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Spider-Man (2002)

tomatometer

89

Average Rating: 7.6/10
Reviews Counted: 225
Fresh: 201 | Rotten: 24

Not only does Spider-Man provide a good dose of web-swinging fun, it also has a heart, thanks to the combined charms of director Sam Raimi and star Tobey Maguire.

84

Average Rating: 7/10
Critic Reviews: 43
Fresh: 36 | Rotten: 7

Not only does Spider-Man provide a good dose of web-swinging fun, it also has a heart, thanks to the combined charms of director Sam Raimi and star Tobey Maguire.

audience

67

liked it
Average Rating: 3.3/5
User Ratings: 34,285,964

My Rating

Movie Info

After incorporating elements of comic book style and design into many of his films, director Sam Raimi helms this straight-ahead, big-budget comic book adaptation, which also marks acclaimed young actor Tobey Maguire's first dip into live-action blockbuster filmmaking. Spider-Man follows the template of the original Stan Lee/Steve Ditko source material, with hero Peter Parker an orphaned, intellectual teen loner living in Queens with his aunt (Rosemary Harris) and uncle (Cliff Robertson), and

Nov 1, 2002

$403.7M

Columbia Pictures - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (226) | Top Critics (43) | Fresh (201) | Rotten (24) | DVD (59)

With earnest, unpretentious delivery, Maguire is an eminently likable hero audiences will root for from his earliest moments as the class wimp.

August 3, 2013 Full Review Source: Associated Press
Associated Press
Top Critic IconTop Critic

At its best, Spider-Man takes the adolescent yearning at the heart of most superhero sagas and gives it a lovely swing.

August 3, 2013 Full Review Source: Slate
Slate
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Coarse mayhem notwithstanding, Spider-Man will probably provoke a pandemic of arachnophilia.

April 12, 2013 Full Review Source: Wall Street Journal
Wall Street Journal
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The perils and advantages of being bitten by a genetically modified spider are made abundantly clear in Sam Raimi's enjoyable, if broken-backed, exercise in high-cost pulp.

April 12, 2013 Full Review Source: New Yorker
New Yorker
Top Critic IconTop Critic

In emphasizing angst over energy, the movie is much like its hero -- not the dashing crime fighter in a red-and-black bodysuit but the introspective nerd who both endears and exasperates.

July 14, 2010 Full Review Source: TIME Magazine | Comments (7)
TIME Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A perfectly serviceable early-summer popcorn picture that will satisfy its core teen constituency and not displease general viewers looking for some disposable entertainment.

March 5, 2008 Full Review Source: Variety | Comment (1)
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Raimi, working from a screenplay credited to David Koepp, powerfully captures the moral issues at stake as Peter grows into the web-slinging super-hero.

April 21, 2014 Full Review Source: Patheos

When the cast and their director are really cooking, they conjure a bipolar sense of high school-age emotion -- and use it to fuel outrageous fantasy.

August 3, 2013 Full Review Source: Baltimore Sun
Baltimore Sun

Spider-Man is an effortless, intelligent entertainment, and a fabulous, fun-filled start to the hugely lucrative franchise.

August 3, 2013 Full Review Source: Radio Times
Radio Times

Not since 1978's Superman has there been a live-action, comic book-based film so savvy at mixing self-aware camp with sincere emotion, and so successful at establishing the normal guy life of its spandexed protagonist.

August 3, 2013 Full Review Source: People Magazine
People Magazine

Full of swinging action but finding plenty of time to explore the people behind the masks, Spider-Man is a franchise with real legs. At last, a blockbuster that lives up to the hype.

August 3, 2013 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

Maybe having such a big budget and being able to afford so many computer effects (which aren't so hot anyway) crippled the creativity of the film.

August 3, 2013 Full Review Source: Metro Times (Detroit, MI)
Metro Times (Detroit, MI)

This crowd-pleaser is a highly satisfying rendering of Lee's reluctant hero, one that captures the broken heart and tortured soul of a young man whose coming of age arrives with a perilously high price tag.

April 12, 2013 Full Review Source: Christian Science Monitor
Christian Science Monitor

Captures the high-energy, pulpy effervescence of Marvel when it was young and feisty... whatever imperfections the film picks up along the way, they practically demand to be hand-waved aside.

June 28, 2012 Full Review Source: Antagony & Ecstasy
Antagony & Ecstasy

It's got all that you'd want from superhero movie and more. A truly enjoyable film.

January 16, 2011 Full Review Source: DVDTalk.com
DVDTalk.com

Fun movie, but may be too intense for younger kids.

December 28, 2010 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media | Comment (1)
Common Sense Media

Sam Raimi has gotten the exact mix right to create certainly one of the best superhero films ever made.

