James does a Retro review of Spider man 1

For the month of June I decided that I was going to go back and watch the Sam Raimi Spider-man trilogy again for the first time since they first came out well over a decade ago. I did not read my first non psa spider-man comic until about six years ago so everything I knew about spider-man in 2000 when the ramp up to the first movie started was what I learned from the fox kids spider-man show. That is where I first learned the names Michael morbius, shocker and venom and the homogenized events that they showed us through the show. Then for the movies to be done by Sam Raimi was another thing that made me excited beyond belief to see what he was going to bring to it. Going all the way back to the Evil Dead Trilogy this is one of the most visceral directors that I had ever seen up to that point and the ways that he could overcome any budgetary issues and make an awesome movie was a great sign. So I fired up my brand new blu-ray of the first of the trilogy and I was greeted by the dulcet tones of tobey maguire and like a Vietnam vet the flashbacks started and I started to doubt my sanity for how much I used to love this movie. All over the internet there are entire flame threads about who made the better peter parker between Tobey maguire and Andrew Garfield and for me there is no contest at all tobey sucks. we are treated to an expository voice over that even though I should know better made me think they were going to skip the origin since it is common knowledge anyway and instead we are treated to twenty minutes of showing us how much of a loser Peter Parker is. There is a difference between him being a gigantic geek and being a loser. We get to the infamous field trip where we are introduced to the osbournes Harry and Norman played by James Franco and Willem Dafoe and we get the only mention in entire movie about just how smart Peter Parker is. As an actor I have nothing wrong with Franco and he has done some pretty amazing work in the past but his stoner personality doesn't really play off well as Harry. Willem Dafoe has one of the gnarliest faces in movies today that already looks like its made out of rubber and is one of my favorite actors to see him deliver a monologue. We get to the scene I'm waiting to see and just like in the comic we see a spider slowly come down from the celing and bite the poor unsuspecting Peter Parker. Up to this point I was on board with what the movie, yes they were playing up the loser aspects too much but it was still a visually interesing movie that was relying on practical special effects and a pretty good script with some of the wild and crazy shots that you would expect from a sam raimi film. But as soon as Peter Parker wakes there is a drastic change that happens and all the positivity that I had going into this movie started to melt away. When Peter wakes up newly unspeckled and buff we see his only lasting interaction with his uncle Ben and what should have left an impression of just how important they are to each and instead we get forced dialogue before Peter runs off to miss his bus as usual and at the same time t0 discover his newfound ability to stick to surfaces and during what was once an amazing montage of him jumping building to building now I was treated to incredibly dated effects and a scene where he climbs up a building looking like a reject from The grudge and him hitting his head and getting knocked out.  Bringing to mind my biggest issue with the trilogy and biggest pet peeve, the organic webs. By changing things it away from a device that a genius level intellect while still in high school creates that has stood the test of time with surprisingly few modifications. Instead He just happens to be able to shoot thin strings at a high velocity as far away as needed while not injuring himself or others thereby discounting his ingenuity. Past the death of his uncle and getting the idea to put on the suit by the movie there is no real substantial positive arc for him. He doesn't really learn anything and gains very little to nothing at all other than endangering everyone around him. With Norman Osborn we get a much richer story we see a rich and powerful scientist fighting to hold onto his company by any means necessary including using himself as a test subject when needed to keep from going under. Now it didn’t work out exactly as he planned but gaining super strength and an evil alternate personality is a pretty awesome side effect. There is a real sense of menace the oozes out of the Green Goblin in this movie Even when there is no mask at all. seeing him later on rant and rave into a mirror while talking to himself gave me goose bumps and showed just how much a prisoner he was to his own demented mind. The only problem is that the suit itself was a disaster that made it to where it was nearly impossible to take him seriously, where I would have loved to have seen a much thinner almost rubberized mask or even a just norman wearing a hood and his face contorting to look like the goblin like it does in the comics. Instead we got a reject from the power rangers. Mary Jane Watson who is one of the most important women in peter parker’s long history of girlfriends in here was played as nothing but an item for him to save every chance he could and make bland comments to her about how he knew they were meant to be together and that is without mentioning that his bedroom at home looks out into hers. They took someone who not only is she pretty enough to where she is a supermodel and actress but has been a confidant and someone who can cut through all the spider-man craziness since he finally listened to his aunt and decided to meet here. Harry Osborn played by James Franco was completely and totally wasted in this movie. The only thing he did in any scene that he was in was to whine and act like a petulant spoiled stoner. I am not saying that him and his father should have gotten along or even have been friendly they have a long history of hating each other but if he was going to be in the movie then I was expecting some kind of  real emotional journey for him and in the end all we get is that he doesn’t like spider-man very much and is still a whiner and very little effort to show just how much history he has with peter parker or any reason at all why they would be friends in the first place. Throughout the movie we are treated to lines teasing the villains for the additional films in the series with the often teased Dr. Curt Connors mentioned often as well as many mentions of Eddie Brock being on staff at The daily bugle. The Lizard is one of the first original Villains created for spider-man and also one of the most tragic. A brilliant geneticist who in an effort to help fellow amputees creates a serum that turns him into a giant lizard and awakens the reptile part of his brain is also pretty terrifying to look at. Eddie Brock as Venom is one of the most enduring take away from the late 80’s work of Todd Mcfarland. A Fellow photojournalist for the daily bugle who is always missing out on all the in demand shots of Spider-man in action bonds with the symbiote suit that Peter parker rejects after it makes him too violent. With it latching onto his mutual hatred of Spider-Man the symbiote latches onto him and they became Venom one of the best anti-heros of modern comics and also another visually amazing villain. In wrap up would I recommend going back and watching Spider-Man? It is a good time capsule of where movies were at the time. Typically the first movie in any comic book movie series is considered the weakest and after watching this movie a couple of extra times I would agree. Most of this movie is spent setting up origins and plot threads for the eventual sequels at a time when the formula was untested which was quite a gamble. There are parts of the script that pop and make up for how badly the visuals have aged due to an over reliance CGI. If you have a couple of hours to watch some mindless entertainment I would definately say to give it a watch and be prepared to laugh at the bad and be entertained by the great.