- Spider-Man (film)
name = Spider-Man
caption = "Spider-Man" theatrical poster
writer = Screenplay:
David Koepp Alvin Sargent
Stan Lee Steve Ditko
Tobey Maguire Willem Dafoe Kirsten Dunst James Franco Cliff Robertson Rosemary Harris
cinematography = Don Burgess
editing = Arthur Coburn
Columbia Pictures Sony Pictures Entertainment
released = May 3, 2002
runtime = 121 min.
country = USA
language = English
budget = $139 million
gross = $821,708,551
followed_by = "
amg_id = 1:260386
imdb_id = 0145487
"Spider-Man" is a 2002 American
superhero filmbased on the fictional Marvel Comicscharacter Spider-Man. The film is the first in the "Spider-Man" film series. The film was directed by Sam Raimiand stars Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunstand Willem Dafoe. The script was credited to David Koepp.
The film begins with Peter Parker, a high school student, being bitten by a genetically altered spider. After misusing his newly-given abilities, which indirectly caused the death of his Uncle Ben, he becomes the heroic Spider-Man. Peter hopes to win the heart of
Mary Jane Watson, the girl he has loved since he was a boy, and battles the villainous Green Goblin, who is the father of Peter's best friend, Harry Osborn.
After being stuck in
development hellfor nearly 25 years, the film was released on May 3, 2002 by Columbia Pictures. The film received multiple good reviews, went on to break box office records, and become the highest grossing film of 2002. "Spider-Man" is the 2nd most popular film based on a comic book (after "The Dark Knight") and the 33rd most successful film of all time. [http://www.boxofficemojo.com/alltime/adjusted.htm] The success of the film led to two sequels, " Spider-Man 2" and " Spider-Man 3".
Peter Parker, his best friend
Harry Osborn, and Peter's secret crush Mary Jane Watsonvisit a genetics laboratory at Columbia Universitywith their high school class. While taking photos in the laboratory, Peter is bitten on the hand by a genetically engineered "super spider". Feeling unwell, he passes out shortly after arriving home. Meanwhile, scientist Norman Osborn, Harry's father, is attempting to preserve his company's military contract, knowing that its loss will mean the end of his business. He experiments on himself with his company's new, but unstable, performance-enhancing chemical vapor which increases his speed, strength, and stamina. However, it also causes him to become insane and he kills his assistant, Mendel Stromm. The next morning, Peter wakes to find that his previously impaired vision has improved and that his body has metamorphosized into a more muscular physique. At school, he finds himself producing webbing and having the quick reflexes to avoid being injured in a fight with bully Flash Thompson. Peter escapes from the school and realizes that he has acquired spider-like abilities from the spider bite. He quickly learns to scale walls, long jump across building rooftops and swing via webs from his wrists.
Lying to his aunt and uncle about where he is going, Peter decides to enter a wrestling tournament to get money to buy a car and impress Mary Jane. During an argument, Uncle Ben advises Peter, "With great power comes great responsibility." Peter lashes out at his uncle and leaves for the tournament. Peter wins, but is cheated out of the contest money. In retaliation he allows a thief to escape with the promoter's gate money. Afterward, Peter finds his uncle has been carjacked and killed. Peter tracks down the carjacker only to find out it was the same thief he allowed to escape earlier. After Peter disarms him, the carjacker tries to get away but falls out of a window and is killed.
Upon graduating school, Peter decides to use his abilities to fight injustice, and dons a new costume and the persona of Spider-Man. Peter is hired as a freelance
photographerwhen he arrives in newspaper editor J. Jonah Jameson's office with the only clear images of Spider-Man.
Norman, upon finding out that Oscorp's board members plan to sell the company, attacks them at the World Unity Fair. Although he successfully murders them, Spider-Man arrives and drives him off. Jameson quickly dubs Norman the "
Green Goblin". The Goblin offers Spider-Man a place at his side, but Spider-Man refuses, knowing that it is the right thing to do. At the Osborn and Parkers' Thanksgiving dinner, Norman, unknown to Peter, figures out Spider-Man's true identity; the Green Goblin subsequently attacks Aunt May. While Aunt May recovers in the hospital, Mary Jane admits she has a crush on Spider-Man, who rescued her on numerous occasions, and asks Peter whether he ever asked about her. Peter reflects on his own feelings, during which Harry enters. Feeling betrayed by his girlfriend and his best friend, Harry tells his father whom Peter loves the most, unintentionally revealing Spider-Man's biggest weakness.
