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With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility
This is who I wanted to be when I grew up! 😀
‘Spider-Man’ is one of my absolute favourite superhero movies! It’s a classic! This movie inspired me to become who I am today. It’s got everything! Life lessons, action adventure, romance and creepy crawlies with eight legs. I love everything about this movie and I’m sure you will too once you see it!
The movie was released in 2002 and it stars Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, Willem Dafoe and James Franco. It’s fantastically directed by Sam Raimi, who delivers a heart-warming action-packed adventure. I currently have the movie as part of the ‘Spider-Man: Five-Movie Collection’ Blu-ray box set.
Sadly, I didn’t see the film at the cinema. I wasn’t interested in Spider-Man when the first movie came out in 2002. It was when my parents purchased the ‘Spider-Man: The Ultimate Villain Showdown’ DVD for me that I wanted to see the movie next. ‘Spider-Man’ became my No. 1 Christmas present on DVD back in December 2002.
The story of ‘Spider-Man’ is based on the original comic book character created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko for Marvel Comics in 1962. Spider-Man first appeared in ‘Amazing Fantasy #15’ and became a success, appearing in the ‘Amazing Spider-Man’ comic series. He continues to be a big success to this day.
The story is about a young boy who gets bullied at school and goes on a high school trip to a science center. Peter Parker gets bitten by a radioactive spider, which gives him superpowers to crawl up on walls and shoot webs. He soon becomes the amazing superhero Spider-Man, fighting crime and evil.
Spider-Man is my favourite superhero, because I can really relate to Peter Parker. I could identify with Peter’s personal life, since I was going through what he went through with getting bullied at school and not being able to have confidence in talking to girls. I wanted to be a superhero like Spider-Man.
As a youth, this movie was extra-special to me, as I could really engage with the characters and the actors who played them. I wanted to be like Peter Parker; become Spider-Man; save the girl of my dreams; fall in love; and beat the bad guy. This was like a personal fantasy for me back as a teenager.
Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker/Spider-Man is brilliant! Tobey really gets the character of Peter absolutely spot-on. He’s a young man who comes of age and learns the true meaning of accepting responsibility. I’d like to think Peter, and how Tobey plays him, reminds me of me when I was young.
Over the years, I know that Tobey Maguire’s performance as Peter Parker/Spider-Man tends to be criticised and made fun of by others. I don’t see anything wrong with Tobey’s performance. I honestly could relate to Peter Parker and how he handled balancing his personal and superhero lives together.
Willem Dafoe stars as the villainous Norman Osborn a.k.a. the Green Goblin. Willem is tremendous as the villain of this movie. He plays both sides of Norman’s character, when he’s himself and when he’s the Goblin, extremely well. As Norman, he’s a well-mannered and clever scientist/businessman.
As the Green Goblin, he’s completely insane and is out for revenge on Spider-Man. It was intriguing to see how the Goblin Goblin as a character developed through Norman Osborn. You can also see how enthused Willem Dafoe is in playing the villain. That’s something I find extremely worthwhile here. 🙂
Kirsten Dunst stars as the leading lady of this movie – Mary Jane Watson (MJ to her friends). I love Kirsten’s performance as MJ. I was delighted to see her after seeing her before in the 1998 film ‘Small Soldiers’. Incidentally, I’ve also heard Tobey Maguire voice Lou the Beagle in the 2001 film ‘Cats & Dogs’.
Anyway, MJ is the girl that Peter absolutely adores and loves in the film’s plot. There’s a really sweet love story going on between Peter and MJ that I enjoyed whilst watching the movie. I enjoyed the scenes Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst shared together when playing Peter and MJ in the movie. 🙂
James Franco stars as Harry Osborn, Peter’s best friend and Norman Osborn’s son. Harry’s a young man who wants to be loved by his father, but he’s not getting it. Peter and Harry have been best friends since high school, though Harry has a romantic interest in MJ too and gets to go out with her.
