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Sunday, June 1, 2008

SPIDER-MAN (2002)

The initial installment (seen here after viewing SPIDEY 2) is modestly better than the overpraised sequel in all but tech departments, regardless of what you may have heard. David Koepp ’s script shamelessly replays tropes from the first Chris Reeve SUPERMAN pic, but they work just as well here, while the slighter character analysis & depth is a better fit than 2's angst. Tobey Macguire shows a larger range (especially vocally) and even has some fun testing out his newly acquired powers. In the villains’ corner, the father/son duo of Willem Dafoe & James Franco echo Jekyll & Hyde and Dorian Gray in a visually incestuous pairing creepier than anything in the sequel while Kirsten Dunst, looking too old & waterlogged, lets her fiery hair do all the work. She does get a classic moment in an upside down kiss with Spidey, but having her recognize the kisser this way is a cheat. If only the CGI-F/X stuff wasn’t such a rubbery mess. ‘Less is more’ may have served megger Sam Raimi in olden days, but he now serves the blockbuster mentality.

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