Spider-Man (2002): Breakdown by Rantbo
Does whatever a spider can.
Spins a web, any size.
Catches thieves just like flies.
Look out! Here comes a lucrative franchise.
I’d like to think that most people reading this would at least be familiar with the story of Spider-Man’s origin, which is what this movie follows (fairly closely), so for brevity’s sake, here’s the short version. A teenage nerd, Peter Parker, gets bitten by a radioactive (genetically engineered, in the movie) spider on his class field-trip to a laboratory. And the spider bite transforms Peter overnight into a beefcake with spider-like powers. Then, soon after losing his beloved Uncle to an incident that he could have prevented had he not been a fuckass, he has to make a choice; wallow in self pity or atone. Parker decides to do both. Using his powers for the good of society, he creates a secret crime-fighting identity, Spider-Man, and spends the rest of his life (and the film) juggling his duel lives.
Unlike most super-hero origin movies, this one didn’t bug me. I guess it’s because, growing up, I was such a fan of not just Spidey, but Parker too. I was thoroughly entertained just watching the story unfold in its own time. I love his backstory, his wit and his relatable common-man problems. And, subsequently, I really dug the movie, so it’ll probably be easier (and shorter) to just mention the things I didn’t like.
Mary Jane: While she does have a stupendous rack, it takes more than a full sweater to make me accept Kirsten Dunst as Mary Jane Watson. Let me state, before I hate, that I couldn’t score a girl that looks like her without serious cash. She’s cute in her own way and I’ve liked her in several films, but in my opinion as a critic and as a big fan of the character, Kirsten Dunst fails as M.J..
The Mary Jane in the comics was a model and total knock-out babe. The whole point was that a nerd like Peter Parker, would never have been able to score a chick like that in a million years without the perfect circumstances. She’s his perk for all the shit he has to go through being a misunderstood hero. He gets his ass kicked, publicly slandered and has to work a day job—but it averages out as he gets to come home to a gorgeous copper-top. But in the movie, M.J. is so painfully ordinary that I completely believe these two could and would have ended up together, Spider-Powers or no. What with his large nose, big head and goofy facial expressions and her gummy smile, thin lips and—goofy facial expressions—where’s the added benefit? But, that’s probably what the filmmakers were going for. Personally, and I know it’s been said by others, but I think the role should have been played by Alicia Witt. Or, even better, made his love interest be Gwen Stacy, like in that comic that everybody seemed to like. But, whatever. Dunst isn’t terrible and she does have a pretty good scream. Probably do to those impressive lungs…
The Green Goblin: Not Willem Dafoe. In fact, I think he’s probably the most perfect bit of casting outside of J.K. Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson. The problem I have is, I can’t understand why they chose to make him look like a fucking Power Ranger villain.
Especially when you have an actor as creepy looking as Willem Dafoe. That dumbass mask was a joke compared to what Goblin could have been if he were simply in some green make-up that accentuated Dafoe’s already spooky features.
Macy Gray: Groan, why? At the time, it was horrifying. And now, in retrospect, it’s terrible. But the worst thing—the thing that makes me cringe every time I hear it, is that dumbass goomba on the bridge at the end that starts talking shit to the Green Goblin. “You mess with one of us, you mess with ALL of us!”. Oh, man I hate that guy. “Yeah, dis is New Yowk, we all one entity after 9/11, don’t yous know dat? You green peckerhead!” That’s it for what I didn’t care for.
As far as superhero movies go, this is definitely one of the rare good ones. It’s has a great story, the characters are superb and the action is fun, fast-paced and well shot. Most importantly, it REALLY felt like watching a live-action Spider-Man comic. Unlike the fucking X-Men or Fantastic Four. Raimi’s style applies itself wonderfully to the subject material and though it’s probably futile to do so (as I’m sure everyone who watches movies has already seen it) I highly recommend watching it. At least once, if for no other reason than so you can check out the even more rare superior sequel, with a full knowledge of what happened before.
[HOW BAD-ASS IS THE MAIN CHARACTER?]
Tobey Maguire is Peter Parker is Spider-Man
Spider-Man wasn’t part of a team, he didn’t have a trust fund to fall back on and he wasn’t an over-powered douche like Superman. He’s just a young smart guy, trying to do the right thing, while still protecting the ones he loves. Spider-Man is, for me, the perfect comic book hero. A nerd with super-strength, that gets to fuck a red-headed supermodel. Pretty much my fantasy since 1993.
