I begged Dad to take me to see it twice, but it wasn’t really begging since he wanted to see it again too…
The Sam Raimi Spider-Man series launched the first major superhero movie franchise, without which we may have never seen the X-Men franchise, especially not Iron Man and the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The Raimi Spider-Man trilogy had heart and balanced good storytelling with good humor and better casts. Willem Dafeo’s take on Norman Osborn and Alfred Molina’s version of Doctor Octopus are easily in the comic book villain hall of fame. A common critique of Marvel Studio’s villains is that they are too deadpan, flat, and wholly uninteresting. This couldn’t be the case for the first two Spider-Man films at all (don’t worry, I’ll touch on Spider-Man 3 soon), where the hero was worthy of the villain he was facing, creating higher stakes and more interest for the audience.
Separately, the camp and character traits of the main cast truly exemplified the intent of co-creator Steve Ditko (Stan Lee had some input but relied on Ditko heavily), capturing the full flavor of the Silver Age feeling of the first run of the Amazing Spider-Man comic series. In an immediate Post 9/11 America, a hero that could bring us all together on screen and off screen was what the nation needs, and to an extent still needs today. It almost felt as if the citizenry of New York were as vital of a character as the main cast, having helped fend off Green Goblin attacking a group of tourists in the first film, to going as far as to stand between an unmasked, wounded Spider-Man against horrifying Doc Ock.
Even from an FX standpoint, Spider-Man used it’s studio budget to the fullest, and truly brought the superhero film genre to it’s golden age.
Like life itself, the franchise committed film suicide with the final movie (it wasn’t actually intended to be the final film actually) Spider-Man 3 was released. Weak and confusing subplots, the introduction of classic characters which were merrily manikins with words, and the absolute butchering of the character of Peter Parker lead to the franchise being remembered as a total embarrassment leaving a legacy of memes, not one of adoration and respect.
Remso W. Martinez is a blogger, activist, and host of the “Remso Republic” podcast. You can see more of Remso’s work at www.remsorepublic.com