FBMR - Spider-Man
Film-Buff Movie Reviews

SPIDER-MAN (2002) ***1/2

Like most science-fiction movies of late, the majority of the special effects have been computer generated. In most cases it works very well, in others it’s overdone. In this case, even though it was fairly evident when Peter Parker/Spider-Man (Tobey Maguire) was computer generated, it did work. The scenes where Spider-Man swings through the streets looks like your watching a computer game, but it’s still cool.

Being the first of possibly several installments, this film introduces us to the main characters and tells the story of Peter Parker receives his powers and learns to use them. Unlike Superman, these powers are not foreign to inhabitants of Earth, only foreign to human beings. On a school trip, Parker is bit by a stray, genetically-engineered, super-spider. As a result, his DNA gets reconfigured which gives him the ability to cling to a surface, extra-ordinary strength, web-spinning capabilities, a sixth "spidey" sense, quicker responses, and great leaping ability.

Among the characters introduced in this film that will most likely return in future SPIDER-MAN films, the most colourful is J. Jonah Jameson, played hilariously by J. K. Simmons. It’s thanks to him and his endless cynicism and desire to sell papers that the citizens of NYC start to question whether Spider-Man is a hero or a menace. But Peter’s humility and good-nature keep him from really being shunned. It’s a thankless job, and he can’t take credit without revealing his true identity. And as with most noble heroes he is and will always be wrestling with the fact that, “With great power comes great responsibility.”

Speaking of wrestling, yes ... that is Randy “Macho Man” Savage in the ring early on in the film.

The story was a typical “superhero/comic book” storyline. The dialogue was very cleverly written. The acting was great across the board (it was nice to see Kirsten Dunst play someone who wasn’t, like, totally ditzy). All in all, this is a really fun Summer blockbuster that has some smarts to it as well. For those who are interested, stick around till the end of the credits for the original theme from the Spider-Man cartoon series.

IMDb - Spider-Man