Flashback Review: Spider-Man

1962 covered many important events, Marilyn Monroe tragically died of an overdose, JFK announced the resolution of The Cuban Missle Crisis, Bob Dylan released his first album, Taco Bell was established, the very first Wal-Mart opened in Rogers, Arkansas, Johnny Carson worked full time on The Tonight Show, Tom Cruise was born on the exact year & Lawrence Of Arabia came out in theaters.

Comic Book writers Stan Lee, and Steve Ditko, attempted to come up with ideas on creating more superhero characters due to popularity with Marvel’s first ever superhero team, Fantastic Four at the time.

During the decade, they created the following characters who are now global icons including Ant-Man, Hulk, Iron Man, Thor, Dr. Strange, Professor X, Jean Grey, etc.

Out of all them, their infamous creation debuted in August 1962 under the comic book antlology series “Amazing Fantasy,” is the one and only web slinging wallcrawler, Peter Parker/Spider-Man. The character became a game changer in comic book history due to a variety of reasons, most kid/teen superheroes filling in as sidekicks, Spider-Man had to rely on himself without help, learning to use his powers without a mentor, an outcast who can relate to readers.

As a result of the reasons why he became so popular to comic book readers, the webhead gained reputation over the years with an animated television show from the 60’s with the catchy theme song, spawning countless merchandise ranging from t-shirts, action figures, a spin-off series based on cult classic villain Venom, and another animated cartoon series from the 90’s.

I’m gonna confess, the first time I’ve heard of Spider-Man, it was the 90’s animated show on Fox Kids, not the 60’s show or comics, it was the one that got me into Marvel along with the animated X-Men cartoon which also aired on Fox Kids.

After many years of attempting to develop a feature film based on Marvel’s mascot, Sony Pictures selected James Cameron’s “Film Treatment,” (which is a blueprint in screenwriting terms) based on the titular character, but they didn’t hire him.

Prior to hiring Sam Raimi (The Evil Dead series, Darkman,) to direct on board, several directors were given the opportunity to make this picture such as M. Night Shyamalan, Ang Lee, (later went on to direct Hulk) Tony Scott, (Ridley Scott’s younger brother) Chris Columbus, and Roland Emmerich. (probably got rejected due to his epic fail for directing the 1998 remake of Godzilla)

Cameron’s script was heavily changed by screenwriter David Koepp, (also wrote Jurassic Park, Mission Impossible, Carlito’s Way) to ensure nothing is padded, for example Dr. Octopus (future villain in Spider-Man 2) was gonna be the second main villain next to Green Goblin and removing Cameron’s action sequences he originally envisioned.

The film came out on May, 2002, it became a critical and commercial success, spawning two sequels until Sony rebooted the series in 2012 and again when they made an agreement with Disney to include Spider-Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, or MCU for short.

I decided to look back at the films to prep up for Spider-Man: Homecoming, & a video game coming out in 2018 on the PS4.

This review contain no SPOILERS what so ever. Feel free to read it.

Amazing: The Main Cast including Tobey Maguire, Willem Dafoe, Kirsten Dunst, did a great job on their performances.

Fun Fact: Before Tobey Maguire passed the audition, Actors who were considered to play the lead character are, Leonardo DiCaprio, (favorite actor of all time) Jake Gyllenhaal, Heath Ledger, Edward Furlong, and Wes Bentley. I guess the whole process is like the American Idol of auditioning for a superhero film because playing a hero or villain is the role of a lifetime.

Supporting Cast consisting of J.K. Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson, James Franco as Harry Osborn, Cliff Robertson as Uncle Ben, and Rosemary Harris as Aunt May all did a good job.

Character Development focusing on Peter Parker with his superhero persona, a metaphor for the rite of passage.

The Chemistry between Peter & Mary Jane felt natural, nothing forced or plain stupid.

Action Sequences were stunning.

Cinematography was good.

Unforgettable dialogue from the hero & villain, don’t forget J. Jonah Jameson dissing on Spider-Man.

The Best line in my opinion is this bit. “In spite of everything you’ve done for them, eventually they will hate you.”

The Three Act Structure/The Hero’s Journey was handled carefully in way of a DNA chromosome connected piece by piece.

One important character pulled a jump scare on me. It was unexpected.

Sam Raimi’s good luck charm, Bruce Campbell, makes a cameo. In Almost every Marvel based film, Stan Lee appears.

Peter’s Spider-Sense is heavily based on the “bullet time” or slow motion sequences from The Matrix. I guess the producers of the movie must’ve asked The Wachowski Brothers some advice on how to make an effective bullet time sequence.

The Tone balanced between serious and funny moments, felt like the animated 90’s tv show that used to air on Fox Kids, as opposed to a serious adaptation on most superhero films.

The First Act retells the origins of Spider-Man.

A Pivotal part parallels between real life & fiction. New Yorkers unite to support Spider-Man. It’s a metaphor on reflecting the 9/11 attacks. Spider-Man represents America due to his red white & blue costume, while Green Goblin represents Al Queda and terrorism. It’s not shoving it in your face, this represents a message to humanity that we Americans are not cowards, we’re strong individuals helping one innocent life to another.

The Spider-Man theme song from the 60’s cartoon is played during the final seconds of the end credits sequence.

Marvel took a lot of guts to mock D.C. Comics. If you’re an ultra D.C. fanboy, don’t be offended. This is just a response to make fun of the rival due to the failure of Batman & Robin and Shaq’s film Steel. Not kidding Shaquille O’ Neal was in a superhero film.

Negative: Most of the Visual Effects didn’t quite live up. Let’s face it, the film was released in 2002, C.G.I. was still developing like a kid before it reaches adulthood.

The Final Verdict: A-

When I was a kid, I really enjoyed it and as an adult,  I still like it. One tiny flaw is I can find. No biggie.

P.S. Thank you Sam Raimi, and the cast for introducing the character on the big screen, it was worth the price of admission.

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