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Spider-Man (2002)

PG-13 121 minutes

Directed by Sam Raimi
Written by David Koepp

Starring
 · Tobey Maguire
 · Kirsten Dunst
 · Willem Dafoe
 · James Franco


Review by The Gnome (Billy Dal Porto)

It's common knowledge that most film adaptations (whether it be from comic book, cartoon, book, etc.) have two ways to go. It's either going to capture everything the initial idea was about and please fan and movie goer alike... or, it's going to bomb... badly. I myself cringed when I had heard they were planning a Spider-Man film. I had seen the direction comic book adaptations were headed with stinkers like Batman & Robin, and The Crow: City Of Angels. Even though the doubt weighed heavy on my mind that Spider-Man would be any good, I was pleasantly surprised. Not only is Spider-Man an amazing motion picture, it was an amazing milestone in entertainment. It was proof that our favorite childhood fantasies could be a reality, and I know for a lot of people out there, and fantasy came true the day this movie graced theaters around the world.

 

Smarts

 
 75%

The movie itself is something to marvel at. The script is superb for a movie of this type, never stepping on any toes. It does a great job (not perfect, mind you) of staying away from campy. The last thing Marvel fans want is too campy of a movie. One fault in the script would probably be Spider-Man's in-costume dialouge. It did, at times, become a little campy in places where it should have been OVERLY campy.

The acting makes me look at the comic itself a bit differently. I think the only member of the cast I was disappointed in was Kirsten Dunst. Not that I think she should have taken the role less seriously, but it does seem at times she's thinking too much about what she percieved Mary Jane to be than what Mary Jane really was. Tobey Maguire is dead on with his rendition of Peter Parker. I really was impressed by his work here. He made me believe that he was Parker and that no one in the universe could have played him better. Maguire himself must have done lots of research and possibly even been a Spidey fan himself. Willem Dafoe does a brilliant job as the Green Goblin, coming off as one of the greatest comic villains of all time. J.K. Simmons acts almost as if he was born to do J. Jonah Jameson, and Rosemary Harris was excellent as Aunt May. The only other member of the cast really worth mentioning, James Franco, was a little bit overly dramatic in some parts, proving himself as just a flavor of the month actor. He seems better suited for a soap opera if you ask me.

The look of the movie is incredible. The movie shines when Spider-Man is swinging through New York, really making your jaw drop in awe of the technology and vision we have these days. The people in charge chose to cut out certain spots with the Twin Towers, which I thought was a mistake. It could have been a great memorium within a film to see Spider-Man atop them. The main complaint of the film(not mine)is the Green Goblins suit. Most think that his suit is a little over-the-top. I couldn't disagree more. I thought the suit was perfect for the the explanation of the Goblins movie origin, and it does look rather menacing if you ask me, but to each his own.

This is a very intelligent movie for it's genre, incorporating many long standing themes of heroes, villains, love, and tragedy.

 

Popcorn

 
 95%

This is a movie that fits in a category inhabited by few: One of the best popcorn movies of all time. There's so much to see, so much to feel. It's one of those movies you can feel good about YEARS from now.

The action in the movie reminded me of a comic book right away. I seriously felt every punch; it was as if I was actually reading a comic book. It's the first movie in a while that made me want to leap out of my seat and cheer for the good guy(though I didn't due to common sense).

The emotion does run high in this film. The obvious love story between Peter and Mary Jane does arise a bit of passion in the viewer, but the most emotional scene for me was Uncle Ben's death. I could actually hear a grown man sniffle in the theater watching this film. I always get a little tear in my eye going when either you get attached to a certain character(which was not the case here), or you sense the saddness and despair by the character losing the loved one. Almost every actor and actress in this film is able to convey emotion so well.

The story is a crowd pleaser, as we watch our hero overcome his obstacles, both within himself and in his enemies. We laugh when he laughs, we cry when he cries, and we cheer when he triumphs. That is a good film. This is a good film.

 

Final

Despite all doubts, despite all known stereotypes, this film has become, to me at the very least, one of the greatest ever made. Spider-Man was everything I wanted it to be and more. I'm glad I paid $16 to see this(I saw it twice). Don't rent this movie... buy it. This is a movie that's just a fun watch every time you pop it in your VCR, or better yet, your DVD player. Marvel is 2 for 2, with X-Men and Spider-Man both scoring some big hits. We'll see what Daredevil can do this Valentines Day.


920 Words Published: 12 December 2002

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