Please feel free to comment on my review.
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 too when you see it!
This movie was released in 2002 and stars Tobey Maguire; Kirsten Dunst; Willem Dafoe and James Franco and it’s fantastically directed by Sam Raimi who delivers a heart-warming action-packed adventure. I now have the movie as part of the ‘Spider-Man: Five-Movie Collection’ Blu-ray box set.
I didn’t see the film at the cinema as I wasn’t really interested in ‘Spider-Man’. 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 number #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’ 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 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. 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.
Willem Dafoe stars as the villainous Norman Osborn/the Green Goblin. Willem is tremendous, as he plays both sides of the 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 enjoyed.
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 he 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 that has this 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 as he 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 into 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 the 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!
When I first had ‘Spider-Man’ for Christmas 2002 on DVD, it was on a 2-disc DVD set. Disc 1 contained the movie and Disc 2 contained the special features. The Blu-ray has kept all of the original DVD special features on it, although 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 was a filmmakers’ and cast commentary with director Sam Raimi; co-producer Grant Curtis; Kirsten Dunst and producer Laura Ziskin. There was also a commentary with John Dykstra and his special effects crew. The two commentaries are now on the Blu-ray as well as a new one with Tobey Maguire and J.K. Simmons. On the original DVD, there was a ‘Spider Sense’ option to enjoy where the movie contained a series of web-i-sodes to watch when using the remote control to press a Spidey icon. There was 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 were ‘Character Files’ on the original DVD that showed a list of actors’ filmographies. There was also a ‘Marketing Campaign’ section that contained 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. The film’s trailer, the TV spots and the two music videos can now be found on the movie’s Blu-ray. On the original 2-disc DVD of ‘Spider-Man’, there were also some DVD-ROM features that could be played on your computer. This included a ‘Comic/Feature Comparison’ and a ‘Record Your Own Commentary’ option for the film. There was an Easter Egg and some web-links to look out for on the DVD. These aren’t included on the Blu-ray as there’s now ‘The Spider-Man Cutting Room’ option.
On Disc 2 of the original 2-disc DVD, there were two section to enjoy including the ‘Web of Spider-Man’ and the ‘Goblin’s Lair’. In the ‘Web of Spider-Man’, it focused on the comic book world of ‘Spider-Man’. There were three sections including ‘The Evolution of Spider-Man’; ‘Activision Game: Hints and Tips’ and ‘DVD Room’. Sadly not all the features from ‘Web of Spider-Man’ are on Blu-ray. ‘The Evolution of Spider-Man’ section contained the ‘Spider-Man: The Mythology of the 21st Century’ documentary, which is included on the Blu-ray. There was 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 for the Blu-ray, which is a shame. The ‘Activision Game: Hints and Tips’ section was a guide that contained three videos on the first three levels of the ‘Spider-Man’ video game from Activision. It was a very interesting guide and it helped you with what to expect should you play the video game. Sadly this isn’t included on the Blu-ray. The ‘DVD-ROM’ section was where you put the second disc into the computer to access a number of special features. This included 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 not. In the ‘Goblin’s Lair’ on Disc 2 of the original 2-disc DVD, it focused on the movie world of ‘Spider-Man’. It included a HBO Making of ‘Spider-Man’ documentary; 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 were also some Easter Eggs to look out for on Disc 2 of the original DVD. Most of these special features from the ‘Goblin’s Lair’ section can be found on the Blu-ray edition. There’s also some ‘Behind-the-Scenes of Spider-Man’ featurettes not included on the original DVD.
‘Spider-Man’ is a classic movie telling the story of how Peter Parker became the hero; fought crime and won 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 movies from my youth and I love re-watching it! I highly recommend it!
‘Spider-Man’ rating – 10/10
Please feel free to comment on my review.
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 year that the movie was released at 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 I purchased all three movie novelizations of the ‘Spider-Man’ trilogy in 2007 that I got down to reading this book of the first ‘Spider-Man’ movie. I’m so glad I did as 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 since 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 original ‘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 first ‘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 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 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 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 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 was something he did since he was a kid when his Uncle Ben suggested that 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 scenes 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 that was briefly glanced on.
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 where Peter and M.J. are talking to each other and getting to know each other. They are lovely scenes and 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 where 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 not to take advantage with M.J.
I also loved the additional scene between Peter and M.J. where he follows after she left the Thanksgiving dinner. Peter comforts M.J. after she had heard 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 him 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 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 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 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, 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 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 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 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 action; plot and character development. You won’t be disappointed when reading this ‘Spider-Man’ book.
‘Spider-Man’ (Novelization) rating – 10/10
|Go next to|
|Return to Spider-Man|