In no time at all, Spider-Man: No Way Home will open in theaters and see Tom Holland’s Peter Parker square off against a few of the Marvel Comics character’s deadliest enemies. At the center of that group, which features most of the Sinister Six, is Otto Octavius, aka Doctor Octopus, portrayed once again by Alfred Molina. Before you get comfy in your seat at your local theater, you probably want to catch up on the movie’s version of Doc Ock that managed to cross the multiverse of madness into a new adventure.
But you don't have to go back and rewatch the movie to get all caught up with everything that happened with Doctor Octopus in Spider-Man 2, as we have put together a quick rundown of things to remember about the tortured villain and how things shook out for him the last time he crossed paths with the Web-Slinger…
As you might expect, major Spider-Man 2 spoilers ahead! (If you haven't seen the 2004 movie, it's available streaming on Peacock right now.)
Otto Octavius Was A Brilliant Scientist And Peter Parker’s Role Model
When we are first introduced to Otto Octavius in Spider-Man 2, he is not yet the crazed criminal mastermind that nearly wipes out half of New York City, but instead a charming, caring, and ambitious scientist on the precipice of greatness with a revolutionary fusion technology that could make the world a much better place. Octavius is formally introduced to Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) when Harry Osborn (James Franco) sets up a meeting so Parker can interview him for a paper. Upon their meeting, Octavius says to his young admirer:
In the scenes leading up to Otto Octavius’s ill-fated experiment later on in the movie, he and Peter Parker form a close bond built on their shared worldview and appreciation of science. Similar to what would be done in the 2018 video game Marvel’s Spider-Man, the two become almost father and son before tragedy falls upon them both.
Doc Ock’s Tentacle Arms Were Initially Designed To Assist With A Fusion Experiment
The robotic tentacle arms that would eventually take over Otto Octavius’s personality and body were initially designed as part of a harness and artificial intelligence that would allow the scientist to handle the hazardous materials required for his breakthrough in nuclear fusion technology. When we get our first glimpse at Octavius wearing the arms and harness, he holds with them tritium that is to be taken to the reactor. Amazed and obsessed with his experiment and its potential, Octavius proclaims:
However, not long after Otto Octavius utters that famous line, the experiment fails, and his dreams of providing the world with a cheap and clean energy source are shattered, along with everything he once loved.
Otto Octavius' Wife Dies Amidst The Chaos Of The Failed Experiment
In the midst of the chaos brought on by the failed fusion experiment, Otto Octavius' wife Rosie (Donna Murphy) is killed when the reactor explodes, sending shards of glass, metal and debris through the room. Rosie’s death brings the end of Otto Octavius and brings forth the creation of Doctor Octopus, as the destruction of the reactor fries the inhibitor chip on his harness and allows the machine to take control of the man. Following the death of his wife, Octavius flees to a new hideout and mournfully says:
Almost immediately after that moment, Otto Octavius, under the control of his creation, decides to rebuild the reactor and finish his life’s work, no matter what it takes.
Obsessed With Completing His Experiment, Doc Ock Turned To A Life Of Crime
After losing all grip with reality and all touch with the kind and gentle man he once was, Otto Octavius, now Doctor Octopus, turns to a life of crime to make enough money to buy everything he needs to resume his experiment. In the same speech where he mourns the death of his wife and accepts his new life, Octavius has a conversation with the artificial intelligence that has now taken over his mind, a discussion that ends with him saying:
With his mind set on fulfilling his destiny, Doc Ock makes his debut as the criminal mastermind by robbing a bank, which happens to be the same location Peter Parker and Aunt May (Rosemary Harris) are visiting in hopes of securing a loan. Shortly after, Spider-Man and Doctor Octopus square off once again.
Doc Ock Fought Spider-Man So He Could Hand The Web-Slinger Over To Harry Osborn
Even though Doc Ock’s brazen bank robbery earns him enough money to buy the materials to construct his new reactor, he still lacks the tritium isotope required to start the fusion process. With that in mind, Doc Ock strikes a deal with Harry Osborn, under the condition that the supervillain hand over Spider-Man who he believes is responsible for the death of his father, Norman Osborn (Willem Dafoe). Following the iconic fight on the subway (which is still just as impressive all these years later), Doc Ock brings Osborn an incapacitated webslinger and asks:
With his reactor complete and nuclear material obtained, there is nothing that can stop Doctor Octopus from achieving his goal and completing his life’s work.
Otto Octavius Sacrificed Himself To Destroy His Fusion Reactor
After a few encounters throughout the movie, Spider-Man and Doctor Octopus cross paths one final time at Doc Ock’s laboratory, where the Web-Slinger tries to convince his former idol to stop his experiment before it causes a meltdown and kills half of the population of New York City. In an attempt to appeal to what little humanity Doc Ock has left in him, Spider-Man removes his mask to reveal he is Peter Parker. The plan miraculously works and Otto Octavius retakes control of his body and destroys his experiment, saying:
Otto Octavius, free of his creation’s control, drowns himself and reactor, preventing both of his creations from bringing harm to anyone ever again.
But even though Otto Octavius died at the end of Spider-Man 2, the character, and Alfred Molina, are back in action in Spider-Man: No Way Home, only this time he's squaring off with a different Peter Parker. Hopefully this gets you all caught up with just one of the villains set to appear in one of the most highly anticipated upcoming Marvel movies.
Philip grew up in Louisiana (not New Orleans) before moving to St. Louis after graduating from Louisiana State University-Shreveport. When he's not writing about movies or television, Philip can be found being chased by his three kids, telling his dogs to stop yelling at the mailman, or yelling about professional wrestling to his wife. If the stars properly align, he will talk about For Love Of The Game being the best baseball movie of all time.
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