Don’t get me wrong, “Spider-Man” is a great comic to adapt. The story of a boy who does great things; the Horatio Alger of our generation.
The movie begins with some Tobey Maguire (Spider-Man/Peter Parker) narrative about how oppressed he feels. He loves this girl, Mary Jane (Kirsten Dunst), but naturally she doesn’t even know he exists. But, in an obvious cliche, she is nice to him. We wind our way through a bunch of emotional crap and eventually arrive to the introduction of two important characters Norman Osborn (Willem Dafoe) and his son Harry (James Franco). For some reason, Harry has chosen to befriend Peter and it is this point in the story that we realize that Norman and Peter are both geeks.
So, we spend about another 15 minutes going over how Peter Parker evolves into Spider-Man and another 15 minutes watching him go through emotional trauma, which I won’t spoil for you. Somewhere in there, our good friend Dr. Osborn pulls a Norman Bates (how appropriate) and becomes The Green Goblin. So now we have Spider-Man and The Green Goblin.
The next 45 minutes reads like a teen movie. Harry loves MJ, MJ loves Spider-Man, Spider-Man is Peter, Peter loves MJ, MJ loves Harry… and you get the point. So, after half of the movie, we have seen very little conflict between Norman and Peter. Suddenly, in a great feat of CGI, Norman strikes fear into the residents of this fine city and sparks envy within Spider-Man’s heart. Now, it’s personal.
Then, we have a few big climatic battles, death defying sequences, our hero almost dies, and finally good triumphs over evil. Basically, your average storyline.
I was stunned at how incredibly awful the CGI was. There were some scenes in the film that looked like they were pulled out of a video game. For all the money they spent on the film you’d think they could have done something decent. The end result was good, just not great.
On a side note to director Sam Raimi, the cameo with Bruce Campbell was great. The emotional junk between Peter and Mary Jane wasn’t needed and just made me think of all the bad movies these two have done in the past. Quite frankly, Kirsten Dunst is the female equivalent of Keanu Reeves. Giving her emotion is like asking Reeves to cry. It’s just not appropriate.
On the flip side of things, I did enjoy some of the film. I do think that the fake special effects ruined most of it for me, but you told a good story. That, my friend, is why “Spider-Man” doesn’t suck. Sam Raimi managed to give us the origin, introduce key characters, and still make things go boom in a matter of 2 hours. That is to be commended.Rating: C+