This week, the geek community is preparing for some epic events. Tomorrow is none other than Star Wars day and this weekend, fans will be rushing to the theaters for the U.S. debut of Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2. While these are certainly great things to look forward to, I'm looking back to the past to a movie that was released 15 years ago, one that defined the modern superhero genre: the original #SpiderMan movie.
15 Years Ago Today, Sam Raimi's 'Spider-Man' Was Released In Theaters
On May 3rd, 2002, Sony Pictures released Spider-Man to the world and the world fell in love. Directed by Sam Raimi, Spider-Man starred #TobeyMaguire in the titular role of Peter Parker, #KirstenDunst as Mary-Jane Watson, #JamesFranco as Harry Osborne, #JKSimmons as J. Jonah Jameson and #WillemDafoe as the villainous Norman Osborne/Green Goblin. To this day, this is still a fantastic cast that portrayed relatable characters that we still love today. But Spider-Man changed the superhero genre forever in other ways.
The Birth Of The Modern Comic Book Genre Started With 'Spider-Man'
One of the most popular debates among #comicbook fans asks which superhero movie truly kickstarted the genre to the level of popularity and success it sits at today. While many people argue Iron Man, X-Men, or even the original Superman movie did this, I personally believe that Spider-Man earns this nod.
Before this movie, comic book movies struggled straddling the line between realism and corniness, truly capturing the magic of the character in a fun and unique way that still sat well with general audiences and wasn't too geeky. The key thing Spider-Man had to do was to win over the general public. #SamRaimi's movie did this by having a strong storyline, dialogue, and character development; it was a great film in its own right and not just great "for a comic book movie." On top of this, Spider-Man featured some astonishing action sequences that truly captured the fun and goofy spirit of Spidey.
Most importantly, the world was introduced to a superhero that everyone could relate to. Given this, when someone was wearing a Spider-Man shirt or is just discussing the movie(s)/character, the tone went from, "Wow, you're such a nerd." to, "I love Spider-Man, that's awesome!" Obviously, this didn't happen instantly, but this movie certainly started the process of people appreciating comic book characters and eventually anticipating and going out to see the next Avengers or X-Men or even Doctor Strange movie.
'Spider-Man' Is Set Apart By Its Heart
If you've read my ranking of every single Marvel movie, you would know that Spider-Man is one of my personal favorite superhero movies ever. With all the superhero movies pushed out in the last decade, it is an impressive accomplishment that Spider-Man (and Spider-Man 2) still holds up with repeated viewings.
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Though we have become tired of superhero origin stories by now, Spider-Man's was fresh and new when it unfolded a decade and a half ago. We got to see a troubled high school student granted superpowers and use them to protect his city against evil, all while being raised by his Aunt May, being bulled by Flash Thompson, and struggling with money.
The lessons of Spider-Man are ones that I have followed ever since I saw the movie when I was a young child. Most notably, Spider-Man introduced the idea that "with great power comes great responsibility," which may have evolved into an overused cliche in 2017, but is both memorable and meaningful to an entire generation of moviegoers. It became more than a simple "popcorn movie" and became something that thousands of kids and teenagers took to heart.
The Story And Technical Elements Still Hold Up Today, Too
However, that does not change the fact that Spider-Man has some great action and adventure included in the package. Even though Spider-Man may appear a little more campy that your Captain America: The Winter Soldier or The Dark Knight and not every single visual effect holds up with the modern superhero movies, Spider-Man's visual effects and set pieces set the tone for the modern superhero film and still look amazing today. Sam Raimi managed to deliver on giving the fans a great adventure that focuses more on the practical sides of things while also incorporating certain CGI techniques—which was still a fairly untested realm in filmmaking—into the mix.
Action sequences only go so far as their characters, however, and in the Spider-Man trilogy, #PeterParker is not the only stand-out character. Most comic book movie villains are, well laughable. But the Green Goblin is an incredibly strong villain and arguably one of the best comic book supervillains ever put on screen. Spider-Man's arch-enemy was treated well in the hands of Sam Raimi as the director caught the insanity of the character in a perfect way. I'd also be remiss if I didn't mention J.K. Simmons' spot-on portrayal of J. Jonah Jameson, constant thorn in the side of Spider-Man and Peter Parker's boss.
Lastly, this is an element that most people probably look over but is probably the most important: the music. #DannyElfman's score is one of the most beautiful scores in a comic book movie as it perfectly captures the tone and the mood of the Spider-Man character. Every scene is elevated and emotion heightened thanks to his score. Today, superhero movie soundtracks sound the same, generic, but I bet you most people could recognize the Spider-Man main theme as Spider-Man even if they haven't heard it in years.
Those are just some of the many, many reasons why Spider-Man is still just as good today as it was then. While its sequel, Spider-Man 2, is argued to be one of the greatest comic book movies of all time, we can't forget that it was the original movie that started it all.
How does 'Spider-Man' hold up 15 years later?
What do YOU guys think? How much do YOU love 'Spider-Man'? Tell me below!