If there was ever any doubt that Spider-Man could make the jump to the silver screen, those doubts were buried for good when this film debuted. Back in May of 2002, Marvel was riding high on successful movie projects like Blade and X-Men. Bringing forth their flagship character was a no brainer. All of the delays and legal battles that came before were quickly forgotten when we got our first glimpse of Spider-Man swinging through the city of Manhattan.
Spider-Man tells the origin of everyone’s favorite wall-crawler perfectly. Only small alterations are made to make his origin and powers a little more contemporary. The spider that bites Peter Parker isn’t radioactive, but it is genetically enhanced. Additionally, Peter doesn’t invent his own wrist-mounted web launchers. His webbing is shot directly from his wrists. This doesn’t detract from the Spider-Man mythos, and actually helps make it more believable.
The plot of the movie revolves around Peter’s transformation into Spidey, which is paralleled by Norman Osborn’s decent into madness after exposing himself to the super soldier chemical his company is trying to develop. Norman is the father of Peter’s best friend, Harry. Once Norman begins terrorizing the city as the Green Goblin, it’s up to Spider-Man to save his loved ones and take down Osborn.
Meanwhile, we’re introduced to Mary Jane Watson, the girl that has stolen Peter Parker’s heart. Before the spider bite, Peter couldn’t even work up the nerve to speak to her, but after getting some confidence (and super-strength), he’s eventually able to become friends with her. Of course, Spider-Man is always there to make sure she’s safe, even getting a very famous upside down kiss for his trouble.
Sam Raimi really brought the comic books to life with this movie. Every character, from Peter Parker to J Jonah Jameson, is portrayed perfectly. The special effects were cutting edge and remain sensational to this day. The climax of the film is taken directly from the comic books, with some alterations of course. The spectacular battle between Spider-Man and the Green Goblin stands along side Batman vs the Joker and Superman vs Lex Luthor in the pantheon of great comic book movie scenes.
If you believed Superman could fly, then you will believe a man can swing from building to building on a thin thread of webbing. Spider-Man stands as one of the greatest comic book movies ever created. It opened the floodgates for comic book movies in Hollywood and made Marvel the company to beat in terms of characters and franchises. With two sequels and a reboot on the way, Spider-Man is poised to be at the top of the comic book movie world for a long time to come.