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Having seen the trailers for this film I have to say that I didn't walk
the cinema with high hopes. The computer effects looked badly integrated,
the Green Goblin's costume looked awful and comic book adaptations usually
have such painful scripting and plotting. Thankfully I was wrong on most
counts (The Goblin still looks rubbish).
As it turns out, this is probably the best super-hero film I've yet seen - certainly up there with Superman and Batman. People seem to automatically comment that the script and acting was bad because they expect it to be the case in these films; and indeed it usually is. But if you go into Spider-man without this prejudicial attitude you'll be pleasently suprised. The acting is generally great - there is never a time when anyone is not believable as their character and you think "Hey, that's an actor, not Peter Parker". The effects do look artificial but the pace of the movie means you don't have time to dwell on this and the script is fine! What do people want, Shakespearian soliloquies? That would sound incredibly out-of-place in modern day New York. There are few of the painful cliches or dreadful dialogue that plague films like The Phantom Menace and the catchphrases like "friendly neighbourhood spider-man" are fully in-keeping with the character.
The comic turns from J.J. Jameson hit the mark, the snarling facial contortions of Willem Defoe were suitably evil-looking (and the conversation with his mirror-image was a great touch). My only gripe was with the Green Goblin's costume. Very monotone green and not very scary.
All-in-all a great film that I wouldn't hesitate for a second in recommending.
I thoroughly enjoyed "Spider-Man," which I saw in a screening. I thought the movie was very engrossing. Director Sam Raimi kept the action quotient high, but also emphasized the human element of the story. Tobey Maguire was very believable as the gawky teenager in the early part of the film and then, after his run-in with the radioactive, genetically engineered spider, as the athletic, acrobatic superhero of the title. His boyish glee at discovering his new superpowers was infectious and got a lot of laughs. I also didn't mind the changes to the "Peter Parker: The Amazing Spider-Man" comic book story that the film's writers made, e.g., having Spider-Man's web come out of glands in his wrists rather than being an invention of Peter Parker's. Especially good were Rosemary Harris and Cliff Robertson as Aunt May and Uncle Ben Parker, Willem Dafoe as Norman Osborn/the Green Goblin, James Franco as Harry Osborn, and Kirsten Dunst as Mary Jane Watson. And in a small but memorable role, J.K. Simmons ("Oz," Law & Order") as newspaper publisher J. Jonah Jameson was hilarious. Perfect casting. I also thought the special effects were very good. Although I could easily tell when Spidey was a computer-generated image (or a stunt double for that matter), it didn't detract from my enjoyment of the movie. However, I saw the movie with a six-year-old, who found the villainous Green Goblin -- superbly personified by Willem Dafoe -- very, very frightening, so I would advise against taking children younger than 10 years of age to this movie. "The Amazing Spider-Man" comic book was a childhood favorite of mine, and I can honestly say that Sam Raimi has done it justice! I'm going to go see this movie again (sans terrified six-year-old).
Poignant, fun and a faithful adaptation to the original comic book. I am
very critical of comic book movies since I am a huge fan of the medium and
was tremendously disappointed in the Superman and Batman movies (all of
them, some greatly!). This film however has again demonstrated that an
adaptation of a comic book story can be fun and faithful to the story, yet
be a film for all ages and those who may not have ever even read a comic
book. The Crow was the only other good comic book movie in my opinion, but
it was not an all ages fun ride as this is!
I had the privilege of seeing the film last night, 4-30-02, in SF with the press and 300+ other folks for its "Bay Area Premiere".
The acting is the finest portion of the film with the leads giving us depth that I was unsure would be allowed by the style of story chosen. Maguire was outstanding at being a guy who can rarely catch a break, but attract difficulty with ease and aplomb. He is awkward with the woman he loves, but eloquent when dealing with the familiar, just as most teenagers are even today. He gave us wonderful joy at the prospect of "web swinging" and kicking some much deserved ass! Dafoe is wonderfully scary as the man who has succumbed to the power games of the corporate world that drives a decent man mad striving for perfection in himself while trying to hard to please all the wrong people to no avail and then being consumed by guilt that has built over the years of family neglect which finally helps to push him over the edge when an opportunity to make a huge mistake presents itself.
