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Movie Review by Dr Kuma

Starring: Tobey Maguire, Willem Dafoe, Kirsten Dunst, James Franco, J K Simmons

Director: Sam Raimi

At last, a summer superhero blockbuster that lives up to expectations. This is probably the best summer film of its ilk to be released since TERMINATOR 2. The closest film to compare it to is Tim’s Burton’s excellent original BATMAN with Michael Keaton. Not only are these two films directed by exceptionally talented directors, they also have something else in common – they are both superbly well cast.

When I first heard that Tobey Maguire had been cast as Peter Parker I thought it was a daft piece of casting, the same way I thought that Michael Keaton would be a disaster. Again, I was proved wrong with Maguire’s brilliant acting as the all-American arachnid boy.

Peter Parker lives with his aunt and uncle (an excellent turn from Cliff Robertson). He is a shy school student with a passion for photography whose life changes when he becomes ill after being bitten by a radioactive spider. However he wakes up to find that the bite has given him fantastic powers, which, literally, drive him up the wall.

He not only has a keen eye for a picture, but also for a young lady called Mary Jane (Kirstin Dunst). Unfortunately for Peter, he doesn’t act quickly enough and she starts dating his best friend. In a strange but parallel universe, his friend’s father Norman Osborne (Willem Dafoe) has received accidental exposure to experimental nerve gas in his own laboratory. After a few seconds of flatlining, he too returns to consciousness as the evil Green Goblin.

Before the Green Goblin strikes terror on the citizens of the town, Peter assumes the persona of the Spider-Man. He starts off earning money through wrestling, and then becomes a crime fighter after a criminal needlessly murders his beloved uncle. Peter starts to rid the city streets of crooks and society’s most wanted, but when the Green Goblin arrives on the scene, also with an eye for Mary Jane, things become tricky for Spider-Man. It goes from wrestling to WWF (Wild Web Fun).

This really is an excellent effort from the always interesting and sometimes outstanding director Sam Raimi. The strange thing is, it doesn’t feel or look like a Sam Raimi movie. It has a very crisp visual style that is a million miles away from the massively underrated DARKMAN, with only a couple of scenes bearing the hallmark trickery of Raimi’s other movies. Fadeout and slow motion replace the fast editing and handycam. This does not mean that Raimi hasn’t done an excellent job, he has, but he seems to have been watching and taking inspiration more from Alfred Hitchcock that Roger Corman.

All in all this is great entertainment, with all the cast just excellent and comic book fun for those who’s image of Spider-Man from those cheap 70’s support movies will now be radically re-evaluated.

Dr Kuma’s verdict: The best review on the ‘web’ today.

5 out of 6 stars