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Review: Spiderman 534

I skipped out early this morning and went to see the first showing of Spiderman in my local theater. The Sam Raimi directed spiderman is the first of the summers blockbusters and stars Toby Maguire as the webslinger, Willem Dafoe as the Green Goblin and Kirsten Dunst and the lovely Mary Jane. And guess what? Its one of the best comic book movies I've ever seen. I loved it. And I'll try not to lone-gunman-are-dead the review, but if you're super paranoid, just skip out, go see the flick, and enjoy it.
So I love spiderman. The wisecracking sarcasm. The realistic portrayal of a young man coming of age and juggling real world problems with the fantasticly unreal problems of being, well, a spiderman. I just love it. I love the comics. I loved the cartoons when I was a kid. And I went into this biased as hell: with Sam Raimi helming one of the classics, I had the highest hopes of any movie since Episode I. And this time around there was not a drop of disappointment.

First off lets talk about the cast. Toby Maguire was great in The Cider House Rules. He's just a solid actor. But I was seriously wary of him in the role of the webbed one. He seemed like a flimsy choice. He needed to pull off the one liners, but still convince us of his love for Mary Jane. But he pulls it off admirably. From the goofy glasses wearing scenes in the beginning to his badass battle scenes towards the end, its a solid showing. The best scenes in the whole movie are the ones where we see Peter Parker coming to grips with his new spider powers.

Now I'm gonna skip in a bit with a statement about staying true to comic books. Yes- some of the details have been changed from the books. Like most noticably, the nature of Spiderman's webbing. But whatever- this is story telling and it works for me.

Kirsten Dunst does a good job in what could have been a bland role in the hands of an actress who was just a pretty face. Mary Jane is convincing, and since she is in many ways the thing that grounds spiderman, its a tough burden. And the other biggie is of course the head of Oscorp, Mr. Norman Osborn, Willem Defoe. he does allright, but most of his maniacal scenes are covered by a mask that leaves him little room for any actual facial expressions.

So the plot: Boy loves girl. Boy gets bit by radioactive spider and develops super powers. Boys friend's dad inhales nano gas that makes him super powerful, and super crazy. Boy explores powers and eventually must save city from the attack of the newly crazed buddy's dad, all while dealing with the loss of his family. It's spiderman in a nutshell, and it's just damn solid.

The special effects are smooth. From the ads I was a little concerned since spiderman looked a little fake leaping around. But within the context of the movie it usually worked for me. They looked unnatural, but frankly seeing spiderman leap off inflatable balloon floats and swinging around flagpoles suspended by spiderwebs is already pretty unnatural so I let the suspension of disbelief win out on this one.

Danny Elfman hasn't sounded this good since Batman. I loved the score. It doesn't really feel original, but it sure fits like a glove.

In short, its a great movie. I won't comic-book-guy the details that were missed in the transition from paper to film, but I think they did a great job of making an entertaining movie, and staying extremely true to what I think Spiderman is all about. And goddamn it, the raw sense of excitement as he discovers his abilities is enough to make every guy wish he had those powers- swinging from building to building and howling like a mad freak. God I loved it. Congratulations to everyone involved- you win.

All that, and I even scored tickets to the 12:01 showing of star wars on opening day ;)

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Review: Spiderman

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  • WTF?!? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 03, 2002 @02:37PM (#3458688)
    The Lone Gunmen are DEAD? Man, why did you have to give that away?!? Crap, I won't have to watch my TIVOed X-Files now...!
  • Big fan (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dirvish ( 574948 ) <> on Friday May 03, 2002 @02:40PM (#3458711) Homepage Journal
    It is great to see that such a big fan enjoyed the movie so much. I can't wait to see it. I am heading to the theatre for the 7:45 pm show. I wonder...if Spiderman is really good will it give Attack of the Clones a challenge this month? Star Wars is unquestionably huge but there are also a lot of Spiderman fans and a lot people that feel burned by Phantom Menace.
  • Finally (Score:2, Interesting)

    Finally a review from someone who as actually "seen" the movie rather than a lot of the speculation going around. I think Taco is right on the money, this appeals to the guys that loved the comics . . . it is a dream come true.
  • by Misha ( 21355 ) on Friday May 03, 2002 @02:40PM (#3458721) Homepage
    so anyone familiar with the comic book will like it, but how about someone like me, who simply never read them? sure, flame me, but you could say i am from a different generation. still, is the movie good?
    • by Microsift ( 223381 ) on Friday May 03, 2002 @02:45PM (#3458757)
      Your "different generation" argument would hold more weight if your sig didn't quote a Pink Floyd lyric

    • by Anonymous Coward
      The comic book was kind of like a comic book for people who don't read comic books. I've never been a comic book fan, but I loved reading Spider-Man.

