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With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility
This is who I wanted to be when I grew up!
‘Spider-Man’ is my absolute favourite superhero movie. 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 to when you see it!
The ‘Spider-Man’ DVD is a 2-disc set. Disc 1 contains the movie and Disc 2 contains special features. This movie was released in 2002 and stars Tobey Maguire; Kirsten Dunst; Willem Dafoe and James Franco and is fantastically directed by Sam Raimi delivers a heart-warning action-packed adventure.
I didn’t see the film in the cinemas as I wasn’t really interested in ‘Spider-Man’. I got interested when my parents purchased the ‘Spider-Man – The Ultimate Villain Showdown’ cartoon DVD for me. After that, I wanted to see the movie next and ‘Spider-Man’ became my number #1 Christmas present in 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 appeared in ‘Amazing Fantasy #15’ and became a success appearing in ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ comic series and continues to be a success today.
The story is about a young boy who gets bullied at school and goes on a school trip at a science center. Peter Parker gets bitten by a radioactive spider that gives him powers to crawl up on walls and shoot webs. He soon becomes the amazing superhero…Spider-Man…and fights 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 as I was going through what he was going through, getting bullied at school and not being able to have confidence in talking to girls and wanting to be a superhero like him.
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 right as 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.
Willem Dafoe stars as the villainous Norman Osborn/the Green Goblin. Willem is tremendous, as he plays both sides to his character 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 Spidey.
Kirsten Dunst stars as leading lady Mary Jane Watson. I love Kirsten’s performance as MJ and was delighted to see her after seeing her before in ‘Small Soldiers’. MJ is a girl that Peter absolutely adores and during the movie’s story, there’s this really sweet love story between them that I like.
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 buddies since high school, though Harry has a love interest in MJ too and gets to go out with her.
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. She plays her as a caring, compassionate but firm lady and has that motherly quality essential in Aunt May, especially after Uncle Ben gets killed.
Cliff Robertson is great as Uncle Ben. He only appears in the first half of the film, as he tragically dies. 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.
J.K. Simmons is brilliant as J. Jonah Jameson, editor of the Daily Bugle. Jameson hates Spider-Man and believes he’s a criminal and a public menace. I love watching Jameson’s scenes at the Daily Bugle, especially when he’s with Peter and attacked by the Green Goblin who crashes in his office.
This film is well-directed by Sam Raimi who puts his heart and soul into making it with a passion and love for ‘Spider-Man’. He captures the action and stylish swinging scenes of Spider-Man superbly and brings a sense of realism to Peter Parker’s life in growing up and accepting responsibility as Spidey.
The sets of ‘Spider-Man’ are pretty impressive. I like how the production team have come up with the locations and sets for the movie where the action scenes take place including OsCorp Industries; the Parker house in Queens; the Daily Bugle offices and the World Unity Festival in Times Square.
The special effects are amazing! John Dykstra, the visual effects supervisor, makes the CGI and physical effects really work 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!
The DVD special features are as follows. On Disc 1, there’s a filmmakers’ and cast audio commentary with director Sam Raimi and co-producer Grant Curtis; Kirsten Dunst and producer Laura Ziskin. There’s also an audio commentary with John Dykstra and his special effects crew.
There’s a ‘Spider Sense’ option to watch where the movie contains a series of web-i-sodes to watch when using the remote control to press a Spider Sense icon. There’s also ‘Weaving the Web’ Pop-Up Factoids, which is a stylish info-text commentary option to watch and enjoy during the movie.
There are also ‘Character Files’ which shows a list of actors’ filmographies. There’s also a ‘Marketing Campaign’ section containing some exciting trailers, TV spots and two music videos of ‘Hero’ by Chad Kroeger featuring Josey Scott and ‘What We’re All About’ by Sum 41, which can be found on the ‘Music From And Inspired By Spider-Man’ CD.
There are also some DVD-ROM features to play on your computer which includes a ‘Comic/Feature Comparison’ and a ‘Record Your Own Commentary’ option for the movie. There’s also an ‘Easter Egg’ and some web-links to look out for on this disc.
On Disc 2, there are two sections to enjoy – the ‘Web of Spider-Man’ and the ‘Goblin’s Lair’.
In the ‘Web of Spider-Man’, this focuses on the comic book world of Spider-Man. There are three sections including ‘The Evolution of Spider-Man’; ‘Activision Game: Hints and Tips’ and `DVD-ROM’.
‘The Evolution of Spider-Man’ section contains the following. There’s the ‘Spider-Man – The Mythology of the 21st Century’ documentary; the ‘Spider-Man Archives’; an Artist Gallery aka Peter Parker’s Darkroom; the Rogues Gallery and ‘The Loves of Peter Parker’ gallery.
The ‘Activision Game: Hints and Tips’ section is a guide containing three videos on the first three levels of the ‘Spider-Man’ video game from Activision. It’s a very interesting guide and it helps you with what to expect should you purchase and play the video game.
The ‘DVD-ROM’ section is where you put the second disc into the computer to access a number of features. These include the ‘Marvel.dot comics’; the ‘Spider-Man: Activision Game Promo’ and the ‘Spider-Man Visualizer’.
In the ‘Goblin’s Lair’, it focuses on the movie world of ‘Spider-Man’. It includes a HBO Making of ‘Spider-Man’; the ‘Spider-Mania’ E! entertainment special; a ‘Director’s Profile: Sam Raimi’; a ‘Composer’s Profile: Danny Elfman’; screen tests and a gag/outtake reel.
