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Darren says

A great return to form at the hands of Raimi, some fantastic work that gives the right nods to the material, lifting it up while allowing Tobey to truly inhabit the role.

Tym says

A fine start that captures Spidey and his world perfectly.

Ciaran says

While it doesn’t hold up to repeat viewings, it’s still the best film version of J. Jonah Jameson ever.

History

We all know Uncle Ben’s statement. What he’s really conveying is to be humane and considerate in your actions.

The reason Sam Raimi’s film works so well is because this compassion glows at the heart of it. Sam had the prudence, in the maelstrom of rewrites, to trim back the villains to one; to focus on relationships; to build this world through feelings instead of just action sequences; and to honor the best of the ’60s Spider-Man comics that he grew up on.

He had been there to get there. After his Evil Dead successes, Sam had made the cult superhero film Darkman (1989), a hyperkinetic noir potboiler that was often called an antidote to Burton’s Batman. Both Blade and Singer’s X-Men had just shown that reverent superhero films could be hit films, but they seem like warm-ups to this film. Unexpectedly, Raimi reined in the hypercams and focused squarely on telling a sober, character-driven story. We feel for Peter the working-class loner, for Mary Jane struggling to escape to her acting dreams, for Harry the neglected son, for the genuinely decent Uncle Ben and Aunt May. The throughline is human interconnection. With this emotional core, all else just spokes off in perfect symmetry.

The lattice was built by writer Stan Lee and artists Steve Ditko and John Romita, Sr., through the ’60s. The "Marvel method" of comics creation entailed giving a story idea to an the artist to flesh out with sequences and placemarker dialogue. Ditko deserves total credit for the costume, the swing postures, the almost documentary framing (which inspired the 9-panel layout of "Watchmen"), and especially the overhauling of each story suggestion into fully-formed dramas. And Romita would later bring a relentless physicality and tense energy to the panels, and a mod-era design sense that permanently defined Peter, Mary Jane, and Gwen. But, to be fair, Lee brought a contemplative rewrite to the word balloons that gave the Marvel characters their souls and these comics their classic resonance. Together they created the mesh of pathos and possibility that made Spider-Man’s first decade the definitive one.

Spider-Man was a massive success, and broke through as a genre hallmark on the scale of Superman. Both were achieved by staying true to the merit of the material.

Spider-Man 2