Rated PG-13 for stylized violence and action.
Directed By: Sam Raimi
Written By: Stan Lee and Steve Ditko
Staring: Toby Maguire, Kirsten Dunce, William Dafoe, James Franco, and Cliff Robertson
Who am I? You sure you want to know? The story of my life is not for the faint of heart. If somebody said it was a happy little tale… if somebody told you I was just your average ordinary guy, not a care in the world… somebody lied. -Peter Parker
When bitten by a genetically modified spider, a nerdy, shy, and awkward high school student gains spider-like abilities that he eventually must use to fight evil as a superhero after tragedy befalls his family.
I’m sorry, but I just can’t jump on the Spider-Man bandwagon. I’ve watched it three or four times now and still cannot like, let alone love, this movie. I like TobyMaguire and Kirsten Dunst. William Dafoe is a bad bad dude, and James Franco is a good actor as well as delicious. Stan Lee’s character Spider-Man is one of the best super hero’s the comic world has to offer, and yet this movie falls flat with me each time.
My first complaint is casting Toby Maguire as Spider-Man/Peter Parker. He is a phenomenal actor, but was way too Charlie Brown for this role. I believe he played the part to the best of his ability, but if you’re wrong for a role, there is really not much you can do to make it work. This wasn’t like casting Michael Keaton for Batman. In the first shot of Keaton as the brooding Bruce Wayne he sold me, and never once did I doubt his ultimate butt kicking scenes as Batman. WithMaguire , I was concerned for his safety throughout, and never once believed him to have a tough enough exterior to be Spider-Man. I could not and still can’t believe it.
Maguire’s love interest, played by Dunst, is no better. Kirsten Dunst is a hit and miss with her roles as is, and in Spider-Man I often felt like her character had no real soul. She came off as a very superficial, one dimensional person, put in the film simply to push the plot forward, rather than the fire that ignites Spider-Man’s wicked toughness. She was no muse, andmoreover she and Maguire had absolutely no chemistry.
Dafoe was a great bad guy. One of the saving graces in many scenes, but our two leads were wrongly cast, how much could we honestly expect from him. I felt he did what he could with what he had. The bit of applause I can throw Spider-Man was the story and plot itself stayed true to the comics and really took it’s time developing. Some of theCGI was a bit off, but most of it really helped the excitement the plot built capture certain moments of purpose. Unfortunately, a lot of theseCGI moments miss the chance to personalize Spider-Man’s uber abilities by doing close ups on Maguire. It may have helped sell the idea that he was capable of crazy heroism, but instead made me think, “Wow, that’s fun CGI.”
A love story that didn’t sell, a guy I didn’t buy as Spider-Man, mediocre CGI, and an overall feeling of disappointment made Spider-Man a very weak addition in the super hero genre of movies. I found the Fantastic Four to be a better put together movie than this, an overall more enjoyable. There was an excitement and suspense that Spider-Man totally lacked. A lot of people called Spider-Man the best movie of the summer of 2002. I call it the biggest disappointment.