The rest of cast is nearly as spectacular with the J.K. Simmons turning in the best performance in the film as J. Jonah Jamason. When he appeared on screen things lite up even more and he was on fire making everyone in the audience laugh and myself nearly p** my pants. Harris as Aunt May and Robertson as Uncle Ben were excellent choices and gave the film a great deal of its credibility and finesse. Letting what happens to Ben and Peter (I am not telling) was wonderful and the best punctuation to what makes Peter do what he does and brings complete credibility to the story. I am not a huge Dunst fan, but she was just fine as the love of Peter Parker's life and a person much like Peter only neither was conscious of the fact. This to me is a more real version of "true love".
The script was far stronger than I expected with some wonderful dialog; verbal exchanges, solid plot points and pacing. Many a good parenting lesson can be found in this film as well as interesting thoughts about the choices that we make in life that we might think are no big deal when in the heat of passion, but may well come back to haunt us if we don't think before we act/speak: which is the trust of the film in my humble opinion.
The direction from Raimi was also much better than I anticipated coming from someone who is known (and loved) for his over the top camp and action. Many of the fight and action sequences where more "over done" than I like, but they were solid and much like a comic of the Silver Age from whence the story comes so it fit the film fine. Nice cinematography without the CGI taking over and detracting from the realism, in fact it made much of the web swinging truly believable. A few points made things a bit hard to "believe", but over all I think most folks will be able to suspend their disbelief.
Danny Elfman. Need I say more? He is the man when it comes to "super hero" music and is the closest thing to John Willams and the late great Bernard Herman there is today. He subtly sets the mood and most of the audience probably doesn't even realize it. Tomorrow is my day off and I will be purchasing the score to add to my collection!
"With great power comes great responsibility".These words, spoken by
Peter Parker's uncle Ben(Cliff Robertson)during their last conversation
and which have become Spider-Man's motto, also perfectly represent the
challenge Sam Raimi was facing when asked to bring one of America's
most loved superheroes to the screen.
You can relax, fellas: Raimi's movie is definitely worth a look.Loosely based on the origin story and the Stan Lee/John Romita Sr. run, it's a fascinating mix of spectacular action and powerful drama, as it chronicles Peter Parker's(Tobey Maguire) transformation into a superhuman and the responsibilities deriving from said metamorphosis: while fighting crime to avenge his uncle's death, he also has to deal with his feelings for Mary Jane Watson(Kirsten Dunst) and his friendship with Harry Osborn(James Franco); add Harry's father Norman(Willem Dafoe), who's become schizophrenic psycho Green Goblin, and you've got a quite complicated situation.
Raimi's excellent at showing us the hero's pain, as well as the one he causes to others, and he gets terrific performances from the entire cast, particularly Maguire, Dafoe and Robertson.
On its own, it's a very good superhero flick, alongside the sequel, it's an absolute masterpiece.
Recommended even if you don't care about the comics.
Normally I can't stand movies derived from comics, for example the duds
that were the Hulk & Daredevil, but this one surprised me.
An excellent take on the comic book character created by Stan Lee. Next to the X-Men movies that came out about the same time, and Superman with Christopher Reeve, it is definitely one of the better Comic to Movie films put out.
The cast is well chosen. McGuire is Spiderman/Peter Parker to me. I don't think they could have chosen better. Kirsten Dunst makes a decent Mary Jane Watson, wasn't ever fond of her to begin with, but it's pulled off well. Willem Dafoe as the Green Goblin is sheer genius.
The story is well written and keeps you along for the entire ride, coupled with action that's explosive and thrilling. Definitely fun for all, even die hard Spidey fans won't be disappointed! Fun for all! 9/10.
Studios lately have been known to spend almost $200 million dollars bringing
a comic book super hero to life on the silver screen. With $200 million
dollars you can buy many state of the art special effects for the director
to full around with to his hearts content. If in the process, though, he
decides to fore-go an entertaining story and script, characters that we can
get to know and sympathize with, and good actors to bring those characters
to life, all the special effects in the world isn't going to amount to a
hill of beans. Fortunately for us, in bringing Marvel Comic's Spiderman to
life, Sam Raimi did care about those little details and the audience is
richly rewarded because of it.
One of the trickier tasks when transferring a film such as Spiderman to film is in giving us enough background story. If a writer and director spend too much time on the origins of the character, it has a tendency to bog the rest of the film down. Likewise, if it is given short thrift, we never have a chance to become involved emotionally with the super-hero. In Spiderman, Raimi, aided immeasurably by Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker/Spiderman strikes just the right note. Maguire is such an accomplished actor, that he immediately establishes Peter Parker as someone we will care about throughout the film. He has a crush on the beautiful girl next door, Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst), is constantly harassed by the school jerk, and has a best friend, Harry (James Franco), who's relationship with his father Norman (Willem Dafoe)is far from perfect. As for Peter, he has an exceptional home life with his Uncle Ben (Cliff Robertson) and Aunt May (Rosemary Harris) which is probably one of the reasons Harry develops an early kinship with him. That and the fact that Harry's father seems to think more of Peter than he does of his own son at times.
