Spider-Man (2002) Film Review

Rating 12a
Length 2h01
Release 11.5.2007
Director Sam Raimi
About Peter Parker’s life changes when he is bitten by a genetically altered spider and gains superpowers. He uses his powers to help people and finds himself facing the Green Goblin, an evil maniac.
Moon: no moon sighting
Where to Watch: Netflix and Amazon Prime

The Good

  • William Dafoe makes for the perfect Norman/ Goblin. Yes, he hams it up, but it works perfectly with that insane laugh of his. The duality of the role was performed with ease. Absolute joy to watch from start to finish.
  • The film sets up so many other pieces for the trilogy. What’s so good about it though, is that it doesn’t make this film all about the origin story like some other films do (Fantastic Four springs to mind). It’s subtle and almost unnoticeable until you look at the trilogy as a complete unit (I did one of my essays in uni on the elements of cause and effect in these films).
  • The music is brilliant. Unlike X Men (Still pains me to this day that the film didn’t include the cartoon’s theme music), this does use the cartoon’s motif, albeit in an updated way. All it took was those first few bars and I felt right at home, so it came as no surprise that the score was none other than the wonderful Danny Elfman.

The Bad

  • The CGI is god awful in some scenes. The only saving grace is that the colours and visual tones give the film that comic book feel so the CGI doesn’t look *too* out of place.
  • Again, this is more to do with the MCU and how it’s changed the landscape for superhero movies, but this outing is so campy. Like, bordering on panto sort of campy. While it works for the Green Goblin, having everything else hammed up just puts the story at odds with itself.
    At the story’s heart is grief. Peter is motivated by Uncle Owen’s death and Green Goblin is the manifestation of Norman’s fear of failure. None of which is light stuff. It all gets lost in the quips, nods and winks to the audience.

The Ugly

  • I know there are some Tobey Maguire defenders out there, and at the time I had no complaints, but the dude looks over 30. Those high school scenes really do make him look a little creepy.
    I’d also thought Emo Peter was relegated to the third outing, but in reality that emo streak was in him all along. Yes, we have been truly spoiled with Tom Holland, but while Tobey makes a good Spider-Man… he’s too old and too shit for Peter Parker. If he cried, I did one of two things; I laughed or I groaned.
  • You cast Kirsten Dunst, THE Kirsten Dunst, yet all you get her to do is scream?! What bullshit is that?!

Final Thoughts

In the grand scheme of things, this is the equivalent of the first two Harry Potters while Garfield and Holland are very much Azkaban onwards. Totally worth the pain of Maguire for the genius that is Dafoe!

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