Six whole days without an update? That’s a lifetime in internet terms! Better make it up to you then. Join me on a web-slinging journey through the “Spider-Man” trilogy. First up- er…”Spider-Man”
The basic plot follows the life of high-school science geek Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire). During a school trip to a genetics lab, Parker gets bitten by a genetically modified spider (as opposed to the radioactive spider from the comics) and gains superpowers. I can’t really say anything against the plot, as silly as it may be, because it’s part of my childhood. It’s as classic as they come in my book.
I never really bought Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker/ Spider-Man in the first film. He just seemed miscast against the brilliant Willem Dafoe (playing Norman Osborn/ The Green Goblin) and the passable Kirsten Dunst (Mary-Jane Watson). Maybe this is what the director was going for however, a type of misfit. That’s not to say I have a problem with Maguire, he just wasn’t Parker in my eyes. You can’t mention good casting without mentioning J.K. Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson. It was like the character burst out of the comic pages and onto the big screen. Fantastic.
“Spider-Man” in general is a great film. It stays faithful to the comics whilst taking certain artistic liberties with the comic. I always wondered why they chose the Green Goblin as the main villain though. As a character, he’s probably one of the hardest of the Spidey villains to make believable, but I suppose the mask and suit work well enough, the only downside being that you can’t really see Dafoe emoting behind the permanent sneer of the mask. Still, the glider is cool.
There are some great scenes too. I really like Osborn hearing the Goblin’s laughter for the first time and vainly searching for it, only to be confronted by his own reflection. Creepy. I also love the montage of Peter designing the Spider-Man suit. I was glad to see that even with big Hollywood money and production values, Raimi was able to keep his trademark visual twists and turns. I was surprised at how violent the ending was too. You feel every punch and kick delivered to poor Peter. The image of the torn mask revealing both sides of Peter Parker is great too. Subtlety is always welcome.
So that’s it. It’s a great film. It’s not as amazing as I thought it was when I first saw it in 2002, but it still holds up. Good stuff.