      Ironically, my wife is dying to see this movie, and she usually hates these movies. Even she's clued into the fact that the nature of this character is just a little bit different.

      Certainly casting Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst in this was smart -- geekheads may feel a little apprehensive, but if it can bring my wife into the theater it's going to bring a lot of other people who wouldn't ordinarily see a movie like this.
    • I never read the comic book, and the extent of my Spider Man knowledge was that of conventional wisdom -- that he dug this redhead named Mary Jane and that he was bitten by a spider.

      The movie still rocked...:)

    • Other way around.

      If you're NOT familiar with the character by reading the comic books, you'll probably like the movie.

      I'm not sure how anyone who has read the comic books can call this movie a good Spider-man movie. Maybe "Pete Parker, Spiderman", but it's definetely not the same character Stan Lee and Steve Ditko created back in the day.
  • And I'll try not to lone-gunman-are-dead the review

    That's got to be the phrase of the day somewhere! People on the boards were quite unhappy that Slashdot posted that (and as soon as it happened on the east coast, no less!)!

    To use it as a description for how much or how little will be given away in the review is truly, truly amazing! Caused me to laugh, anyway!
  • by dscottj ( 115643 ) on Friday May 03, 2002 @02:43PM (#3458741) Homepage
    How about as Mary Jane? :)

    I grew up with Spiderman. He is the reason I learned to read, because a) the Electric Company featured him every day, b) my Mom wouldn't read comics to me, and c) my dad was always too busy to read them to me.

    Spidey also seemed to cross racial lines, IME. We all thought he was cool, no matter if we were asian, black, hispanic, or white. Spidey just rocked.

    AFAIK, he's also one of the few superheros to come close to killing Wolverine. How to actually kill Wolverine was the topic of many a cafeteria discussion when I was in college. :)
    • Mom says I learned to read when she tape-recorded herself reading my favorite spiderman book. After reading and re-reading it as only obsessive children can, I could read.

      It's the content, not the medium.... : )
    • "sic" em (Score:5, Funny)

      by GungaDan ( 195739 ) on Friday May 03, 2002 @02:56PM (#3458850) Homepage
      "How about as Mary Jane? :)"

      Nah, he was right the first time - all movies are best viewed with a little Mary Jane.

    • Oh my god (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      How to actually kill Wolverine was the topic of many a cafeteria discussion when I was in college.

      Take me. Take me now. You're a woman's dream.
    • How to actually kill Wolverine was the topic of many a cafeteria discussion when I was in college.

      In the "Wolverine" comic book, somewhere within the first 50 issues, they said basically that Wolverine could starve to death, dehydrate, die from lack of oxygen (~15 minutes without breathing) , and drown. No, I don't have exact issue references. Sorry.

      Spider-Man sounds like it could be good, but what i'm really waiting for is a good HBO miniseries adaptation of "Watchmen". That would completely rock, and probably make people think differently about "comic books can't be high art." </wishful_thinking>

  • by talon77 ( 410766 ) on Friday May 03, 2002 @02:43PM (#3458742) Homepage
    No mention of Bruce Campbell's cameo roll? Thats the entire reason I've been excited about this movie for the past year..!
  • by nob ( 244898 ) on Friday May 03, 2002 @02:45PM (#3458761) Homepage
    It's spiderman in a nutshell, and it's just damn solid.

    I haven't seen this flick yet, but it sounds like it lives up to the book [].

    Oh, wait...
  • he need some fancy high tech nano stuff to get into this stage?

    When I was a kid, throwing snow or water ballons inside, was more than enough.
  • It seems like, for the first time in a long while, somebody Gets the Comic Book Idea.

    Which usually means "tight, interesting story, complex characters in the ordinary world with extraordinary circumstances, and spandex".

    Now, if we can just get someone to perform a videogames2movie conversion that doesn't suck. (Well, except for Street Fighter II the Animated Movie, but that was an anime, so it doesn't count.)
  • Webslinger.... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by booyah ( 28487 )
    Or would you just go so far as to say he is a Web Master? Gives all those poor lonely cube monkies more hope eh?

