|Directed by||Sam Raimi|
|Produced by||Laura Ziskin
Grant Curtis (Co-producer)
Avi Arad (Executive)
Stan Lee (Executive)
|Written by||David Koepp
J. K. Simmons
|Music by||Danny Elfman|
|Editing by||Arthur Coburn
Laura Ziskins Productions
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
|Release date(s)||May 3, 2002|
|Running time||121 minutes|
|Followed by||Spider-Man 2|
Spider-Man is a 2002 American superhero film based on the fictional Marvel Comics character Spider-Man. The first installment in the Spider-Man series, the film, directed by Sam Raimi and written by David Koepp, stars Tobey Maguire, Willem Dafoe, Kirsten Dunst, and James Franco.
The film begins with Peter Parker, a high school student, being bitten by a genetically altered spider. After misusing his newly-given abilities, which indirectly causes the death of his Uncle Ben, he becomes the heroic Spider-Man. Peter hopes to win the heart of Mary Jane Watson, the girl he has loved since he was a boy. Meanwhile, he must battle the villainous Green Goblin, the alter ego of the father of his best friend, Harry Osborn.
After being stuck in development hell for nearly 25 years, the film was released on May 3, 2002, by Columbia Pictures, to excellent reviews and a record-breaking opening weekend. With $821.71 million worldwide, it was 2002's third-highest-grossing film and is the 22nd-highest-grossing film of all time. Spider-Man was, for its time, the most successful film based on a comic book. The film's success has led to two sequels, Spider-Man 2 and Spider-Man 3. Spider-Man 4 was set to be released worldwide on May 6, 2011, but Marvel announced plans to reboot the series after Raimi and Maguire left over script disputes.
The story describes the transformation of high-school senior Peter Parker (Maguire) into an arachnoid superhero and the beginning of his career as a crime fighter. Peter is a shy, awkward boy who lives in Forest Hills, a suburb of the New York City borough of Queens, with his uncle Ben (Robertson) and aunt May (Harris). His next-door neighbor Mary Jane Watson (Dunst) is a pretty, warm-hearted girl with a good-looking, athletic boyfriend. Peter's friend Harry Osborn (Franco) is the son of Norman Osborn (Dafoe), president of the Oscorp manufacturing corporation, which is working to win a contract to supply weapons to the United States Army.
On a field trip to a genetics laboratory, Peter is bitten by a genetically engineered spider. He passes out in his bedroom at home, and the next day his vision is perfect, he has become more muscular, his wrists emit web strings, and his reflexes are super-quick. At school, he saves Mary Jane from falling and easily defeats her boyfriend in a fistfight. Realizing that the spider's bite has given him spider-like powers, he learns how to scale walls, jump between building rooftops, and swing through the city.
Peter enters a wrestling tournament, hoping to use his new spider skills to win $3,000 so he can buy a sports car to impress Mary Jane. On the day of the tournament, Ben tries to give him some fatherly advice, but Peter lashes out at him. At the tournament, the announcer presents Peter as "The Amazing Spider-Man". Peter defeats his opponent, but the man in charge only gives him $100. When a thief robs the man, Peter takes his revenge by allowing the robber to escape, but he discovers later that the thief killed Ben during his getaway. Feeling responsible for Ben's death, and feeling guilty for rejecting his advice, Peter dedicates himself to fighting crime as Spider-Man. He makes money by selling pictures of himself to Daily Bugle newspaper editor J. Jonah Jameson (Simmons).
Meanwhile, under pressure from the military, Norman tests Oscorp's dangerous new performance-enhancing chemical on himself. The chemical makes him stronger, but he also develops a maniacal alter ego. He immediately murders his assistant, then kills several of his competitor's scientists from the air, wearing an artificial exoskeleton and standing on a flying platform. After Oscorp's directors fire him, he flies to an Oscorp-sponsored fair and kills them before Spider-Man drives him away. Jameson dubs Norman's alter ego the "Green Goblin". After Spider-Man refuses the Goblin's offer to work together and Norman secretly discovers that Peter is Spider-Man, the Green Goblin attacks Aunt May.
As they watch over May in the hospital, Mary Jane tells Peter she has a crush on Spider-Man, and Peter expresses his own feelings for her. Harry catches them holding hands and tells his father about their love for each other. Now knowing that Spider-Man has feelings for Mary Jane, the Goblin lures him to the top of the Queensboro Bridge by taking Mary Jane and a Roosevelt Island Tramway car full of children hostage, then drops both at the same time. Spider-Man saves them all, but the Goblin takes him to an abandoned building for a fight. Spider-man eventually defeats and unmasks the Goblin, and Norman dies after asking Peter not to tell Harry that he (Norman) was the Goblin.
