Marvel Movie Madness! Part 22: Spider-Man

Summary

Luke: You know a comic book movie's big when it transcends genre and becomes part of the mainstream pop consciousness. Like Richard Donner's Superman, Burton's Batman and, later, Nolan's The Dark Knight, Spider-Man felt like an event; and it was: domestically it was the highest-grossing film of 2002 -- beating Star Wars, Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter -- and helped crown Marvel's movie renaissance begun with Blade and X-Men. Back to Article

Comments

I hAtE bAd MoViEs

Brad Cunningham

Marvel at it's prime

Jun 27 - 11:45 PM

Noah James

Noah Kinsey

grid- I completely disagree. Had they gone the original way and viewers weren't able to relate to Peter, that would be the filmmakers' fault - not the source material. Readers had NO problem identifying with his angst back when the comics came out.

Jun 28 - 12:25 AM

Noah James

Noah Kinsey

In the Twilight series' trailers, the werewolves don't look CGI. If I had to describe the tech used to create them, I would say they look closer to Flash animation ;-)

Jun 28 - 12:28 AM

Noah James

Noah Kinsey

Due to the age of CGI at the time, I can't hate on it. It looked better than other movies using CGI at that time. If you want to see the tech going backwards, check out Daredevil (which came out after SM1). Wow, so fake!

Jun 28 - 12:30 AM

Manuel G.

Manuel Granados

Daredevil had no CGI, it was claymation. If it's not, then I wanna know why Wallace and Grommit look more human than Daredevil.

Jun 28 - 12:47 AM

Justin D.

Justin D.

Well yeah, Daredevil's CG was just pathetic. Ray Harryhausen could have done a better job w/ stop-motion. Be that as it may, while a lot of the web slinging sequences were pretty cool a lot of moments looked just so fake. When Peter is running along the rooftops upon discovery of his powers? Say what you want about Episode I, but George "I kill my own franchises" Lucas could have done a better job. The same goes for the sequences where Peter suits up to chase the burglar who shot Uncle Ben, and that pumpkin bomb the Green Goblin uses to kill the members of Oscorp's board of directors.

Speaking of that scene...WTF!?!?! So you mean to tell me that the Goblin had a bomb that could disintegrate someone instantly yet he didn't use it on Spider-Man at the end. What did he only have one of those? If so, why did he waste it on those old men? I'm pretty sure a regular bomb would have worked just as well, or how about he just gun them down since the glider had machine guns. Hell, he could have used one of the missiles he used to wreck the ferry full of kids being taken on a tour IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT! Jesus this movie sucked! Sorry, got a little carried away.

Jun 28 - 09:48 AM

Manuel G.

Manuel Granados

I think I am going to have to re watch this one, Justin D's comments are making me want to revisit it, which i haven't done in about 5 years. I hope it doesn't ruin the fond memories I have of it.

Jun 28 - 10:53 AM

Noah James

Noah Kinsey

Really? I was waiting for Alpha to cry "aye yaye yaye yaye yaye!!"

Jun 28 - 12:38 AM

gridlock'd2

First Last

I took for granted in the comics how crazy the idea of webshooters are when I read the comics but in a moive you'd have to ask: How did he make them? Where does he get this an endless supply of fluid? How did he make a substance strong enough to support his body weight? And he made it with what, a home chemistry set? And he makes it every night? How much does it cost? Nothing? Where did he get the materials? Nearby dumpster? So he got bit by a radioactive spider and only recieved MOST of the powers of a spider? Everything except the thing spiders are most known for? It's like getting all the powers of a fish except being able to breathe underwater.
So say he does all this, clearly this high school student is a genius. He should probably work at NASA. So he goes to get a job... as a newspaper photographer? Isn't that kinda squandering your gifts? He should be curing cancer. Doing some real good in the world. Not delievering pizza.
Well, we'll see. Supposedly he's got mechanical web shooters in the reboot. I guess we'll get our answers there.
No, I was a huge fan of the comics and I think the first movie is perfect.
My only tiny gripe is he didn't quip enough once he put on the costume. It should have released his inner smart-ass. Bothers me that Iron Man is witter than Spider-Man in the movies.