-He has super strength, agility, balance and speed.
-Can cling to walls.
-Has a precognitive “Spider-Sense” that allows him to avoid danger
-Is very smart and excels at science, chemistry and physics.
-And much like John Spartan, is a damn fine seamstress.
Also, according to Parker, he beat an old lady with a stick to get some cranberries for Thanksgiving dinner. That’s a bad mutha fucka right there.
[THE BODY COUNT: 13]
Uncle Ben gets killed, his killer accidentally kills himself and the Green Goblin kills ten more and then himself. First he kills one of his lead researchers. Then he blows the Hell outta three government stooges with some missiles. And the final 6 he uses a flash grenade pumpkin bomb, which turns them into skeletons for some fucked up reason.
[MOST SATISFYING ASS-KICKING]
The Human Spider vs. BONESAW McGraw!
Spider-Man’s first true villain. BONESAW is played by Randy ‘The Macho Man’ Savage and personally, it’s the most memorable part of the film. Spidey fights BONESAW for a supposed $3,000 in order to buy a car to impress Mary Jane. The fight itself is nothing too special; mostly just Spider-Man jumping around and BONESAW smashing him with a folding chair. What makes it my favorite fight sequence is the pure novelty of seeing Spider-Man fight The Macho Man. Oh, and Spidey whips his ass. “Oh—YAYUH!!”
[DUDESWEAT AND MACHISMO]
Well, aside from wearing a colorful skintight bodysuit, Spider-Man also shoots pearl-white ropes of sticky goo out of his wrists. That’s pretty gay. To further his queerness, he spends the entire film pining for Mary Jane’s affections, yet every time he comes close to winning her over, he shuns her out of fear for “her saftey”.
[EXPLOITATION AND MISOGYNY]
Well, Mary Jane almost gets mugged and most certainly raped, by a bunch of goons. But, who could blame them? I mean, she was dressed like a drunk whore on a Cancun spring-break wet t-shirt competition stage. Later on, of course, she gets kidnapped and used for emotional blackmail against the man who loves her. Oh, women. Plus, she herself admits that she’s just a “…stupid little girl with a crush.”
[EPIC MOMENT AND BEST ONE-LINER]
Most people probably don’t remember this scene, but it is easily my favorite part in the film. During Thanksgiving dinner, Norman Osborn is starting to lose his control over his split personality more frequently and at random intervals.
He makes to pluck a piece of pie before dinner and Aunt May slaps his hand. We watch as he almost loses his shit and stabs her for daring to fuck with him. I laugh out loud every time I see it.
BONESAW IS REH-DEE!!!
[THE MORAL OF THE STORY]
With great power, comes large, barely-clothed, rain-soaked titties…
NO! Responsibility. With Great Power, Comes Great Responsibility! Yeah. Like that creepy old man said before he died.
[THE CHECKLIST: 20 outta 25]
[X] Athlete(s) Turned “Actor” [MACHO MAN!]
[X] Clinging To The Outside Of A Moving Vehicle
[X] Crotch Attack
[X] Dialogue Telling Us How Bad-Ass The Main Character(s) Is/Are
[ ] Ending Featuring An Ambulance, A Blanket or A Towel
[X] Giant Explosion(s)
[X] Heavy Artillery
[X] Improvised Weapon(s)
[X] Macho Mode(s) Of Transportation
[X] Main Character Sports Facial Accessory(s)
[ ] Manly Embrace(s)
[ ] Notorious Stunt-Man Sighting
[X] Passage(s) Of Time Via Montage
[X] Politically Fueled Plot Point(s)
[X] Senseless Destruction Of Property
[ ] Shoot Out(s) and/or Sword Fight(s)
[X] Slow-Motion Finishing Move(s)/Death(s)
[X] Stupid Authoritative Figure(s)
[X] Substance Usage and/or Abuse
[X] Tis The Season [Thanksgiving]
[ ] Torture Sequence(s)
[X] Unnecessary Sequel [Spider-Man 2]
[X] Vehicle Chase(s)
[X] Vigilante Justice