July 6, 2010 Full Review Source: Dark Horizons
Dark Horizons

Spider-Man is funny, poignant and true to form with Tobey Maguire and company fleshing out the famed comic-book characters with aplomb.

September 8, 2009 Full Review Source: Hollywood.com
Hollywood.com

Finally, a fully faithful adaptation to a comic book icon, save for some bumps along the road. It's a fun movie.

April 29, 2009 Full Review Source: Cinema Crazed
Cinema Crazed

A vibrant piece of pop entertainment that serves as the perfect start to the summer season.

October 18, 2008 Full Review Source: Bullz-Eye.com
Bullz-Eye.com

An adaptation of the Marvel Comics superhero adventures that effectively takes time between exhilarating digital effects to develop character and motivation.

August 7, 2008 Full Review Source: Sacramento News & Review
Sacramento News & Review

Audience Reviews for Spider-Man

One of Marvel's flagship characters finally makes it to the big screen and with Sam Raimi at the helm, you have a sure-fire winner. The first half of the film is as expected, fantastic. It has just the right balance of humour and action and although Tobey Maguire's acting talents are rather limited, he manages to pull off the dorky charm of Peter Parker with some success. There's a lot of humour in the discovery of his powers and how to use them and the supporting characters are all believable. It also shows the motivations and character development of Spiderman really well and rarely descends into schmaltz. Unfortunately once the tights go on, things are not quite as strong. The Green Goblin was never a particularly interesting character and although the schizophrenia plot line is clever, Defoe holds the attention far more as the disappointed father than a dayglo action figure on a hover board. Raimi handles the action nicely though and it's worth it alone for J. K. Simmons whose hilarious J. Jonah Jameson steals every scene he is in.
July 16, 2014
garyX
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

Hey anybody remember those really old Sam Raimi Spider-Man films? you know there were three of them and I think they were quite popular at the time. Ah who cares now we have a much better rebooted franchise which isn't exactly the same right? errr yeah, sure.

Yep so we still have these old Raimi films, they won't vanish or anything. But before tossing these old Raimi films into the bin of film oblivion lets discuss how dated and so not cool they are now. So its film one and naturally we get the origins of Spider-Man/Parker and all the various characters around him. 'Harry Osborn' is trying to maintain his company and experiments on himself with their new performance enhancing vapour drug stuff to try and keep the important military contract which is dangling by a thread (oh and he's already building the Glider and special suit combo too for some reason). Low and behold it kinda turns him crazy as an unfortunate side effect even though it does sort of work. From there on out Osborn slowly turns into the Green Goblin and Spider-Man must defeat him whilst protecting his family and friends.

What made me giggle a bit was the fact that Parker goes to this genetics laboratory where he is shown all these genetically enhanced spiders. He of course gets bitten by one of them which has somehow escaped and it leaves a nasty little red mark. Now you'd think he would report that asap really, you've been bitten by a spider in a laboratory full of dangerous arachnids, might die here fella. Nope he goes home feeling ill, once home the bite has now swollen badly and he's feeling pretty ill it seems, time to call the hospit...nope it'll clear up.

After the discovery he can climb walls, leap around like crazy, fight etc...he then gets carried away and goes off across the rooftops like someone who wants to get spotted and exposed. Oh wait he doesn't wanna do that does he, kinda silly thing to do then really. On an honest note I did quite like the origin build up in this film I admit, its done in a nice light-hearted true comicbook fashion that is simply likeable. The effects used to show how he can see fights and things in slow motion works really well without actually having to use all that Zack '300' Snyder tomfoolery. Seeing Parker crawl up walls is an old but neat trick of the eye and its a nice touch to see him in his initial childish homemade outfit getting to grips with his skills. Not too sure how he made his proper outfit though, he just swings into one scene and its there, presumably he made it? how?? looks expensive.

Of course the effects for Parker swinging through the air are now pretty dated looking even though it doesn't seem like a really old film. The CGI is average and ranges from passable to down right awful at times, although the famous Spider-Man outfit makes it look better than it actually is. There is also some nasty use of bluescreen here and there along with some quite cringeworthy comical moments, or should that be attempts. Even the photos of Spider-Man taken by Parker for the 'Daily Bugle' look completely fake which was amusing. It is a comicbook adaptation of course so there is a very limited amount of graphic violence or blood on screen, there are some edgy bits though no doubt but overall its actually handled well and holds that balance just right, in other words this isn't an infantile flick.

