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August 30, 2002


Faithful comic-book adaption.

Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) is a weedy nerd who really fancies Mary Jane (Kirsten Dunst) at school, but is too shy to do anything about it. After a gene-mutated spider bites him, he gains super-spider powers and a new lean musclebound body. Parker tests his newfound powers by leaping from building to building, beats up the school bully, and starts to impress Dunst.

Willem Dafoe is Osborn, a mad inventor and the father of Parker's best friend. He works for a company that manufactures experimental weapons. When his budget is about to be pulled, he tests an experimental drug on himself, steals his exo-skeleton device, and becomes the Green Goblin. His company sack him, so he goes on the rampage agains the directors, attacking them at a public ceremony. Spiderman foils the attack, and rescues Mary Jane from death, and the Goblin vows to destroy him.

As Spiderman's identity is of course a secret, a lame plot device is used to let Dafoe know who he really is. Instead of just killing him though, Osborn decides to go after first his Aunt May and then Mary Jane. In a big finale Spiderman kills the Green Goblin and rescues the girl, again.

The beginning of the movie is fun, but once the Green Goblin appears it all gets a bit too serious, with very little in the way of light relief. There is also quite a lot of violence that is probably inappropriate for very young children. The leads are very likeable, but the reason why Mary Jane would fall for Parker, when Spiderman is on offer, is a bit unfathomable. The love story between them revolves around Mary Jane wanting to become an actress, but having to work as a waitress; Parker encourages her to follow her dream, and believes in her, and she loves him for this. Spiderman rescues her from death twice, is famous, athletic and witty, so obviously she chooses Parker!

The special effects are great in places, but it's a disappointing story after a promising start, and they aren't enough to rescue the movie. Perhaps the inevitable sequels will be better.


Posted by se71 at August 30, 2002 02:19 PM


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