The Goblin holds Mary Jane and a
tramcar full of children hostage on top the Queensboro Bridgewhere Spider-Man arrives. The Goblin forces Spider-Man to choose who he wants to save, and drops Mary Jane and the children. Spider-Man manages to save both Mary Jane and the tram car, while the Goblin is pelted by civilians showing loyalty to Spider-Man. The Goblin then grabs Spider-Man and throws him into an abandoned building where he begins to beat him [similar to how The Joker's black goon beats up Batman in the 1989 film] . The tables turn as the Goblin boasts of how he will later kill Mary Jane, and an enraged Spider-Man dominates over him, forcing the Goblin into being unmasked. Norman begs for forgiveness, but his Goblin persona attempts to remote-control his glider to impale Spider-Man. The superhero evades the attack, causing the glider to impale Norman instead, and he dies asking Peter not to tell Harry about the Green Goblin. At Norman’s funeral, Harry swears vengeance toward Spider-Man, who he believes is responsible for killing his father, and asserts that Peter is all he has left. Mary Jane confesses to Peter that she’s in love with him, but Peter, feeling that he must protect her from the unwanted attentions of Spider-Man's enemies, hides his true feelings. As Peter leaves the funeral, he recalls Uncle Ben's words about responsibility, and accepts his new life as Spider-Man.
Cast and characters
Tobey Maguireas Peter Parker / Spider-Man: An academic but socially inept student who is bitten by a genetically modified spider and gains spider-like abilities. Maguire was cast as Peter in July 2000, having been Sam Raimi's primary choice for the role after he saw "The Cider House Rules". The studio was initially hesitant to cast someone who did not seem to fit the ranks of "adrenaline-pumping, tail-kicking titans", but Maguire managed to impress studio executives with his audition. The actor was signed for a deal in the range of $3 to $4 million with higher salary options for two sequels.cite news | author=Michael Fleming | coauthors=Claude Brodesser | url=http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117784384.html?categoryid=13&cs=1&query=spider-man | title=Maguire spins 'Spider-Man' | publisher=Variety | date= 2000-07-31| accessdate=2007-01-22 ] To prepare, Maguire was trained by a physical trainer, a yoga instructor, a martial arts expert and a climbing expert, taking several months to improve his physique.cite video | title = Friday Night with Jonathan Ross| format = TV | publisher = BBC One| year = 2007-04-27] Maguire studied spiders and worked with a wire man to simulate the arachnidlike motion, and had a special diet. [cite news | url=http://movies.ign.com/articles/034/034461p1.html | title=Raimi Talks Up "Spider-Man", But Still No Goblin | publisher= IGN| date= 2000-10-05| accessdate=2007-01-22 ]
The studio had expressed interest in actors
Leonardo DiCaprio, Freddie Prinze, Jr,cite news | author=Ronald Grover | url=http://www.businessweek.com/bwdaily/dnflash/apr2002/nf20020415_7441.htm | title=Unraveling Spider-Man's Tangled Web | publisher= Business Week| date= 2002-04-15| accessdate=2007-01-22 ] Chris Klein, Wes Bentleyand Heath Ledger. DiCaprio had been considered by James Cameronfor the role in 1995, [cite book | author = David Hughes | title = Comic Book Movies | publisher = Virgin Books| year = 2003 | location = London| pages = 233 | isbn = 0-7535-0767-6] while Raimi joked of Prinze that " [he] won't even be allowed to buy a ticket to see this film."cite book | author = David Hughes | title = Comic Book Movies | publisher = Virgin Books| year = 2003 | location = London| pages = 235–241 | isbn = 0-7535-0767-6] In addition, actors Scott Speedman, Jay Rodan, and James Francowere involved in screen tests for the lead role. [cite news | url=http://movies.ign.com/articles/034/034454p1.html | title=More From the "Spider-Man" Casting Front | publisher= IGN| date= 2000-06-19| accessdate=2007-01-23 ]
Willem Dafoeas Norman Osborn / Green Goblin: CEO of Oscorp who tests an unstable strength enhancer on himself and becomes the insane and powerful Green Goblin. Unaware of Spider-Man's true identity, he also sees himself as a father figure for Peter, ignoring his own son, Harry. Dafoe was cast as Osborn in November 2000. [cite news | url=http://movies.ign.com/articles/034/034471p1.html | title=More "Spider-Man" Casting News: Dafoe Is Green Goblin | publisher= IGN| date= 2000-11-17| accessdate=2007-01-23 ] Nicolas Cageturned down the role due to his commitment on "Adaptation", [cite news|author=Ethan Aames| title=Interview: Nicolas Cage on National Treasure| publisher="Cinema Confidential"|date= 2004-09-18| url = http://www.cinecon.com/news.php?id=0411181| accessdate=2007-10-10] while John Malkovichalso rejected the role because of scheduling difficulties and a disinterest in the genre. [cite news | url=http://www.scifi.com/scifiwire/art-main.html?2000-11/06/10.00.film | title=Malkovich Says No To Spidey | publisher= Sci Fi Wire| date= 2000-11-06| accessdate=2007-01-23 ] Dafoe insisted on wearing the uncomfortable costume as he felt that a stuntman would not convey the character's necessary body language. The 580-piece suit took half an hour to put on.
