I Can’t Believe It Didn’t Let Me Down!

After all the “hype” (as my husband LOVES to call it) surrounding Spider-man, I was almost afraid to see it, excited, but afraid. I got to work Friday and one of my co-workers said she was thinking of going now not because of me talking about it all the time, but because one of the local radio disc jockeys on her favorite morning show said it was the best movie he ever saw. I said, oh please, come on now, I am sure it’s good, but the best movie ever? Be reasonable! Mind you, I am the woman who almost took off work yesterday just to celebrate the opening. I was elated when we got off work early and I could FINALLY head off to see it.

I get to the theater, deal with the rude guy who cut in front of me, get my free opening day limited edition comic book, go the bathroom, and then search out my seat. I arrived early because I wanted the perfect seat, and I got it. To my astonishment, no one sat directly in front of me even though the theatre was jammed full. The movie started and everyone cheered. The opening credits seemed eternal. Finally there he was, my little geek Tobey Maguire! He was, in a word, amazing (no pun intended)!

I have read multiple reviews of the film both yesterday and today, some of them I wonder if they saw the same film as me. One guy said Tobey’s voice sounded funny coming from Spider-man and his boyish tone was annoying. Isn’t that the idea? Hello, Peter Parker is an angst ridden teenager. He went on to say Tobey didn’t do enough to age Spider-man from a boy to a man. Isn’t that supposed to take place in the next two films as he actually does age and grow? I think these statements are totally unfair. Tobey Maguire was born to play Spider-man; he completely captivated me. I can’t say it enough, he was amazing. He has a depth I have never seen before and his quiet nature is so honest and true there isn’t a single one of his characters I have ever doubted. He becomes each and every one of them and I believe him every time. There are very few actors with this remarkable gift. He is truly one in a million. Can you tell I love him?

If you don’t believe me, take it from the crowd I watched the movie with. Never in my life have I attended a film that not only contained spontaneous eruptions of applause, but also received a standing ovation when it was over. I work in a theatre and you don’t even see many of those for a remarkable live performance. One more thing, I didn’t attend this showing in a quiet little suburb, I was downtown with an urban teenage crowd who clearly appreciated this movie as well they should have.

I have to give special credit to James Franco who I have loved since the first day I saw him and who I had the great fortune to meet very briefly in New Orleans this past February. I didn’t believe it was possible for me to dislike him; I am infatuated with him. How could I not like him? But he pulled it off; he made me see his dark side, the part that will lead him to take his father’s place as the Green Goblin someday (let’s hope in one of the next two films). If you don’t know this amazing young man’s work, do yourself a favor, check out Freaks and Geeks, The James Dean Story (which he won a Golden Globe for), or his upcoming movie Sonny (directed by Nicolas Cage and filmed on location in you guessed it, New Orleans).

As always, Kirsten Dunst was completely convincing as Mary Jane, and the final scene left me breathless. She transformed beautifully and brought her character full circle. She had just the right mix of damsel in distress and independent young woman, I am so thankful she has signed on for the next two pictures as well. She has a radiance on screen that is unmatched by any other actress I have seen. Don’t believe me? Check The Cat’s Meow in theatre’s now, or rent The Virgin Suicides directed by Sofia Coppola. You will see what I mean.

I would be remiss if I summed this up without mentioning Willem Dafoe, who like Tobey Maguire has received his fair share of unnecessary critism for his portrayal. One guy claimed he was a second rate Jack Nicholson as The Joker from Batman. I guess both guys did have a balloon scene, but apart from that I don’t see it. Maybe Tommy Lee Jones as Two-Face, at least they both had split personalities? At any rate, I thought he did a great job as the villian. I liked his portrayal of Norman Osborn better than the Green Goblin but I think that had a little more to do with who I was rooting for, and a little less to do with his acting. You couldn’t have asked for a better cast and I hope even the diehard fans will agree with me on that; although, I am sure they will find something not to like. Some of the more brass reviewers certainly did, but I haven’t seen a grade lower than a B which should tell you something, at least this blockbuster has something besides hype behind it, genuine actors who make the story seem real.

Sure, Spider-man was a little goofy in places, but it was timely, not dated, it has a little something for everyone, but best of all, it never forgot what it was, a comic book-an escape for the reader, or in this case the viewer, not a reflection of reality, just pure fun. And as I sat in that movie theater watching, I couldn’t help but think, this is the greatest movie I have ever seen!! I guess I owe that radio guy an apology, huh?

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