Jun 28 - 06:14 AM

Manuel G.

Manuel Granados

That's my usual gripe with the whole series. And what baffles me is that it's not like Raimi doesn't know how to direct someone being a smartass, Bruce Campbell is a wiseass in every single appereance he makes anywhere, why couldn't they transfer some of that to Spiderman? Spiderman, the character, doesn't have a single memorable line that makes you think "that's the guy I remember from the comics!" his personna wearing the suit and out of it is basically the same dweeby nerdy guy.

Jun 28 - 08:50 AM

Manuel G.

Manuel Granados

Daredevil had no CGI, it was claymation. If it's not, then I wanna know why Wallace and Grommit look more human than Daredevil.

Jun 28 - 12:47 AM

seanmprd78

Sean Guyon

I have to agree with the questionable casting of Kirsten "Snaggletooth" Dunst as Mary Jane. What is up with these directors casting less than desirable actresses for the Superhero's love interests such as Margot Kidder for Superman, and Maggie Gyllenhaal and Katie Holmes as whatever boring character they both played in Nolan's Batman movies? They couldn't find any attractive actresses that could actually act, and play the part? No offense, I know beauty is only skin deep, but damn, how deep do I have to dig before breaking my back?

Jun 28 - 01:32 AM

TombstoneLawDog

Daniel Klein

I often wondered why Richard Donner cast Margot Kidder when it is virtually impossible to believe that ANYone, let alone a veritable GOD, could fall in love with her (average looking chick dressed like a she-Napoleon Dynamite) Then I saw the 'making of' documentaries on the Superman DVD released in 2001. They showed 'Lois' screen tests with half a dozen other young actresses at the time, including some true-blood hotties (young Anne Archer? DAMN!) and I hate to say it but Kidder wipes the floor with them. She was so much more authentic as Lois Lane than anyone else that it made a believer out of me.

As to Dunst as MJ, I'm not nearly as turned off as everyone else was, but I do agree that she is more 'pretty' or 'cute' than HOT. I'll say this, though- it's a lot easier to agree that a nerd-turned-hero could get Dunst than it is to imagine Shia LeBoeuf getting Megan Fox. Seriously- Giant alien Robots transforming into cars and battling for our planet? No problem. HER going out with HIM? Can't suspend my disbelief that far.

Jun 28 - 07:28 AM

Manuel G.

Manuel Granados

I have an easier time believing there's an ancient race of car robots that has lived in earth for decades and is covered up by the government than I believe Megan Fox would make out with Shia Labeouf.

Jun 28 - 08:53 AM

reelguy

Jeremiah Rancourt

Plus, god forgive directors trying to cast an "actress" for the part who can actually act rather than a vacant looking supermodel. I swear, some of you guys don't know what the hell you want. I think any complaints about Mary Jane's "looks" in the film are really inappropriate and beneath a serious conversation about this movie. She worked for the role of MJ that Raimi pictured and was believable and sweet in the role. End of story.

Jun 28 - 08:55 AM

TombstoneLawDog

Daniel Klein

Dude? I think the whole point of the debate is whether or not there is a 'grey' area between Super-model and actress where Raimi could've found his MJ. Respectfully, it's very clearly NOT the end of the story for people who didn't think MJ 'worked.' If we're dealing only with BO returns, than sure, she worked. So, then, did Everything in SM3. While some of the arguments against Dunst are purely aesthetic, some are grounded in loyalty to the comic. MJ is supposed to be --objectively-- a rediculously attractive character, ala Megan Fox. To them, casting Dunst was kind of like casting Paul Delano (angry brother from Lil' Mis Sunshine) as Edward Cullen from the Twilight movie; Delano's not an ugly kid, he just doesn't fit the character drawn by the author.

Jun 28 - 10:22 AM

TombstoneLawDog

Daniel Klein

'r*I*diculously'. Nice to spell-check, Tomb..

