Directed by Sam Raimi

Written by David Koepp

Starring Toby McGuire as Spiderman/Peter Parker
-Kirsten Dunst as MJ
-Willem Dafoe as Green Goblin/Norman Osborn
-J.K. Simmons as Jonah Jameson

Jonny Sez…

Wow! I mean, fuck me and wow! Spider-Man is an amazing movie. I mean, holy fucking shit. Wow! I walked out of the theater and for about twenty minutes I really wanted to shoot webbing out of my wrists and swing all over the place. Ask The Award Winning Pornographer, he kept telling me to knock it off. I think I watched the entire movie with my mouth open and my lips curled in a smile. Wow! Spiderman has already shattered pretty much every box office record there is and it has been out for four days. And you know what? It deserves to. You should actually go and give Raimi and crew (Sony) your $10. They did a fantastic job. Seriously, the scenes where Spider-Man is flying around New York City shooting webs and kicking ass… Jesus H. Christ. The H stands for Spider-Man.

OK, OK. I’m back. I realize that I sound like a fifteen year old girl who just walked out of Crossroads, but Spiderman is as good as all the hype is making it out to be. It might even be better, because the mentality of this movie is aimed slightly higher than your average start-of-the-summer blockbuster, so it probably went over most of the critic’s heads. The great Sam Raimi, who until now has sort of been a thorn in the side of the Hollywood establishment (Evil Dead II being one of cinemas finest achievements) scores in every possible way. First of all, he had the brains to get three principle actors who can fucking act. Very important. Peyton Reed, I know you are reading this. Pay extra attention to the next paragraph. Oh, Peyton Reed directed Bring It On and is scheduled to begin filming The Fantastic Four. Hopefully he can get Kirsten Dunst to help him out or he is going to get stuck with Sara Michelle Gellar, Tara Reid and Shannon Elizabeth. In other words, morons.

Whoever figured out that Tobey McGuire would be PERFECT as Spiderman should get an award. Actually, I am sure that as you read this, that particular casting agent is lying on a massage table in the Caribbian getting rubbed down with fresh $100s. Not only can Toby McGuire act, and not only did he do a spot on, excellent job, but he is intelligent. Like when Green Goblin blows up part of a bridge that Dunst is trapped on, endangering both Spidey’s red-headed love interest and a tram full of little kids, we hear Spider-Man whisper, “Goblin, what have you done?” Essentially, an intelligent, human reaction all but absent in movies of this kind. McGuire brings an air of depth and sophistication to the character of Peter Parker aka Spider-Man that would have been totally absent if virtually any other young actor in the Hollywood Stable had been tapped for this part. Imagine Freddie Prinze Jr. or Matt Damon stinking up the place. Which they gladly would have. Plus, McGuire is believable as a nerd. Matt Damon was the little guy with the big friends that slammed your AP books to the ground. An asshole for sure, but no nerd. McGuire on the other hand has built a cottage industry out of playing weird, maladjusted goofballs. See The Ice Storm, Pleasantville and The Wonder Boys for proof. By the way, Tobey kicked ass in all those movies, and all of those movies would not have been as good as they were without McGuire. Yes, I’m touching my dick right now.

Kirsten Dunst. Where do I even begin. First off, every guy who writes for this site has a hard-on for her, and at least one of the girls. Aside from staring in Bring It On and having a better and better looking rack, Dunst has a realistic quality she brings to her characters which almost every other young actress in Hollywood is sorely lacking. Think Julia Stiles. Plus, Dunst’s head isn’t quite so round. I’m not saying that she is a real person or anything. I am sure that presently she is getting a pate-de-fois-gras facial at a Palm Desert resort and is two minutes away from her weekly colonic. However, I love her and she did a damn fine job in Spider-Man. Admittedly, the character of MJ doesn’t really get to do all that much except to suffer for her womanhood. But, right up front in Spider-Man when Parker is taking pictures of MJ, Dunst does more emoting and acting with only facial expressions and hand gestures in one minute than Alyson Hannigan, Natasha Lyonne and Mena Suvari will do in their entire, sad, hack, careers. Kirsten, I can provide hours and hours and hours of witty observations like this directly to you.

