Thursday, July 5, 2012
Spider-Man (2002) - Review
With the advent of the new Amazing Spider-Man film, I'm going to break my rule a little bit and review a movie I've seen dozens of times.
Allow me to start off by saying that I'm not at all a comic book fan. I think I've read one, maybe two in my entire life. They just aren't for me. So I don't care about this trilogy's inconsistencies with the comic book. I don't care that his webbing is wrong. I don't care that Uncle Ben's death (SPOILERS!) is wrong. I don't care that Spider-Man isn't a wisecracker. It all means nothing to me.
Of course, I knew nothing about movies when I saw this at the tender age of eleven. I just thought that superheroes were cool and I was entertained by the movie. It wasn't until many years later, when I saw some of Sam Raimi's earlier work , that I could fully appreciate these campy masterpieces. These movies are unlike any other in the superhero subgenre.
Let's face it: these movies are ridiculously silly. While people do like to pick on the third one (unfairly, by the way), all three movies are packed with goofy little moments. It's just Sam Raimi's style. And it's beautiful. It perfectly walks the line of self-awareness; it can get incredibly zany, but it always knows how to pull back and deliver a genuinely emotional moment. Much of this is due to the absolutely incredible cast. Seriously, every major player in this trilogy is nothing less than phenomenal. You couldn't ask for a more well-cast film. This first film is probably the most subdued of the three, but even it has some cheesy moments.
The Green Goblin, as played by the lunatic Willem Dafoe (who completely exudes psychosis in every film I've ever seen him in), is a joy to see. He plays it up, hamming it, if you will, but it's pulled off well. Tobey Maguire does a great job as Pete/Spidey (as he does in all three), and this is probably his most believable performance of the three. Throw in some classic scenes (my personal favorite is the parade sequence) and an absolutely stellar score (particularly the bridge fight), and you're left with a nigh perfect movie. Sure, it's silly. But that's kind of the point.