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).
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