Kirsten Dunstas Mary Jane Watson: The girl whom Peter Parker has developed a crush since he was six years old. Mary Jane has an abusive father, and aspires to become an actress, but becomes a waitress at a run down diner, a fact she hides from her boyfriend Harry. Before Raimi cast Dunst, he had expressed his interest in casting Alicia Witt. [cite news | author=Rebecca Ascher-Welch | title=Reel World | publisher= Entertainment Weekly| date= 2000-10-20| accessdate=2007-01-23 ] Dunst decided to audition after learning Maguire had been cast, feeling the film would have a more independent feel. [cite news | url=http://www.reuters.com/article/peopleNews/idUSHO96836120070329 | title=Actress Dunst hopes to play Debbie Harry | publisher= Reuters| date= 2007-03-29| accessdate=2007-04-27 ] Dunst earned the role a month before shooting in an audition in Berlin.
James Francoas Harry Osborn: Before being cast as Peter's best friend and flatmate, Franco had screen tested for Spider-Man himself. [cite news | url=http://movies.ign.com/articles/034/034462p1.html | title="Spider-Man" – Do We Have the Son of the Green Goblin Here? | publisher= IGN| date= 2000-10-06| accessdate=2007-01-23 ]
Cliff Robertsonas Ben Parker: The husband to May Parker and uncle of Peter Parker, a fired electricianwho is trying to find a new job. He is killed by a carjacker whom Peter failed to stop, and leaves Peter with the message, "With great power comes great responsibility."
Rosemary Harrisas May Parker: The wife to Ben Parker and the aunt of Peter Parker. May is a devout Christianwho is highly aware of Peter's love for Mary Jane.
J. K. Simmonsas J. Jonah Jameson: The grouchy chief editor of the "Daily Bugle" who considers Spider-Man a criminal. Nonetheless he has a good side and pays Peter for photos of Spider-Man, and refuses to tell the Green Goblin the identity of the photographer.
Joe Manganielloas Flash Thompson: A repugnant high school student who bullies Peter, and is defeated in a fight after Peter inherits his spider-like powers.
Michael Papajohnas The Carjacker: The criminal who robs the wrestling manager who stiffs Peter Parker for his ring performance and murders Ben Parker (although the murderer was retconned as Flint Marko (Sandman) in " Spider-Man 3"). He was killed from falling from a window when confronted by Peter. Bruce Campbell, a long-time colleague of director Sam Raimi, cameoed as the announcer at the wrestling ring Peter takes part in. Raimi himself appeared off-screen, throwing popcornat Peter as he enters the arena to wrestle Bonesaw McGraw who was played by former professional wrestler "Macho Man" Randy Savage.cite video | people = Sam Raimi, Avi Arad, Laura Ziskin, Kirsten Dunst| title = Audio Commentary | format = DVD | publisher = Sony | year = 2002] Spider-Man co-creator Stan Leealso had a cameo, in which he asks Peter, "Hey kid, would you like a pair of these glasses? They're the kind they wore in "X-Men"." The scene was cut, and Lee only briefly appears in the film to grab a young girl from falling debris during the battle between Spider-Man and the Green Goblin in Times Square.cite news | author = Chris Hewitt, Simon Braund | title = Spider-Man | pages = 58–62 | publisher = Empire | date = July 2002 | accessdate=2007-04-29]
Sony Picturesacquired the "Cameron material" from MGM/UA, in April 1999 the studio announced they were not hiring James Cameron himself to direct the film. [cite news | author=Daniel Frankel | url=http://www.royaltyfromatoz.net/News/Items/0,1,4568,00.html | title=Cameron Spun Out of Spider-Man Movie | publisher= E! Online| date= 1999-04-05| accessdate=2007-01-22 ] The studio lined up Roland Emmerich, Tim Burton, Chris Columbus and David Fincheras potential directors. Fincher did not want to depict the origin story, pitching the film as being based on " The Night Gwen Stacy Died" storyline. The studio disagreed. Sam Raimiwas attached to direct in January 2000,cite news | author=Robert K. Elder | title=What's ahead for comics fans | publisher= The Dallas Morning News| date= 2000-07-16| accessdate=2007-01-22 ] for a summer 2001 release. [cite news | title=Entertainment briefs | publisher= Chicago Sun-Times| date= 2000-01-31| accessdate=2007-01-22 ] He had been a big fan of the comic book during his youth, and his passion for Spider-Man earned him the job.cite video | title = HBO Making-Of Spider-Man | format = DVD | publisher = Sony | year = 2002]