    Ha Ha Green Goblin, I'll PHP your ass!!!

  • Free Comic Book Day (Score:5, Interesting)

    by totallygeek ( 263191 ) <> on Friday May 03, 2002 @02:50PM (#3458792) Homepage
    Don't forget that Saturday, May 4 is "Free Comic Book Day". Most comic shops will give you a free comic book. Here [] is some information on that subject.

  • by krmt ( 91422 ) <therefrmhere AT yahoo DOT com> on Friday May 03, 2002 @02:50PM (#3458797) Homepage
    I'll try not to lone-gunman-are-dead the review...

    I won't comic-book-guy the details...
    Great review. Now you've just got to work on not verbing your nouns. ;-)
  • My girlfriend isn't much of a (comic book/computer) geek, but she's been singing the damn theme song from the cartoon all week.
    At least she'll calm down after we see it.

    Hopefully it doesn't spawn a series of crappy, overhyped sequels though *cough* Batman *cough*
  • huh? (Score:2, Funny)

    and Kirsten Dunst and the lovely Mary Jane

    Either this is a typo or Kirsten Dunst was getting blazed the whole movie...
    Their both good in their own way I suppose...

  • No globalism-running-rampant? No sales pitch? No Open-source? Evil multi-nationals? Where's the post 9/11 hellmouth Corporatism angle?

    I'm sorry, but reviews just aren't the same without the JonKatz.
  • by cOdEgUru ( 181536 ) on Friday May 03, 2002 @02:56PM (#3458853) Homepage Journal
    All that, and I even scored tickets to the 12:01 showing of star wars on opening day ;)

    May You ROT IN HELLL!!!!!
  • by nomadic ( 141991 )
    Now I HAVE to see the movie. Just found out that in it he's from the same tiny, obscure neighborhood in Queens that I am...
  • So, we should just rush out and put money in the pockets of the MPAA?
    • Nah - just sneak in, or get your theater-working buddy to get you through.

      Either that, or pay, then just don't watch the commercials/previews beforehand. Since that's stealing, the price evens out nicely to $0!
    • by cybermage ( 112274 ) on Friday May 03, 2002 @03:58PM (#3459252) Homepage Journal
      So, we should just rush out and put money in the pockets of the MPAA?

      Find a theater showing Spider-man and an Indie flick at about the same time. Buy a ticket for the Indie and sit down in the Spider-man theater "by mistake." Just don't do it when Spider-man is sold out.

      For bonus points, buy another ticket for the Indie flick and see that too.
  • by stagl ( 569675 ) on Friday May 03, 2002 @03:00PM (#3458897) Homepage
    i find it humorous that spider-man loves 'mary jane'...maybe all those superpowers are just a mild hallucination. :)
  • I liked it too (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mattbelcher ( 519012 ) <> on Friday May 03, 2002 @03:05PM (#3458929) Homepage
    After picking up my Star Wars tickets this morning, I decided to stay a little later and see Spider-Man (with a hyphen) as well, especially since I had already taken the whole morning off work.

    I'm a long time Spider-Man fan, so I was looking forward to/dreading seeing it made into a film. The best praise I can give it is that it was very accurate. The story of the original Green Goblin was told just as I remember it from the comic books, with a few exceptions which aren't really worth getting into.

    The greatest thing about it isn't so much that the plot is accurate, but that the characters are. The first scene with J. Jonah Jameson captured the man's essence perfectly. Does he really think Spider-Man is a menace or does he just want to sell more papers? Norman Osborne is very well done, which is good since he gets the majority of screen time, after Parker. His personality-changing rage is reminiscent of the Incredible Hulk, but more devious. His interactions with Harry are are nice as well. You can already see the personality flaws and fatherly abuses that will eventually lead Harry to his own fate.

    Despite the film's strong characterization and fantastic special effects, I didn't leave the film completely awed as I did with other films. It was all excellent, and polished, but it was missing a sense of wonder. Most of the film has been done before, just not all at the same time. Regardless, I think the film was successful. Hardcore Spidey fans won't be shocked by any heresy, action fans will be impressed by the web-swinging, and even those who prefer love stories won't be disappointed.

  • I had the highest hopes of any movie since Episode I.

    so i guess a little book made into a movie [] last christmas didn't suit your fancy?

