Spider-Man, Spider-Man, here comes your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man....
Your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man is making his big screen debut. As it seems with the success of other super heroe films like "Blade" and "X-Men", it seems only fitting that Marvel's flagship character is set to make his triumphant debut onto the big screen. The movie is based off the popular comic book icon, Spider-Man. The film tells the story of a young Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) whom is described as a outcast and somewhat of a nerd, but he's transformed one day when he's bitten by a genetically altered spider. Thus, giving Peter the powers of a man size spider, and the opportunity and confidence to win the heart of his neighbor, Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst). Whether it meant beating up her boyfriend, Flash Thompson or winning a wrestling match to earn money for a new car. Unfortunately, though, Peter soon learns as his Uncle Ben stated, "With great power, comes great responsibility." Meanwhile, Peter's idol, Norman Osborne (Willem Defoe), is under a lot of pressure to develop a formula for the military which increases a soldier's attributes, or he'll go out of business. Tragically, the experiment fails and causes Norman to develop split personalities; creating the Green Goblin. I'll admit I was skeptical about this film at first, but Sam Raimi has done a great job transcending the character to the big screen with a solid script. Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, and Willem Defoe were great in their roles as well. The special effects were great as expected, despite some minor scenes where anyone can obviously tell some of the CGI characters are fake. Overall, "Spider-Man" joins the ranks of other great super heroe films.
Sam Raimi manages to use his campy yet dark style tone that worked in his other films, like "Darkman" and "Army of Darkness", for "Spider-Man" while staying true to the storyline. This style fits perfectly for the film because it allows for movie to be everything the comic book was at times which was dark, tragic, romantic yet campy. Thus, playing with the emotion of the audience. One moment it has the viewer chuckling at the comedic exploits of Peter's boss Jameson when he rips Spidey, yet it'll have them crying at the tragic ending. However, where would this movie have been if it weren't for a good script?
For the most part, I think the screen writers did a great job. When I first heard about this film, I wasn't sure how Paramount would be able to fit the web head and Green Goblin's origin into one film while building up a good love story for Peter Parker/Spider-Man and Mary Jane. However, this is one moment where I was glad to be proven wrong. Not only does Paramount manage to put all those things into one film, but it takes anyone who sees it for one big thrill of a ride.
The love story with Peter and Mary Jane works very well for the film. Like "Superman: The Movie", the entire film is centered around the romantic relationship of the two main characters, in this case being Peter Parker and Mary Jane. As the story builds up their romance, it allows the audience to feel a deep connection with the two characters. Mary Jane is portrayed as a girl who always ends up with the wrong guy until she realizes the boy whom she's ignored for so long is really the "man of her dreams." (Warning: Spoiler Alert!)However, when Peter realizes that they can't be together because Mary Jane's life would always be in danger, this scene really saddens the viewer. Allowing for the audience to identify with the characters.
Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst had great chemistry together. At times, it almost seemed like their onscreen love story was genuine. In the scenes where Tobey and Kirsten talk to each other about their lives, you can't help but feel a connection with them. When they kissed each other in the movie, it almost seemed like they weren't acting like when they kissed at the end and when Spidey was hanging upside down.
However, Willem Defoe had a solid performance as well. Apart, from the goofy "Power Ranger version" of the Green Goblin outfit, Willem Defoe was brilliant portraying the character. Illustrating the character as he was meant to be...insane. Willem manages to make the Goblin/Norman bitter, insane, manipulative, cunning, and vengeful. Through Norman Osborne, Defoe portrays the character as a bitter man who lusts for power and when he becomes the Green Goblin, his lust for power grows to pure insanity. In one scene, it shows Norman talking to himself in a mirror; illustrating that he's talking to the Green Goblin side of his personality. It's through the Norman Osborne persona, that the viewer is able to see how the rivalry between the Goblin and Spider-Man begins.
At the expense of Norman's own son, he sees Peter as a younger version of himself and treats him more as a son at the beggining of the film than his own son Harry (Tom Franco). This creates a variety of complex situations that define the characters' relationships with each other as the film moves on. At the begining, Harry and Peter are best friends but as the film goes on, they grow more apart as the Green Goblin starts influence both their lives. In one scene, after Norman finds out Spidey's identity, he discovers that his son was dumped by Mary Jane for Peter. This creates a series of events that put Spider-Man in some disturbing situations, and that doing the right thing isn't always easy.
The CGI was good despite some scenes when it look obliviously fake. For example, when Peter climbs up a wall to chase down the guy who killed his uncle.
All in all, Spidey makes a big debut on the big screen. Featuring great performances, a good script and the right tone by Raimi, the film was indeed a success. "Spider-Man" is definitely one of the best super heroe films out there.