Jun 28 - 10:30 AM

reelguy

Jeremiah Rancourt

But, again, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I don't find Megan Fox especially tantalizing (to speak nothing of her acting), but I don't spend time criticizing her looks b/c most of the time that's besides the point in a movie. For some reason, fanboys have decided to attack Dunst's looks and not simply b/c her character isn't "properly" portrayed compared to the comic's MJ. Dunst was attractive and approachable in the Raimi films. She played the role as the next-door neighbor/the high school sweetheart, not the model who hangs out with geeks. That's how Raimi decided to portray the character of MJ. Its certainly shouldn't be taken as an excuse to take pot-shots at an actress's looks

Jun 28 - 12:07 PM

seanmprd78

Sean Guyon

I'm heading out, but to your last reply, Mary Jane was depicted as a model in at least one of the Spiderman movies. I forget which one, but there was a giant poster of her modeling on some billboard. She is not model material, I'm just saying that looks do play a part in the role. Mary Jane is a model, and is supposed to be breathtaking. She was portrayed as a model in the movies as well, and fell far short of breathtaking. I'm not saying I want Fox in the role, but can't there be a worthy actress that fits the look better?

Jun 28 - 03:07 PM

TombstoneLawDog

Daniel Klein

reelguy;
I agree with you that Dunst shouldn't be subjected to sophomoric attacks on her appearance just because she doesn't live up to someone's ideal, but it's hardly surprising. People tend to be thoughtless and hurtful, day to day. Add the anonymity of the internet and you remove even the lazy social disciplines that might otherwise cause people to think before they speak. The good news, anyway, is that I am relatively *confident* that Dunst could not even get to read half of what is printed about her if she tried and that, as a necessary defense mechanism in the modern era, she has developed a thick skin for what she has read.

Jun 29 - 06:26 AM

reelguy

Jeremiah Rancourt

I appreciate your well considered remarks, TombstoneLawDog. I don't know when I became a Dunst defender, but I just got tired of fanboys constantly griping about her looks when beauty is so subjective. I hate jumping on bandwagons or seeing others do so.

Jun 29 - 08:48 AM

King  S.

King Simba

Personally, I think comparing Spiderman 3 to Spiderman is like comparing The Phantom Menace to A New Hope. Yes, the problems that were in A Phantom Menace could be found in A New Hope as they're both from the same director, like the corny dialouge, bumbling sidekicks, but with A New Hope the film was done so well that you were much more willing to ignore the flaws. In fact, stuff like the chessy dialouge actually added a certain charm to the film.

It's the same thing with the Spiderman films. What was charming and fun about the first two started to become wearisome in the third. Compare the "rain drops are falling on my head" sequence of Spiderman 2 to the emo Parker scene in Spiderman 3. Both feature a musical sequence of Peter strutting down the street, and yet with Spiderman 2 it was done with such charm that you couldn't help smiling, with Spiderman 3 it was just so overdone.

Also I think Tobey Maguire made a great Parker, if not a great Spiderman. The early scenes where he's first discovering his powers are upliffting and classical. I actually liked how they made him become a little arrogant after he got his powers, because indeed if you were now strong, fast, smart and could shoot webs out of your arms, isn't is likely that you would start to feel that you don't need anyone's advice? It also made Ben's death more tragic, because Peter never got to apologize for being rude to him.

Agree about the weak CGI and the cartoony villain, but in all honesty, like Batman Begins this film is much more about the hero than the villain. Also William Dafoe's preformance helped make up for the bad costume (though again, like Tobey, I thought he gave a much better preformance when he wasn't wearing a suit) In fact, I thought the entire cast gave great preformances, even Kirsten Dunst (those who say she's not hot, really, how many next door neighbors have you lived by that looked as great as her?)

Jun 28 - 01:38 AM

Justin D.

Justin D.

