Dylan🛹🎬🎸🎨’s review published on Letterboxd:
"With great power comes great responsibility."
Honestly, I didn't even know if I was going to write this review. I've been so busy as of late on account of my moving soon. Getting boxes, checking my savings to see if everything is still alright, counting the days down, packing, going through every item, every nook and cranny of my room to see what goes and what stays. If it involves moving, you name it, and I've probably done it. Everything is in order; I just need to finish packing and spend the next few weeks with my family before embarking on this new chapter in my life. However, while I'm really looking forward to this move and this new adventure in my life, I recently became depressed, which usually happens this time of year, but in contrast with the pressures of moving and all these nostalgic memories and bittersweet aura in the air, well, it's safe to say that is not a good mix. This depression has left me feeling just like I had no motivation at all. I don't want to eat from time to time, and I don't want to sleep. I don't want to play Halo. I especially didn't want to watch movies or write reviews. Honestly: All I wanted to do was either go down or spend time with my loved ones. Consequently, the only movies I wanted to watch were whatever my girlfriend or my family wanted, which has led me mostly to watch Guilty Pleasure nostalgia movies with my sister, like High School Musical and such. With that in mind, and as you can probably tell, I didn't do a review of the high school musical. Even though I probably would have dropped some hot takes if I hadn't been depressed and unmotivated, would anyone want that, including myself? .......I didn't think so. I digress; with my only film-viewing experience consisting of what everyone else wanted to see, I was prepared to face anything. While my sister and I were speculating about what to watch, she suggested watching all three of the original Spider-man movies by Sam Raimi. My eyes lit up and I said, "Absolutely."
Spider-Man is a 2002 American superhero action film directed by Sam Raimi and based on the Marvel comic character of the same name. It is the first installment of Raimi's famous trilogy of films. I mean, do I really need to explain the plot at this point to everyone and their mother who knows the story of Peter Parker, whether it be the comics or the other hundreds and thousands of different media properties that use the character? I mean, it's a tale as old as time. A shy and awkward high school student named Peter Parker, played by Tobey Maguire, gets bitten by a radioactive spider, gains spider-like abilities and powers, and after the tragic death of Uncle Ben, he swears to use his powers for good and fight against the evils of this world. Well, mostly New York City, but his goal is just the same.
I went into this film trying not to have these rose-tinted glasses. I mean, I haven't seen this film in like 12 years. I was thinking it was probably going to be a little dated and a little corny. I mean, Sam Raimi did direct this. Despite some of that being true and honestly hard to deny, this film is the perfect origin story for Spiderman and is easily one of the best comic book movies I've seen in a while. It was just so refreshing to see, which is ironic because this is almost a 20-year-old film, but it really was. There was no big continuity that you needed 20 films to follow the big bad. He wasn't so titanic with a plot to bring the whole universe down with his death sky laser that helped open a portal to his home world. There will be no rushing to the mid-credit scene to get people excited. instead of just making a good film. It's just a self-contained story about a kid that gets powers and wants to make a difference while struggling with his personal life and problems on top.
I mean, sure, there are complaints to be had. The CGI is very outdated, and the green goblin suit is very laughable. I get the comparisons to a power ranger suit, and some of the dialogue is corny and a little over the top and Chessy. Honestly, in fairness, I can see how it could turn some people off. However, this makes me love it even more. The over-the-top tone matched with the direction by Sam Raimi is a perfect blend and goes well with the comic book universe. His brand of humor can be found in his films, such as Evil Dead and Evil Dead 2. It really works here, and I love it, though I could be biased because of his time of slapstick cheesy humor. Additionally, none of that could have worked if you didn't have a great cast to go along with that type of dialogue that really sells it and makes it both funny and endearing. Spiderman has that in full. It's a brilliant cast. Toby Maguire is my favorite Spiderman. He just brings Parker to life for me. He's just so nerdy and socially awkward, but underneath that, he's just so endearing, and you can't help but root for him. Kristen Dust plays Mj, and while I do understand some of the criticism for her character, she just plays a great MJ. J.K. Simmions is the ideal candidate for the role of J. Jonah Jamison. He is hilarious in every scene, but it's Willam Dafoe as the Green Goblin that steals every scene. The contrast between being frightening and having a sense of humor about him is brilliant; he plays the goblin like this Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde type of character, and it's just such a stellar performance. The score, particularly that theme by Danny Elfman, is just iconic.
However, I noticed a lot of people criticize the format for having action straight up coming out of a Power Rangers show, and while there is some truth there with the green goblin and Spiderman doing flips and whips everywhere, but on rewatch, Raimi and co really do great emotional scenes and, honestly, some of the fights have this real brutality to them.
I think the scene that truly emphasizes what I'm talking about is the final battle between Spider-Man and the Green Goblin. After saving M.J. and a group of children from nearly falling to their deaths at the hands of the green goblin, the green goblin snatches Spiderman and drops him into this gritty, grimy, abandoned building. The fight ensues, each striking the other with a hard-hitting hit after hard-hitting hit. The goblin throws Peter through a window with a pumpkin bomb to follow suit. The bomb hits Peter right in the face, ripping his costume to shreds. With a bruised and bloody Spiderman and a torn-up suit that reveals both eyes and half his face, but with sheer willpower and stamina, Peter picks himself back up. The battle continues. Thanks to Raimi and co for coming up with the idea of ripping Peter's costume because it not only adds a sense of realism to the fight, but also is a clever way to see all the aggression and agonizing pain Peter feels in this battle.
The Green Goblin gets the upper hand, and it looks like he is about to kill the web head. Peter instructs and mocks Peter, telling him what a pathetic failure he was and how much fun he was going to have killing M.J. This enrages a broken and beleaguered Spiderman, who summons his strength and violently beats the Goblin to a wall. Before Peter can shoot his web to bring down the pile of bricks on him, he pleads with Peter to take his helmet off to reveal his identity. Peter does, and he is astounded to learn that his most powerful adversary thus far, as well as the person responsible for making his personal life miserable, was Norman Osburne. You see, once enraged, Peter goes to a lost and confused boy who cannot fathom the idea of someone he knows personally being such a monster. What's so great about this scene as well is that there's no music to tell you how or what the character feels or how to react. There's nothing but the sound of hard-hitting punches and smacks to really sell it, and enough acting to really sell how betrayed and lost Peter feels. It's perfect.
in conclusion, and to summarize, because wow, I didn't think I would write this much on the first Spider-Man, it is great, it is so creative, it is funny, it has great pacing, romance, action what more can you want. It was such a fun ride to revisit this world and its characters that I can't wait to watch the sequel. Because I really have so much to say about it, as it is such a personal movie for me.