It’s interesting how Harry has a romantic interest in MJ and kept it from Peter when they started dating together. Sadly, it doesn’t work out well for Harry and MJ, especially when Norman says some harsh things about her. It’s also a big shock for Harry once he sees Spider-Man with his dead father. 😮
Rosemary Harris stars as Aunt May. Both she and Uncle Ben have raised Peter since he was a little boy. I really like Rosemary’s performance as Aunt May, as she plays a caring, compassionate and firm lady that has this motherly quality that’s essential in Aunt May, especially after Uncle Ben gets killed.
Interestingly, Rosemary Harris is an English actress compared to Cliff Robertson who’s American. Not that I want to discredit Rosemary Harris. as she’s a perfect Aunt May in these movies for me. But it’s very intriguing that Rosemary Harris doesn’t hide her English accent when she’s playing Aunt May. 🙂
Cliff Robertson is great as Uncle Ben. He only appears in the first half of the film, as he tragically gets killed. Uncle Ben teaches Peter some important life lessons, as “With great power comes great responsibility”. Uncle Ben’s death inspires Peter to become Spider-Man and fight crime in New York.
The film’s moral message “With great power comes great responsibility” is something that’s pretty prevalent throughout ‘Spider-Man’ in any medium. It’s something we often struggle to abide by and I like how these ‘Spider-Man’ films address that message whenever I see them on DVD and Blu-ray. 🙂
J. K. Simmons is brilliant as J. Jonah Jameson, the editor of the Daily Bugle. Jameson hates Spider-Man, believing him to be a criminal and a public menace. I love watching Jameson’s scenes at the Daily Bugle, especially when he’s with Peter and being attacked by the Green Goblin who crashes into his office.
There’s Bill Nunn as Robbie Robertson, Ted Raimi (Sam Raimi’s brother) as Ted Hoffman, and Elizabeth Banks as Betty Brant. There’s Ron Perkins as Dr. Stromm, John Paxton as Bernard, Joe Manganiello as Flash Thompson and Bruce Campbell as the wrestling ring announcer. Octavia Spencer also appears in this movie and there’s a quick cameo of Stan Lee.
This film is well-directed by Sam Raimi, as he puts his heart and soul into making these ‘Spider-Man’ movies with love and passion. He captures the action and the stylish swinging scenes of Spider-Man superbly and he brings a sense of realism for Peter Parker’s life in growing up and accepting responsibility as Spidey.
The set designs of ‘Spider-Man’ are pretty impressive. I like how the production team have come up with the locations and the film sets for where the action scenes take place, including OsCorp Industries; the Parker house in Forest Hills, Queens; the Daily Bugle offices and the World Unity Festival in Times Square.
The visual effects for this movie are amazing! The visual effects supervisor John Dykstra makes the CGI and the physical effects work well and I can’t see any fault in them today. From Spidey’s web-slinging and wall-crawling to the Green Goblin’s soaring on the goblin glider, the action scenes are impressive!
When I first had ‘Spider-Man’ for Christmas in December 2002 on DVD, it was on a special 2-disc DVD set. Disc 1 contained the movie and Disc 2 contained the bonus features. The Blu-ray has kept most of the original DVD special features intact, since some are absent, probably due to not being compatible for a Blu-ray edition.
