Spider-Man: No Way Home Failed to Outdo Sam Raimi With One Character
Sam Raimi proved that sometimes practical effects really matter.
In the 2004 movie, Spider-Man 2, directed by Sam Raimi, Alfred Molina took on the role of Dr. Octopus, a villain from the Spider-Man comic books and the antagonist of the film. Alfred Molina reprised his role 17 years later in Spider-Man: No Way Home, directed by Jon Watts.
While the movie was absolutely epic and fun, with OG villains and the beloved Spidey making a comeback, there is actually one thing about Doc Ock in Sam Raimi's movie that sets it apart.
Interestingly, in Spider-Man 2, Octopus’ robotic arms were not the product of computer-generated imagery, but rather practical effects manipulated on set.
Puppeteers wearing blue screen suits controlled these arms, which were later matted out during post-production. This approach added a unique touch to the film, making the character's movements feel more real and tangible.
The puppeteers' work was a marvel of coordination and skill. Each of Doc Ock's four mechanical arms was controlled by a different person, creating a seamless illusion of a single entity.
However, in the 2021 movie Spider-Man: No Way Home, the approach to Dr. Octopus's arms changed. The practical effects were replaced with full CGI effects.
As much as CGI has improved, there's still something cool about the old practical effects they used in Spider-Man 2. Those real Doctor Octopus arms that Alfred Molina wore added a special touch of realism to the whole film. It made the character feel more authentic and believable.
Now, even though they shifted to full-blown CGI in Spider-Man: No Way Home, Alfred Molina was actually pretty stoked about it. According to Tom Holland, he loved the freedom that came with CGI.
Tom Holland even revealed the process behind the creation of Doc Ock in NWH: “We have this thing called a toothpick rig, which is like a long bar, almost like a crane, with a platform on one end and weights on the other. And, they’d put him on that crane so they can move him around so that it looks like the arms are carrying him. And he loved it. Like, he absolutely loved it.”
Source: First We Feast on YouTube