June 18, 2012 Posted by admin

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REVIEW DATE: 28/05/02




UK RELEASE: 14/06/02

SPIDERVERTICALThanks to my good friends at Columbia TriStar, I recently attended an advance UK screening of one of the summer’s hottest movie, Spider-Man. Now I have to admit, I’d had my reservations about ol’ webhead’s first big screen outing, fearing a Hollywood hack-job, shades of Batman’s darkness and a complete lack of respect for over 30 years off storytelling. But y’know what’s it was actually pretty amazing!

Yep, next to the first Superman and Batman flicks (oh, and The Rocketeer), this is the most accurate, exciting and downright fun superhero movie I’ve ever seen. Watching everyone’s favourite wall-crawler swinging through the streets of New York, taking on the maniacal Green Goblin and generally doing whatever a spider can left me with same giddy feeling I have when reading Brian Michael Bendis’ Ultimate Spider-Man. It’s a sense of seeing your childhood hero stripped down to basics and indulging in some truly entertaining storytelling.

There’s not going to be any spoiler information in this review, but the plot of the film essentially follows the same route as the classic ’60s Lee/Ditko stories, adding a few modern elements to the mythos and wrapping them up in that unique Sam Raimi way. Yes, we get to see nerdy high school student Peter Parker gaining superhuman powers from a spider bite, testing out his newfound abilities and using them for financial gain in a wrestling match. Likewise, the epic “with great power, comes great responsibility” speech and death of Uncle Ben are played out with just the right amount of drama.

Kirsten Dunst is credible as love interest Mary-Jane Watson, the girl Peter wants but knows his responsibilities will always come between them, and forget any Jack Nicholson/Joker comparisons you might have heard, Willem Dafoe really makes the split personality of Goblin role his own. However, standout role of the film has to be J. K. Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson, a newspaper editor with the shortest fuse and worst barber in the world. Also well worthy of a mention are the film’s visual effects. There’s a slightly surreal aspect to them that adds to the comic book “feel” of a Spider-Man movie. It’s almost as if your brain can’t quite get to grips with the image of a colourful superhero strutting his stuff in broad daylight (as opposed to dark comic book films such as Blade and Batman) and yet you totally accept it.

I’ve never been a huge fan of Sam Raimi’s movies, but what he’s accomplished here is nothing short of incredible. Of course it’d be a little cynical to suggest that what the world (and the US in particular) needs at the moment is an everyman hero and yet that’s exactly what we get. Maguire’s Parker is one of us. A guy with big dreams and ideas who wants to make a real difference. Thanks to quality acting, believable characters, an engaging storyline and stunning special effects, you’ll come away grinning like a five year-old having loved every minute of it. And with the cast signed on for two sequels, it looks like the successful Spider-Man franchise is set to swing for some time.