When Spider-Man brings Norman's body to the mansion, Harry sees him. At Norman’s funeral, Harry vows to Peter that he will kill Spider-Man to avenge Norman's death. Mary Jane confesses her love to Peter and kisses him, but Peter insists that they can only be friends, afraid that she would suffer further harm if Spider-Man's enemies knew that he loves her. Walking away from MJ, who is now in tears, he recalls Ben's words of advice, "With great power comes great responsibility," and stoically accepts his new life as Spider-Man.
|"I felt like I was an outsider. I think what happened to me made me develop this street sense of watching people and working out what made them tick, wondering whether I could trust them or not. I went to a lot of schools along the coast in California, made few friends and stayed with aunts, uncles and grandparents while my folks tried to make ends meet. It was tough. We had no money."|
|— Tobey Maguire on identifying with Peter Parker|
Bruce Campbell, a long-time colleague of director Sam Raimi, cameoed as the announcer at the wrestling ring Peter takes part in. Raimi himself appeared off-screen, throwing popcorn at Peter as he enters the arena to wrestle Bonesaw McGraw (played by former professional wrestler "Macho Man" Randy Savage). Spider-Man co-creator Stan Lee also had a cameo, in which he asks Peter, "Hey kid, would you like a pair of these glasses? They're the kind they wore in X-Men." The scene was cut, and Lee only briefly appears in the film to grab a young girl from falling debris during the battle between Spider-Man and the Green Goblin in Times Square. One of the stunt performers in this film is actor Johnny Tri Nguyen.
Although Sony Pictures acquired the "Cameron material" from MGM/UA, in April 1999 the studio announced they were not hiring James Cameron himself to direct the film. The studio lined up Roland Emmerich, Tim Burton, Chris Columbus, and David Fincher as potential directors. Fincher did not want to depict the origin story, pitching the film as being based on The Night Gwen Stacy Died storyline, but the studio disagreed. Sam Raimi was attached to direct in January 2000, for a summer 2001 release. He had been a big fan of the comic book during his youth, and his passion for Spider-Man earned him the job.
Cameron's "scriptment" became the basis of David Koepp's first-draft screenplay, often word for word. Cameron's versions of the Marvel villains Electro and Sandman remained the antagonists. Koepp's rewrite substituted the Green Goblin as the primary antagonist and added Doctor Octopus as a secondary villain. Raimi felt the Green Goblin and the surrogate father-son theme between Norman Osborn and Peter Parker would be more interesting. In June, Columbia hired Scott Rosenberg to rewrite of Koepp's material. Remaining a constant in all the rewrites was the "organic webshooter" idea from the Cameron "scriptment". Raimi felt he would stretch the audience's suspension of disbelief too far to have Peter invent mechanical webshooters.
Rosenberg removed Doctor Octopus and created several new action sequences. Raimi felt adding a third origin story would make the film too complex. Sequences removed from the final film had Spider-Man protecting Fargas, the wheelchair-using Oscorp executive from the Goblin, and Spider-Man defusing a hostage situation on a train. As production neared, producer Laura Ziskin hired her husband, award-winning writer Alvin Sargent, to polish the dialogue, primarily between Peter and Mary Jane. Columbia offered David Koepp's name to the WGA as sole screenwriter, despite the fact that it had acquired Cameron's script and hired two subsequent writers. Without reading and comparing any of the material, the Writers Guild approved sole credit to Koepp.
With Spider-Man cast, filming was set to begin the following November in New York City and on Sony soundstages. The film was set for release a year later, but when the film was postponed to be released on May 3, 2002, filming officially began on January 8, 2001 in Culver City. Sony's Stage 29 was used for Peter's Forest Hills home, and Stage 27 was used for the wrestling sequence where Peter takes on Bonesaw McGraw (Randy Savage). Stage 27 was also used for the complex Times Square sequence where Spider-Man and the Goblin battle for the first time, where a three-story set with a breakaway balcony piece was built. The scene also required shooting in Downey, California. On March 6, 45-year-old construction worker Tim Holcombe was killed when a forklift modified as a construction crane crashed into a construction basket that he was in. The following court case led to the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health to fine Sony $58,805.
