Before I start this review, I’m going to go off on a little tangent because I’m feeling it.
If I hear one more person bash a superhero film because it doesn’t go along with the comics, I am going to legitimately flip out. If you care about the comics, then please, read the comics!!! Don’t expect directors to make the story exactly like the comics because it’s not going to happen. Directors and anyone involved in Hollywood are there because they are creative people who are good at making stories come alive. At least most of them are. Their job is NOT to take a comic and make it into a film with all of the dialogue, characters, action and conflicts coming word-for-word from the comics. Their job is to creatively alter the story in a way that demonstrates appropriate respect for the comics while introducing a new look to the story. You know what’s really boring? Watching a film where we already know what’s going to happen down to the phrasing of the characters. You know what’s not? Giving a director free rein to take a story and give it some originality and flair that separates it from the adaptations done before it. If you are judging a movie purely based on the fact that it doesn’t align itself with the comics, you’re not giving the film a fair chance, not to mention you’re being completely ignorant to what the film is trying to depict.
Thank you for allowing my rant and please feel free to comment on the insert as well as your standing on the subject in the comments. I love reading what you guys have to say.
Now, Spider-Man the original trilogy starts off with this 2002 masterpiece, and yes, you read that correctly. The acting duo of Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst is exceptional in these films. Dunst gives us a vivacious depiction of Mary Jane Watson, providing the audience with a basic framework before illuminating the many strings attached to that character, mainly her insecurities and apprehension of what the future holds in store for her. She’s charismatic and charming, caring and flirtatious, but eventually comes to the realization that maybe it’s time to stop flirting with every guy and start looking for “the” guy. Her performance still had a little room for improvement but is by no means mediocre. It’s Dunst’s most noteworthy performance and after viewing this, it’s not too hard to see why.
James Franco’s career didn’t fully get going until he was Harry Osborn in the Spider-Man saga. He demonstrates apprehension for the future as well, but unlike Mary Jane, his instability is created by the fact that he’s not sure where he belongs. His dad, Norman, owns his own company, Oscorp, and is a recognizable public figure. He’s an established scientist and businessman and so Harry is constantly living in his father’s shadow. It’s a father-son relationship that is not unfamiliar with the theatric screen, but in this blockbuster separates itself from the sketches before it. Franco demonstrates the behavior of an upper echelon citizen, someone who at times looks down at others although doesn’t mean to do so.
Willem Dafoe is tenacious as Norman Osborn and his acting is especially impressive during the scenes he utilizes the personalities of Norman and the Green Goblin. It’s a visual representation of the internal conflict that Norman is dealing with and while not stellar or the best of the best, it is something to be admired.
Finally, we have Tobey Maguire. Oh, Tobey. He’s so good as Peter Parker and displays his humility, compassion, and wisdom through his actions. In so many ways, the character of Peter Parker reminds me of myself that the resemblance makes me wonder if we are twins. He doesn’t have a lot of friends at school (check), gets picked on (check), thrives in academics (check), relies on his family for support (check), has banks of potential but is not always the most responsible (check). He’s so easy to relate to and yet he’s such a unique character. With a character that is so down to Earth and so admirable, this is the best type of superhero for me. This is the Spider-Man that I like to see, one who holds himself to the highest values and standards and fights for the moral right, who’s willing to risk his life for others because of the selfless person that he is. He’s not cocky or arrogant or completely irresponsible. Talking about you, Andrew Garfield.
Once again, if you’re new to my blog, I’ve always ranked movies on a scale of 0-100 (I don’t know why, I just always have). Here’s the grading scale.
90-100 It’s a great movie and definitely one worth buying. (The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Mission Impossible, Mission Impossible II, Mission Impossible III)
50-59 This movie isn’t intolerable but it’s not blowing my mind either. I’m trying really hard to get some sort of enjoyment out of this. (Aliens, Alien Resurrection, Full Metal Jacket, Thor, You’re Next)
40-49 This movie is just mediocre. It’s not doing anything other than the bare minimal, so morbidly boring that sometimes I’m actually angry I watched this. (Pitch Black, Alien, Serendipity, Cowboys and Aliens, 300: Rise of an Empire)
0-19 Watching this movie resulted in one or more of the following: seizure, loss of brain cells, falling asleep/unconsciousness, feel you wasted your time/day, accomplished nothing for you, left the movie knowing less about it then you did going into it, constantly asking yourself why you came to see this movie, or near-death experience. In short, staring at a wall was just as entertaining as watching this movie. This movie deserved a sticker or a label that said, “WARNING: EXTREME AMOUNT OF SUCKAGE.” (Midnight Cowboy, Dark Fury, Alien 3, Open Grave)
My score for Spider-Man: 95.
Those who prefer the newer version to the original most likely do so because of the fact that the newer ones are closer aligned with the comics, an unfair and unprofessional reason for preferring one over the other. The visuals and battle sequences are choreographed well and the characters are all memorable, even J.K. Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson despite his incredibly short screen time. The cast is better, the dialogue is better and the character development wins by a mile and then some. Even if I weren’t comparing the two films, Spider-Man on its own is a great film in and of itself. If you’re a fan of Spider-Man, you gotta watch this.