Review: Spider-Man

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Spider-Man has to be the best superhero/comic-based movie since the original Superman.

I went in on Saturday with high expectations. The previews for this thing hype it up to the point where I’m scared to even venture into the theater. I’ve been so severely let down by movies like Jurassic Park after seeing the commercialism surrounding them that movies with too much promotion are movies I usually won’t see. In 99% of cases, there’s no way a movie can live up to the expectations the promotion builds.

Spider-Man lives up to every last bit of the hype.

Spider-Man is (duh) the story of Spider-Man. If you don’t know who Spider-Man is, climb out from under the rock you call home and join us in the now. Tobey Maguire plays Peter Parker (aka Spider-Man) and does a great job of giving us the “mild-mannered” treatment. You get to see his struggles through high school and understand what his state in life is. Kirsten Dunst plays Mary Jane Watson, the girl Peter desperately wants to date. Willem Dafoe plays Norman Osborn, aka The Green Goblin, the bad guy in the film.

Peter is a nerdy photographer in high-school who likes Mary Jane. He’s lived next door to her for years, but she somehow doesn’t know who he is. Mary Jane dates the popular kids, which is not what Peter is. On a field trip, Peter gets bitten by a genetically enhanced spider (which is slightly different than the radioactive spider that was seen in the comic) and gets spider powers. He climbs walls, he shoots webs, etc., etc. But the cool part of this is that you actually get to see him figure out how to use his powers. He just doesn’t instantly understand them - he plays around a bit with them and messes up a few times getting the hang of them.

Peter has a friend, Harry Osborn, whose dad, Norman is some sort of scientist developing products for the Army. Norman’s about to lose his funding, so he tries out one of the products on himself and *whammo* turns into a crazed lunatic with super strength.

Norman (as The Green Goblin) tries to kill the people who are taking away his funding; Spider-Man comes in to save the day. Sounds simple enough, right?

It is. Just that simple. And that’s the brilliance of it. The story is pretty basic, but you actually care about the characters. There was no point while watching this that I said, “What the hell is that guy thinking? This is stupid!” I left thinking “I want to be Peter Parker.” Sort of the same way I left The Matrix thinking “I want to be Neo.” You start to see what Peter sees in Mary Jane. You understand Peter’s struggles. And you almost wish you could help.

I went in wearing my brand-new Spider-Man baseball jersey, eating my Spider-Man sour gummy spiders, having just purchased a Spider-Man dual-action web blaster, and I loved every single minute of the movie. I want to go back and see it again, and I’ll definitely be picking it up on DVD.

And, hey, you get some Kirsten Dunst nip while you’re there. Could it get any better? I think not.

Go out and see Spider-Man. It’s well worth it.