  • ... and it was GREAT! It couldn't have been done better. I highly recommend it. The direction and writing was good - it didn't try to explain anything to the audience like they were stupid. I might actually go see it again tonight, and I Never do that!
  • Why PG-13? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Hell O'World ( 88678 ) on Friday May 03, 2002 @03:18PM (#3459036)
    My 4 year old really wants to see this movie, and I'm wondering why a movie with a potential audience going way down in age, would they aim for a teenage rating? I wonder if I should heed that "Parents Strongly Cautioned"? I'll probably take him, but it'll probably scar him for life :)
    Or at least give him a few good nightmares.
  • by revscat ( 35618 ) on Friday May 03, 2002 @03:27PM (#3459076) Journal
    Stan Lee has an editorial [] in today's New York Times (free reg required blah blah blah), wherein he talks about Spidey's long-lasting appeal. Short on depth but fulla Stan Lee goodness, it's worth a read.
  • So with Sony being a part of the MPAA and RIAA, it is ok to still see this Movie? After all you did realize this was a Sony movie.

    • Sony is a big company, split into lots of piecies. Sony movies and sony games are great divisions. The funny thing is that one arm of Sony doesn't know what the other arm is doing. There's that new NetMD commercial, which tells you how you can use the Sony NetMD to rip music, meanwhile Sony Music is going freaky over the wave of MP3 "music stealing."

      BTW> The NetMD rocks. 2.5 (at good quality) hours of music, 56 hours of battery life, cheap ($2) media. The players themselves are small, durable, and can take quite a beating without skipping. Now, if it only worked in Linux ;)
  • Nitpicks. (spoilage) (Score:2, Interesting)

    by redtoade ( 51167 )
    1. Mary Jane as white trash... huh?
    2. Very slow on the ground. You can tell this when all the kids at the matinee start talking... nothing to keep their attention.
    3. no web cartridges? damn. How many plots rely on him running out of web fluid?
    4. Stan Lee cameo... give me a break. Wasn't Jack Kirby involved with Spiderman? Where's his credit?

    Other than that, I couldn't keep the smile from my face. Will see it at least 2 more times I'm sure.
  • by Pinball Wizard ( 161942 ) on Friday May 03, 2002 @03:46PM (#3459177) Homepage Journal
    And goddamn it, the raw sense of excitement as he discovers his abilities is enough to make every guy wish he had those powers- swinging from building to building and howling like a mad freak.

    Hmm...I'll take Kirsten Dunst. You can swing from building to building howling like a mad freak all you want.

  • Maybe my memory is faulty, but as I recall, the Spider-Man in the comics had a dark, brooding personality. Until the very end, this spidey has really only one scene where he shows that, and the scene came out of nowhere; it didn't really fit. Perhaps he'll move that way in S-M-II.
  • I skipped out early this morning and went to see the first showing of Spiderman in my local theater.

    How much did that cost the economy? []
  • I desperately wanted to share LoTR with my son, but couldn't do it as it was too violent for him.

    My wife and I were both really upset when we saw that Spider-man was going to be PG-13, so I'm thinking that it is also probably out for my son.

    That said, I'd love to hear from some parents on whether they think it would or wouldn't be appropriate for me to take my boy.

  • by Walt Dismal ( 534799 ) on Friday May 03, 2002 @04:07PM (#3459313)
    I was bitten by a radioactive punchcard. Now I have the superhuman ability to write code for IBM704s.
  • It's sci-fi/CGI/comic stuff and we're geeks, so we must see it, right? Bah.

    It's a Sony Pictures movie. Sony's a member of the MPAA [], who love the DMCA []. Sony Pictures has been cited as a supporter of Fritz Holling's Security Systems Standards and Certification Act (SSSCA) [] bill. We're talking about the kind of folks that hire lawyers to sue teenage hackers for writing unauthorized DVD playback software [] for GNU/Linux systems. Sure, it might be a great movie, but at least stop a minute to think where your money's going, what it will be used for down the road.

    Anybody who says one vote doesn't matter must've missed the last US elections.

