dimension here is the battle of wills exhibited in Dr. Octavius' struggle against his ill-tempered tentacles. Instead of an evil-through-and-through villain, we are given a man who desperately wants to do good, but is overcome by a non-human foe. [Spoiler Warning] Even better, Octavius triumphs in the end, and instead of Spider-Man saving the day by forcibly eradicating the city's tormentor, the scientist sacrifices himself to destroy both his fusion reactor and his tentacles.

A poignant scene finds Spider-Man rendered unconscious after stretching himself to his outer limits to save a group of helpless people. To prevent him from falling down, grateful hands reach out to him and gently carry him to safety. Then, when Doc Ock reappears to finish Spider-Man off, the people courageously stand up for their hero, placing themselves between the monster and their savior.

Spiritual Content

Suddenly safe after dangling off the side of a building, Aunt May looks at a statue of the Virgin Mary and whispers, "Thank you."

Sexual Content

A couple of kisses (one of them passionate), a midriff-baring outfit and a few low-cut/high-slit dresses. Mary Jane's dress gets wet and torn while being captured by Doc Ock.

Violent Content

Incrementally more violent than its predecessor, Spider-Man 2 offers up hefty doses of bloodless-yet-intense, highly stylized combat mainly between Spider-Man and Doc Ock. There's lots of head-banging, body-slamming and appendage-crushing.

A fusion reactor experiment goes awry resulting in a massive explosion. Bodies slam into walls and are pummeled by flying debris. Some people, terrified and screaming, are killed. A few minutes later, in a sequence that feels more like a horror film than a comic book one, Doc Ock smashes up an ER, maiming and killing the doctors and nurses attempting to help him. A man is thrown through a plate glass window. Others are impaled, crushed and beaten by the flailing octopus arms. An especially cringe-worthy sequence has a woman digging her fingernails in to slow her path toward death.

Doc Ock kidnaps two women, forcing Spider-Man to fight with him to save them. (Taunting Spider-Man, Doc Ock threatens to "peel the flesh off [one of his victim's] bones.") He robs a bank, killing all those who oppose him. (Peter just so happens to be conducting a financial transaction at the bank when he bursts in, and the two commence hurling large bags of coins at each other.) Doc Ock also uses "civilians" as human decoys, flinging them high into the air, knowing Spider-Man will go after them. He smashes the controls of an elevated train, sending it racing to its doom. ("Looks like you've got a train to catch," he smirks to Spider-Man.)

A man slaps another man across the face. An SUV gets hurled into a diner, flying directly over Peter's and Mary Jane's heads. Cabs and other vehicles are tossed around and mangled. Intent on killing Peter, a man pulls a dagger. A building burns down. Another is pulled down by the strong magnetic force generated by the fusion reactor. Police cars race to catch bad guys, crash and are shot up. Officers dodge bullets. A man is beaten up by thugs in an alleyway. Many innocent bystanders are hurt.

Crude or Profane Language

You can count the mild profanities ("h---," "a--") on one hand. "For god's sake" is used as an interjection. Most notable in the restraint department is the choice not to have the belligerent, fast-talking newspaper editor, J. Jonah Jameson, gush foul language. (Most scriptwriters would have colored his words a vivid shade of blue.)

Drug and Alcohol Content

Peter tries to down what appears to be a fruity mixed drink at a high society party, but the glass is already empty. J. Jonah Jameson chomps on cigars. Peter’s friend, Harry, drinks hard liquor, and appears to be drunk in one scene.

Other Negative Elements

Attempting to get his powers back, Peter jumps off the roof of a multistory building hoping they return mid-leap. They don't. But after crash-landing on a parked car, Peter's only injury is an aching back. Parents of risk-inclined kids would do well to point out that anyone who tries that kind of a stunt at home won't be walking away from it with just a stiff spine. Elsewhere, Peter complains that his suit "rides up in the crotch." His landlord is seen with his pants around his ankles. (He’s wearing boxers.)

Conclusion

The first Spider-Man became an instant hit with fans and critics alike. Spider-Man 2 will be an even bigger one. "I knew it was a step up from the first movie," star Tobey Maguire told USA Today. "The script is better. The story is better. And [director] Sam [Raimi] is just in the zone. Not only is the movie better than the first movie, this is Sam's best film. I appreciate him as a filmmaker, so that's saying a lot." For once, these aren't just the inflated compliments of an actor desperate to sell a new project!

Boys (and girls) of all ages have made Spider-Man their hero for decades, and never has he been more deserving of admiration. Maguire does a magnificent job of putting flesh and bones on the usually paper-thin Peter Parker, but that's only half the story. Few superheroes can go head-to-head with Spider-Man's morality, his humility, his sensitivity, his ability to self-analyze, his selflessness and his granite grip on justice and rightness. When Spidey spins his webs, it seems like all the good stuff sticks and the bad stuff slides right off. Comic-book violence is an issue. Heads bonk. Bodies bounce. And damsels get distressed. But the moral tent pole planted in Vol. 1 stands firm.

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles

Profanity/Violence

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Get weekly e-news, Culture Clips & more!