scriptment" became the basis of David Koepp's first-draft screenplay, often word for word.cite news | author=Michael A. Hiltzik | title=Untangling the Web | publisher= Los Angeles TimesMagazine | date= 2002-03-24] Cameron's versions of the Marvel villains Electro and Sandman remained the antagonists. Koepp's rewrite substituted the Green Goblinas the primary antagonist and added Doctor Octopusas a secondary villain. [cite book |last= Gross |first= Edward |title= Spider-Man Confidential|pages=208–209 |publisher=Hyperion |year= 2002 |month= May |isbn= 0-786887222 ] Raimi felt the Green Goblin and the surrogate father-son theme between Norman Osborn and Peter Parker would be more interesting.cite video | title = Subtitled Factoids: Weaving the Web | format = DVD | publisher = Sony | year = 2002] In June, Columbia hired Scott Rosenbergto rewrite of Koepp's material. Remaining a constant in all the rewrites was the "organic webshooter" idea from the Cameron "scriptment". [cite book |last= Gross |first= Edward |title= Spider-Man Confidential|pages=206–208 |publisher=Hyperion |year= 2002 |month= May |isbn= 0-786887222 ] Raimi felt he would stretch the audience's suspension of disbelieftoo far to have Peter invent mechanical webshooters.
Rosenberg removed Doctor Octopus and created several new action sequences. [cite news | author=Claude Brodesser | url=http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117782713.html?categoryid=-1&cs=1 | title='Spider-Man' snares scribe | publisher=Variety | date=
2000-06-16| accessdate=2007-01-22 ] Raimi felt adding a third origin story would be make the film too complex. Sequences removed from the final film had Spider-Man protecting Fargas, the wheelchair-bound Oscorp executive from the Goblin, and Spider-Man defusing a hostage situation on a train. As production neared, producer Laura Ziskinhired her husband, award-winning writer Alvin Sargent, to polish the dialogue, primarily between Peter and Mary Jane.cite web | author = Greg Dean Schmitz| title = Greg's Preview - Spider-Man | publisher= Yahoo!|url=http://web.archive.org/web/20070429050554/http://movies.yahoo.com/shop?d=hp&cf=prev&id=1808406011&gpt=ch|accessdate=2008-08-09] Columbia offered David Koepp's name to the WGAas sole screenwriter, despite the fact that it had acquired Cameron's script and hired two subsequent writers. Without reading and comparing any of the material, the Writers Guild approved sole credit to Koepp.cite news | author=Michael A. Hiltzik | title=Untangling the Web | publisher= Los Angeles TimesMagazine | date= 2002-03-24| ]
With "Spider-Man" cast, filming was set to begin the following November in
New York Cityand on Sony soundstages. The film was set for release a year later, but when the film was postponed to be released on May 3, 2002, [cite news | url=http://movies.ign.com/articles/034/034459p1.html | title="Spider-Man" Crawls Into 2002 | publisher= IGN| date= 2000-09-14| accessdate=2007-01-22 ] the shoot began on January 8, 2001 in Culver City. Sony's Stage 29 was used for Peter's Forest Hills home, and Stage 27 was used for the wrestling sequence where Peter takes on Bonesaw McGraw ( Randy Savage). Stage 27 was also used for the complex Times Squaresequence where Spider-Man and the Goblin battle for the first time, where a three-story set with a breakaway balcony piece was built. The scene also required shooting in Downey, California.DVD Booklet (2002), p.2–3] On March 6, [cite news | url = http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4196/is_20010307/ai_n10685510 | title = Noteworthy | publisher = Milwaukee Journal Sentinel | date = 2001-03-07| accessdate=2007-04-29] 45-year-old construction worker Tim Holcombe was killed when a forklift modified as a construction crane crashed into a construction basket that he was in. The following court case led to the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health to fine Sony $58,805. [cite news | title = Columbia Fined For Safety Violation That Led To Death | publisher = Internet Movie Database| date = 2001-08-27| url = http://www.imdb.com/news/sb/2001-08-27#film2 | accessdate = 2007-04-29]
