Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
100 Greatest Videos Games Of All Time
Robin Williams: The Big Interview
Empire Visits The Hobbit's VFX Team
Nick Frost:
My Movie Life

The World's End star's pick of the flicks
4Music's Size Does Matter
Introducing your new favourite app
Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
12
Cast
Tobey Maguire
Willem Dafoe
Kirsten Dunst
James Franco
Rosemary Harris
Cliff Robertson.
Directors
Sam Raimi.
Screenwriters
David Koepp.
Running Time
121 minutes

LATEST FILM REVIEWS
Island Of Lemurs: Madagascar
3 Star Empire Rating
Life Of Crime
3 Star Empire Rating
Internet's Own Boy: The Story Of Aaron Swartz, The
4 Star Empire Rating
A Walk Among The Tombstones
4 Star Empire Rating
Wish I Was Here
3 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Two Days, One Night
5 Star Empire Rating
Some Like It Hot
5 Star Empire Rating
A Hard Day's Night
5 Star Empire Rating
Boyhood
5 Star Empire Rating

Spider-Man


submit to reddit


Plot
An overdue big screen take on a renowned comic book. When a high school photographer is bitten by a genetically-altered spider, he gains arachnid-esque powers and becomes a crime-fighter.


Review
With a $100 million-plus budget and a comic book legend comes great responsibility, and Sam Raimi has not fumbled. A perfect melding of director and subject, this supremely entertaining take on the worldwide web-slinger pulls off the nifty trick of satisfying the fanboy geeks, the Raimi freaks, and the movie thrill-seeker in one sublime swoop.

Outstripping last summer’s blockbusters, what’s great about Spider-Man is its ability to hold onto seemingly obsolete values — characters you can root for, plotting that makes sense — while still delivering maximum bang for the buck.

In a leisurely opening more reminiscent of Superman than anything by Simon West, Raimi sketches Peter Parker’s geek credentials with telling character beats. Once the spider skills have been acquired — Maguire brings an endearing goofiness to his first attempts at web-slinging — the script (although lacking trademark Spidey oneliners) strikes a streamlined simplicity: it’s Spidey vs. Green Goblin. No masterplans to freeze the city, just showdown after beautiful showdown.

Amid all the comic book action, however, Raimi preserves Spider-Man’s (both character and movie) humanity. Maguire effortlessly makes the transition from alpha-nerd to action man with skill and aplomb; playing niftily on his indie film persona, he invests Peter with a winning warmth while remaining believable as someone uneasy in the confines of his own skin.

His relationship with small town love Mary Jane (Dunst, appealing in a poorly-conceived role) is sweet and endearing, adding an emotional element missing from many blockbusters. Staying the right side of hammy, Dafoe is brooding with intensity as mad scientist Norman Osborn, and brimming with evil glee as his alter-ego, Green Goblin.

If occasionally a dodgy CGI shot slips through the net, the realisation of Spider-Man cavorting through a bustling metropolis, barely in control of his own trajectory, is a spandex ballet so exuberant and damn-right cool that it doesn’t matter.

Be it the sight of Spidey swinging round flagpoles or landing on balconies, exhilaration outstrips execution to make neck hairs stand to attention.

For all Spider-Man’s reputation as the gaudy, sunny side of superherodom, Raimi manages to syringe some darkness into the mix. There’s the genuinely unnerving moment when Norman, taunted by the Goblin’s cackles, goes searching for the source, only to be confronted by his own face in the mirror.

Or the fantastic image of Parker’s face glimpsed through the ripped Spider-Man’s mask, capturing the warped duality of the character. And the final Spidey/ Goblin showdown has a stylised brutality that’s more punishing than any cert. 12 has the right to be.

Despite a below-par Danny Elfman score, Raimi’s direction is marked by a craftsmanship that befits blockbuster prestige but still retains his unique sensibility. When the genetically-modified spider bites into Parker, the camera is total Raimi with its twists and spirals.

Even more impressive, an impressionistic montage depicting Parker dreaming up the Spidey suit and the Matrix-esque portrayal of his emerging spider-sense rank among cinema’s greatest renderings of purely comic book conceits. Much like the movie itself.


Verdict
Spider-Man, Spider-Man does whatever a spider can — and much more. Practically pitch-perfect summer entertainment.


Reviewed by Ian Freer


Related Reviews

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.

Your Reviews

Average user rating for Spider-Man
Empire Star Rating

Spider-man is Superman

The spider rules. He certainly can do what a spider can. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by premierbaron at 17:27, 28 March 2006 | Report This Post


Spider-man is Superman

The spider rules. He certainly can do what a spider can. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by premierbaron at 17:27, 28 March 2006 | Report This Post


Great comic book adatation, all the cast did a tremendous job but the green goblin costume was shit. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Naweed_1 at 14:25, 12 March 2006 | Report This Post


Previous page

SPECIAL FEATURE
The 301 Greatest Movies Of All Time EMPIRE READERS' POLL: THE 301 GREATEST MOVIES OF ALL TIME
You turned out in your hundreds and thousands, and here are the results... Browse the full list


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
Rogues Gallery: Powers Boothe
Sin City's Roark talks us through his most memorable baddies

Richard Attenborough: In Celebration
Saluting a man who made a lasting impact on cinema and beyond…

Exclusive: Luc Besson Talks Lucy
'There is no bullshit with Scarlett Johansson'

Video: Daniel Radcliffe Talks What If...
On Gordon Ramsay, swearing and date movies

The 24 Best Film-Related Ice Bucket Challenges
The viral craze that won’t quit takes in some of Hollywood’s finest

Who Shot First? The Complete List Of Star Wars Changes
An exhaustive chronology of George Lucas' post-release tinkering

Film Studies 101: A Film Buff's Guide To Movie Movements
Everything you need to know about cinema's key groups

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get 6 Issues Of Empire For Only £15!

Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save maney on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Get 6 issues of Empire for just £15!
Get the world's greatest movie magazine delivered straight to your door! Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)