“Spiderman: No Way Home”: How good was “Spiderman,” the movie that spawned everything in 2002?

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Countdown: El Comercio opens a series of special articles on the next premiere of (“Spider-Man: No Way Home”), the most anticipated superhero movie of 2021, starring , , , ; etc. From this Monday, December 6 until Wednesday, December 15, we will publish reviews of each movie that the arachnid has starred in the cinema. On this occasion, it’s time to see the first film directed by Sam Raimi, which featured the iconic Green Goblin from , who will return to the character after 19 years.

I saw again “Spider-Man” (Sam Raimi, 2002) And immediately I remembered all those things that I liked when I was a teenager in that neighborhood pirate screening; whose precariousness did not diminish the blows to see a man swing through a city and save the day in an impact tape equivalent to “Superman” (1977) and “Batman” (1989).

Peter Parker (), a shy boy, but very capable in science, is bitten by a genetically modified spider and gains super powers: he throws a cobweb from his wrists that allows him to swing, clings to walls, his strength increases and he acquires a certain ability to predict dangers imminent (arachnid sense). He has to face the Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe) alter ego de Norman Osborn, ambitious businessman and father of his best friend Harry (). In the meantime, Mary Jane Watson (), Peter’s platonic love, tries to succeed away from a complicated family.

Spiderman No Way Home How good was Spiderman the movie

A hero of the 21st century

From the first minute you empathize with Peter Parker, this boy who does not do anything right, not even getting on the school bus without being bullied. Non-readers of the comic were hardly familiar with the humor expected of the character in the adaptation. The Peter of Maguire He’s not hilarious like he would be today, he’s more of a normal guy, even bland; but that helps to be close to the viewer without generating rejection. Like this Spidey It is more of a vehicle for the spectator, the humor carries it Norman Osborn (Willem Dafoe), who is also a villain and, therefore, a source of conflict.

The other element of conflict is the same Peter Parker. He is so transparent, so correct, the classic hero who does not flee to danger; that it is impossible not to find conflict around you. People are not like that: we have double agendas, other intentions, we say one thing when in reality we want to say another. Hence Peter’s relationship with Harry y Norman Osborn be so interesting. Harry sees in Peter someone he aspires to be, Norman wants Harry to be like Peter. Jealousy is woven there and it is possible to interpret that, when Harry dates Mary Jane, it’s a way of trying to be like his friend (who had been in love with his classmate for years).

The Norman Osborn de Dafoe it is so well built that you cannot be so angry with it. He has humanity, quite apart from the element of the mental problem caused by the chemicals in his experiment, which trigger the appearance of this double personality that is the Green Goblin. This ambivalence will be discussed for years to come. At the same time, there are the expectations he has for his son, the harshness of the upbringing, and how Harry is unable to cope. Harry and Norman’s embrace largely defines the future of this trilogy. As if this were not enough, the Duende arch closes well: “Peter, don’t tell Harry.”, is what the villain says when he is impaled by his own glider; concerned not to tarnish his legacy. With “No Way Home” (2021), director Jon Watts has a very high fence if he wants, not to overcome, but to match the already closed plot of this character.

Even if you haven't seen "Spiderman"Surely you have found these or more memes. Photos: Sony Pictures.
Even if you have not seen “Spiderman”, surely you have found these or more memes. Photos: Sony Pictures.

Peter, being the righteous hero that he is, fulfills his enemy’s last wish and that leads him to Harry Osborn blamed him for his father’s death; which in turn has a parallel in the personal life of the Spiderman: Mary Jane discovers she is in love with Peter and confesses, but he rejects her. And that’s a moment clearly in line with Spiderman, with the history of this character; where he sacrifices his happiness for that of others in a knot that ties history: the boy who starts out as a loser and cannot help being one becomes the one who has everything to win, but chooses to lose.