In Los Angeles, locations included the Natural History Museum (for the
Columbia Universitylab where Peter is bitten and receives his powers), the Pacific Electricity Building (the Daily Bugleoffices) and the Greystone Mansion for the interiors of Norman Osborn's home. In April, some of the Spider-Man costumes were stolen, and Sony put up a $25,000 reward, although they were never returned. [cite news | title = They Took Spidey's Clothes! | publisher = Internet Movie Database| date= 2001-04-05| url = http://www.imdb.com/news/sb/2001-04-05#film3 | accessdate=2007-04-29] Production moved to New York Cityfor two weeks, taking in locations such as the Queensboro Bridge, the exterior of Columbia University's Low Library and a rooftop garden in the Rockefeller Center. The crew returned to L.A. where production was finished in June.
Although it wound up being faithful to the comics, many designs were made for Spider-Man's costumes: one concept costume designer
James Achesonbecame fond of had a red emblem over a black costume. To create Spider-Man's costume, Maguire was fitted for the skintight suit, being covered with layers of substance to create the suit's shape. [cite news | author=Josh Tyrangiel | url=http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,997713,00.html?promoid=googlep | title=He has radioactive blood, now about those pecs | publisher=Time | date= 2000-08-14| accessdate=2007-01-22 ] It was designed as a single piece, except for the mask. The webbing, which accented the costume, was cut by computer. The mask eye lenses were designed to have a mirror look. [cite news | author=KJB | title=Your Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man Update | publisher= IGN| date= 2001-01-13| url=http://uk.movies.ign.com/articles/034/034485p1.html | accessdate=2007-04-28]
The Green Goblin's costume was created after
Willem Dafoewas cast, as Dafoe rejected the initially bulky designs created beforehand. The finished design focused on a more streamlined and athletic feel, and the mask in particular was created to be an extreme cartoon version of his face, focusing on his long cheekbones. [cite news | author = Brian Hiatt | title = Green, With Envy: Inside the mind of Spider-Man's foe - Willem Dafoe reveals how he became the Green Goblin - and why he'd love to do a sequel | publisher = Entertainment Weekly| date = 2002-05-22| url = http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,241249,00.html | accessdate=2007-04-28] Some of the early designs were heavily inspired by black ops. One popular idea among the concept artists was to have the Goblin accompanied by adolescent women in costume and have their own gliders. Raimi hated the idea.
Visual effects supervisor
John Dykstrawas hired to produce the visual effects for "Spider-Man" in May 2000. [cite news | author=Scott Chitwood | url=http://movies.ign.com/articles/034/034448p1.html | title=Dykstra to animate Spider-Man | publisher= IGN| date= 2000-05-10| accessdate=2007-01-22 ] He convinced Raimi to make many of the stunts computer generated, as they would have been physically impossible. Raimi had used more traditional special effects in his previous films and learned a lot about using computers during production. Raimi worked hard to plan all the sequences of Spider-Man swinging from buildings, which he described as, " balletin the sky." The complexity of such sequences meant the budget rose from an initially planned $70 million to around $100 million. Shots were made more complicated because of the main characters' individual color schemes, so Spider-Man and the Green Goblin had to be shot separately for effects shots: Spider-Man was shot in front of a greenscreen, while the Green Goblin was shot against bluescreen. Shooting them together would have resulted in one character being erased from a shot.