I got to talk about Defoe. He is real good in this movie. Again, casting someone who is intelligent and genuinely spooky looking to play Osborn/Green Goblin was a good move. He even managed to somehow bring a dollop of believability to an otherwise ridiculous role. I am sure that a bunch of real critics out there are comparing him to Jack Nicholson’s performance as The Joker in the first Batman movie. Defoe is better if for no other reason than the fact that you were not allowed for one second to forget that it was JACK NICHOLSON who was playing The Joker. Defoe offered a modicum of restraint and subtlety. Plus, everything Tim Burton does is a little bit gay. The Joker’s gang sure was. Green Goblin looked pretty cool, too. The scene where he had the paralyzed Spider-Man up on the roof and was offering him an evil-partnership was visually pleasing. Especially when Green Goblin jumped on his glider and just menacingly hovered in front of Spider-Man. It looked really good. Actually, everything in Spider-Man looks really good. The special effects will give you a hard-on. If you don’t have a penis, than you will want to go out and get one. Or two.

J.K. Simmons plays Jonah Jameson and he is spectacular. He is the editor/despot of the Daily Planet or whatever the hell the newspaper that Peter parker works for is called. He steals every scene he is in. Even the scene with him, Spider-man and Green Goblin. A fantastic and fun piece of acting. I hope they give him just as much screen time in part two. Other interesting cameos include the excellent Bruce Cambell as the ring announcer when Spider-Man makes his wrestling debut. Who does he wrestle? Randy “Macho Man” Savage of course. According to IMDB.com Randy Savage’s real name is Randy Poffo. Which means he is Leaping Lanny Poffo’s little brother. Which is funny. I guess I have to mention that James Franco plays Harry Osborn, Green Goblin’s kid, and that he becomes Dr. Doom or that cool Octopus bad guy in the next Spider-Man. I should mention that Franco physically looks like the result of blending James Dean with N’Sync. He is Willem Defoe’s kid like I’m Paul Newman’s. I guess that Fanco and Defoe both have funny looking cheeks, though.

So, was there anything I didn’t like about Spider-Man? Yeah. The very end blows chunks. I am assuming it sucks like that in order to set up the next movie. But come on Raimi, learn a little lesson from Geroge Lucas. Let the movie stand on its own as a movie. Do not make it rely upon another source for its narrative. I mention Lucas because even though the original Star Wars was part of a planned trilogy (Lucas claims that he had all six movie in mind from the beginning. He also claims that Jar Jar was not a mistake. May 2002 issue of Maxim.) each movie had a very specific ending, so if Lucas would have dropped dead the day after filming, nothing would be missing. Also Raimi, don’t try and claim any Lord of the Rings one big story kind of crap. Peter Jackson filmed all three movies at the same time. You didn’t. I guess props for having the balls to end a block buster on a sour note, but it was just brutal. Point is, the ending is dumb and unsatisfying. Although Raimi was smart enough to tack on an additional and totally gratuitous minute or so of Spider-Man swinging through the streets of Manhattan just before the credits role. Which in the final analysis, is what Spider-Man is really all about.

Other bothersome things? The pace felt too quick. I could have used an additional half hour of story. By far the coolest part was when Parker was just starting to develop his spider-skills. I could have watched that all day. Also, Aunt May… Way too much screen time. Talk about boring. Of some note is the fact that there wasn’t a single black criminal in all of New York. White guilt my friends, nothing but pure, unadulterated white guilt. I wonder what is more insulting to black people? Having blacks portrayed as criminals even though we know that they are really actors, or having not a single person of African descent in a single scene in the movie? OK, there was that one guy towards the beginning who looked like Oliver Wendell Jones from Bloom County, but he was on screen for like three seconds. But all of these complaints are minor. Spider-Man totally kicks ass and if there is a single movie you should bother to go and see on the big screen, this is the one. The new Star Wars movie is going to suck anyway. Go Spidey!

Ruthless Reviews

  • Overall: 7
  • Direction: 9
  • Acting: 8
  • Fun: 10
  • Rewatchability: Infinite

Special Ratings

  • Number of times you realized that Kirsten Dunst has funny teeth: 12
  • Number of times you said to yourself, “I’d kiss her anyway”: 11
  • Number of times you said to yourself, “I’d kiss her anywhere”: 13
  • Number of times you felt like a 13 year old boy: 20
  • Number of times you wanted to shoot webbing from your wrist while the movie was playing: 8
  • Number of times you tried to shoot webbing from your wrist once you were outside the theater: 50
  • Number of times you tried unsuccessfully to recall the words to the Spider-Man song from the TV show: 4
  • Number of times you thought to yourself that for a good looking guy, Willem Defoe is strange looking: 17
  • Number of times you caught yourself wishing the sequel was out already: 5
  • Number of times you plan on seeing this movie in the theater: 2
  • Number of times you would see it in the theater if you weren’t on unemployment: 4
About Jonny Lieberman

Jonny was the site’s co-founder and helped carry the place in the early years. There was a falling out with Erich and he left the site for good, but a lot of his reviews live on. He has moved on to a successful career writing about cars. Look him up.