Adaptations/Biopics film review: Spider-Man (2002)

For this week’s film review, I decided to review the first film for my semester project: Spider-Man from 2002 directed by Sam Raimi. Not only is this film merely a superhero movie, it is also a love story. This film follows a high school senior by the name of Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire). Parker has always been seen as the nerd of the school, being big into science, and being a photographer for the school newspaper. Parker is bitten by a lab grown spider that ultimately gives him the superpowers that a spider has. After watching his uncle Ben die after being shot by a thief that Parker had just recently helped, he knew that he was destined for so much more. He took on the role of Spider-Man, swinging around NYC stopping crimes. It wasn’t until the Green Goblin came into the picture that Parker realized that he was the cities only hope in stopping this villain. Green Goblin, or Norman Osborn, played by William Dafoe, is the outcome of a lab experiment gone wrong. Osborn, fueled by his anger, seeks to take out all the people that caused him all his pain and anger.


Now on the topic of the love story aspect of the film, Peter has always been in love with Mary Jane Watson played by Kirsten Dunst. She ends up dating Harry Osborn, son of Norman Osborn, and best friend of Peter. After Spider-Man saves her life on numerous occasions, Mary Jane and Spider-Man spark up a mystery love relationship with MJ not knowing her loves true identity. Tying this into the action, the inciting moment is when Green Goblin discovers Spider-Man’s true identity and discovers his love for MJ and seeks to bring down the hero by attempting to kill everyone he loves. This causes a man vs man conflict as Spider-Man throws down against Green Goblin to save the one he loves, and protect the city. While he isn’t successful, this motive provides true meaning for Spider-Man to do what his is doing.


This film, while the first in a trilogy, originated from the Spider-Man comics written by Stan Lee, who writes all of the marvel comics. This film, while it may be not a perfect comparison to the original comics, is a very good adaptation and provides many of they key aspects in the origin story. Without a doubt, this film is an action packed love story, and I think the movie speaks for itself when I say that this is very clear after watching the film. It is a very character focused film, following Peter as he evolves into the superhero he is.


Cinematography for this film is incredible, and for the year it was released, achieved things way beyond its time with its quick cuts, dramatic angles, advanced CGI, and a use of the color orange to portray a feeling of warmth, but also apocalyptic with all the troubles seen. The acting in this film is great for being released in 2002, and being a great entertainment film with all its action, it succeeded greatly by being the first of its kind, grossing over $821 million since its release. This film, in my opinion, sparked the rise in popularity for superhero films that we all love today. It also succeeded by being a family friendly film with the rating of PG-13 that all can enjoy. I distinctly remember growing up watching this film on VHS after school on a weekly basis, and I have always loved it. I give this film an A+.

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