Dykstra said the biggest difficulty of creating Spider-Man was that as the character was masked, it immediately lost a lot of characterization. Without the context of eyes or mouth, a lot of body language had to be put in so that there would be emotional content. Raimi wanted to convey the essence of being Spider-Man, being, "the transition that occurs between him being a young man going through puberty and being a superhero." Dykstra said his crew of animators had never reached such a level of sophistication to give subtle hints of still making Spider-Man feel like a human being. [cite news | author=Phillip Zonkel | title=SPINNING `SPIDER-MAN'S' VISUAL EFFECTS WEB -FORMER CSULB STUDENT JOHN DYKSTRA IS CREDITED WITH A GREAT DEAL OF COMPUTER-GENERATED MOVIE MAGIC | publisher=
Long Beach Press-Telegram| date= 2003-03-20| accessdate= 2007-04-29] When two studio executives were shown shots of the computer generated character, they believed it was actually Maguire performing stunts. In addition, Dykstra's crew had to composite areas of New York City and replaced every car in shots with digital models. Raimi did not want it to feel entirely like animation, so none of the shots were 100% computer generated. [cite news | author = Rob Worley | title = Comics 2 Film | publisher = Comic Book Resources| date = 2002-03-06| url = http://www.comicbookresources.com/columns/index.cgi?column=comics2film&article=1259 | accessdate=2007-04-29]
After the terrorist attacks on the United States of September 11, 2001, Sony recalled teaser posters which showed a close-up of Spider-Man's face with the New York skyline (including, prominently, the
World Trade Centertowers) reflected in his eyes. The movie's original teaser trailer, released in 2001, featured a mini-movie plot involving a group of bank robbers escaping in a helicopter, which gets caught from behind and propelled backward into what at first appears to be a net, then is shown to be a gigantic spider web spun between the two towers at the World Trade Center. According to Sony the trailer did not contain any actual footage from the film itself and is consequently one of the most popular "Special Shoot" trailers since "". [cite news | author = Andrew Gumbel | title = Spider-Man Caught up in New York Destruction | publisher = IOl| date = 2001-09-14| url = http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=9&click_id=530&art_id=qw10004699418S351| accessdate=2008-02-25] The trailer was pulled after the events of September 11, 2001, attacksbut can be found on the internet. [cite news | author = KJB | title = Sony Pulls Spider-Man Teaser Trailer & Poster | publisher = IGN| date = 2001-09-13| url = http://uk.movies.ign.com/articles/305/305861p1.html | accessdate=2007-04-28]
Before "Spider-Man"'s British theatrical release in June 2002, the
BBFCgave the film a '12' certificate. Due to Spider-Man's popularity with younger children, this prompted much controversy. The BBFC defended their decision, arguing that the film could have been given a '15'. Despite this, North Norfolk and Breckland District Councils, in East Anglia, changed it to a 'PG', and Tameside council, Manchester, denoted it a 'PG-12'. [cite news|title=Parents warned of Spider-Man violence|publisher= BBC|date= 2002-06-13|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/film/2042729.stm|accessdate=2007-03-25] In late August, the BBFC relaxed their policy to '12A', leading Sony to re-release the film. [cite news|title=Film ratings for children relaxed|publisher= BBC|date= 2002-08-29|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/film/2222009.stm|accessdate=2007-03-25]
Critical reaction to the film was mostly positive. Film review site
Rotten Tomatoescalculated a 90% overall approval based on 206 reviews, and it scored an 91% Cream of the Crop rating from major news outlets. [cite web | url=http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/spiderman/?critic=creamcrop | title=Spider-Man Rotten Tomatoes view | publisher=Rotten Tomatoes | accessdate=2007-01-23] The casting, mainly Tobey Maguire, is often cited as one of the high points of the film. Eric Harrison, of the " Houston Chronicle", was initially skeptical of the casting of Tobey Maguire, but, after seeing the film, he stated, "within seconds, however, it becomes hard to imagine anyone else in the role."cite web | url=http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ae/movies/reviews/1394713.html | title=Harrison review | publisher=Houston Chronicle | accessdate=2007-01-23] " USA Today" critic Mike Clark believed the casting rivaled that of 1978's "Superman".cite web | url=http://www.usatoday.com/life/movies/2002/2002-05-03-spider-man.htm#more | title=Mike Clark review | publisher= USA Today| date= 2002-05-03| accessdate=2007-01-23] Owen Gleiberman, of " Entertainment Weekly", had mixed feelings about the casting, particularly Tobey Maguire. "Maguire, winning as he is, never quite gets