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73

Generally favorable reviews - based on 37 Critics What's this?

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8.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 558 Ratings

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  • Starring: ,
  • Summary: Peter Parker (Maguire), after being bitten by a genetically altered spider, becomes Spider-Man, a hero of superhuman strength with the ability to cling to any surface. He dedicates himself to a life of fighting crime, while living a double life as a superhero and working student. (Sony)
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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 31 out of 37
  2. Negative: 0 out of 37
  1. 100
    It's hard to recall the last time a big-ticket summer movie delivered so fully on its promise.
  2. 90
    Just about the truest and most satisfying screen adaptation most anyone could have ever hoped for.
  3. Spider-Man is an almost-perfect extension of the experience of reading comic-book adventures.
  4. 75
    When the cast and their director are really cooking, they conjure a bipolar sense of high school-age emotion -- and use it to fuel outrageous fantasy.
  5. 75
    The Spider-Man saga is a classic for a reason, and the filmmakers don't squander the material's strengths.
  6. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    70
    This is a star-making performance, as fresh and funny as Christopher Reeve's in Superman (1978).
  7. 50
    Perhaps the real question, then, isn't how you update Spider-Man but why you would even try. Introduced in 1962, the original superhero helped to initiate the age of modern comics. Raimi hasn't figured out how to reconfigure him for the blockbuster age, and there are suggestions.

See all 37 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 13 out of 180
  1. AdamB.
    Apr 8, 2007
    10
    One of the greatest movies of our time, "Spider-Man" brings to us a whole new genre of heroism and action. Even in 50 years, this movie will One of the greatest movies of our time, "Spider-Man" brings to us a whole new genre of heroism and action. Even in 50 years, this movie will be widely revered like it is today. Expand
  2. May 18, 2012
    10
    Spider-Man was fantastic the story was well written and the characters were amazing. The acting was superb Tobey Maguire was the perfect PeterSpider-Man was fantastic the story was well written and the characters were amazing. The acting was superb Tobey Maguire was the perfect Peter Parker, and Kirsten Dunst shined in her role as Mary Jane Watson. The Green Goblin was played fantastically by Willem Dafoe, and Rosemary Harris as Aunt May was terrific.

    This was defiantly the best movie of the original Spider-Man movies in my opinion. And perhaps the best film version of a comic series.
    Expand
  3. Nov 7, 2010
    9
    Tobey Macguire's excellent performance
  4. Mar 27, 2013
    8
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Tobey McGuire leads this talented cast on an adaptation of the classic Marvel series of the same name. Heart wrenching in some scenes, such as the death of Uncle Ben and very good action scenes made this movie a true success, along with its screenwriting. Expand
  5. May 26, 2013
    8
    The original Spider-Man in my eyes and while its probably been overshadowed now by the remake I still really enjoyed this one. A little cornyThe original Spider-Man in my eyes and while its probably been overshadowed now by the remake I still really enjoyed this one. A little corny perhaps but in a way that simply works thanks to the actors and characters in the film they play. Maguire plays a respectable Peter Parker and gives the character a likability that other actors would not have given. It's a great storyline also that moves well with a villain that was actually pretty creepy. Overall a solid comic book film with good sequels! Expand
  6. Apr 22, 2015
    7
    Recent times have been good to Marvel comics, and the long-anticipated arrival of Spider-Man represents the latest step up the ladder. LongRecent times have been good to Marvel comics, and the long-anticipated arrival of Spider-Man represents the latest step up the ladder. Long the underdog in the motion picture arena, Marvel has at last been able to catch up to rival DC comics by placing a trio of its superheroes into multiplexes - Blade, the X-Men, and Spider-Man. DC may have struck first with Superman and Batman, but, these days, the comics-to-cinema summit belongs to Stan Lee's corporation. The second X-Men movie is on its way, as are Daredevil, The Hulk, and, a little farther into the future, The Fantastic Four.

    The first hour of Spider-Man is unquestionably better than the second. This is the segment of the film where Peter discovers his newfound powers and tentatively explores them. Covertly, then with more confidence, he stands up to the school bully. He also has to deal with his unrequited love for Mary Jane and cope with the responsibilities and consequences of using (or not using) his abilities. An exhilarating sequence in which Spider-Man first employs his webs to swing from building-to-building is filmed in such a manner that we can sense how close he is to losing control and plunging to the streets below. The latter half of the film is more action-oriented and features an excessive reliance upon special effects. The CGI work is not clumsily done, but it is evident when the movie switches from live actors to computer-generated ones. Peter Parker has a lot of appeal and emotional depth. Those qualities do not always remain in force once the mask is donned.

    Spider-Man's greatest strength is Tobey Maguire. The Cider House Rules actor, who has never given a bad performance, is an inspired choice for the role. Not only is he capable of handling the role of nerdy Peter, but he has bulked up enough that he looks good under the spider-suit (that is, when it's him under it). Maguire never overacts the part, nor does he view this as camp. It's a quiet, serious performance, and it doesn't take us long to believe in Peter. And, when tragedy strikes, it's genuinely moving. Added to that, Maguire can make some extremely dopey lines of dialogue sound convincing. With this everyman interpretation, Maguire shows us what could have been with Michael Keaton as the Caped Crusader, but never was.

    aimi's direction is solid, although not as involving as it was in the Evil Dead movies or his other superhero yarn, Darkman. He avoids an overabundance of trickery, but chooses his shots in a way that often gives us the sense of being on a journey with Spider-Man, rather than standing to the side as detached observers. The special effects may not be entirely convincing, but they do not eclipse the characters. Danny Elman's score is workmanlike and somewhat reminiscent of the music he composed for Batman.

    Spider-Man gets the 2002 summer movie season off to a satisfying start. This is a pure popcorn movie - the kind of film one can unabashedly enjoy for what it is. There's plenty of visual flash and dizzying action, but not at the expense of the other qualities that make for a complete motion picture experience. As a character in a comic book, Spider-Man is four decades old. His leap into this new medium has rejuvenated the legend, and offers movie-goers an opportunity to sit back and enjoy the birth of a new cinematic superhero.
    Expand
  7. MessiahL.
    Dec 4, 2007
    0
    Like Spiderman 3, Spidey 1 is atrocious. The 2nd is a masterpiece of the art form. Don't listen to individuals who didn't get at Like Spiderman 3, Spidey 1 is atrocious. The 2nd is a masterpiece of the art form. Don't listen to individuals who didn't get at least a Bachelor's. Americans without such a degree are, by and large, retarded and, unfortunately... easily entertained. Nostalgia and first-impressions over content depth. Expand

See all 180 User Reviews

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