The original 2-disc DVD special features are as follows. On Disc 1, there’s a filmmakers’ and cast audio commentary with director Sam Raimi, co-producer Grant Curtis, actress Kirsten Dunst and producer Laura Ziskin. There’s also an audio commentary with visual effects supervisor John Dykstra and his visual effects crew. The two audio commentaries are now on Blu-ray as well as a new audio commentary with actors Tobey Maguire and J. K. Simmons. On the original DVD, there’s a ‘Spider Sense’ option to enjoy, which contains a series of web-i-sodes to enjoy when using the remote control to press a Spidey icon. There’s also the ‘Weaving the Web’ pop-up factoids info-text commentary option to enjoy whilst watching the film. These have been replaced with a new ‘Spider Sense Trivia Challenge’ that gives a multiple choice quiz on the Blu-ray. The web-i-sodes that were included in the ‘Spider Sense’ DVD option are now included on the Blu-ray, but can be seen individually or as a full-length special feature to enjoy. There are ‘Character Files’ on the original DVD that show a list of actors’ filmographies. There’s also a ‘Marketing Campaign’ section that contains some theatrical trailers, TV spots and two music videos of the songs ‘Hero’ by Chad Kroeger featuring Josey Scott and ‘What We’re All About’ by Sum 41. The ‘Spider-Man’ film’s theatrical trailer, the TV spots and the two music videos can now be viewed on the Blu-ray edition. On the original 2-disc DVD of ‘Spider-Man’, there are also some DVD-ROM features that can be played on your computer, including a ‘Comic/Feature Comparison’ and a ‘Record Your Own Commentary’ option for the film. There’s an Easter Egg and some weblinks to look out for on the DVD. These DVD-Room features aren’t included on the Blu-ray and there’s now ‘The Spider-Man Cutting Room’ option.
On Disc 2 of the original 2-disc DVD, there are two sections to enjoy, including the ‘Web of Spider-Man’ and the ‘Goblin’s Lair’. In the ‘Web of Spider-Man’ section, it focuses on the comic book world of Spider-Man. There are three sub-sections, including ‘The Evolution of Spider-Man’, ‘Activision Game: Hints and Tips’, and ‘DVD-ROM’. Sadly not all the special features from the ‘Web of Spider-Man’ section are on Blu-ray. ‘The Evolution of Spider-Man’ section contains the ‘Spider-Man: The Mythology of the 21st Century’ documentary, which is included on the Blu-ray. There are also the ‘Spider-Man Archives’, an artist gallery (a.k.a. Peter Parker’s Darkroom), the rogues gallery and ‘The Loves of Peter Parker’ gallery. Sadly, these original DVD special features aren’t included on the Blu-ray, which is a shame. The ‘Activision Game: Hints and Tips’ section is a guide that contains three videos on the first three levels of the ‘Spider-Man’ video game from Activision. This was a very fascinating guide and it helps you with what to expect should you play the video game. Sadly, this isn’t included on the Blu-ray. The ‘DVD-ROM’ section is where you put the Disc 2 of the original ‘Spider-Man’ 2-disc DVD set into the computer to access a number of special features. This includes the ‘Marvel.dot comics’, the ‘Spider-Man: Activision Game Promo’ and the ‘Spider-Man Visualizer’. Again, this isn’t included on the Blu-ray. It makes me wonder why they’re not included. In the ‘Goblin’s Lair’ section on Disc 2 of the original 2-disc DVD set, it focuses on the movie world of ‘Spider-Man’. It includes a HBO making-of ‘Spider-Man’ documentary, the ‘Spider-Mania’ E! entertainment special, a director’s profile on Sam Raimi, a composer’s file on Danny Elfman, screen tests, and a gag/outtake reel. There are also some Easter Eggs to look out for on Disc 2 of the original 2-disc DVD set. Most of these special features from the ‘Goblin’s Lair’ section can be found on the Blu-ray edition. There are also some ‘Behind-the-Scenes of Spider-Man’ featurettes on the Blu-ray that aren’t included on the original 2-disc DVD set.
‘Spider-Man’ is a classic film that tells the story of how Peter Parker becomes a hero, fights crime, and wins the girl of his dreams. It’s well-directed by Sam Raimi and it doesn’t disappoint to this day. It’s one of my absolute favourite movies of my youth and I love revisiting it! I highly recommend it! 🙂
After seeing the first ‘Spider-Man’ film, I was hoping for there to be a second movie where I would see Tobey Maguire back as Peter Parker, along with Kirsten Dunst as Mary Jane and James Franco as Harry Osborn. Thankfully, I wouldn’t have to wait long, as a ‘Spider-Man’ sequel was already in the works.
‘Spider-Man’ rating – 10/10
Please feel free to comment on my review.