    • by JFMulder ( 59706 ) on Friday May 03, 2002 @10:05PM (#3461159)
      /%?%$!!"/$$??!/ How come people rate this crap as insightfull, or anything!!! Stop f**king around always complaining about companies do this, and companies do that, they don't want me to pirate their stuff, I can't illegally get the stuff they own for free. Get a life. They have the right because they OWN the product. If you can't get that across you narrow minded stealing anti-everything little brain, then you're going to find like to be VERY LONG and very boring, because you DON'T HAVE THE RIGHT TO STEAL! You said it yourself : unauthorized DVD playback software. It's UNAUTHORIZED. You don't have the right to do it because it infringes copyrights. Whether or not cpopyrights and IP is a good thing is another debate. For the time being, go see the movie, because it's funny, a hell of a good ride and stop whining.
  • Is that his last name, like Goldman or Peterman? Sheesh, you skip out of work to go support the MPAA, and you can't even manage to spell the proper noun, which is both title of the movie your are reviewing and the name of the main character, in the title (or body) of your review.
  • Maybe I'm weird, but what I want to know is did they plaster the damn thing with advertising?

    I don't bother with a lot of Hollywood movies, but the last few that I saw (Lord of the Rings, and X-Men, I think), they preceeded the trailers with a string of bigname coporate television-style advertising for crap like Coca-cola, Nike and Microsoft. I might go see a Spider-man movie for the hell of it (without expecting much from it), but I will not pay to see Microsoft ads.

    At a bear minimum, please do scream "bullshit" when you they push an ad on you. An entire audience chanting "Linux! Imac! Linux! Imac!" in response to a Microsoft ad would definitely warm the heart.

  • by RestiffBard ( 110729 ) on Friday May 03, 2002 @05:47PM (#3459995) Homepage
    very very happy. I thought tobey was great. but then I like tobey maguire in any role. As far as the way the movie was put together it just seemed better than batman. Batman was great but it was always so super comical, the sets were unreal, the costumes were jsut abstract. thats it batman was abstract and impressionistic and I think Spider-Man is more realistic (I'm talking the look, the fact that there's a guy swinging from skyscrapers is not what I'm talking about) as for the CG. well there is one spot that looks a little funny but only for a sec. Also what right do we ahve to complain? Stan Lee exec produced it. He's even in it if you look real close.
  • by sunhou ( 238795 ) on Friday May 03, 2002 @05:51PM (#3460014)
    Oops, posted my review over on the other slashdot article about Spidey today before seeing this story, where it is more appropriate. Here it is again, slightly modified.

    I got my first Spidey comic when I was about 6 (27 years ago), and have been a fan my whole life. Spidey (and Fantastic Four and Superman) were part of what fueled my interest in science as a kid, since they were always inventing all sorts of cool stuff.

    Going into the Spider-Man movie, I was sure there was no way it could live up to my hopes/expectations. Whenever I have this high hopes about a movie I'm always disappointed. I was even kinda bummed about the whole organic webshooters versus mechanical.

    I watched the movie this afternoon. I had some little nits to pick here and there, but overall as a whole, the movie was way better than I expected.

    They did so many things right. The bit with "the burglar that changed his life" was done perfectly, and that's what I most expected them to do poorly. That whole section of the movie, as he was figuring out who he was and what he could do, was very well done. There were some scenes you could tell were computer-generated, but the for the most part, the excitement of the movie made it easier to tolerate. And the movie would have been worse without those scenes, or if they had tried to do them physically with stuntmen.

    The main characterization I felt was missing was that it would have been nice to have seen more background of the relation between Spidey and his Uncle Ben. Although I guess even in the original comics, we never really got that (although we heard about it plenty over the years).

    Anyway, I loved it. I can't wait for the DVD. I'll probably bring my dad to watch it this weekend, since he used to be a bit of a Spidey fan too.
  • by JFMulder ( 59706 ) on Friday May 03, 2002 @05:56PM (#3460045)
    This movie was really great. Really. I think Star Wars is going to have great competition this year in the form of Spider-Man. The only mistake of the Spider-Man flick is the same error that the Batman movies have done : *** SPOILER ALERT, WELL, NOT MUCH OF A ONE, BUT STILL... ****** They kill off the Green Goblin in the end. If they do 2 or 3 other movies, they will probably run out of vilains, like Batman did. Sure, Spider Man has a lot of foes, but do we really want to see Spider-Man vs. Sand Man?
    **** SPOILER END *****
  • Boycott cancelled? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Trickster Coyote ( 34740 ) on Friday May 03, 2002 @05:58PM (#3460056) Homepage
    This sounds great. I think I'll rush out to see this right away!

    Uhh,... the MPAA boycott has been cancelled, right?

The absent ones are always at fault.