• 12
  • Sam Raimi (2002)
  • US
  • 116 min
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Film Review
Reviewed By
4 out of 5

Thanks in part to legal battles, Marvel Comics' much-loved superhero took his time to reach the big screen. This fantasy action adventure was initially intended as a James Cameron vehicle, but the project finally went to Darkman director - and self-confessed Spider-Man fan - Sam Raimi. His vision sticks close to the character's comic-book roots with the creation of a colourful, visually striking frolic that's bubbling with energy and gleefully tongue-in-cheek, yet edged with pathos. Lead actor Tobey Maguire is unusual but inspired casting, exuding boy-next-door charm as the clandestine teen avenger (Kirsten Dunst is good, too, as love interest Mary Jane Watson). Indeed, it's Maguire's intense likeability that helps paper over potential weaknesses such as the odd disappointing set piece. As for the all-important villain, Willem Dafoe not only looks the part as the Green Goblin - equalling Jack Nicholson's Joker - he brings some welcome gravitas to an already credible venture. Spider-Man is an effortless, intelligent entertainment, and a fabulous, fun-filled start to the hugely lucrative franchise.

Plot Summary

Fantasy action adventure based on the Marvel comic, starring Tobey Maguire, Willem Dafoe and Kirsten Dunst. During a school trip to a New York laboratory, Peter Parker is bitten by a genetically modified spider and develops extraordinary powers. Then a series of events convinces Peter that he should use his new physical abilities to wage war on crime - a decision that takes him away from his school sweetheart, Mary Jane Watson, and pits him against the evil Green Goblin.

Cast and crew


Peter Parker / Spider-Man
Tobey Maguire
Green Goblin / Norman Osborn
Willem Dafoe
Mary Jane Watson
Kirsten Dunst
Harry Osborn
James Franco
Ben Parker
Cliff Robertson
May Parker
Rosemary Harris
J Jonah Jameson
J K Simmons
Maximilian Fargas
Gerry Becker
Joseph "Robbie" Robertson
Bill Nunn
Henry Balkan
Jack Betts
General Slocum
Stanley Anderson
Dr Mendel Stromm
Ron Perkins
Eugene "Flash" Thompson
Joe Manganiello
Ted Raimi
Ring announcer
Bruce Campbell
Macy Gray
Macy Gray
Punk rock girl
Lucy Lawless
The Burglar
Michael Papajohn
Bone Saw McGraw
Randy Poffo
Man shielding child
Stan Lee


Sam Raimi

Other Information

Theatrical distributor: 
Columbia TriStar
Edited for some of its language and violence.
Available on video, DVD and BluRay
Released 14 Jun 2002
Certificate 12
Columbia Tri-Star Home Video