- Sam Raimi
- Reviewed by
- Josť Ruiloba a.k.a. Morris
- Review date
- Tuesday, June 04, 2002
Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) is an unpopular boy who lives with his uncles (Cliff Robertson and Rosemary Harris) and who is in love with one of the most popular girls in school, Mary Jane (Kirsten Dunst). He dreams of being a photographer but is also quite a scientist. His best friend (James Franco) is the son of Norman Osborn (Willem Dafoe), a scientist who proves one of his most dangerous experiments on himself and thus becomes insanely mad. Thatís how the Green Goblin is born. Meanwhile Peter is suffering some transformations himself. Heís been bitten by a genetically-enhanced spider and thus becomes a man with some superpowers of his own. The problem is, before he starts using them heís got to learn more about himself and about life.
As I said before, I never ever read a Spider-Man comic in my life. I knew the guy from some TV shows and because, frankly, whoever doesnít know who Spider-Man is must certainly live under a rock. Then again, I really do like this kind of movies. Iím a fan of most of the Batman movies and I really like another Marvel adaptation, X-Men. Nothing had prepared me for this though. It simply is the best comic book adaptation I have ever seen.
And what makes it so good? Well, first of all, I know this sounds too clichťd, but the fact that Peter Parker is like any of us gives this unrealistic kind of movie a very realistic tone. We can all identify with him and with what heís going through. Besides, his process of discovery and growing up is fascinating. Peter is a common man going through larger-than-life experiences. We root for him in more than just a superficial level and thatís what ultimately matters.
Thereís also the romantic angle of the movie which is simply very well-handled. As Peter himself says at the beginning, this story is all about a girl. Whatís more simple than that? No matter how big he becomes, these are all real people and these are all real feelings. I was surprised by the amount of heart this movie has. And I liked that. The relationship between Peter and Mary Jane is the highlight of the movie and certainly provides the best scenes. Itís official: that upside-down kiss in the rain has now become a classic.
The movie also has a lot to say about the difference between good and evil but not only in the way you might expect. Sure, thereís a villain and at the end itís all about getting rid of him. But itís very interesting to note how Peter could never give up that guilty feeling about his uncleís death. Not only did he say things he really didnít mean the last time they talked, but he could have prevented his death if only he had not been so selfish and wouldíve cared more about doing what was right. Thereís a lot of humanity in there, and I donít want to be too repetitive, but thatís mainly what elevates this movie from any other superhero romp out there.
As for the casting, it couldnít have been more perfect. And yes, Iím using the word perfect here because thatís how I consider the choice of having Tobey Maguire play Peter. Tobey has always shown great talent, but here he not only gives an amazing performance, but heís also impressively suitable for the role itself. Itís all about Tobey and he comes off spectacularly good. Kirsten Dunst, as always, is also great. I love her.
Thank God for Stan Lee. And thank God for Sam Raimi, who had the vision to translate this wonderful story into a great, action-packed, profoundly human movie. Canít wait for the sequel!
ďWith great power comes great responsibility.Ē
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Other reviews of Spider-Man (2002): Groucho