the trailer for "Spider-man" was the fakery of the
computerized special effects. When the trailer
featured Spidey ensnaring some crooks in a helicopter
between the Twin Towers, I really thought the movie
was doomed after September 11th. As the record
breaking box office has revealed, this 40 year old
comic book super hero has proven resilient.
"Spider-man" is a good movie with a balance between
intellectual depth and an empathetic heart. The film
presents the double edged sword of heroism that owes
much to the mythic choices of Perseus and Ulysses. Yet
there is emotional core that will interest non comic
Tobey Maguire brings a familiar sincerity
to Spider-man that Christopher Reeve utilized so well
as Superman. Maguire is especially convincing as he
makes the transition from a wide eyed innocent to a
strong man with a burden. Wilem Dafoe portrays a
respected science researcher who becomes a villian.
Having much experience in these types of roles, Dafoe
masters the fine line between sympathy and menace.
Cliff Robertson has a small but pivotal role as Uncle
Ben, Spider-man's surrogate father confessor.
The plot explains the origins of Spider-man, alias Peter
Parker. Peter is a high school senior who gets bitten
by a mutant spider while on a field trip. While
retaining human form, Peter develops the traits of a
spider. At first Peter utilizes his superpowers for
minor teenage motives. However when tragedy and
villainy rears it's ugly head, Peter learns a valuable
lesson that with great power, comes greater
"Spider-Man" includes some well
directed action sequences. Unlike the overabundance of
sword play from the climax of "The Scorpion King," the
action sequences of "Spider-Man" is easy to follow.
However, it would be original if a comic book movie's
showdown could be conceived in daylight, instead of at
That is a minor trifle because "Spider-man" has
much going for it. Multiple vie wings may reveal a
hidden cameo. Youth Services Librarian David Serchay
revealed to me that Spidey's creator, Stan Lee has a
cameo. Director Sam Raimi obviously made "Spiderman" a
labor of love and fortunately he is returning to helm
the next "Spiderman" sequel with Maguire. As long as
these creators balance the head and the heart of this
comic book creation, "Spiderman" will have a long life
as a franchise.