Beyond the Ultimate Spin
I love this movie novelization of the first ‘Spider-Man’ film from the Tobey Maguire/Sam Raimi era! 🙂
The movie novelization of the first ‘Spider-Man’ film is a fantastic book! It was published in 2002, the same year the film was released at the cinemas! The book is by Peter David, based on the original screenplay by David Koepp. It’s also based upon the Marvel comic book by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko.
Before I had ‘Spider-Man’ on a special 2-disc DVD set for Christmas in December 2002, I’d read a junior novelization of the first ‘Spider-Man’ film. I recall reading the book in the car one night at 13 years old. I was looking forward to seeing ‘Spider-Man’ on DVD after reading the junior novelization.
I soon purchased the ‘grown-up’ novelization of ‘Spider-Man’ by Peter David years later. It wasn’t until I purchased all three movie novelizations of the original ‘Spider-Man’ trilogy in 2007 that I got down to reading the book of the first ‘Spider-Man’ film properly. I’m glad I did, as it’s a very engrossing read.
The book is divided into 26 chapters with a prologue at the beginning. Peter David’s novelization of the first ‘Spider-Man’ movie is very engaging from start to finish. I love how Peter David tackles translating the movie into book form, as he expands the plot and the characters from the movie in richer detail.
Peter David is a renowned American author of many comic book superheroes from the Marvel Comics universe as well as penning many original ‘Star Trek’ novels. He has novelized many superhero movies from both Marvel and DC Comics and he’s novelized all three of the original ‘Spider-Man’ film trilogy.
It’s very clear that Peter David is into the world of ‘Spider-Man’, as he develops many of the characters with their personalities and backgrounds. He also enhances the characters by exploring their emotions in certain scenes, especially with Peter Parker when he grows up to become Spider-Man.
The use of character and plot development is evident throughout the book of the first ‘Spider-Man’ movie. Since the Tobey Maguire era is my favourite period of ‘Spider-Man’, I was immensely pleased that I could relate to Peter Parker more when his character is developed whilst reading the novelization.
As well as novelizing the original screenplay by David Koepp from the film, Peter David also adds new scenes of his own to enhance the story and to provide more background to the characters. This is evident when he develops the characters of Peter Parker, Mary Jane Watson and Norman Osborn.
In the book, there’s a prologue that features a scene never seen at all in the film. It’s where Spider-Man stops some criminals in a car at a cemetery before he visits Uncle Ben’s grave. This showcases the voice-over narration by Peter Parker when he says “Who am I? Are you sure you wanna know?”
Chapter 1 is also completely new, since it features Peter an eight-year-old boy moving into Uncle Ben and Aunt May’s house. This was never seen at all in the film. It’s nice to read how Peter met Uncle Ben and Aunt May for the first time and how he adjusts to life following the death of his parents.
There are some sections of the book where Peter writes letters to his mum and dad. This was something he did as a kid when Uncle Ben suggested he could talk to his parents in heaven by writing letters to them. I like those sections, especially in how it presents some parts of the story from Peter’s point-of-view.
I liked how Peter David jumps ahead to Peter Parker’s life at school in Chapter 2. This is where the movie really begins and I like how Peter David writes Peter’s misery at school with being bullied and having his secret love for MJ. It made me relate to Peter more and reflect on how I was bullied at school in the 2000s.
I love the extra scenes featuring MJ, her life and how her family background gets explored in scenes never shown in the film. For example, the arguing between MJ and her parents that was never shown in the film gets detailed here in the book. It adds more depth to MJ as a character reading those scenes.
I also like how MJ’s relationship with Flash is touched upon. It’s clear that MJ isn’t really in love with Flash, as she’s just with him to please her dad. I liked that scene where MJ breaks up with Flash, as it’s presented in full detail in book form compared to the movie that was briefly glanced upon.
I did like the extra scenes between MJ and her father, as it enhances more on the sympathy aspect between her and her relationship with Peter Parker in the story. Peter even gets a door slammed in the face by Phil Watson, which is a scene not shown in the film. I found that to be an effective scene.