I have a neighbor that blows Kirsten "Boring Body" Dunst out of the water (why this woman isn't a model is beyond me). Anyway, I never compared Spider-Man to Spider-Man 3. I said that because of Spider-Man 3 I had to revisit the first film in the series and upon doing so found some major flaws in the series. Peter wasn't just arrogant, he was a creep, and by creep I mean he was literally a creepy person. His first interaction w/ Aunt May and Uncle Ben on screen is when he comes in after the museum trip and he's sick from the spider bite. He walks in and completely blows passed the two of them ignoring their questions about his state of being. I can understand that, you're feeling sick and just want to lie down so you rush w/o really hearing anyone around you. Still I figured that afterwards when he's feeling better he'd be nicer to them, giving us a sense of the stark contrast between how he would behave later, when he gets cocky about his powers, but instead he comes downstairs and continues to be dismissive of them, opting instead to head out and stalk Mary Jane for a few blocks. What a weirdo. Now maybe it isn't Maguire's fault as much as it is Raimi's and his crummy writing but even still, Tobey does nothing to uplift the material.

I won't discuss the musical numbers much because I'm saving my opinion on that for the Spider-Man 2 discussion, but sufficed to say that it sucked in 2 almost as much as it did in 3. Raimi didn't take anything seriously in these movies. It played out like some kind of farce, like it was all a joke to him. These movies were all soap opera melodrama and Adam West level camp. It reminds me of an article I read on the Cracked website about "Poe's Law," how the line between true extremism and satirical parody of such is impossible to see w/o some kind of indicator. The Spider-Man films set the standard for genre cliches and to this day I cannot tell if Sam Raimi was truly interested in making a serious series or if he was secretly poking fun at the character's mythology.

Jun 28 - 09:17 AM

Spidershrimp

J. L.

You've pretty much described how I feel about Sam Raimi as a director: he can do some amazing work, but he can't figure out real human interaction and emotion. His attempts all come out as campy and unrealistic.

Jun 29 - 09:54 AM

Matanuki

Matanuki .

Dunst almost completely killed the series for me. It was one of those ironic things by the third film, that a natural blonde would a red head and a red head would play the blonde. A red head that, in the end, would have been a better choice for the red head in the first place. Every time Dunst was on the screen I rolled my eyes. Imagine watching three movies and rolling your eyes all the way through the experience. And the whole thing with Lizard man was an epic tease in the worst sense of the word.

Jun 28 - 01:46 AM

Mr. Dufresne

Chip McNair

Yeah, I agree that Bryce would have worked for MJ, appearance-wise at least.

Jun 29 - 04:37 AM

Matanuki

Matanuki .

Lazy writing is standard in Hollywood.

Jun 28 - 01:49 AM

jomo999

Joe Morris

great movie, one of my favourite super-hero adaptations. I didn't mind the goblin: in the comics he's completely nuts and in the cartoon he does shout cheesy lines and cackle, but yeah the suit kinda sucked. Dafoe nailed it though.
Only thing is Kirsten Dunst wasn't right for the role of Mary Jane, however I can't believe of all things Ryan is complaining about her looks, I think Dunst is gorgeous.
I thought Tobey Maguire was a good choice for the main role and J.K Simmons was just brilliant, they'll have a hard time topping his J.J in the new film.

Jun 28 - 03:26 AM

Bigbrother

Big Brother

Yeah, why get Willem Defoe to play Green Goblin if you're going to put him in a metal mask. That dude has a face that was born to be the Goblin. Just put a little make-up on him, give him a hood and cape and let him go.

Jun 28 - 05:03 AM

Bigbrother

Big Brother

I do like when Spiderman joined The Avengers in the comic book and Spidergirl and Hawkeye are talking about him. Spiderwoman whispers to him. "I think Spiderman is like one of those super-genius sciencey guys." and Hawkeye's like "Really" and they both look at him and he's dangling upside down cramming a half-eaten ham sandwich in his mouth. Comedy gold. They need more of that in Spider-Man these days.

Jun 28 - 05:13 AM

Andrew L.

Andrew Lim

With great power comes great responsibility.

Most epic line ever.

Jun 28 - 05:24 AM

gridlock'd2

First Last

Legend has it Stan Lee was paraphrasing a line JFK used in a speech about the Cuban missle crisis.

