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Spider-man - Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, Willem Dafoe, Sam Raimi

Threat advisory: Severe - Severe risk of entertaining activities

Movie propaganda

With great power comes great responsibility.

Orphaned at an early age, Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) lives in Queens, New York with his beloved Aunt May (Rosemary Harris) and Uncle Ben (Cliff Robertson). Peter leads the life of a normal student, working as a photographer at the Daily bugle under the tutelage of publisher J Jonah Jameson (J Simmons), pining after the beautiful Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst) and hanging out with buddy Harry Osborn (James Franco).

On a school trip, during which Peter and his classmates are given a science demonstration on spiders, Peter is bitten by a genetically altered spider. Soon after, he discovers that he has unusual powers: he is endowed with the strength and agility of a spider along with a keen, ESP-like "spider sense". After discovering these powers, Peter appears in a televised wrestling match and, armed with his new spider strength, wins the match in record time. But the wrestling match promoter refuses to award Peter the $3000 prize money, alleging that Peter won too quickly. soon afterwards, Peter has the opportunity to catch a burglar fleeing from the promoter's office, but because he wants revenge, he refuses to stop him. Moments later, the same burglar kills his beloved Uncle Ben.

As Spider-man, Peter apprehends the burglar but is plagued with guilt for not being a hero sooner. During his time of turmoil, Peter remembers something Uncle Ben once told him: "With great power, comes great responsibility". Peter takes this to heart and decides to use his extraordinary powers to fight crime.

Meanwhile, megalomaniacal businessman Norman Osborn (Willem Dafoe), Harry's father, is undergoing some changes of his own. An experimental formula has blown up in his face, increasing his intelligence and strength but also driving him insane. He is now the Green Goblin, Spider-man's arch-enemy, who will put young Peter Parker's vow to fight crime and help innocent people to the ultimate test.

Based on the Marvel Comics character.

Persons of interest

  • Tobey Maguire .... Peter Parker
  • Kirsten Dunst .... Mary Jane Watson
  • James Franco .... Harry Osborn
  • Rosemary Harris .... Aunt May
  • Willem Dafoe .... Norman Osborn
  • Cliff Robertson .... Uncle Ben
  • JK Simmons .... J Jonah Jameson
  • Randy Savage .... Bonesaw McGraw
  • Scott Rosenberg .... Screenwriter
  • David Koepp .... Screenwriter
  • James Cameron .... Storywriter
  • Sam Raimi .... Director

Cinematic intelligence sources

Intelligence analyst

Special Agent Matti

Theatrical report


This is the action film you have to see. It will have your blood pumping, your heart thumping and more adrenaline in your arteries than the time you fell off the roof. Spider-man is awesome.

Meanwhile, who knew that Tobey Maguire could have sex-appeal?! After a diet of beef and barbells he's no more the 49 kg weakling, he's a babe, and what a butt! Talk about buns of steel, you could bend iron bars between those babies! But wait, there's more! Sam Raimi performed a piece of casting genius when he chose Tobey because The Tobester™ is an actor first and foremost: way back in The cider house rules I was being awed by Tobey's ability and that talent shines through in every scene. When you put him in the costume it's magic. And what an outfit; three cheers for the costume designer for making a stunning, sexy, strong suit.

The Green Goblin is a great antagonist for el hombre spidero: insane and unpredictable while having easy access to Peter Parker. His costume is way cool, too (look at the second poster below), and his super-abilities are only a little bit unbelievable (where are the flying surfboard's fuel tanks and how come it never runs out of fuel?) But Willem Dafoe manages to inject a great sense of dangerousness into both the Goblin and his alter ego, Norman Osborn. (There could be some more range at the "normal" end of the spectrum but Willem isn't that good.)

Spider-man is what other superhero movies only dream of being. I saw the 1978 version with Nicholas Hammond in the eponymous role and it wasn't so great even back then. Likewise Superman: The movie and Spawn and the Batman series: they all come across as less than you could imagine for yourself with the comic in your hand. This movie has it all: pile-driving action, sweet romance, personal pain, high drama and heaps of special effects for extra goodness. Heck, Tobey is the first hero to actually enjoy his super abilities. Who wouldn't get off on climbing vertical walls, jumping from building to building, swinging between skyscrapers and impressing everyone you meet? Not me!

In conclusion, you'll be hard pressed to find a more fun film this year. Spider-man is the best superhero flick I have ever seen... stay tuned for Spider-man 2 in 2004.

Media intelligence (DVD)

  • Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1
  • Disc: Single side, single layer
  • Features:
    • Disc 1:
      • Feature
      • Behind-the-scenes: 6 "Web-isode" featurettes from key scenes
      • Commentaries: Sam Raime, executive producer Laura Ziskin, co-producer Grant Curtis and Kirsten Dunst; VFX supervisor John Dykstra and crew
      • DVD-ROM:
        • Film to script or Film to comic book split screeen comparison
        • Record your own commentary
        • Web links
      • Music videos: Hero by Chad Kroeger (Nickelback) and Josey Scott (Saliva); What we were all about by Sum 41
      • Picture disc
      • Pop-up factoid track: Weaving the web
      • Trailers: Theatrical, bonus, 12 TV spots
    • Disc 2:
      • Biographies: Profiles: Sam Raimi; composer Danny Elfman
      • Comic timeline: From the Spider-man archive
      • Documentaries: Spider-mania: an "E! Entertainment" special (40 minutes); "Spider-man": the mythology of the 21st century (25 minutes on the history of Spider-man); The making of "Spider-man" the movie (25 minutes); Rogues gallery; The loves of Peter Parker
      • DVD-ROM:
        • Spider-man comics: 3 exclusive
        • Spider-man PC game demo
        • Screensaver
        • Web links
      • Gallery: Peter Parker's darkroom including conceptual art
      • Out-takes
      • Picture disc
      • Playstation Spider-man game: Hints and tips
      • Rehearsal footage: including screen tests, CGI tests, costume and make-up tests
  • Languages: English
  • Picture: Widescreen (1.85:1/16:9 enhanced)
  • Subtitles: English, English captions, Dutch, Hindi

Security censorship classification

M (Medium level violence)

Surveillance time

121 minutes (2:01 hours)

Not for public release in Australia before date

Film: 6 June 2002
DVD rental: 30 October 2002
VHS rental: 30 October 2002

Cinema surveillance images

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