Spider-Man (2002) Review.
Reviewed by Carlos G.
This review is written by Carlos Garcia. Carlos was born in Central California, but has been living in Memphis, TN for about 5 years now. He appreciates all fandoms but his absolute favorites are the ones he has been most loyal to over the years which include: Pokemon, Harry Potter, Star Wars. DC Superheroes, the MCU. He also has a huge obsession with brand new music and is constantly scouring underground, indie, electronic, trap, and rap music. His favorite artists are Frank Ocean, Tyler the Creator, Tame Impala, The Avalanches, Run the Jewels, Gorillaz, Danny Brown, Radiohead, James Blake, Slowthai, and the “late” Kanye West. We at ECA are stoked that Carlos asked to write up a review on "Spider-Man (2002)"! Let's review!
After seeing the "Spider-Man: No Way Home" trailer, I made the decision to go back and rewatch all the Spider-Man movies starting with Sam Raimi’s "Spider-Man (2002)". In the No Way Home trailer, it is revealed that both Alfred Molina and Willem Defoe are confirmed to star in the new movie alongside Tom Holland’s Peter Parker. These revelations are just scratching the surface of what is now called The Spider-Man Universe and I wanted a refresher and better understanding of what's to come by taking a bigger look into the past.
At its best, Spider-Man (2002) is a true superhero movie. This accomplishment was only ever really captured by the Richard Donnor’s Superman movies. Not even Tim Burton’s Batman movies could capture a superhero existing in the real world. Our hero, Peter Parker played by Toby Mcguire, is only a teenager when he is bitten by a radioactive spider and still a teenager when his uncle is killed by a man trying to steal from him. This tale becomes as old as time and we will be reminded of this moment for the next 20 years. Peter is in love with the girl next door Mary Jane who is played by child star actress Kristen Dunst. His best friend Harry Osbourne is played by James Franco and is the son of the main villain Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe).
When I first saw this movie in theaters, it really blew me away. Spider-Man may not fly but I felt as though I was every time there was a scene of him swinging through New York City. The web swinging scenes are a huge spectacle and the CGI at the time was top notch. This is the first time I remember seeing the flashing Marvel intro and of course later on a Stan Lee cameo. The story perfectly sets up the hero for his tragic transformation into the masked protector of the city. After a few tries at making a costume, he finally designs the iconic blue and red web suit we all know and love. Peter is having the time of his life saving the city from street crimes and Green Goblin made fires. Norman Osbourne is this movie's Green Goblin and Willem Dafoe plays him with such a sinister intensity that you can feel the mental gymnastics this man has going on in his head from this side of the screen.
What this movie lacks is a true conflict between hero and villain. Green Goblins hate towards Spider-Man seems more out of jealousy than true villainy. Green Goblin’s fetal attempt at glory undermines the rage building in his heart. The yearning of a long lasting legacy is his true demise and not Spider-Man’s natural instinct to fight evil. Also, Spider-Man's internal dialogues sort of stops halfway through the movie and we as the audience stop knowing what's inside Peter’s head. I wish the movie kept that dialogue going, narrating the quick decisions he has to make, training us to see the world through his webbed eyes.
Looking back at this movie with a new lens for super-hero cinema, I notice the flaws it has with its comic book cliches (boy gets power, boy experiences tragedy, boy turns into a hero, boy saves the girl). The cliches work at times, giving us that campy colorful feeling that so many classic comics have in the past, but it just interferes with the pacing of the movie itself. The movie has a great setup and ultimately a high flying finale but I can't help to want more out of a superhero movie.
We have been blessed with 10+ years of superhero content that took the genre to new heights and I can't shake the feeling that Toby Mcguires’s Spider-Man may have helped shape and swing the genre into brand new territory.
Carlos G. Score: 7.9/10