Flicks From The Past!

Spider-Man (2002)

The web slinger’s first big budget outing

Written By: Andrew Lowe

Date: 13th February, 2015

Well this I would say is an insanely good super hero comic book movie. It covers everything that you would expect from a Spider-Man film. Web slinging action, excellent set pieces and a good old fashioned baddy, although I would have preferred Doc Ock.

Everyone was waiting to be amazed with this new version of Spider-Man in 2002. The trailers looked amazing, even the trailer that showed a helicopter stuck between the Twin Towers was amazing (although it was understandably withdrawn given the time of its release). Everyone had truly high expectations for the film. Did it deliver? I think so, but it wasn’t perfect, especially for some Spider-Man fans.

The story is very predictable; it shows a truly excellent origin story, which is as close as you can get to any of the comic books. But it does hit on the key points of the traditional Spider-man stories. Peter Parker setup as a high school geek, who then gets bitten by a genetically enhanced spider (in the comics it was a radioactive spider but close enough), becomes a wrestler to make some money (with a great cameo from the late great Macho Man Randy Savage), uncle Ben is then killed by a mugger who Peter could have stopped robbing someone else, then he becomes Spider-Man and a hero to New York. This is all pretty faithfully to the versions that I had grown up with in the cartoons, and what brief comics I had read as a kid.

The origin of the Green Goblin was something I have to admit I wasn’t that familiar with, but I knew that Norman Osborn was the Green Goblin. And from what I understand the origin originally was meant to be an accident in the comics, but I can see there are very close similarities to the film version. But at least the changes make sense with the build up that happens.

As with all superhero films, eventually the two butt heads, which leads the Green Goblin stalking Spider-Man and his loved ones (once the Goblin works out his real identity). Then we have the eventual showdown.

Everything being the typical superhero standards that everyone expects, but what makes this film so good is its execution. The look and feel is Spider-Man. The way we see him come down from the ceiling, and the way he climbs the walls all look like the way Spider-Man should be. That’s what makes the whole thing work. To captures the spirit of the main character perfectly.

Don’t get me wrong the CGI in some places is not at its best, but do bear in mind that this was released in 2002. So the later reboot could do this much better, with 10 years of advancement of computer software. If you bear that mind, you can forgive those few scenes.

The main issues with the film is there are lots of silly things going on, but let's face it this isn't Shakespeare. It's a superhero comic book film. It's going to be a little cheesy; it's going to be a bit campy. To be honest I don't want to have anything realistic in a superhero because it's meant to be fun. I'm a firm believer that comic book films shouldn't be live action. They should be animated, whether it be traditional or CGI.

Tobey Maguire is very good as the awkward teen at the beginning, but maybe less believable as the confident Spider-Man towards the end. But at least he still makes some jokes here and there, like Spider-Man always did in the comics and cartoons. It really depends on what you’re aiming for really and the story aspects you want to focus on. The change to a confident teen happens very early on in the film. So maybe you need someone that handle that aspect a little better, although he doesn’t do that bad a job at it. I would say he gives a good but maybe not perfect performance as Peter Parker/Spider-Man.

The Green Goblin in this version seems a little silly, but to be honest this was always a bizarre and not very realistic character. The way it was played with William Dafoe was at least entertaining and memorable, if clichéd.

Mary Jane Watson is the usual girl in distress love interest for the hero character, so very dull and nothing really that interesting there. Lots of people have bad-mouthed Kirsten Dunst for her performance, but the story dictated a lot of what she could do. So I would say it would be more the script and director’s fault more than her’s. But I feel these are small problems.

I feel this film is very entertaining and enjoyable to watch, especially if you like Spider-Man. It covers nearly all of the bases.

Oh and one other small gripe I had was that Spider-Man should have web shooters!!!!!!! He doesn’t fire webbing thanks to his mutation!!!!!!!

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