On a school field trip, Peter Parker (Toby Maguire) is bitten by a genetically modified spider. He wakes up the next morning with incredible powers. After witnessing the death of someone he loves, Parker decides to put his new skills to use in order to rid the city of evil, but someone else has other plans. The Green Goblin sees Spider-Man as a threat and must dispose of him. Even if it means the Goblin has to target the people Parker loves most including the girl he secretly pines for (Kristen Dunst).
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Hello, Movie Buffs!
In Marvel Comic's Spiderman, director Sam Raimi (Oz the Great and Powerful, Drag Me to Hell) took into consideration the little details – delivering a rich plot with some origin stories and still give a lot of time for good character development – that would determine the success of the movie, and audiences were satisfactorily rewarded. The script was far stronger than I expected with some wonderful verbal exchanges, solid plot points, and great pacing. It can be a tricky task for the director and writer(s) to adapt a big superhero character like Spiderman into a movie while still giving viewers a solid background story; one that is informative without taking up a majority of the film. The cinematography (Don Burgess – Forrest Gump, Cast Away, Flight) was done beautifully and rather than letting the CGI take over and distract from the realism, in contrast, it made the web-swinging look that much more believable. The music score (Danny Elfman – Corpse Bride, Nightmare Before Christmas) was good as it subtly set the mood without many audiences being aware of it.
The acting is the finest portion of the film with the leads giving us depth not entirely expected for a story of this style. Tobey Maguire (Seabiscuit, The Great Gatsby) was outstanding as Spiderman. His awkwardness with women (especially with the one he loves) is eloquent and familiar with most teens during the early 2000’s. Willem Dafoe (The Great Wall, John Wick) as Norman Osborn is wonderfully scary in his portrayal of a man who has succumbed to the power games of the corporate world that can turn decent men mad in an effort for one thing. Perfection. First, he is seeking perfection in himself while trying to please all the wrong people. Next, he is consumed by guilt that has built up over the years when he realizes the extent at which he has neglected his family. And finally when an opportunity to make a huge mistake presents itself only then does it ultimately push him over the edge. This does not mean that Norman is an evil person but his greed and quest for power has led him to take his son for granted. The supporting cast is just as spectacular.
J.K. Simmons (Juno, The Accountant) as J. Jonah Jameson is great and he was continually making audiences laugh with his blunt and sarcastic humor. Rosemary Harris (This Means War, Being Julia) as Aunt May and Cliff Robertson (Charly, Gidget) as Uncle Ben were excellent, giving the film a great deal of its credibility and elegance. Uncle Ben and Peter’s relationship is wonderful and further Peter to do what he does, which brings credibility to the story. As for Kirsten Dunst (Marie Antoinette, Mona Lisa Smile, Bring It On), I have never been a huge fan of her but she was good as Peter Parker's love interest, Mary Jane Watson, and this to me is a more real version of “true love.” James Franco (127 Hours, Pineapple Express) is great as Harry Osborn, who seems tormented by the fact that no matter what success he achieves, his father never gives him his just due; it also helps that Franco and Dafoe look like they could be father and son in real life.
Overall, Spiderman is a great superhero movie. However, this film is not a superhero movie because an ordinary kid gets special powers, which he uses to fight crime and save his city. It’s not only just an action packed superhero movie where the good guys win and bad guys don’t. Because while all of those things are great to see in a superhero movie, they are not the only reasons why Spiderman is a superhero movie. Spiderman is a superhero movie because it teaches audiences a lesson, and maybe you have to be paying attention in order to understand it. Maybe you have to look beyond the action and the superpowers in order to see. And perhaps, many viewers just simply won’t listen to the hidden message here… Spiderman encourages people to consider the interesting thoughts behind the choices we make in life. Choices that we might think are no big deal when in the heat of passion but could very well come back to haunt us if we don't think before we act or speak. Norman Osborn offers insight into what happens when someone only ever things about himself/herself. Harry Osborn shows us what happens when you keep everything bottled up inside. Peter Parker is a portrayal of someone who doesn’t embrace courage, he does as Spiderman but when you think about it, he’s still wearing a mask. I guess what I am saying is that Spiderman encourages us to
1) be better than who we are right now,
2) to think about how our choice today might impact our future and the future of others,
3) and that we don’t have to wait until we get superpowers and a mask to be a superhero…or simply just a Hero.
“Remember, with great power comes great responsibility.”
- Uncle Ben
Worth Seeing: 4.8 of 5 star
Worth Buying: 4.8 of 5 stars
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Avenger: Age of Ultron (2015)
Captain America: First Avenger (2011)
Captain America: Winter Soldier (2014)
Captain America: Civil War (2016)
Fantastic Four (2005)
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007)
Iron Man (2008)
Iron Man 2 (2010)
Iron Man 3 (2013)
Spider-Man 2 (2004)
Spider-Man 3 (2007)
The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)
Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
Cast & Crew
Directed by: Sam Raimi
(Screenplay) David Koepp
(Marvel comic book) Stan Lee and Steve Ditko
Avi Arad --- executive producer
Ian Bryce --- producer
Grant Curtis --- co-producer
Heidi Fugeman --- associate producer
Stan Lee --- executive producer
Steven P. Saeta --- associate producer
Laura Ziskin --- producer
Kevin Feige --- executive producer (uncredited)
Music by: Danny Elfman
Cinematography by: Don Burgess
Film Editing by: Arthur Coburn and Bob Murawski
Production Design by: Neil Spisak
Tobey Maguire --- Spider-Man / Peter Parker
Willem Dafoe --- Green Goblin / Norman Osborn
Kirsten Dunst --- Mary Jane Watson
James Franco --- Harry Osborn
Cliff Robertson --- Ben Parker
Rosemary Harris --- May Parker
J.K. Simmons --- J. Jonah Jameson
Joe Manganiello --- Flash Thompson
Gerry Becker --- Maximilian Fargas
Bill Nunn --- Joseph 'Robbie' Robertson
Jack Betts --- Henry Balkan
Stanley Anderson --- General Slocum
Ron Perkins --- Dr. Mendell Stromm
Michael Papajohn --- Carjacker
K.K. Dodds --- Simkins
Ted Raimi --- Hoffman
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