In Los Angeles, locations included the Natural History Museum (for the Columbia University lab where Peter is bitten and receives his powers), the Pacific Electricity Building (the Daily Bugle offices) and Greystone Mansion (for the interiors of Norman Osborn's home). In April, some of the Spider-Man costumes were stolen, and Sony put up a $25,000 reward, although they were never returned. Production moved to New York City for two weeks, taking in locations such as the Queensboro Bridge, the exterior of Columbia University's Low Library, the outside of the New York Public Library, and a rooftop garden in the Rockefeller Center. The crew returned to Los Angeles where production and filming ended in June. The Flatiron Building was used for the Daily Bugle.
Although it wound up being faithful to the comics, many designs were made for Spider-Man's costumes: one concept costume designer James Acheson became fond of had a red emblem over a black costume. To create Spider-Man's costume, Maguire was fitted for the skintight suit, being covered with layers of substance to create the suit's shape. It was designed as a single piece, except for the mask. The webbing, which accented the costume, was cut by computer. The mask eye lenses were designed to have a mirror look.
The Green Goblin's costume was created after Willem Dafoe was cast, as Dafoe rejected the initially bulky designs created beforehand. The finished design focused on a more streamlined and athletic feel, and the mask in particular was created to be an extreme cartoon version of his face, focusing on his long cheekbones. Some of the early designs were heavily inspired by black ops. One popular idea among the concept artists was to have the Goblin accompanied by adolescent women in costume and have their own gliders. Raimi hated the idea.
Visual effects supervisor John Dykstra was hired to produce the visual effects for Spider-Man in May 2000. He convinced Raimi to make many of the stunts computer generated, as they would have been physically impossible. Raimi had used more traditional special effects in his previous films and learned a lot about using computers during production. Raimi worked hard to plan all the sequences of Spider-Man swinging from buildings, which he described as, "ballet in the sky." The complexity of such sequences meant the budget rose from an initially planned $70 million to around $100 million. Shots were made more complicated because of the main characters' individual color schemes, so Spider-Man and the Green Goblin had to be shot separately for effects shots: Spider-Man was shot in front of a greenscreen, while the Green Goblin was shot against bluescreen. Shooting them together would have resulted in one character being erased from a shot.
Saki said the biggest difficulty of creating Spider-Man was that as the character was masked, it immediately lost a lot of characterization. Without the context of eyes or mouth, a lot of body language had to be put in so that there would be emotional content. Raimi wanted to convey the essence of Spider-Man as being, "the transition that occurs between him being a young man going through puberty and being a superhero." Dykstra said his crew of animators had never reached such a level of sophistication to give subtle hints of still making Spider-Man feel like a human being. When two studio executives were shown shots of the computer generated character, they believed it was actually Maguire performing stunts. In addition, Dykstra's crew had to composite areas of New York City and replaced every car in shots with digital models. Raimi did not want it to feel entirely like animation, so none of the shots were 100% computer generated.
After the terrorist attacks on the United States in September 11, 2001, Sony recalled teaser posters which showed a close-up of Spider-Man's face with the New York skyline (including, prominently, the World Trade Center towers) reflected in his eyes. The movie's original teaser trailer, released in 2001, featured a mini-movie plot involving a group of bank robbers escaping in a helicopter, which gets caught from behind and propelled backward into what at first appears to be a net, then is shown to be a gigantic spider web spun between the two towers at the World Trade Center. According to Sony the trailer did not contain any actual footage from the film itself and is consequently one of the most popular "Special Shoot" trailers since Terminator 2: Judgment Day. The trailer was pulled after the events of the September 11, 2001 attacks, but can be found on the Internet.
Before Spider-Man's British theatrical release in June 2002, the BBFC gave the film a '12' certificate. Due to Spider-Man's popularity with younger children, this prompted much controversy. The BBFC defended their decision, arguing that the film could have been given a '15'. Despite this, North Norfolk and Breckland District Councils, in East Anglia, changed it to a 'PG', and Tameside council, Manchester, denoted it a 'PG-12'. The United States rated it "PG-13". In late August, the BBFC relaxed their policy to '12A', leading Sony to re-release the film.
The film was generally well-received by critics. Film review site Rotten Tomatoes calculated a 90% overall approval based on 207 reviews, and it scored an 85% Cream of the Crop rating from major news outlets. The casting, mainly Tobey Maguire, is often cited as one of the high points of the film. Eric Harrison, of the Houston Chronicle, was initially skeptical of the casting of Tobey Maguire, but, after seeing the film, he stated, "within seconds, however, it becomes hard to imagine anyone else in the role." USA Today critic Mike Clark believed the casting rivaled that of 1978's Superman. Owen Gleiberman, of Entertainment Weekly, had mixed feelings about the casting, particularly Tobey Maguire. "Maguire, winning as he is, never quite gets the chance to bring the two sides of Spidey — the boy and the man, the romantic and the avenger — together." The Hollywood Reporter's Kirk Honeycutt thought, "the filmmakers' imaginations work in overdrive from the clever design of the cobwebby opening credits and Spider-Man and M.J.'s upside down kiss — after one of his many rescues of her — to a finale that leaves character relationships open ended for future adventures."