the chance to bring the two sides of Spidey -- the boy and the man, the romantic and the avenger -- together."cite web | url=http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,234775~1~0~spider-man,00.html | title=Entertainment Weekly review | publisher=Entertainment Weekly | date= 2002-05-01| accessdate=2007-01-24] " The Hollywood Reporter"'s Kirk Honeycutt thought, "the filmmakers' imaginations work in overdrive from the clever design of the cobwebby opening credits and Spider-Man and M.J.'s upside down kiss -- after one of his many rescues of her -- to a finale that leaves character relationships open ended for future adventures."cite web | url=http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/search/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1468913 | title=Hollywood Reporter review | publisher=Hollywood Report | date= 2002-04-19| accessdate=2007-01-26]
Not all of the criticism was good, as "
LA Weekly"'s Manohla Dargis wrote, "It isn't that Spider-Man is inherently unsuited for live-action translation; it's just that he's not particularly interesting or, well, animated." [cite web | url=http://www.laweekly.com/film+tv/film/i-bug/3951/ | title=I, Bug | publisher=LA Weekly | accessdate=2007-01-26] Giving it 2.5/4 stars, Roger Ebertfelt the film lacked a decent action element; "Consider the scene where Spider-Man is given a cruel choice between saving Mary Jane or a cable car full of school kids. He tries to save both, so that everyone dangles from webbing that seems about to pull loose. The visuals here could have given an impression of the enormous weights and tensions involved, but instead the scene seems more like a bloodless storyboard of the idea."cite web | url=http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20020503/REVIEWS/205030303/1023 | title=Roger Ebert review | publisher=Chicago Sun-Times | date= 2002-05-03| accessdate=2007-01-26] Stylistically, there was heavy criticism of the Green Goblin's costume, which led Richard George of " IGN" to comment years later, "We're not saying the comic book costume is exactly thrilling, but the Goblin armor (the helmet in particular) from "Spider-Man" is almost comically bad... Not only is it not frightening, it prohibits expression." [cite news | author = Richard George | title = Spider-Man in Film: Volume One | publisher = IGN| date= 2007-04-19|url=http://uk.comics.ign.com/articles/782/782199p3.html|accessdate=2007-04-27]
Box office performance
"Spider-Man" was a commercial success. With the release in the United States on May 3, 2002 in 3,615 theaters, The film earned $114,844,116 during its opening weekend and became the fastest theatrical release to reach $100 million, crossing the milestone in three days. [cite news | author=Brandon Gray | url=http://www.boxofficemojo.com/news/?id=1157&p=.htm | title='Spider-Man' Takes Box Office on the Ultimate Spin: $114.8 Million | publisher=
Box Office Mojo| date= 2002-05-06| accessdate=2007-01-24 ] The film's three-day record was later surpassed by ' in 2006. [cite news | author=Brandon Gray | url=http://www.boxofficemojo.com/news/?id=2111&p=.htm | title='Pirates' Raid Record Books | publisher= Box Office Mojo| date= 2006-07-10| accessdate=2007-01-24 ] "Spider-Man" also set an all-time record for the highest earnings in a single day with $43,622,264 on May 4, 2002, a record later surpassed by " Shrek 2" in 2004. [cite web | url=http://www.boxofficemojo.com/alltime/days/ | title=Top Grossing Movies in a Single Day at the Box Office | publisher= Box Office Mojo| accessdate=2007-01-25 ] In the U.S. box office, "Spider-Man" became the highest grossing film of 2002 with $403,706,375, defeating ' and "". [cite web | url=http://www.boxofficemojo.com/yearly/chart/?yr=2002&p=.htm | title=2002 Yearly Box Office Records | publisher= Box Office Mojo| accessdate=2007-01-24 ] "Spider-Man" currently ranks #8 in the all-time U.S. box office. The film also grossed $821,708,551 worldwide, currently placing it #17 in worldwide box office ranks. [cite web | url=http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=spiderman.htm | title=Spider-Man (2002) | publisher= Box Office Mojo| accessdate=2007-01-24 ]
The film has won several awards ranging from
Teen Choice Awardsto the Saturn Awards, and was even nominated for two Academy Awards ("Best Visual Effects" and "Best Sound").cite web | url=http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0145487/awards | title=Awards and Nominations | publisher=Internet Movie Database | accessdate=2007-01-24] While only Danny Elfman brought home a Saturn Award, Raimi, Maguire, and Dunst were all nominated for their respective positions. It also took home the People's Choice Awardfor "Favorite Motion Picture."
* [http://spiderman.sonypictures.com/ Official site]
* [http://www.hollywoodgothique.com/spiderman2002.html Spider-Man director Sam Raimi interview]
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