Forty years after first appearing in a comic book, Spider-man (Sony) swings onto the screen amidst great excitement and anticipation. Through bankruptcies, lawsuits, director changes and even a Sept. 11 controversy over advertisements showing the World Trade Center, this film has prevailed, reaching the screen with a sequel already in the making.
The film follows the 1960s comic-book character created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. A nerdy high school senior named Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) is an orphan living with his aunt (Rosemary Harris) and uncle (Cliff Robertson) in Queens. He is a normal overachiever, in love with Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst) and hanging out with his best friend Harry Osborn (James Franco). He is just a normal kid until one day, while on a school field trip, Parker is bitten by a genetically-altered spider that gives him the strength and agility of an arachnid along with an ESP-like sense for those in trouble.
Parker first uses his newfound abilities to make money, but after his uncle is involved in a terrible accident, he realizes the full potential of his powers and decides to try life as a superhero. He vows to fight crime, living by the words of his Uncle Ben, “With great power comes great responsibility.”
Spider-man is entertaining, but despite the incredible special effects, the screenplay by David Koepp leaves something to be desired. It is distracting to hear characters employ constant cliches. Koepp may have been trying to stay true to the comic book language, but it doesn’t translate well to the screen.
The battle scenes between Parker and The Green Goblin, played by William Dafoe, are not for the weak of heart. They are intense, graphic and sometimes a little drawn out; in the last battle, the pregnant pauses become tedious.
As a whole, this is an ideal movie for comic-book fans or those looking for a fun action flick or something to do with their 13-year-old brother. But don’t expect too much, it is fun but also as campy as it could possibly be. What do you expect, when a comic book comes to life?