In this new viewing I notice how little appeared J.J. Jameson (), but how crucial it is both for humor and to reinforce that Spiderman is a social outcast; victim of fake news. And yet, it has more dimensions as demonstrated by being threatened with death by the Green Goblin, who wants to know who the photographer of the Spiderman. Jameson may be annoying, but he’s not a traitor. In general, the humor of the film is very balanced: the physical jokes with the witty dialogue, so different from the format that Marvel Studios uses two decades later; loaded with irony and . In addition, the visual section is very successful, both for the frames and camera movements that reinforce the feeling of vertigo (in an era without 3D cinema), as well as the computer-generated images that overlap in night scenes so as not to be evident. The only criticism I have is that Mary Jane, although she has her own character arc, it is very subordinate to that of Peter Parker; an inheritance of his origin only as a “love interest” (which takes away a character’s own value to turn it into a narrative resource); which is corrected in the sequel.

Anyway, with “Spiderman” Sam Raimi gave the world a manual on how to make a modern superhero movie without which this box office phenomenon would not be what it is today. And the world listened to it with great attention.


4 stars out of 5

Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst's kiss that made movie history. Photo: Sony Pictures.
Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst’s kiss that made movie history. Photo: Sony Pictures.

Time Machine: Lights’ critique of “Spiderman”, by Melvin Ledgard

“Humanizing comics”, text originally published on May 26, 2002

After learning that he can climb walls, jump enormously, and secrete cobwebs from his right wrist, Peter Parker decides to design a suit to appear in a catchacan fight for which they promise three thousand dollars to spend three minutes in the ring. Armed with pencils and markers, Peter draws and paints the character conceived by Steve Ditko for the stories of the legendary screenwriter of the Marvel Comics, Stan Lee.

If he had glimpsed his outfit so precisely, why is it that once he shows up to the wrestling match, does he wear a ridiculous outfit? Immediately a loved one dies and Peter decides to take being a superhero seriously – and although we do not know which tailor he went to – now he does appear with the tight and shiny suit that we all know and he imagined.

The Green Goblin’s outfit features a mask with a frozen laugh rictus, which is absurd when counting behind the naturally angular face to the expressionist Willem Dafoe, his bulging eyes in the lousy “Speed ​​2” were those of a Comic book villain in search of this movie: Digitally retouching or makeup that face would have been perfectly justified by the fact that his character has drunk a chemical and has been put into a machine that has changed his metabolism. And that is the only thing that can be asked, because in no previous movie about superheroes it is clear from which tailor shop they get their peculiar clothes (the exception is Robin, who modified his circus trapeze artist’s mesh).

It is more important that the particular visual sensibility of Sam Raimi has reappeared from his films of the eighties and the first half of the nineties, which are among the closest to comics that have been made in cinema.

As is often the case in similar megaprojects, many hands have gone into correcting this script, which makes the film’s very clear plot a virtue: the parallel emergence of Spider-Man and the Green Goblin, following the path of the parallel hero-villain life scheme. Burton’s “Batman”, crossing the path of a love story set in Queens, from where Peter Parker, and his idolized Mary Jane, make their forays into the Manhattan job market after graduating from college.

Contrasts run through the film – the nerd versus the bullies in the class, the modest versus his millionaire best friend, etc. – and Tobey Maguire knows how to humanize them. The only thing missing is a Green Goblin who is up to par, gesturing through his physical monstrosity, his moral deformation, to make it the perfect adaptation of a comic strip that is about to be.

William Dafoe's Green Goblin, as it appears in "Spiderman: No Way Home" (2021). Foto: Sony Pictures.
William Dafoe’s Green Goblin, as he appears in “Spiderman: No Way Home” (2021). Photo: Sony Pictures.


  • You can see “Spiderman” (2002) in .
  • “Spiderman: No Way Home” hits theaters in Latin America on December 15 in preview, the 16 in regular premiere.


"Spiderman: No Way Home"
“Spiderman: No Way Home”. (Source: Sony Pictures)


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“Spiderman: No Way Home”: How good was “Spiderman,” the movie that spawned everything in 2002?