When I was growing up, Power Rangers ruled my Saturday mornings. I couldn’t really comprehend why I loved them, but I did. They were my favorite thing on the planet! To this day, I might watch an old Power Ranger episode of some kind just to relive those precious moments. The first superheroes I ever remember caring about were the X-Men. My father used to have episodes recorded on his VHS tapes. I loved all of the team members. He also recorded other shows like Woody Woodpecker and Tom and Jerry too for me to watch. One day, he showed me the Spider-Man cartoon. I remember bobbing my head up and down as the guitar theme song played. I would always pretend I had an imaginary guitar, especially at the end when the guitar picked up speed. I was excited to see Spider Man when it came out in theaters but mainly because of my love for the character. No social media, no set photos, or dumb MCU vs. DCEU stuff was in my brain. I was still young, so I had zero expectations. It wasn’t going to take much for me, as a kid to enjoy the film. Now that I’m older, I appreciate the film even more. Spider-Man tried its best to capture the magic from the comics and the cartoon show. It came out, like I said, before this socialization of media. We are the media now. We can dictate how people feel about something, whether it is good or not. People now, more than ever can say exactly what they think about a movie. Movie companies would be lying through their teeth if they said they don’t worry or notice the fan build up when it comes to their products. It’s the same type of lies athletes tell when they say they don’t listen to media in regards to their performance. Marvel and DC now are under pressure from fans, critics, and the casual public to make movies that are relatable. It’s a hard task to do. Spider-Man worked so well for me as a kid and as an adult, because the character of Spider-Man has ALWAYS been relatable. He’s arguably the most relatable of any superhero. That, and the non-existence of this ever growing social media presence, makes Spider-Man one of the best superhero films to me.
As Peter Parker, I like all the actors the same honestly. Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield captured the nerd aspect of Peter Parker perfectly. From what I saw in Civil War, Holland has a whole bunch of potential, but it’s unfair to call him better than the other two since they have put in the work. The movie starts out with Peter running for the bus though. When he gets on the bus, we instantly see how much of a nerd he is. The kids act like he has an STD or something. High school can be cruel I know. We then get to see him act shy and giddy around Mary Jane Watson. He doesn’t really know what to say to her. I’m sure every boy (and fully grown man) has had this problem. Harry Osborn is introduced to us as well. He is depicted as a rich kid who doesn’t want to be a rich kid. His father, Norman Osborn is introduced too. His development begins early as well. We see the government talking with him about shutting down his research. We already start to see the emergence of the Green Goblin here.
The movie progresses quickly. Peter gets his Spider powers and Norman becomes crazed from his experiments making him the Green Goblin. Peter undergoes a transformation of sorts. He goes to school and shows off his new gifts. This leads to him pissing off Flash Thompson. The two have a fight where the school gets to see Peter’s new abilities. Peter beats Flash easily. He then realizes he can jump extremely high and crawl up walls. The scene of him trying to get his web to come out is hilarious. I love it every time I watch it.
What makes most superheroes special is their core values. Their core values are instilled in them usually by someone they love or care about. For Batman, it’s his parents. For Daredevil, it’s his father. For Spider-Man, it’s Uncle Ben. The movie does a great job of showing how Peter starts to lose his way a little bit when he gets his new powers. A new sense of confidence has come over him. He wants to get a car to woo Mary Jane and plans on competing in a wrestling tournament. Uncle Ben, being the great man he is, notices Peter’s change in behavior. He wants to talk to him about what’s going on. Now in Civil War, I remember Peter saying how he wanted to play football. He said he didn’t then so he definitely shouldn’t now with his powers. He also says he wants to protect the little guy. That is Uncle Ben talking. He didn’t have to say his name or anything. That same tone is in Spider-Man. He tells Peter that just because he could have beaten up Flash Thompson, doesn’t mean he should have. Peter doesn’t realize it at the time and he storms off. I just love how no matter what version of Spidey we see, his values always remain the same. Uncle Ben utters the famous line and Peter is off to fight for some money. He doesn’t heed Uncle Ben’s advice mainly because he’s a teen. He doesn’t have the mindset that life is too short to not take advice from the wise people around you. He starts to fight with the wrestler and we immediately see the birth of Spider-Man’s character. Peter wouldn’t talk to someone if it was just him, he doesn’t have that confidence. But having the mask on and having the abilities give him confidence so he can mess with people. I thought his arrogance would end with him being a smart ass to Uncle Ben, but he wouldn’t become Spider-Man then would he? We see the guy screw Peter over on his pay day. The guy then gets robbed and Spider Man doesn’t stop the guy when he easily could have. Karma doesn’t let Peter get away with it for long. Uncle Ben is shot soon after. He tracks down the guy and realizes the man he let go in the elevator did this to his Uncle. The look on Peter’s face as the man falls, presumably to his death, tells it all. He knows he has messed up and that it has cost Uncle Ben his life.
