Premièred by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment Spider-Man 2.1 Written by Alvin Sargent
Having already reviewed Spider-Man 2‘s original cinematic edition, all there is to say about Spider-Man 2.1 is about the differences. This is more of a check-list review.
In total, there’s eight minutes of extra scenes.
0:5:49 – 0:7:30. Parker delivering the pizza’s a lot longer. There’s more fumbling in the closet with the brooms. It doesn’t really add anything, but that means it also doesn’t feel much different. Take it.
0:31:29 – 0:33:07. The elevator scene’s longer and the conversation’s different. Whereas before, Parker meets a humble civilian, this time (it’s the same actor), he’s from a PR firm and talks to Parker about his public image. On its own, it’s a much better version of the scene because it’s funnier, but in the grander context, it clashes stylistically with what comes before and after. Take it or leave it.
0:42:22 – 0:44:20. Octavius’ transformation scene is longer, and therefore contains more horror. It’s what Raimi does best, but with more of it. The cinematic edition’s version is only improved. Take it.
0:50:13 – 0:54:45. The Parker/Octavius fight is longer. There’s more to-ing and fro-ing, including an aside where Parker and Octavius fight inside an office. It’s difficult to tell what was included cinematically and is re-inserted here, which makes it work. And nothing is at the extent of pace. Take it.
1:02:05 – 1:03:25 A deleted scene with Watson preparing for the wedding. Although the final scene was built-up to in other places, this adds more character and really gives that final decision more weight. Take it.
1:13:41 – 1:14:04. The highlight of Spider-Man 2.1 – Jameson cosplaying Spider-Man. Regardless of one’s subjective opinion of each edition, it’s universally agreed that this scene makes Spider-Man 2.1 the choice edition, simply for the image. It might not work with a different actor, but J. K. Simmons is a delight to behold. Take it.
1:37:24 – 1:40.07. The train sequence is longer and more padded-out. The original cinematic cut is more straight-to-the-point, whereas this version features more of Sam Raimi’s signature style, in-which things collide with other things. As a Spider-Fan, I find it more satisfying. Take it.
As a director’s cut, Spider-Man 2.1 is almost entirely improved upon its cinematic edition. The elevator scenes could possibly edited together in some way, but it wouldn’t be one continuous shot as originally. Which is a shame, because actor Hal Sparks is a delight and can do anything he’s given. I wouldn’t be surprised if all twenty-five versions of the shot are improvised. The only things I’d change are the way Aasif Mandvi shouts “Go!” at the beginning. Here, it’s more direct, but originally it was funnier just because of the way the actor prolonged it. I just love Aasif Mandvi. And the scene with Osborn before the wedding should have been moved to the final scene. It would have made a brilliant segue into the credits, and it’s the dramatic peak. Originally, it was at that point, but Raimi could have still moved it to the end.
Nevertheless, Spider-Man 2.1 is a better edition than Spider-Man 2, and the scene with Jameson makes the whole thing worth buying for any Spider-Fan.