We moan and groan year in year out at the tripe Hollywood peddle the masses in their supermarket cinemas, and we have every reason to. But it is when they get their Mainstream formula right that they deserve credit, and I for one will pay it when it is due. “Spider-Man” is the Comic Book, Hollywood formula film reality that entertains right to the last frame. Only when the formula works this well can we ignore the often cliché script and unoriginal filmmaking. “Spider-Man” truly is a Saturday Night joy ride that does not fail to deliver.
The standard hero formula of Romance, Action, Good vs. Evil, Dark side/Good side gets a good work-out here and unlike the recent “Star Wars Ep2: Attack of the Clones”, this film pulls it off with flying colours. Each aspect of the film receives its due and none of it over-powers the show. Now the draw back here is there is nothing original, and if you’re a fan of the comic book then you would of read this script before. It is admittedly a no-brainer and to some that is offensive, but if your out to enjoy something without using your noggin’ then this film is definitely for you!
It is good to see Comic Book converts receiving the respect they deserve and the film will not disappoint long time fans of “Spider-Man”. The film is well described as a motion picture comic and is structured in the exact way any off the shelf comic would be. This of course has led to some rather static and short sequences that are often a thorn in an otherwise well structured film. Some sequences are so short that you would question their relevance. However it is all a sideshow and does not damage the film’s entertainment value.
One of the major reasons this film hits its formula bliss is the superb performance of Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker/Spider-Man and Willem Dafoe as Norman Osborn/The Green Goblin. Tobey is a perfect and shy Peter Parker whilst still a perfect Spider-Man, he has an honesty in his performance that drives the audience to like him both as the character and the actor. All the while Willem Dafoe sizzles as the villain and ultimately steels the show; He is scarier without the mask and manages to bring a touch of darkness to a bright green character on a flying board. There is no room for awards here but the job is done and done very well.
The Special effects also get top score as the men at the helm have given reality the driving seat and slotted the computer generation in the make-up department. This movie is a classic example of how special effects can be used to add to a production, to make the final gloss rather than become the whole production, as is generally the case. Digital effects still have a long way to come and this film certainly pushed the limits, but it did not cross them and as a result has retained a sense of believability. There are moment s however where the film ruins its own suspended disbelief, mainly in the form of some of the Green Goblins toys, but it is again not enough to disrupt the film as a whole.
At the end of it all you have both a rather average film and a perfect entertainment package… The question is what your in the mood for? I will certainly add this to my collection for those times when I wish to escape and be entertained and it is for those moments this film is absolutely perfect.