The Green Goblin was a hot topic at the time due to the fact it wasn't actually the Green Goblin, it was a man in a suit. I must admit now I think this works OK, at the time I didn't like it and I can see why as you kinda feel cheated (bit like The Mandarin in 'Iron Man 3'). But watching this now I think it was a good move to show Osborn going nuts and developing a split personality, it feels much more realistic and gives much more depth to the character...like did Osborn ever really have control? should Spider-Man tried to save him in the end? etc...The Goblin suit is a touch off visually I gotta say, I think they could of done that a bit better, used some other green tones on there, maybe make his helmet a bit more striking. It did look more like a giant plastic suit for a toy character that some poor sod would be wearing in a mall for advertising purposes, a bit hokey. On the other hand the CGI and prop work for the Glider was fine I think, looked pretty sweet.

The film ticks along just fine really and the cast are likeable fitting their roles well. Maguire is a good Peter Parker no doubt but I still have a hard time thinking he's under the Spider-Man suit, luckily we don't actually see that so it could be anyone and probably is. Dafoe is the best thing in the film by far with his scene stealing scenery chewing performance, not only that but his face is the perfect shape and structure for the Goblin too. When you see the Goblin swoop down you totally believe its Dafoe overacting all the way, I could almost say he saves the film because without a good villain this would have sunk, good CGI effects or not. I love the way he growls and cackles into the mirror with those devilish eyes of his.

The finale is daft I will say it now. How the hell does Parker/Spider-Man manage to hold onto that cable car full of kids with one arm whilst using the other arm to stay clinging to the bridge is beyond me. Its there I also realised that his spider web squirty stuff is also damn strong it seems...really damn strong! The actual final fight between the two main characters is decent enough though showing Spider-Man battered pretty good with blood!

In my personal opinion this is a better film than the recent rebooted version, its a much easier fun going Spider-Man adaptation with more comicbook-esque visuals. There are silly moments and bits that don't work sure, why on earth they stuck Macy Gray in there I don't know because that dates the film badly and her voice is annoying, there are a few Superman-esque shots where Parker rips his shirt to reveal the Spider-Man logo, Sony product placements! and 'Mary Jane' only recognises Parker as Spider-Man by his kiss?! wut?! what about his voice?! The Green Goblin's attacks are also completely inconsistent as one minute he uses bombs and vaporising bombs to kill, the next he throws some whirling blade things when he should of used the bombs that would have worked very effectively. It is certainly pretty cheesy and pantomime-like looking back but hey that's fine, I found myself enjoying this film much more than I recall back in the day and like I said I also enjoyed it much more than the reboot.
May 14, 2014
phubbs1

Super Reviewer

Even with all it's cheesiness, Sam Raimi's "Spider-man" stands as one of my favourite superhero movies, and it has one of the greatest superhero stories to be told. It may have it's cheesiness running throughout, but who better to present us with that, than the one and only Sam Raimi. Almost every superhero film can be laughed at through it's corn, but the fact is, when you watch a piece of fiction, it doesn't matter whether it's believable or realistic, because it's meant to be fake. "Spider-Man" is my favourite superhero, and this is one of the best origin films out there today. It may not follow the comic books very well, but when you have a film that is constructed as well as this, you cannot make an argument that this film is bad. I really enjoy watching this film, even though it becomes a little too silly at times.
April 30, 2014
KJ Proulx

Super Reviewer

Spider-Man is a strong entry into the comic book cannon, and not least because it's based on my all time favourite superhero. It gives Peter Parker a great origin story. The web-slinging action scenes are awesome. Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, Willem Dafoe and James Franco bring unique perspectives to their characters. Sam Raimi's unique style permeates the film and enhances the material rather detracting from it.
April 17, 2014
MovieGeek13

Super Reviewer

    1. Norman Osborn/Green Goblin: I've been like a father to you. Be a son to me.
    2. Peter Parker/Spider-Man: I have a father. His name was Ben Parker.
    3. Norman Osborn/Green Goblin: God's speed, Spiderman.
    – Submitted by James D (20 days ago)
    1. Peter Parker/Spider-Man: Let mom and dad talk gobby
    – Submitted by Ricky M (4 months ago)
    1. Uncle Ben: With great power, comes great responsibility.
    – Submitted by Joe N (15 months ago)
    1. Norman Osborn/Green Goblin: The itsy bitsy spider went up the water spout, down came the goblin, and took the spider out.
    – Submitted by Joe N (15 months ago)
    1. Bone Saw McGraw: What are you doin up there?
    2. Peter Parker/Spider-Man: Staying away from you. That's a cute outfit, did your husband get it for you?
    – Submitted by Joe N (15 months ago)
    1. J. Jonah Jameson: Who is Spider-man? He's a criminal that's who he is.
    – Submitted by Swail J (18 months ago)
View all quotes (39)

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