Sunday, February 17, 2008

REVIEW: Spider-Man


Year: 2002
Director: Sam Raimi
Starring: Tobey Maguire, Willem Dafoe, Kirsten Dunst, James Franco, Cliff Robertson
Distributor: Columbia Pictures
MPAA: Rated PG-13

Spider-Man has been in development for such a long time before heading to the big screen. Their have been casting issues and story changes that have kept our beloved superhero from the big screen treatment. Sony finally got the project up and running after numerous delays. The movie was released in the summer of 2002 with very high expectations and it certainly delivered on its promises. The movie grossed an estimated $821 million worldwide on a mear budget of $139 million. Spider-Man was a huge hit and a box office smash, it was the first superhero movie since Batman to garner alot of money. Being a huge Spider-Man fan and having followed the series from the comic book days, I was more than excited for the films debut.

Plot Outline:
Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) is a science nerd who doesn't fit in at school and whose only friend is Harry Osborne (James Franco), the son Norman Osborne (Willem Dafoe), a scientist who's the head of his own company. Peter also loves the girl next door, Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst) whom he has known for awhile. On a field trip to a genetics laboratory, Peter is bitten by a radioactive spider. Instead of any negative side effects, Peter finds he now possesses spider-like powers. Meanwhile, Norman Osborne is working on a chemical human performance enhancer. With the threat of his funding being pulled, Norman tests the prototype out himself and gets transformed into the Green Goblin.

The story of Spider-Man is a good one. After so many years of waiting, it was important for the studio and franchise to have a good story and I'm happy to say it does. The movie and characters are based on the Marvel comics from writer Stan Lee. The plot is very simple to understand and pretty enjoyable. The movie has a some what soft feel to it We get these popular characters that get introduced in the beginning of the movie that plays a major part later on. If their is something that I have to bring up for Spider-Man fans around the world, its that certain things have changed. That's right, certain things are changed about the film. First and for most, is the web shooter. Its been changed into his hands being able to shoot web instead of the traditional mechanical web shooter. I also didn't agree with the costume of the Green Goblin. I thought he looked way too futuristic and uninteresting. Their are many other small things that have been altered by the studio so be warned Spider-Man fans.

The cast of Spider-Man is just spot on good. It was crucial for Sony and Marvel to find someone to play Peter Parker and who was willing to sign a 3 picture deal. So I'm happy that Tobey Maguire got the part because I always thought he looked alot like Peter Parker in real life. He does a good job as Parker because he has that smart look and his voice just seems perfect for the role. Willem Dafoe plays Norman Osborn aka Green Goblin and hes very talented. Dafoe would have been one of my last choices to play Norman and the Goblin, yet strangely he does a good job in his role. Kirsten Dunst plays as Mary Jane Watson and although I would have went with someone else, Dunst doesn't do a bad job either. Than we have James Franco playing as Harry Osborn and although I would have went with someone else on this one too, Franco does a pretty good job as Harry. I felt the cast was pretty solid and I enjoyed their performances.

The visual effects for Spider-Man are good in almost every way. The CGI looks good with alot of the animations being very fluid. Detail is also very present with alot of the building and walls looking very sharp. Explosions and web shootings look very good with alot of the movie featuring good stunts. With all this said, the visuals do look like they could be much better. I'm not saying they look bad or anything, but they do look like they could have been better if Sony and Marvel had waited alittle longer, but screw that. I'm just glad they brought Spider-Man to the big screen after so many years of waiting for our web slinging superhero to make his jump to the big screen.

As good as the visual effects are, the soundtrack is even better. Spider-Man features a heavily put soundtrack that works in every way. The music is composed by mastermind Danny Elfman who also composed other superhero films like Batman. The movie has its own well made score that is built from the ground up for this movie only and it sounds just wonderful. The beat and melody is just well made. The movie also features good use of bass with dynamics sounding louder than ever. Every action scene was full of strong bass that made the scene actually worth watching. The dialogue is also very crisp and fulfilling. I was very pleased with the music and give high props to Danny Elfman who once again delivers a great soundtrack. Reference material all the way.

Spider-Man is a film that's very enjoyable to watch if your a fan of super hero's. The story is simple and pretty good. The cast looks very bright and just right for their roles. I thought the movie featured good visual effects even though it probably could have looked better. I felt the soundtrack was a blast to listen to and very well put by Danny Elfman. This movie was delayed numerous times that I soon was about to give up hope, but then the movie came out and it certainly didn't let us fans down. Spider-Man is definitely a movie you should check out if you love the character and read the comics. As for everyone else, you will probably enjoy the movie.

Grade: B-

No comments: