Spider-Man: Your Friendly Neighborhood 2002 Movie

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Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! I have an announcement to make. In case you didn’t know, there’s a new “Spider-Man” movie coming out this July, “Spider-Man: Homecoming” to be specific. Leading up to that, I’m gonna be doing reviews for previous “Spider-Man” films. Today we will be starting off with the first movie in Sam Raimi’s “Spider-Man” trilogy. In April, we will go onto “Spider-Man 2.” Then in May, we will tackle “Spider-Man 3.” After that, we’ll be looking at “The Amazing Spider-Man” in June, and in July, just DAYS before Homecoming arrives in theaters, we’ll take a glance at “The Amazing Spider-Man 2.” Right now, as I’m writing this, it is March, so let’s “MARCH” right into business and start talking about “Spider-Man.”

“Spider-Man” is directed by Sam Raimi, who also directed the original “Evil Dead” films, along with the recent Disney Wizard of Oz prequel “Oz the Great and Powerful,” and it stars Tobey Maguire, Willem DaFoe, Kirsten Dunst, and James Franco. This film revolves around the well known Marvel character of Spider-Man, or Peter Parker. If you don’t know the story, a nerdy boy who was orphaned as a child was once bitten by a radioactive spider, this causes him to eventually gain superpowers and become Spider-Man.

I watched this movie multiple times when I was younger, I even watched it a few times in my teen years. In preparation for this review, I figured I should rewatch the movie. After the rewatch, not only did it take me back, but I cannot say it was worse than the previous times I watched it.

Now lets move onto the characters, starting off with Peter Parker himself, Tobey Maguire. One common complaint I heard with Tobey Maguire being cast as Spider-Man is the age factor. In the movie and the comics, Spider-Man’s origin story takes place around his teen years, at the time which this was filmed, Tobey Maguire was in his mid twenties. Let me just say however, for a guy who was in his mid twenties during the filming process, his performance was not bad. He wasn’t too bad as Spider-Man either. I can’t say I have any complaints. Although I will say, when it comes to the Spider-Man humor you may have seen in other Spider-Man related material, it’s here, but the amount of it is kinda few and far between. Peter is also after a girl, if you read the comics before seeing the film you may have known her before seeing this film.

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That girl I’m talking about is played by Kirsten Dunst, AKA Mary Jane Watson. Mary Jane’s contributions to the movie as a whole overall just made the movie seem much more interesting than it already was. And I’m not gonna talk about the ending, but towards the end of the film, MJ interacts with Peter, and their interactions just bring out the wow factor and has my brain going around in circles, and I mean that in a good way.

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Another character I want to talk about is Norman Osborn played by Willem DaFoe. This guy is also the film’s antagonist, the Green Goblin. Despite how Norman is evil in this film, there were some moments where I was able to understand him and just so happen to feel his pain. I won’t go into much detail, but the more I think about it, the more it just feels like I’m watching a much more mature, and earlier produced version of Kylo Ren from “Star Wars,” despite being such a harsh villain, he is conflicted and still has a human side to him, the human side represented in this film is different than the one represented by Kylo Ren in “Star Wars,” but still, it’s there. Speaking of Osborns, let’s talk about his son.

Norman’s son is played by James Franco, who before taking on the role of Harry Osborn in this movie played Daniel Desario in the TV show “Freaks and Geeks,” which is “Firefly” before “Firefly” even started on television, it is a show which many people like and say got canceled way too early. Let me just say, I’m wondering if Franco would even be in this movie if it weren’t for the cancellation of “Freaks and Geeks.” I digress however, to stay on topic, Harry was Peter’s friend throughout the film, and let me just say, what happens with Harry at the end is just another example of a wow factor.

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Fun fact you might want to know about this film is that JK Simmons is in it. Before earning his Oscar in “Whiplash” 13 years later, Simmons played J Jonah Jameson in this film. In case you care to know, JK Simmons is actually my favorite actor of all time, and his excellent acting ability just SHOWS TO THE UTTER CORE in this film. After watching this film recently, I can now say that this character actually reminds of one teacher I have in high school. I’m in his TV production class, and the guy also teaches film studies, which is a survey course on film. Also another fun fact, JK Simmons is also known for voicing Cave Johnson in “Portal 2,” my favorite video game of all time. I bring that up because I’m wondering if the folks who made the game saw the “Spider-Man” films and thought they should make a character with a similar vibe to Jameson for Simmons to play in that game, because if you compare between the game and the movie I’m reviewing now, the characters are somewhat similar. And the more I think about it, Simmons is kinda well known for playing somewhat commanding characters, because a lot of the characters I’ve seen him play give off that sort of vibe. For example, you’ve got this character we’re talking about here, Cave Johnson who was just mentioned, Terence Fletcher from “Whiplash,” and PJ Jordan from “Men at Work,” a pretty funny sitcom that lasted for three seasons on TBS but was unfortunately canceled. Jameson also happens to deliver some my favorite lines in this film. Here are some examples below:

“If we can get a picture of Julia Roberts in a thong, we can certainly get a picture of this weirdo.”

“He doesn’t want to be famous? Then I’ll make him infamous.”

PETER: “You don’t trust anyone, that’s your problem.”

JAMESON: “I trust my barber.”

One of my favorite things about this movie is how real it feels, and this is actually something I’ll be bringing up in my review for “Spider-Man 2” as well. You’ve got this relateable nerd getting superpowers, who has a crush on a girl, but finds out he’s gonna have to get through some obstacles to have her, and the way it’s done feels extremely authentic and feels like one example of what would really happen if someone was in high school and somehow gained superpowers, and used those powers as a hero. I mean, it’s not entirely real, but even in moments that feel like a fantasy, it almost gives off this feeling that makes it come off as something that would actually happen as a real life event, I don’t know if you feel same way watching this film, but that’s just how I feel.

I mentioned this recently and I’ll mention it again, I really like the ending to this film, I said there are two things that had a wow factor to me. I won’t go into detail, but the ending is one of the best endings I’ve seen in film history, it still carries the realism and it just makes the film better.

If there was anything else I had to mention as a positive, it’s Danny Elfman’s score. In case you didn’t know, Danny Elfman has done music for some TV and movies which you probably have at least heard about. He’s done a crapton of Tim Burton films, he did the theme music for “The Simpsons,” he’s also worked on the music for the “Men in Black” films. He has also done a bunch of other stuff, but I don’t want to waste time by typing all of it, so if you want to know more, do your own research. This film, along with the other films in the franchise have some of my favorite scores in movie history, and that is because of this guy. There are so many cool themes in this movie, the mood of the music is perfect from scene to scene, and there’s also this 3 minute intro credit montage, and the more I watch it, the more I get invested in the music, it just literally sets the tone for the film, trust me, if you watch this film, it all just sounds amazing.

In the end, this movie does whatever a movie can, play on a screen, any size, entertain, as time flies. If you don’t get that, I’m sorry. Although seriously, I really had fun watching this movie again, it’s been almost a couple of years since my last viewing and I’m glad I can watch it again, and it just goes to show how great of a hero Spider-Man is. I’m gonna give “Spider-Man” an 8/10. Guys, I hope you enjoyed this review, and despite me mentioning this before, I’ll mention it again, I’ll let you all know that I have another Spider-Man related review coming up in April, and that will be for “Spider-Man 2,” words cannot describe how much I can’t wait to get that review out to you all and I hope the time comes soon. Stay tuned for that review, and stay tuned for more of my Scene Before content, coming soon. Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

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