More importantly, I love how Peter and Mary Jane’s relationship blossoms into a romance in the book. I enjoyed reading those scenes where Peter and MJ are talking to each other and getting to know each other. They’re lovely scenes and in-depth compared to how the scenes were in the film.
I liked how it turns out that MJ wanted to see Peter Parker after graduation day and when she moved into New York. It explains how MJ got to date Harry in the first place. She really wanted to see Peter when she visited his and Harry’s apartment, but Harry had beaten Peter to it in the end.
I liked the scene where Peter and Harry talked about MJ breaking up with Flash. Harry encourages Peter to step in and take MJ to go out on a date. But Peter is reluctant to do so. It’s interesting how Peter’s morals are established here and how he justifies himself not to take advantage with MJ.
I also loved the additional scene between Peter and MJ where he follows her after she left the Thanksgiving dinner. Peter comforts MJ after she had heard Norman Osborn’s harsh words about her to Harry. It’s a scene of closeness between Peter and MJ and it was never seen in the film.
I liked how Peter experienced the pain of letting his Uncle Ben down after he discovered his death; chased the killer; and realised he could have stopped him when he let him go at the wrestling complex. The details of how Peter goes through the mourning of Uncle Ben’s death are pretty moving.
Norman Osborn as a character gets developed upon really well in the book. It’s interesting how Norman’s motives for saving the company OsCorp get turned on its head when he becomes the Green Goblin. Norman’s moments of madness when he talks to the Goblin are very well documented.
J. Jonah Jameson is a great character in the book. I liked the first scene Jameson had with Norman Osborn at their men’s club. It predates and reinforces Jameson’s motives for bringing Spider-Man down. I also liked the last scene in the book where his motives to condemn Spidey aren’t very pure at all.
The action sequences are very good to read in the book. The scenes where Peter chases the shooter who killed his uncle and when he fights the Green Goblin at the World Unity Festival at Times Square in New York are very engaging to read. Peter David does well with writing the action scenes in the book.
However, not every action scene from the film follows the same amount of time as in the book. The blazing fire fight scene between Spider-Man and the Green Goblin is truncated somewhat in the book. Although I did like it when Spider-Man rescued the baby from the building and it was from his point-of-view in the book.
The climatic scenes where Spider-Man rescues MJ and the cable car on Roosevelt Island are different in the book compared to the film. For one thing, there’s no barge in the book for Spidey to drop the cable car onto. In the book, he drops it and MJ onto some rocks, which was a little disappointing.
The final battle between Spidey and the Green Goblin in the ruined hospital was equally a little disappointing in terms of the action. The brutality that the Green Goblin inflicted on Spidey isn’t long enough. But the reveal of Normal Osborn as the Green Goblin to Peter was very dramatic to read in the book.
The last chapter of the book is very moving indeed. The funeral of Norman Osborn and the love scene between Peter and Mary Jane are very wonderful to read in the book. The love scene was just as good to read in the book as it was seeing it in the film, and the emotions are very strong throughout.
I wish I could say more about this wonderful novelization of the first ‘Spider-Man’ movie from the Tobey Maguire/Sam Raimi era, but I think it’s time to come a close with this review. I’ve enjoyed reading the first ‘Spider-Man’ movie novelization by Peter David. It’s really been an engrossing book to read.
I would like to hear this novelization of the first ‘Spider-Man’ movie by Peter David as an audiobook someday. I can imagine Tobey Maguire reading the audiobook, as it would be great for him to re-create an era of ‘Spider-Man’ that he was so involved in and it’s a personal favourite from my youth.
‘Spider-Man’ the movie novelization by Peter David is a wonderful book to read for any fan of ‘Spider-Man’ and superheroes. It’s a lovely, engaging and engrossing read. I love everything about the book in terms of the action, the plot and the characters’ development. You won’t be disappointed when reading this ‘Spider-Man’ book.
‘Spider-Man’ (Novelization) rating – 9/10
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