Spider-Man (2002)

Spiderman

Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Classic and satisfying.

Who is your favorite superhero? The options vary, and the reasoning behind the favoritism also vary, but you’d typically find that you like the hero that relates closely to yourself. For me, I have been a monumental fan of Spider-Man since I first saw… the 90’s Saturday morning cartoon show…shut up. I wasn’t against comics, but keeping up with them just seems to be a hassle. Anyways, I was a fan of Spider-man and couldn’t wait to get my hands on Tobey Maguire’s version of the hero. Spider-Man was the first real shot we had at a real live-action flick, and what a solid film it was.

So, everyone already knows the story of how Peter Parker became Spider-man, but I’m gonna tell it as if you have all been living under a rock for the last couple of decades (to be safe). Peter Parker (Maguire) is the downright nerd of nerds. He’s in love with the girl next door (literally), but no one pays him any mind. Well, on a field trip, Peter is bitten by a radioactive spider, and the next morning he found out he had some crazy awesome powers. Things like sticky fingers, super-strength, 20/20 vision, and of course – the power to shoot webs out of his wrists. When Norman Osborn, a scientist at Oscorp, begins human testing on himself, he becomes the Green Goblin. A villain that has one true goal – to keep his job.

So I’ve been getting used to talking about a film’s theme lately. So why stop now when a movie’s theme is pretty much a major blatant plot tool? What I mean by that is the primary theme in the film is spoken numerous times in the film – responsibility. Beyond that, I would say empathy. Spider-Man is one of the most caring and responsible heroes that I have ever seen. At the same time, though, he loves to play around and act sarcastic as its part of his character. It is his actions, though, that deserve credit. Moral and selfish dilemmas are pretty apparent in this film, and for the most part, Peter does the right thing. He isn’t prideful, he’s selfless. At the same time, he isn’t perfect, so he does end up kicking himself for different things. It makes him feel that much more human.

Tobey Maguire was a magnificent pick for the role of Peter Parker. I haven’t known any other interpretations as convincing as this. Don’t get me started on Andrew Garfield. Let’s just say if Garfield was in this film, I’d expect him to be hanging around Flash Thompson and the boys. Maguire was a great pick…even if he, Mary-Jane, Harry, and the rest of them did look too old to be high schoolers. Thankfully, they weren’t in school long enough for us to really complain. That’s another thing…people have complained about Kirsten Dunst as Mary-Jane. I honestly have no complaints about her. None whatsoever. I thought she was great.

If I had one major complaint – it would be that the Green Goblin wasn’t fully…as evil as he could possibly be. If you really think about it, his involvement in the film wouldn’t be half as bad if Spider-Man didn’t show up. Most of the bad stuff the Green Goblin does wasn’t on a global or city-wide scale, but on a close level to Spider-Man. He attacked Aunt May, he attacked Mary Jane…and his main goal was to simply keep his job. When this film first came out, no one really thought twice about it, but we have stuff to compare it to now. His character could have been more effective. We, as an audience, should feel fear not only for the hero, but for the city as well. Sure, there were a couple of scenes that heightened that level of danger, but nothing at the level of any of the other Spider-Man flicks.

Spider-Man satisfies that kid in you that you forgot even existed. Tobey Maguire is the perfect nerd and perfect Peter Parker, and Spider-Man is epic for a first on-screen appearance.

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7 thoughts on “Spider-Man (2002)

  1. Andrew Garfield was never popular in the new movie. He was just as much of an outcast, it just a different KIND of outcast, for a different generation. When the original movies came out, if you saw people skateboarding or wearing nice clothes, etc, they would seem popular, but today, those aren’t really things that make people popular. Skateboarding isn’t really seen as cool anymore, either. Garfield’s Peter doesn’t have any friends, at all. The only reason Gwen Stacey befriended him was that she liked how he stuck up for the kid getting bullied (and got bullied himself for doing so), and that they shared an interest in science. Both things that fit perfectly with the Peter Parker character. You’re comparing two different generations. As generations change, the type of people who are cool and the type of people who are outcasts change in what they look like. Amazing Spider-man depicts that perfectly. It’s still absolutely the same Peter, just in a different generation. But his Spider-man is 100x better, which is also the most important part of it imo. Maguire’s Spider-man is horrible. Spider-man is supposed to be cool, smart, great at making fun of his opponents, etc. In the end Spider-man is supposed to basically be the opposite of Peter Parker. It’s part of why he puts on the mask, to become someone he wouldn’t have the courage to be in real life. Maguire’s Spider-man just doesn’t capture this at all. He’s also the completely wrong build for the character. Also, Dunst’s Mary Jane is nothing like Mary Jane, like, at all. As a movie on its own it’s fine, but if you’re asking which is the better SPIDER-MAN movie, for me personally, I think it’s clearly Amazing Spider-man.

    Other than that though, the score is great, and Harry, Norman, JJ and Aunt May were all casted perfectly.

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    • No one will ever fit Peter like Maguire. No one. He is the exact type of guy I’d expect to see from Peter – a bumbling, unattractive, 4-eyed dork that has hopes and dreams that are crushed by bullies constantly. When it comes down to connecting with Peter, he was meant to connect with all the rejects out there. That’s why his transition to Spider-man gives those nerds and dorks out there hope.

      Andrew Garfield is, like how the honest trailer puts, an attractive, popular guy. Now, he’s not as popular as he is just…in the background. He is far from a reject. The guy he protects from being bullied should have been him. He is supposed to be a character put down, almost hopeless, his courage and confidence arise only through the suit, where he sees the other half live.

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      • Andrew Garfield isn’t popular or attractive whatsoever. Maybe if you stuck him in Raimi’s world, you might have an argument, but he’s not there. In The Amazing Spider-man world, Andrew Garfield is plain, boring, a nerd, a reject, and very unpopular. He is ABSOLUTELY a hopeless character. He hasn’t been able to fit in anywhere at all, not in school, not at home, not in front of other people he meets like Gwen’s family, etc. A big part of what makes someone attractive or not is confidence, and Andrew Garfield’s Peter has none. He tries, but always fails. After he gets his powers, he tries to use his abilities to improve his confidence, but fails again, just like Maguire. The only place he truly fits in and is able to achieve confidence is in the suit.

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      • Man, I can connect with Peter. That means whether I’m watching or reading Spider-Man (comics, novelizations), I am a reject, and Maguire encompasses my entire history into one performance. I did not connect with Garfield – at all. That’s enough for me. His Spiderman may be better, but I didn’t think Tobey’s Spider-man was all that horrible. I never complained about it, personally.

        As far Garfield, I didn’t connect with him and think he was living a similar life to me, or even feel like in the real world we’d be friends.

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      • That’s because you’re thinking about your personal generation. Maguire’s Spider-man came out around the time you were i high school. His life is going to look similar to yours. Outcasts today are different. Times change, and what makes someone popular or not also changes. Personally, I connected equally with both. The one Peter Parker I feel doesn’t fit is the one in Ultimate Spider-man, since he already has confidence as Peter.

        Think about how Garfield kept stumbling on his words when he was trying to ask Gwen out. Popular people don’t have those problems. That kind of genuine shyness/awkwardness comes from being unpopular.

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      • A movie, in general, should appeal to everyone. If it doesn’t, you’ll get people like me that feel a certain way about it. I’m not the only person that shares this belief.

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  2. Pingback: The Spider-Man Collection (2002-2012) | Dave Examines Movies

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