After having been bitten by a mutated spider, Peter awakens one morning to find himself with some exceptional super powers. He develops muscles that he didn't have before, has reflexes Michael Jordan would be proud of, and can shoot a web like nobody's business. It is during these early scenes of discovery by Peter that the film truly excels. Maguire is like a child whom after taking his first steps, learns he can motor about the house quite nicely, thank you very much. We can't help but have as much fun watching Peter Parker hone his skills as he seems to have in being able to do these magnificent feats.
Another fine aspect of Spiderman is the love story that develops between Parker and Mary Jane. As Peter Parker, he is never able to quite overcome his inability to tell Mary Jane of his true feelings. Later, as Spiderman, there is a wonderful scene between him and Mary Jane in a drenching downpour that any romantic film would envy.
Whereas some have not been too enamored of Dafoe's portrayal as Norman Osborn/Green Goblin, I found both to be right on the mark. As Norman, we see how his continuous drive to control his company alienates and spoils the relationship he has with his son Harry. It's not that Norman is an evil person, his quest for power has led him to more or less take his son for granted. Later, when after a lab accident, it is the schizophrenic battle between the normal Harry and the Evil Harry that brings the Green Goblin to life. It would have been easy for Raimi to have the lab accident just turn Harry instantly into the Green Goblin, but instead we get a richer more dramatic story that we wouldn't have had otherwise.
Likewise James Franco, who looks enough like Dafoe that they could be father and son, is a youth who seems tormented by the fact that no matter what success he achieves, his father never gives him his just due. Kirsten Dunst is also beautiful and charming as Mary Jane. Her romantic scenes with Spiderman are wonderfully played, and she has an especially moving scene with Peter Parker as the film draws to a close.
As for the special effects, they are indeed spectacular. As Spiderman swoops between buildings on his web, you won't think once that it's not really him doing so. When reading IMDB reviews of this film or any other film that depends heavily on special effects, one must keep in mind that it has become more or less a hobby among some to downgrade the effects of any film so my advice is to just ignore the criticism in that regard. The effects here are fine.
Two years ago, it was with quite a bit of eagerness that I anticipated Raimi's Spiderman film and it lived up to my hopes in every aspect. If the impending sequel comes even close to being as good as the original, it'll be a job well done. And if a film such as Spiderman can have me counting the days until Spiderman II, than I have no choice but to give it my grade, which for Spiderman is an A.
Breaking with usual tradition, the "Spider-Man" DVD was released today, a
Friday. At around $15 almost everywhere, for the 2 disk set, it was too
a bargain to pass up. I hadn't seen the film in theaters so this was my
first viewing. Definitely entertaining, with a good mix of action and
budding romance, the film of the beginnings of Spider-Man. Although I was
bigger fan of Superman as a kid, I also have good memories of the
comics, and this film is very faithful.
no SPOILERS here - The 2 disk DVD set is one of the better ones. The picture itself is extremely sharp, and very colorful, with a very clear and dynamic Dolby 5.1 sound track. Surround sound complements the picture masterfully, so that the viewer seems right in the middle of the action. **POINT** - As I have explained in other reviews, anyone still watching movies at home on VHS needs to get rid of it now! It is a different movie on DVD, the quality of the picture, the quality of the sound, not to mention all the extras. With a widescreen TV it is almost like being in a theater.
The EXTRAS - In addition to the movie, disk one has a feature that pops up a spider icon at certain spots that, when "clicked", jumps you to a brief "making of" segment for that scene, then jumps you back to the movie. Plus there are two different, selectable commentaries for anyone who likes the re-watch a movie and hear what went into its making.
Disk two is completely devoted to "extras", like screen tests, an HBO special, and other aspects of making "Spider-Man." Also included is an archive of Spider-Man comics covers from the 1960s to now, grouped by decade, and written script to summarize the basic story of each issue. A "must have" for all Spider Man comics fans.