There are also some Easter Eggs to look out for on Disc 2 of this DVD.
This movie is a classic telling the story of how Peter Parker becomes Spider-Man; fights crime and wins the girl of his dreams. It’s well-directed by Sam Raimi and doesn’t disappoint to this day. It’s one of my absolute favourite films from my youth and I love re-watching it. I highly recommend it!
‘Spider-Man’ rating – 10/10
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Beyond the Ultimate Spin
I love this novelization of the first ‘Spider-Man’ movie from the Tobey Maguire/Sam Raimi era!
‘Spider-Man’ the novelization is a fantastic book of the film that was published in 2002, the same time that the movie was released in the cinemas! The book is by Peter David, and is based on the original screenplay by David Koepp as well as on the Marvel comic book by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko.
Before I had the DVD of ‘Spider-Man’ for Christmas 2002, I’d read a junior novelization of the first movie of the original ‘Spider-Man’ trilogy. I remember reading the book once in the car during one night as a 13-year-old. I was looking forward to seeing ‘Spider-Man’ on DVD that I had to read the junior novelization.
I soon purchased the grown-up novelization of ‘Spider-Man’ by Peter David years later. But it wasn’t until that I purchased all three novelizations of the ‘Spider-Man’ trilogy in 2007 that I got down to reading this book of the ‘Spider-Man’ movie. I’m so glad I did and it has been 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 engaging from beginning to end. 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 universe as well as penning many original ‘Star Trek’ novels. He has novelized many superhero movies from both Marvel and DC Comics, and he has novelized all three of the ‘Spider-Man’ movies.
It’s very clear that Peter is very 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 this book of the ‘Spider-Man’ movie. Since the Tobey Maguire era is my favourite period of ‘Spider-Man’, I was immensely pleased I could relate to Peter Parker more when he develops as a character whilst I was reading the novel.
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 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 is a prologue that features a scene never seen at all in the film. It is 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 a completely new, as 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 was nice to read how Peter meets Uncle Ben and Aunt May for the first time and how he adjusts to following the death of his parents.
There are some sections of the book where Peter writes letters to his mum and dad. This is something he does since he was a kid when his Uncle Ben suggested he wanted to talk to his parents in heaven. I liked reading those sections, as it presents some 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 David writes Peter’s misery at school with being bullied and having his secret love on M.J. It made me relate to Peter more and reflect on how I was at school back then.
I love the extra scenes with M.J.’s life and how her family background is explored in scene never shown in the film. For example, the arguing between M.J. and her parents that was never shown in the film gets detailed here in the book. It adds more depth to M.J. in reading those scenes in book.
I also liked how M.J.’s relationship with Flash is touched upon. It’s clear that M.J. isn’t really in love with Flash, as she is just with him to please her Dad. I liked that scene where M.J. breaks up with Flash, as it’s presented in full detail in book form compared to the movie as that was briefly glanced.
I did like the extra scenes between M.J. and her father, as it enhances more on the sympathy aspect between her and her relationship with Peter 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 indeed.
More importantly, I love how Peter and Mary Jane’s relationship blossoms into a romance in the book. I enjoyed reading those scenes when Peter and M.J. are talking to each other and getting to know each other. They are lovely scenes and are in-depth compared to how the scenes were on film.
I liked how it turns out that M.J. wanted to see Peter Parker after graduation day and when she moves into New York. It explains how M.J. 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 that scene when Peter and Harry talk about M.J. breaking up with Flash. Harry encourages Peter to step in and take M.J. 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 on not to take advantage on M.J.
I also loved the additional scene between Peter and M.J. when he follows after she left the Thanksgiving dinner. Peter comforts M.J. following after hearing Norman Osborn’s harsh words about her to Harry. It’s a scene of closeness between Peter and M.J. and was never seen in the film.
I liked how Peter experiences the pain of letting his Uncle Ben down after he discovers his death; chases after the killer and realises he could have stopped in when he let him go at the wrestling arena. The details of how Peter goes through the emotions of Uncle Ben’s death are pretty moving.
Norman Osborn as a character gets developed very well here in the book. It was interesting how Norman’s motives for saving his 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 so well documented.
J. Jonah Jameson is a great character in the book. I liked that first scene Jameson has with Norman Osborn at their men’s club. It predates and reinforces Jameson’s motives for bringing Spider-Man down. I liked the last scene in the book when 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 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 scene between Spider-Man and the Green Goblin is truncated somewhat in the book. Although I did like it when Spider-Man rescues the baby from the building and it was from his point-of-view in the book.
The climatic scenes where Spider-Man rescues M.J. and the cable car on Roosevelt Island are different in the book compared to the film. For one thing, there is no barge in the book for Spidey to drop the cable car onto. In the book, he drops it with M.J. on 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 action. The brutality the Green Goblin inflicts 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 wonderful to read in the book. The love scene was just as good to read in the book as well as seeing it in the film, and the emotions are so 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 I come to a close with this review. I’ve enjoyed re-reading the ‘Spider-Man’ novelization by Peter David. It really has 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 with and is a personal favourite from my youth.
‘Spider-Man’ the novelization by Peter David is a wonderful book to read for any fans of ‘Spider-Man’ and superheroes. It’s a lovely, engaging and engrossing read. I love everything about the book in terms of action; plot and character development. You won’t be disappointed when reading this ‘Spider-Man’ book.
‘Spider-Man’ (novelization) rating – 10/10
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