In times of death, we usually reflect our best. Life is a precious thing that as far as the living know, it’s the only life we have. When people have their lives cut short due to violence, it forces us to take a look at our life and appreciate what we have. Peter does this and more as he reflects on what Uncle Ben was saying to him about power and responsibility. It’s saddening but beautiful at the same time as we witness the birth of freaking Spider-Man! We see a montage of him fighting criminals. The movie shows us reactions from people around New York. I love this because Spider-Man is nice. He’ll talk to you while he’s saving you. Most people like him. He gives the people hope.
While we witness the birth of Spider-Man in this movie, we see the birth of Green Goblin as well. Norman Osborn kills his assistant when he becomes insane from his most recent experiment. Then, he kills members from the government agency that said they would cut his funding. The last straw for Norman comes when the board decides to fire him. They go behind his back and sell the company, his company. There is a hint of arrogance from the board as well too. Norman wasn’t running the company into the ground or anything. Still, this drives him over the edge. He and Spider-Man have their first encounter at a festival in downtown New York.
The fight is fun to watch overall. The action in this movie, given when it was made, was good. I have always said there’s nothing better than watching Spider-Man swing around the city. Green Goblin brutally kills the board members. He and Spider-Man then have a great fight where we see how strong Green Goblin really is. The main thing to take away from this fight is Peter and Mary Jane’s growing relationship. He saves her from death. Mary Jane becomes attracted to him, Spider-Man that is, almost instantly. The scene where he carries her through the city is beautiful. Green Goblin then baits Spider-Man by attacking the Bugle. Jameson this whole time has been calling Spider-Man a menace in the papers. When Spider-Man shows up, he is convinced that the two are in on it together. The torment by the Green Goblin continues however when a fire erupts in the city. Green Goblin poses as a little girl in the fire and the two have another fight. This scene had Spider-Man doing some Matrix type movements to avoid Green Goblin’s weapons. I love this scene because it shows how quick and agile Spider-Man is. After that we get a tense scene where Norman almost discovers Peter in his Spider-Man outfit. The Parkers and the Osborns have a family dinner so that’s why the two are so close to one another. This provides a crazy amount of suspense. I love when heroes and villains both have secret identities. It makes the movie fun.
