With earnest, unpretentious delivery, Maguire is an eminently likable hero audiences will root for from his earliest moments as the class wimp.
At its best, Spider-Man takes the adolescent yearning at the heart of most superhero sagas and gives it a lovely swing.
Coarse mayhem notwithstanding, Spider-Man will probably provoke a pandemic of arachnophilia.
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.
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.
A perfectly serviceable early-summer popcorn picture that will satisfy its core teen constituency and not displease general viewers looking for some disposable entertainment.
Unfortunately the film, like many of its ilk, is driven by special effects, and there's a serious disconnect between Maguire's sweet-natured dialogue and Spider-Man's pounding violence and stunning acrobatic work.
This accomplished blockbuster announces itself as a stylish piece of pop myth-spinning.
It's got appealing performers as the leads.
| Original Score: 3/4
Introduced in 1962, the original superhero helped to initiate the age of modern comics. Raimi hasn't figured out how to reconfigure him for the blockbuster age.
Raimi gives this unapologetic fluff a mind, a heart and a keen sense of fun.
| Original Score: 4.5/5
[A]n energetic romp.
Despite all the computer-generated effects and highflying superhero theatrics, this roughly $120 million movie is, with few exceptions, remarkable only in its small human touches.
This is a pure popcorn movie -- the kind of film one can unabashedly enjoy for what it is.
With disarmingly entertaining movies like this, dare I say, who needs big bad superhero movies?
| Original Score: 4/5
An exuberance, a celebration, a hoot, a kick and a half.
| Original Score: 4.5/5
A blockbuster with a heart and a brain.
A movie that both thrills the eye and, in its over-the-top way, touches the heart.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
The superhero part of the movie will leave audiences with a flat feeling.
| Original Score: 2/4
A model of what films like this should be like.
| Original Score: 4/4
Speaking in terms of spectacle, craft, romance and humor, it's the movie to beat this summer.
Maguire is a surprisingly effective Peter/Spider-Man.
| Original Score: B
Exciting as it is tender and romantic, Raimi's Spider-Man looks like a movie that will please not only the Spider-Man converted but also the viewer who just wanders in.
| Original Score: 3/4
Plays like a sensitive 1980s-era John Hughes teen film ... interrupted by really tawdry special effects and hammy appearances by a cartoonish villain played by Willem Dafoe.
| Original Score: 2.5/4
Even when it sputters, this Spider-Man is loftier than most attempts at movie wizardry.
Raimi crafted a complicated hero who is a welcome relief from the usual two-dimensional offerings.
The origin story is well told, and the characters will not disappoint anyone who values the original comic books. It's in the action scenes that things fall apart.
To its credit focuses mainly on the warm-hearted human tale of the innocent superhero in a hard world, rather than on visual dazzle.
A surprisingly charming and even witty match for the best of Hollywood's comic-book adaptations.
This is a rare twisted crowd-pleaser for longtime fans as well as novices -- or for those that don't know an arachnid from an insect.
What holds the movie together is its modest, sweet spirit.
Though [Raimi's] Spider-Man marks time more than it needs to and is no more than sporadically exhilarating, it does enough things right to be a solid comic-book citizen.
| Original Score: 3.5/5
The filmmakers have succeeded in rejuvenating the character while staying faithful to his roots.
[Raimi's] passion for his source material is evident in every frame of this big, light, endearingly square movie.
Good show, Spidey: We knew you had it in you.
Webmasterful. That's Tobey Maguire as angsty nerd Peter Parker and his arachnid alter ego Spider-Man.
A yarn that respects the Marvel version without becoming ensnared by it.
Looks like about a trillion dollars' worth of digital effects and 25 cents' worth of plot.
A good movie that would be a better one if it were 15 minutes shorter, and a great movie if it were a half-hour shorter.
An escapist confection that's pure entertainment.
A picture jam-packed with swinging action scenes, spiffy spider jokes and an unforced earnestness that never becoes corny or tongue-in-cheek.
| Original Score: B+
A canny franchise escapade; it gets the job done.
This long-awaited future franchise is a competent seat-warmer at the box-office table for the two weekends preceding George Lucas's Attack of the Clones.
Guileless and charming with a perpetual look of startled bewilderment at the super powers he possesses, Maguire is perfect as an ordinary guy with a big secret.