There have been a few user reviews on IMDb, usually very short, which trash this movie, and may even say something like "avoid this movie". Be certain those are "bogus" reviews, written for some deceptive purpose, I know not why. For anyone who enjoys any kind of fantasy action movie with a good message, "Spider-Man" is a definite "must-see."
Usually when there is a big summer movie I am looking forward to, I wait and wait and then the movie comes out and it is a big disappointment. I really looked forward to the American Godzilla movie and by golly it was a huge disappointment. Then I really looked forward to Star Wars episode 1 and although it was not the disappointment Godzilla was, it was still a disappointment. Spider-man however was everything I was hoping it to be. In fact, it has to be considered one of the best comic book adaptations ever. It actually took parts of the comic book and incorporated it into the movie. Unlike most comic book movies where the story doesn't come from any of the comic books. Sure there are some departures such as the organic web shooters, but this is acceptable seeing as how watching Peter Parker learning he has them makes for some humorous scenes. The entire cast did a great job capturing the characters they were playing and there are some great fights as well. This is also a departure from most comic book movies where there is really no good fight at all between the heroes and villains.
One of the most successful translations of "comic book to screen" has
fine results in SPIDER-MAN, a handsomely produced version of the comic
book classic with a sprightly score by Danny Elfman and some incredibly
realistic looking CGI effects.
The simple plot of good vs. evil begins when Peter Parker is bitten by a spider while touring a local museum with his high school class. The plot thickens when he develops webs and the ability to soar over rooftops and vehicles with ease--as well as climbing walls. Toby Maguire plays the nerdy teen-ager with a wholesome air of innocent charm, his open-eyed expression never concealing the delight he takes in the role. As his girlfriend, Mary Jane, Kirsten Dunst does a likable enough job even if the costume department decided to dress her like a teen hooker.
Everyone else is in fine form. William Dafoe deserves top praise for his Green Goblin--evil enough to frighten the wits out of the faint-hearted. J. Jonah Jameson is excellent as the bombastic newspaper editor who takes advantage of his most famous client. Rosemary Harris and Cliff Robertson, in quieter roles, are warm and human. James Franco is believable as Peter's best friend.
Admirers of the comic book tales should have no trouble liking the movie with its amazing CGI effects. It's heart-warming and funny, with some terror thrown in for good measure. Good escapist entertainment even if the message seems a little vague. Message??
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Spider-Man is seriously the best movie of the summer! I couldn't
believe how much fun I had watching this movie: the fights, the
costumes, the characters
I'm not even a comic book nerd, no offense to
those who are, just I couldn't believe how much of a nerd I felt like
when I was jumping and getting excited to see this movie. I waited an
hour in line to see this movie with my friends and I have to tell you
that it was completely worth it. This is the crazy movie of the summer,
but it's one of the best blockbusters to come out of the new
millennium. I was never into Spider-Man, didn't really know about the
story, but seeing this movie, I think I'm going to take a trip to the
comic book store probably.
Peter Parker, his best friend Harry Osborn, and Peter's secret crush Mary Jane Watson visit a genetics laboratory with their high school class. While taking photos in the laboratory, Peter is bitten on the hand by a genetically engineered "super spider". Feeling unwell, he passes out shortly after arriving home. Meanwhile, scientist and owner of Oscorp Norman Osborn, Harry's father, is attempting to preserve his company's military contract, knowing that its loss will mean the end of his business. He experiments on himself with his company's new, but unstable, performance-enhancing chemical vapor which increases his speed, strength, and stamina. However, it also causes him to become insane and kills his assistant. The next morning, Peter wakes to find that his previously impaired vision has improved and that his body has changed into a more muscular physique. At school, he finds himself producing webbing and having the quick reflexes to avoid being injured in a fight with bully Flash Thompson. Peter escapes from the school and realizes that he has acquired spider-like abilities from the spider bite. He quickly learns to scale walls, long jump across building rooftops and swing via webs from his wrists. Norman being ticked off that he didn't get a muscular body he decides to destroy the world! OK, that's not exactly the reason, but I did sense tension there.
I had so much fun watching this movie, I can't tell you how many incredible scenes there were, I think my favorite was between Norman coming to Thanksgiving dinner and the high tension when he finds out who Spider Man is and the last fight scene between Spider Man and the Green Goblin was awesome! The ending is a cliff hanger, so I'm looking forward to seeing the next Spider Man. This was a great movie, I highly recommend it, Spider-Man has great effects, cheesy acting, fun one liners, and the upside down kiss that will be talked about for generations to come.
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