Directed by Sam Raimi
Starring Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, Willem Dafoe, James Franco, Rosemary Harris, Cliff Robertson, and J.K. Simmons.
It was February of 1996. I had been at university for a month. A few members of the computer science faculty had recently given a beginners course to getting onto the Internet. After playing with Netscape for a week, I was getting confident with this Internet thing. I started thinking, “Gee. I wonder if I could use the Internet to find movie news?” I decided to use the Internet to find out the truth on one movie I had always heard rumors and whispers about. I went to my favorite search engine, and entered these simple words: “Spider-Man Movie.” And thus, a man’s addiction with movie gossip websites was born. So, as you could imagine, I have been waiting for this film for a really long time.
I’m sure we’re all familiar with the plot by now. Peter Parker (Maguire) is your average high school geek. A loner, an outcast, and hopelessly in love with the girl next door, Mary Jane Watson (Dunst). Peter’s only friend is Harry Osborn (Franco), who has grown distant from his billionaire father and scientist, Norman Osborn (Dafoe). But, on one fateful field trip, Peter is bitten by a radioactive spider, and soon strange things begin to happen. He gets super-strength. He can climb walls. He can shoot web out of his wrists. He can sense danger. Peter decides to use these powers to make himself some money, and becomes Spider-Man. Meanwhile, across town, Norman Osborn is desperate to win a military contract. So desperate, that he tests an experimental strength enhancing chemical on himself. This turns Norman insane, and he becomes the Green Goblin. A personal tragedy later, Spider-Man decides to become a superhero instead, and soon Spider-Man and the Green Goblin are battling over the streets of New York. Will Peter win the heart of Mary Jane? Will Harry reconnect with his father? Can Spider-Man learn the true identity of the Green Goblin, or will the Green Goblin learn the true identity of Spider-Man? Does great power really come with great responsibility?
I only have one complaint about this movie: I wish it were longer. There are so many aspects of the Spider-mythos that they could have dabbled in, but they didn’t. Instead, they just touched upon the big ones: the origin, the Green Goblin, and the romance with Mary Jane. All in all, a great start. As the beginning of a potential epic, this movie just plain rocks. Maguire captures the heart and sould of Peter Parker/Spider-Man perfectly. Dafoe is wonderfully insane as the Green Goblin, and Dunst is just wonderfully unattainable as Mary Jane. And J.K. Simmons, in his brief scenes as J. Jonah Jameson, just steals the show. I just loved everything about this movie, and I hope (actually, I know) that I won’t have to wait as long for Spider-Man 2. My mother thinks I paid this film the highest compliment when I said these words as soon as I got home: “I must see it again.”