Starring: Tobey Maguire, Kirstin Dunst, Willem Dafoe, James Franco
Director: Sam Raimi
Category: Action / Adventure
I’ve never even been to Wall Street, but take my advice: you’re going to want to buy Marvel stock real soon. After successfully adapting “X-Men” for the big screen in 2000, it looked as if Hollywood had finally gotten it right. Then again, they could have just gotten lucky. After all, years upon years of corny comic book movies have been ingrained in the minds of fans everywhere, and it was going to take a lot more than one great film to make them forget. Look no further than “Spider-Man,” then, for proof that a comic book renaissance is just around the corner. Featuring great action, dazzling special effects, and a talented cast of young stars, “Spider-Man” ushers in a new generation of event films that simply can’t be missed.
Tobey Maguire stars as Peter Parker, a high school nerd who is invisible to just about everyone in school, including the girl of his dreams, Mary Jane Watson (Kristin Dunst). But when he’s bitten by a radioactive spider on a field trip, Peter begins to develop superpowers that give him enhanced strength and the ability to spin webs and climb walls. Hoping to impress Mary Jane by entering a wrestling tournament and using the winnings to buy a new car, Peter’s plans backfire when his Uncle Ben (Cliff Robertson) is killed by a robber that Peter set free earlier that night. Determined to make up for his mistakes by fighting crime, Peter’s first go-around as a superhero pits him against the Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe), a respected scientist whose latest experiment has transformed him into a supervillian.
Director Sam Raimi proves he’s up to the task by taking on such a demanding project – one that has switched hands between several A-list directors over the past few years – and he stays relatively faithful to the source material while still injecting the same wit and visual style that he brought to the "Evil Dead” films. Tobey Maguire also does a fine job as the web-crawling superhero, but it's Willem Dafoe who steals the show as the Green Goblin. Not only does he give the character a life many thought only possible in the comics, but he also showed the courage to get inside a green metal suit that looks more like a Halloween costume than something a supervillian would wear, and for that, he deserves credit.
“Spider-Man” is a vibrant piece of pop entertainment that serves as the perfect start to the summer season. Though fans of Marvel's beloved web-slinger might notice some differences to the story, apart from a few minor details, it's like a living, breathing version of Stan Lee and Steve Ditko's original comic. Not only does it deliver the big action set pieces that we've come to expect from our summer tentpole films, but it also takes the time to develop its characters into relatable people with everyday problems. It's exactly what other comic book films have lacked in the past, and it's the reason the future looks so bright.