Not all of the criticism was good, as LA Weekly's Manohla Dargis wrote, "It isn't that Spider-Man is inherently unsuited for live-action translation; it's just that he's not particularly interesting or, well, animated." Giving it 2.5/4 stars, Roger Ebert felt the film lacked a decent action element; "Consider the scene where Spider-Man is given a cruel choice between saving Mary Jane or a cable car full of school kids. He tries to save both, so that everyone dangles from webbing that seems about to pull loose. The visuals here could have given an impression of the enormous weights and tensions involved, but instead the scene seems more like a bloodless storyboard of the idea." Stylistically, there was heavy criticism of the Green Goblin's costume, which led Richard George of IGN to comment years later, "We're not saying the comic book costume is exactly thrilling, but the Goblin armor (the helmet in particular) from Spider-Man is almost comically bad... Not only is it not frightening, it prohibits expression."
Entertainment Weekly put "the kiss in Spider-Man" on its end-of-the-decade, "best-of" list, saying, "There's a fine line between romantic and corny. And the rain-soaked smooch between Spider-Man and Mary Jane from 2002 tap-dances right on that line. The reason it works? Even if she suspects he's Peter Parker, she doesn't try to find out. And that's sexy as hell."
Spider-Man was a major commercial success, becoming the first film to pass the $100 million mark in a single weekend. With the release in the United States and Canada on May 3, 2002 on 7,500 screens at 3,615 theaters, the film earned $39,406,872 on its opening day, averaging $10,901 per theater ($5,524.25 per screen). The film earned a total of $114,844,116 during its opening weekend, averaging $31,769 per theater ($15,312.55 per screen) and became the fastest theatrical release to reach $100 million at the time, crossing the milestone in three days. Spider-Man also being the highest opening week in North America box office movie for a non-sequel, with $114 million, and surpassed 8 years later by Alice in Wonderland in 2010. The film's three-day record was later surpassed by Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest in 2006. Spider-Man also set an all-time record for the highest earnings in a single day with $43,622,264 on May 4, 2002, a record later surpassed by Shrek 2 in 2004. The film stayed at the top position in its second weekend, dropping only 38% in its second weekend, grossing another $71,417,527, averaging $19,755.89 per theater ($9,522.34 per screen) and bringing the ten-day total to $223,040,031. The film dropped to the second position in its third weekend, behind Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, but still made $45,036,912, dropping only 37%, averaging $12,458 per theater, and bringing the seventeen-day tally to $285,573,668. It stayed at the second position in its fourth weekend, grossing $35,814,844 over the four-day Memorial Day frame, dropping only 21% while expanding to 3,876 theaters, averaging $9,240 over four days, and bringing the 25-day gross to $333,641,492. In the box office, Spider-Man became the highest grossing film of 2002 with $403,706,375 in the United States and Canada, defeating The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers and Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones. Spider-Man currently ranks ninth in the all-time U.S. and Canada box office. The film also grossed $821,708,551 worldwide, ranks the third highest-grossing film of 2002 behind The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, currently placing it twenty second in worldwide box office ranks.
The film has won several awards ranging from Teen Choice Awards to the Saturn Awards, and was even nominated for two Academy Awards ("Best Visual Effects" and "Best Sound"). While only Danny Elfman brought home a Saturn Award, Raimi, Maguire, and Dunst were all nominated for their respective positions. It also took home the People's Choice Award for "Favorite Motion Picture."
A video game based on the movie was released in 2002.
Spider-Man is a 2002 film based on the eponymous Marvel comic. It stars Toby Macguire and Willem Dafoe and explains the story of Peter Parker's struggle to balance between his normal life and his life as Spider Man.
[Peter after the wrestling game asking for the money that he's supposed to have won.]
[Peter when letting the guy who stole the money from the wrestling promoter pass by without stopping him.]
[Peter is about attempting to use his webs for the first time.]
Bingo! Me! Your greatest creation. Bringing you what you always wanted. Power. Beyond your wildest dreams. And it's only the beginning.
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