I saw the first one several years ago and it has kind of became a tradition for me to watch it before each race that I do. It brings out a lot of emotion in you, seeing the stories of the people they follow-their struggles and training and the race itself. I was looking forward to another dose of that again tonight.
With the first one, they started it pre-marathon, meeting each of the people they were following and then watching their journey (well, not the whole journey of course...that would make for a very long movie LOL), then seeing everyone's highlights from the race itself, culminating in their finishes at the Chicago Marathon.
Tonight's movie again followed several people, but started off with scenes from the start of the race. Then as it went on, you got to see scenes of each of them at different points in the race-the further into the movie it got, the further into the race the scenes from it showed. I liked the stories (Julie Weiss had some pretty funny encounters with other runners during the race) and the footage of Rome itself was wonderful (it's on my bucket list for part of a Europe dream trip).
For me, the movie seemed to move a bit slower than the first one, and it also didn't get me as excited and emotional like the first one did. With the first one, the excitement builds throughout and then peaks as each of the cast cross the finish line (I think too the musical score helped a lot with that, loved the score from the first one). Tonight's sequel seemed more even-keeled and calmer. I think a lot of that was due to them spreading out the scenes during the race throughout the movie instead of saving them all for the end.
Personally, I prefer the first one because it does build the excitement and lead you to that emotional finish. Tonight's was a good movie with good stories, but for me was nothing more than that. I may or may not buy it when it comes out on DVD or iTunes, but whether I do or not, I'll still be using the first movie as my pre-race inspiration.
I did stay through the credits, after which they had some additional footage of conversations with the interviewees, then there was a short documentary featurette about WorldVision.org, a charity that works to get clean water to places that need it...which interested me enough to think about possibly joining their Team World Vision at some time in the future.
So, I'm glad I got to see it, but do I consider it a "keeper" (meaning I'd buy it when it comes out)? Maybe, maybe not. We'll see.
Have you seen Spirit of the Marathon II? If so, what did you think?