Spider-Man (2002)


Spider Man Upside Down Kiss

By his own admission, Marvel creator Stan Lee claims Spider-Man as his “favorite.” He has built an empire with his comic book production company – one that is perhaps more popular today than at its conception. This ten-year old film tells the story of Peter Parker and his quest to live up to the great responsibility that comes with his powers.

If anyone tells you Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) is ordinary... they were lying. Or so he tells us. Every morning he wakes just hoping to get through the day. A bookworm with a scientific mind, Peter never fails to be late for his bus every single morning. Taken in by his aunt and uncle (Rosemary Harris, Cliff Robertson) following the deaths of his parents, Peter takes his tardiness in stride and chases the bus each time while his fellow classmates giggle and poke fun at him. His only real friend is Harry Osborn (James Franco), a wealthy young man whose father recently put him in public school instead of the private education he is used to. Despite their vastly different backgrounds, Peter and Harry become fast friends but jealousy subtly builds while Harry stands on the sidelines watching as his business-minded scientist father (Willem Dafoe) shows a greater interest in the promise Peter shows than he does his own son.

Bitten by a radioactive spider, Peter suddenly transforms into a different person. He now has a well-built physique, develops a sense of when there is impending danger, he can scale walls and entrap people with webs. But with his newfound super powers comes a price. His beloved uncle is killed in a random act of violence leaving Peter distraught. Time heals his wounds and he is able to move ahead… except for one thing: making a move on the red-head girl he has been crushing on since fifth grade, Mary-Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst). When Harry begins dating the aspiring actress, Peter steps aside but never stops silently protecting “MJ” even as a new enemy terrifies the people of New York.
 
FILM REVIEW | Spider-Man 2 (2004)
 
Spider Man

With the news that a new Spider-Man trilogy was being brought to the big screen, I knew I’d have to see it considering billing was shared by the effervescent Emma Stone. Once reviews started popping up on The Amazing Spider-Man, I figured it’d be cool to return to the trilogy where it all started, and I didn’t think it would make a difference in my opinion of the franchise seeking the attentions of a new generation. If you think it odd that I hadn’t seen this before now, ten years ago I wasn’t even paying attention to super heroes let alone gushing over them – no I was more “into” Jane Austen at the time. Now I’ve discovered them, I suspect there is no going back. Though I must disrespectfully disagree with Stan Lee, this is still a fun ride.

The acting in this blockbuster is quite impressive. Considering I already liked its leading lady going into this, I naturally relished the idea of seeing her in another starring role while Tobey made me see him differently. I am neutral about him as an actor but I never did fall for his on-screen personas – or the few I’ve seen, as I have other actors. Here he gives us a Peter that is bullied, trying to make it through college but also content to stand in the shadows of everyone even as he finds his place doing great things. His “need” for a spotlight is diminished by the feeling he gets in saving the lives of innocents. Like Captain America, Peter is the all-American “good guy” when we meet him – his need for revenge may be the adrenaline he first runs off but in time, he feels the responsibility to protect the streets as something he feels privileged to do. And, I liked that about him. Every other name in the cast was good, particularly Willem as the conflicted Osborn.  

Spider Man

The writing isn’t the most brilliant as far too much of the movie is so silly it is hard to take it seriously. From the silly costumes to the sometimes painfully horrible special effects, it is amazing the difference a mere ten years makes in the business of filmmaking. What the script does boast is some decent humor but the secret dating angle and love triangle has been seen before and I found some of the styles in which they filmed this unusually annoying. Despite it all, I thought there were some interesting dynamics and of course, there is the adorable “kiss” that has been touted as being one of the most inventive in movies. Having seen this now, I don’t see myself being swayed one way or the other in regards to the re-boot though I suspect its best asset – where I am concerned, will be its modern filmmaking.

CONTENT: Rated PG13 for some violence and “terrifying” situations. Spider-Man has to save more than one life – some from fire, others from falling to their deaths or being mugged. MJ dresses suggestively more than once and is nearly assaulted by a group of four or five guys before being rescued. She also comes from a home where her father belittles her – their fighting is overheard by Peter. There is little profanity.
 
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9 Comments

9 comments:

  1. I personally liked this one a little bit better...but then Emma Stone has me biased. I think I just like her! :)

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  2. I really enjoyed the new Spiderman, and the old ones as well:-) I think I preferred Emma Stone's character to Kirsten Dunst, though. Probably because she didn't have five different boyfriends...lol:-)

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  3. Yeah, it is kind of dated, but in ten years we'll probably look back at The Avengers and laugh. CGI improves the more it is used. Of course, the less CGI a movie uses, the less easily it will date. I don't think TITANIC or THE LORD OF THE RINGS will ever become very dated -- and that's really smart on the part of their directors.

    I like MJ, and the kiss in the rain, and Tobey being a dork. =)

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  4. Jennifer - I enjoyed this one a great deal! It was fun but not my favorite super hero. Like you, I think Emma is adorable so I suspect that the new version will be equally if not more entertaining. :-)

    Lauren - really??? Cool! I am definitely going to try and see it its first week to DVD. The cast has me excited plus it looks fun if not a copy-cat.

    Lovely of you to stop by - do visit again sometime. :-)

    Charity - don't get me wrong, I totally loved this movie... just not the same as some of the other super hero flicks. I laugh at dated movies now, and then turn and say to whoever will listen, "in another ten years, I'll be making fun of the ones I think are cool now!" ;-D

    For some reason films that are set in a different era don't show their age like modern films do. I suspect that it's because they tell a story from a different era! LOL!

    Anyway, I did thoroughly enjoy this - and look forward to 2 and 3. MJ is adorable (it helps that I like Dunst); the kiss was unique and Tobey... yep, he was cool. ;-)

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  5. Okay, I have to be different, LOL! I hated Kirsten Dunst in the Spiderman movies -- especially the third movie. She was so mean to poor Peter, I couldn't help wishing he would just dump her and find a girl who would appreciate him.

    I'm really looking forward to the new Spiderman movie with Emma Stone. I've heard she's great. :-)

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  6. Okay, I have to be different, LOL! I hated Kirsten Dunst in the Spiderman movies -- especially the third movie. She was so mean to poor Peter, I couldn't help wishing he would just dump her and find a girl who would appreciate him.

    I'm really looking forward to the new Spiderman movie with Emma Stone. I've heard she's great. :-)

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  7. I haven't seen the amazing spider-man, but I have seen all 3 of the original series which, I must say, are quite enjoyable. Kristan Dunst and Tobey Maguire are super cute, IMO. I am interested in seeing Emma Stone in this latest spiderman film, though. From what I can tell, they did a good job casting 'amazing Spider-man'.

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  8. emma stone is making me all biased. i haven't seen it yet, but i absolutely adore her!!
    xo TJ

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  9. Gwendolyn - that is perfectly fine! It is good to be different. :-)

    I like Dunst as an actress. I think she is just adorable. She is in the 1994 version of Little Women and is quite young in the role but does it justice. Her change in attitude doesn't come 'til movie 2 or 3 (I think), so I am not there yet! LOL!

    Anyway... I too am excited about the new movie. It should be fun!

    Maria - I have the sequel rented so I am looking forward to watching that this weekend and like you, I thought Tobey and Kirsten are adorable together (even though they weren't really... together!).

    The re-boot does look fabulous! I am really looking forward to it. :-)

    Thanks so much for commenting!

    TJ - Emma is a doll. I've loved her in everything I've seen her in, so I am expecting similar results from the new "Spider-Man" flick. :-)

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