spider-man is a great movie. there were parts where i just thought to myself, "wow, this is awesome!" like all the sequences of spider-man swinging through the jungle of buildings. originally i was very much concerned that this scenes would be too cgi and look fake, but i think they did a pretty good job. my favorite part of the movie is in the beginning, when peter parker first realizes his new spider skills. learning how to use his web, realizing he could climb walls, using his spider senses. i'd totally watch a show about peter parker, the early years, sort of like what smallville is doing right now with superman.
spider-man the character is great because of the story itself. peter parker is very human, he's the class nerd, doesn't seem to have any friends other than harry osborn, is madly in love with mary jane but has never had the courage to do anything about it, is orphan raised by his aunt and uncle, isn't rich like his friend harry but lives modestly in the city suburb, and top it all off, his best friend harry ends up dating mary jane behind his back. peter parker is a total underdog, although a loveable one at that, and you can't help but to root for him. and then overnight, after a radioactive spider bite, he's transformed into spider-man, but the transition is only physical, he still carries his geeky awkwardness for a good portion of the movie as he's trying to come to grips with his new found powers and what to do with them. his homemade costume that he wears to his wrestling match, that was just classic. it looked like he was wearing underoos and a ski mask. proto-spider-man!
but let's get back to the story. my favorite part of the spider-man history is how he lets some criminal go instead of stopping him, and then later that same criminal kills his uncle ben. part guilt, part revenge, part obligation, he then from that day on devotes his life to fighting crime. that seems to be the perfect plot setup, i'm surprised it's not used more often (didn't this happen to batman as well? his parents were murdered before his eyes?). look above the comic books, and just think of it like it happened to you. what would you feel? and here we have tobey maguire. man, he can cry like nobody's business! only an actor like tobey could pull off this role. you get your standard issue action actor, and the film totally degrades into that, just an action movie, some more cinematic fluff. but put in a real actor, and the movie suddenly has dimensions. add willem dafoe as norman osborn/green goblin. here's a real veteran actor! you got another level of complexity to your characters. add kirsten dunst. okay, sure, she's been in a few light-hearted films that doesn't really showcase her acting all that well, but the lights are on when she acts, no one can say she gives a 2D performance.
i wasn't as concerned with tobey maguire's casting as spider-man as i was with kirsten dunst's casting as mary jane watson. but after seeing the movie, i totally bought into her. i don't think she's stunningly attractive, nor do i think she looks ugly. she just looks like a normal girl (not a "movie star"), and likewise so does tobey maguire (normal boy). they wouldn't be my first choice for leading man and woman, but i think their casting adds a more believable touch to the film.
i did think the ending was a bit contrived, suffering from a little bit of that judge dredd disease. the role of spider-man is weird because the actor who plays spider-man is essentially in a mask. how much acting can you do in a mask? especially for an actor, the face is a key acting component. likewise, the green goblin wears a mask as well. so what do they do? in the final battle scene, spider-man's mask is blown half off revealing his face, and the green goblin takes off his mask to reveal norman osborn. to me, that felt a little staged. oh, is that convenient... his mask is blasted off... revealing his face...
upside down kiss in the rain at night? are you sure this film's pg-13?
if this movie constitutes one of the films starting off the summer blockbuster season, then i'm going to say that this will be one of the better ones that will be coming out in the next few months. spider-man is definitely worth the money, you shouldn't miss it.