A high school student is bitten by a genetically modified spider and develops super-human powers.
One of Marvel’s flagship characters finally makes it to the big screen and with Sam Raimi at the helm, you have a sure-fire winner. The first half of the film is – as expected – fantastic. It has just the right balance of humour and action and although Tobey Maguire’s acting talents are rather limited, he manages to pull off the dorky charm of Peter Parker with some success. There’s a lot of humour in the discovery of his powers and how to use them and the supporting characters are all believable (within this context) and shows the motivations and character development of Spider-man really well, rarely descending into unnecessary schmaltz. Unfortunately once he pulls on the tights, things are not quite as strong. The Green Goblin was never a particularly interesting character and although the schizophrenia plot line is clever, Willem Dafoe holds the attention far more as the disappointed father than a dayglo action figure on a hover board.
Raimi handles the action nicely though and it’s worth it alone for J. K. Simmons whose hilarious J. Jonah Jameson steals every scene in which he appears.