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A movie directed by Sam Raimi

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Raimis paints by numbers

  • Dec 21, 2002
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This is pure candy-floss: well marketed, somewhat cynically timed, but fundamentally an unimaginative adaptation of cartoon strip which itself was a pretty bare-faced rip-off of Superman. There are a number of reference points for Spider Man, and it doesn't measure up to any of them:

Firstly, adapting a comic strip to the big screen: Since Christopher Reeve brought us Superman-con-fromage, action heroes have all but infested the cinema, mostly with substandard results: The best of the bunch was the Batman franchise, which (at least while in Tim Burton's capable hands) took a fairly cornball & camp idea and extracted a far darker, more gothic essence. Sam Raimis does nothing of the sort here: Spidey is straight, wholesome, dull, and ickily adolescent: I'm not sure what Raimis had in mind, but watching scenes where, at the flick of his wrist a infatuated 17 year old shoots sticky white stuff around his bedroom wasn't exactly the superhero experience I bargained for.

Secondly, the "celebrity Bad Guy having the time of his life" gambit doesn't pay off: Having a serious thesp play the villain is hardly a new idea. But where Jack Nicholson, Anthony Hopkins, Alan Rickman, Dennis Hopper and so on have animated (and in some cases carried) pretty cheesy films, in Spiderman, Defoe never really gets to grips with his part, and he certainly doesn't ham it up the way it screams out for. Partly I think this is because the green goblin part is poorly conceived: I don't know whether that fault lies with Marvel or Raimis' scriptwriter.

And lastly, the special effects aren't that much chop: I rented The Matrix last week, which is practically a senior citizen in the Special FX world, having been around since 1998 or thereabouts. But it still leaves Spiderman for dead.

And those are about the only criteria on which a film in the format of Spiderman could have hoped to justify itself. It will never be Citizen Kane, certainly, but given the hype Spiderman received (and its box office receipts) I was a little surprised this picture didn't at least subvert one or two conventions. It (ham-fistedly) set itself up for a sequel, so I guess there is another chance out there for some aspiring director to make a mark.

But I'm not holding my breath.

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review by . March 16, 2011
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review by . July 18, 2010
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review by . December 05, 2009
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review by . November 08, 2009
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review by . June 21, 2008
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This review will be split into three sections, they will be The Story, The Characters & The Verdict. This will give you a fair and true description of the movie and its characters and will give you my personal opinion of the movie which should help you make an informed decision on whether to watch this film for the first time or whether to stay away like you have already done for six years.    The Story: Tobey Maguire plays Peter Parker an aspiring photographer who one day is …
review by . September 17, 2004
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Olly Buxton ()
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Based on the classic Marvel Comics series, Sam Raimi's SPIDER-MAN deftly details the origin of the web-slinging superhero. When awkward New York City teenager Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) attends a class field trip to a laboratory, he gets bitten by a genetically altered spider while taking photos of his longtime crush, the lovely Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst). Soon he discovers this bite has given him remarkable powers--heightened strength, dexterity, and awareness, along with the ability to cling to walls and shoot webs from his wrists. Hoping to win Mary Jane's heart using his new talents, Peter becomes distracted from home life with his doting Aunt May (Rosemary Harris) and Uncle Ben (Cliff Robertson), ultimately leading to tragedy--and his new role as the crime-fighting Spider-Man. Meanwhile Harry Osborn (Willem Dafoe), the industrialist father of Peter's friend Norman (James Franco), undergoes a transformation of his own, bringing about the creation of Spider-Man's arch-nemesis: The Green Goblin...                                            
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Director: Sam Raimi
Genre: Action, Drama, Sci-Fi
Release Date: 2002, May 3, 2002
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Screen Writer: Stan Lee, David Koepp, Steve Ditko
DVD Release Date: November 1, 2002
Runtime: 2hrs 1min
Studio: Sony Pictures, Columbia Pictures
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