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  • Spider-Man (2002): ***1/2

    Directed by Sam Raimi

    I was actually really surprised at how much I liked this movie. I always have thought that Spider-Man is one of the least appealing characters to have to read about, and looking at his comics makes me nauseous (and that ass of a cartoon a few years ago didn't help none, let me tell you). I mean, what kind of a person actually likes to read a comic where there's a panel of the hero kicking a guy in the head, and simultaneously saying four or five long paragraphs filled with some of the worst puns evern imagined by evil minds?

    And don't even get me started on Spidey's villains. Spider-Man has some of the most retarted villains ever cooked up for comic books. Doc Octopus. Rhino. That lizard guy. That scorpion guy. Green Goblin and Hobgoblin. I know a lot of you will hate me for this, but the sight of seeing little goblins dressed in old-timey garb, flying around on a sled throwing exploding pumpkins does make me cringe in terror. It makes me cringe with embarrasment.

    The only good ones are his evil former costume, Venom, and ones he borrowed from other comics, like Kingpin, who came from Daredevil by way of The Punisher.

    But this movie I actually really, really enjoyed, mainly for the script. Spidey doens't ramble nonstop during fights (in fact he hardly talks at all), and when he does say somethign funny it seems more like he said it because Peter Parker is just filled with a boyish joy to be doing what he's doing. Actually, he's hardly Spider-Man at all during the movie. The movie is mostly about Peter Parker, a far more interseting character than the wisecracking dips#@t in tights that he becomes in the comics. Tobey Maguire's portrayal is believable and solidly grounded, so it makes the whole outlandish comic-book story seem somehow more realistic. His relationship with Kirsten Dunst is fantastically good, so it's a credit to the David Koep's scrip that he made this move about that relationship, rather than the relationship between Spidey and Green Goblin. So all in all I enjoyed watching the chemistry between the characters immensely.

    That being said, there are a few things that brought this movie from the four-star script down to the three-and-a-half star movie that it is:

      The animation on the CGI Spidey, swinging around New York, is just not on. It looks like an animated ping-pong ball bouncing around, instead of some 150-pound kid (except in a few choice instances). I'm more sensitive than most people because my brother is an animator, but if even Roger Ebert saw the same thing I did, there's a problem. You know, it's kind of a shame when you've got a director who's known for crazy camera tricks, and the only crazy camera tricks in this movie really are CGI.
      Hey, when I heard that Green Goblin was gonna be the villain for this movie, I thought there would be no way in Hell that I'd go see it. I knew I would just be embarrased every time this prosthetic goblin came on screen. I'd just want to shout, "People! Can't you see how dorky this is!?" I was happy when I learned that they had decided to make the Green Goblin into a suit instead of an actual goblin. But boy, I'll tell you. The mask they settled on is just as bad as having an actual goblin on screen. It's so dorky.
      For some reason in most every movie like this the villain tries to convince the hero to join the dark side. Probably ever since Empire Strikes Back. This is one of the worst. It was seriously like something out of Power Rangers. It wasn't that the words were so bad, just the delivery and the fact that both participants were wearing static masks made it seem like Lord Zedd was trying to convert Tommy the White Ranger to his side.

    If only! If only they could have somehow corrected these three things before the movie came out it would have been four stars in my book.

    Oh! Best line in the movie: "SLEEP..." You'll see. I laughed my ass off for a whole two minutes.

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