Jun 28 - 09:50 AM

gridlock'd2

First Last

I took for granted in the comics how crazy the idea of webshooters are when I read the comics but in a moive you'd have to ask: How did he make them? Where does he get this an endless supply of fluid? How did he make a substance strong enough to support his body weight? And he made it with what, a home chemistry set? And he makes it every night? How much does it cost? Nothing? Where did he get the materials? Nearby dumpster? So he got bit by a radioactive spider and only recieved MOST of the powers of a spider? Everything except the thing spiders are most known for? It's like getting all the powers of a fish except being able to breathe underwater.
So say he does all this, clearly this high school student is a genius. He should probably work at NASA. So he goes to get a job... as a newspaper photographer? Isn't that kinda squandering your gifts? He should be curing cancer. Doing some real good in the world. Not delievering pizza.
Well, we'll see. Supposedly he's got mechanical web shooters in the reboot. I guess we'll get our answers there.
No, I was a huge fan of the comics and I think the first movie is perfect.
My only tiny gripe is he didn't quip enough once he put on the costume. It should have released his inner smart-ass. Bothers me that Iron Man is witter than Spider-Man in the movies.

Jun 28 - 06:14 AM

gridlock'd2

First Last

In a movie, the audience will suspend their disbelief once, not twice. He can't get superpowers AND make superpowers. It's gotta be one or the other.

Jun 28 - 06:26 AM

Noah James

Noah Kinsey

Grid - I think we are going to just have to agree to disagree about the web-slingers. I completely respect your posts in other columns, so I'm not going to try and act like you don't have a good head on your shoulders. I stand by my statement that if they added the homemade web-slingers and people couldn't relate to his character - that would be the fault of the writers and the filmmakers. I WILL say that I don't know where you got your suspension of disbelief calculator, but people will suspend for MANY more times than just ONE per movie. Take the Fast Five - critics LOVED that pile of...I mean "movie" - yet I had to reset my suspension meter about 10 times. Had critics/audiences had to reset it like I did, it wouldn't have been the success (commercially and critically) that it was.

Jun 28 - 06:04 PM

gridlock'd2

First Last

It just seems a bit much to suddenly gain superpowers and then go home and make more superpowers. Why stop there? Why not make a jetpack? And X-Ray vision googles? And maybe a thing that shoot missles? Surely those things could also help in the fight against crime. How come he never invented anything else in the past forty years? Marvel created Spider Man as a contrast to the less-relatable DC characters. (Superman is an invincible alien. Batman is a millionaire) Peter is supposed to be a normal kid that the audience could relate to. Yes, he's bright but it would take a super genius to invent working web shooters and a super adhesive the likes of which will STILL have yet to see, in his bedroom with no access to materials. He's supposed to be an intelligent but otherwise normal kid from Queens, not A Beautiful Mind. I'm not sure I would buy it from a teenage Tony Stark. (But at least he was rich and had a father in the business) Imagine in a movie we just watched him gain super powers from the super-spider bite, now we have to watch him go home and make more super-powers? Why? Because the first set of powers isn't good enough? Because he now has a spider motiff to live up to? How many origins does one hero need? I'm sorry, I just think it would be silly. Trust me, I never had a problem with web shooters until I saw the movie and realized just attributing web powers to the spider bite makes a lot more sense and it's certainly more economical in terms of storytelling. But hey, we'll find out soon enough when Spider Man gets the reboot. Should be interesting. Personally I have a bad feeling, but we'll see. I look forward to continuing this debate then.

Jun 28 - 07:14 PM

Harry LaBeef

harry brown

@ Noah James & gridlock'd
I don't read the comics but I think you're both wrong. From what I've been told, Spider-man's web was created by his father. Why? I don't know. It seems Peter got the idea he could use this substance in crime fighting and made web shooters for it.

Apparently Raimi had no interest in the backstory of Peter's parents, so he cut the BS and gave him organic shooters.

Jul 23 - 03:44 PM

gridlock'd2

First Last

Worse, he late gave Daredevil thumbs up.

Jun 28 - 06:27 AM

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