In a world where we have aliens fighting gods and billionaires flying around in metal suits that appear out of nowhere, Does an early 2000s Spider-man still fit? Or is it now just a movie to look back on nostalgically and think “thank god we aren’t in 2002 anymore.”
I went into Spider-man with, what I would consider, pretty low expectations. I always remembered it being fun but forgettable. Although after watching it again for the first time in over a decade, I have to say that the movie is a lot more fun than people give it credit for.
Now I’ll admit it isn’t very comic book accurate (think natural wed-shooters), but I wasn’t a comic book reader when this movie came out so I had nothing to compare it too. This made my enjoyment of the movie far greater because of that. Peter in this movie isn’t the tech savvy, smart ass, so it would be out of place for him to build web-shooters and other tech stuff. He was just a guy being bullied, he liked MJ, he had a family that cared about him. He had traits that any young person at the time could relate to. This is what made his character great. so for him to become Spider-man felt like something that could happen to any of us.
The performances from the cast were great as well. Tobey Maguire is definitely not a wise cracking Spider-Man. but the character he portrayed on screen was good. Kirsten Dunst was great as MJ. She was pretty and you felt that she was torn between wanting to fit in, and wanting to be her own person. Willem Defoe was great as the Green Goblin. His change between Norman Osborn and the Goblin was great and the scene with him talking to the Goblin through the mirror felt like 2 different people. James Franco was grand. nothing special but not bad either, although it was a bit mellow dramatic at times.
The action scenes were good. The first appearance of the Goblin at the parade was fun to watch and it show cased a lot of both his and Spider-Man’s abilities. The final fight though, to me, kind of came out of left field. Spider-man hadn’t gone looking for the Goblin, he just appeared. To me the flow was just a bit off. The uncle Ben scenes too were fine. It felt genuine when Uncle Ben was telling Peter that “with great power come great responsibility.”
Now there were some things that didn’t work for me. The script at times did feel very expositiony. I’m assuming this was because there wasn’t a lot of super hero movies out so a lot of things had to be explained to the audience. I also didn’t like the sudden change to Osborn after he went through the gas. It just seemed like there was nothing then everything. I would have liked to see a progression of this rather than a sudden change, but that might just be on me.
VERDICT: MINOR SURGERY
I had fun with this movie. It definitely felt like a different time in comic films. I think I counted 3 Batman and superman references (Aunt may flat out says “you’re not superman, you know”), but it is a movie that feels “comicbooky” and enjoyable. I’m OK with him not being a comic accurate Spider-man, but I have to say , he doesn’t hold a candle to Tom Holland.