By: The Dweeb
Chalk up another hit for the Marvel Universe. After decades of lagging behind the DC Comics blockbuster franchises and many failed attempts at comic book adaptations, you can add Spider-Man to the string of hits within the past few years. Spider-Man can now happily join the ranks of other comic book film franchises such as Blade and X-Men, and the floodgates have opened wide for the next slew of comic books to hit the silver screen. Go Marvel! Sorry, I’ve always been more of a Marvel man than DC Comics myself.
As for Spidey, well what can you say about this flick, just that it’s great! Sam Raimi actually made this movie because he was a fan himself, and it showed. The characters, action and special effects all come together and gives us one hell of a ride. This movie definitely serves as the introduction for a bunch of sequels, so it isn’t able to dwell too long on all the different aspects of the Spider-Man story, it gives us a nice smattering of all the major important parts.
I love the beginning of the film, which gives us a modified version of the origin story. What many movies like this fail to do at the start is to give the viewer some character depth. Peter Parker is shown as a vulnerable geek, who gets stepped on at every turn, and becoming Spider-man seems to only complicate things more for him. As soon as the costume comes off he still has his real world problems to deal with. Many fans cried about the fact that they changed his web spinners from being a mechanical device to him actually shooting the webs from his wrists. Actually, I like that better, it makes more sense to me. After all, if you were genetically mutated with spider abilities, why wouldn’t you be able to spin webs naturally? Of course they would probably come out your butt instead of your arms, but that’s another issue.
You can clearly see that this is a Sam Raimi movie, many elements of his visual style can be seen peppered throughout the film. Just like in Evil Dead or Army of Darkness, there are extreme closeup zooms, the “construction montage” as I call it, and lots of cameos. What movie wouldn’t be complete without Bruce Campbell or the Ford LTD?
As entertaining as this film is, it doesn’t walk away without it’s share of problems. I haven’t seen it since it was in the theatre, when watching it again I noticed that it can get cheesey at parts. It seemed a little too “Hollywood” to me. I was also disappointed in the Green Goblin’s (Willem Dafoe) costume. The mask covered his face completely but you could still see his mouth moving under there, it doesn’t work for me. I think a latex makeup job might have been a better choice. Willem did do an awesome job playing him though. Also I missed Spider-Man’s sense of humor. In the comic book and cartoons he is always a smartass. We only get a little bit of that.
With such a huge megahit on it’s hands, the studio has released an excellent DVD for this movie. The sound and picture is pretty good, but not fantastic. I noticed the film grain is very prominent on this DVD, something I thought new DVD’s can eliminate from the print usually. It could have been clearer. There are also lots and lots and lots of extras included on here. There are TWO commentary tracks, a pop up video option, and another branching scenes option while watching the film itself. The pop up is a bit overwhelming, there’s one every second it seems. The second disc is full of the usual stuff, and then some. The second half of that disc is entirely dedicated to the comic book, rightly so. I still haven’t finished going through all the stuff on there.
What’s not to like about this DVD? I enjoyed this film and am looking forward to the sequel.