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In 2002, one of the world’s most popular comic book heroes made his leap to the big screen. Released in conjunction with the 40th anniversary of the web-slinger’s first appearance in a comic book, Spider-Man centers on an ordinary student named Peter Parker who, after being bitten by a genetically-altered spider, gains superhuman strength and the spider-like ability to cling to any surface. He vows to use his abilities to fight crime.

Orphaned at an early age, Peter Parker lives in Queens, New York with his beloved Aunt May and Uncle Ben. Peter leads the life of a normal student, working as a photographer at the school paper, pining after his beautiful next-door neighbor Mary Jane Watson and hanging out with his buddy Harry Osborn.
Green Goblin

On a school field trip where Peter and his classmates are given a science demonstration on arachnids, Peter is bitten by a genetically-altered spider. Soon after, he discovers that he has gained unusual powers – the strength and agility of a spider along with a keen, ESP-like “spider sense”.

At first, Peter decides to use these powers to make money to impress Mary Jane. He appears in a wrestling match and, armed with his new spider strength, wins the match in record time. But the crooked wrestling match promoter refuses to award Peter the prize money. Moments later, the promoter is robbed and Peter has the opportunity to catch the burglar fleeing from the promoter’s office, but because he wants revenge Peter refuses to stop him. Tragically, the burglar kills Peter’s Uncle Ben during a carjacking as he flees the scene of the crime.

As Spider-Man, Peter apprehends the burglar but is plagued with guilt for not being a hero sooner. During his time of turmoil, Peter remembers something Uncle Ben once told him: “With great power, comes great responsibility.” Peter takes this to heart and decides to use his extraordinary powers to fight crime and protect the city as Spider-Man.

Meanwhile, megalomaniacal businessman Norman Osborn, Harry’s father, is undergoing some changes of his own. An experimental formula has gone awry, increasing his intelligence and strength but also driving him insane. He is now the Green Goblin, Spider-Man’s arch-enemy, who will put young Peter Parker’s vow to fight crime and help innocent people to the ultimate test.

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for stylized violence and action.
Genre: Action/Adventure
Runtime: 121 min
Starring:Tobey Maguire, Willem Dafoe, Kirsten Dunst, James Franco, Cliff Robertson, Rosemary Harris, J.K. Simmons
Studio: Columbia Pictures
Director: Sam Raimi

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Filed in: Action, Adventure • Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010


This was a great first appearance by our friendly neighborhood wall-crawler. Tobey Maguire and Kiersten Dunst weren’t the best choices for their respective characters, but James Franco was. The plot fits in almost exactly with what we know about Spider-Man from the comics.


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