Green Goblin steps over the line in the last act of the movie. He attacks Aunt May and puts her in the hospital. He knows who Spider-Man is and wants to make him suffer. He then kidnaps Mary Jane and we have our climax ladies and gentlemen. Goblin gives Spider-Man two choices. Save Mary Jane, or save a group full of kids he’s kidnapped too. This is really cool (not cool in the sense of Mary Jane and kids dying) but cool in the sense that this happens in comic books all the time. How do you stop someone as powerful as Superman? Someone as smart as Batman? Someone as quick as Spider-Man? You can’t really, at least not head on. You have to force them to be in two places at once. Most heroes are incapable of doing that. It’s a trick as old as these heroes are and I love it here in this movie. It creates drama. How will Spider-Man save the kids? Will he kill Mary Jane by accident like he did Gwen Stacy in the comics? The anticipation here is insane. But Spider-Man manages here. He swoops down to grab Mary Jane, then he swings through the structure to grab the kids. This shows how strong Spider-Man is. One reason I love Spider-Man is because he breaks the mold of what a strong guy should be. He’s relatively small and doesn’t have enormous muscles. I always find myself arguing with people about this when they say Spider-Man isn’t strong. Not only is he strong, but in his movies, he’s proven he is elite strong. There isn’t a hero in Marvel or DC (of course the obvious ones like Hulk, Superman, Darkseid, Thanos, etc.) that a well-trained Spider-Man can’t handle. When he is focused and on his game, no one touches Spider-Man. My biggest complaint with The Amazing Spider-Man was he didn’t throw any punches. Not only that, Lizard was throwing him around like a child. How can you stop a train but not beat up on the Lizard at all. That movie looked fantastic but took a step back in terms of Spidey’s strength. Civil War didn’t mess around with that. Spider-Man caught that car in the video, caught the trailer that almost fell on him during the airport fight, and stopped Bucky’s arm like it was a toy. The same arm T’Challa was straining himself to death to stop earlier in the movie (that being said, Black Panther handled himself 99% better than any other human would against that arm. And he didn’t have his suit!) This scene once again demonstrated that Spidey’s strength is a force to be reckoned with. We then see a scene where Spider-Man has to talk Mary Jane into climbing down the rope. It’s a similar scene from The Amazing Spider-Man where he has to talk the kid up. Goblin begins to mess with Spidey. He almost drops the kids and Mary Jane. Right when Goblin is about to kill Spidey, the citizens of New York start throwing things at Goblin. They respect Spidey. They see he is trying to do the right thing. The scene is a bit cheesy and weird, but it seems like something that would happen in the comics or animated show. The people have rallied behind their hero. Just when everything works out, Goblin hooks Spider-Man and the two end up in an abandoned building. Mary Jane and the kids are safe, so now we get our showdown. Spider-Man struggles here because Goblin lands a bomb blast that directly hits Spidey. The fight goes on for a bit. Norman then reveals that he is Green Goblin when he starts to lose. He tries to uses his glider to kill Spidey, but Spidey senses it and jumps out of the way. The glider kills Norman. He tells Peter not to tell Harry. The movie then concludes with Norman’s funeral. Harry pledges to find Spider-Man. Mary Jane and Peter have a moment where she tells Peter she loves him. He refuses to put Mary Jane in trouble anymore. He tells her he can’t be there for her right now as a lover. As they kiss, he walks away and Mary Jane realizes he might be Spider-Man. The ending shows him swinging through the city.
This movie was everything I’ve wanted in a comic book movie. All the actors were great and the dialogue was on point. My only tiny complaint is Norman Osborn. To me, he was a bit annoying and under-developed but he was still a good Green Goblin. Spider-Man to me has always been the story of a teenage boy being forced into adulthood. Peter Parker doesn’t want anything to do with saving the people of New York at first. He wants to make money so he can have a nice car to impress Mary Jane. Most of us would do the same and no one would think we’re bad people. Spider-Man is an important life lesson in the laws of power. Individuals throughout history have had power. Some have used it for the right purposes, but too often we see people use their power for the wrong reasons. Today, we see our American government as an irresponsible system that doesn’t know how to use their power. It’s a shame that Peter had to learn this lesson at the cost of Uncle Ben, but this serves as an important lesson for anybody. Lessons like these make comics the best to me. This movie is a classic in my eyes because it translated that message to the big screen. The fight scenes aren’t the best and it isn’t a perfect film, but it makes you appreciate who Spider-Man is. That’s all I’ve ever wanted to see in a superhero film.
Hope I helped you re-live the awesomeness of this movie! I’ll be reviewing probably my favorite superhero movie of all time in Spider-Man 2 next week! The current run of Black Panther will get a review as well when I review issue #3. Comment, like, and share this post and remember to follow me on Twitter @Hero_Review Until next time!