I never thought I would feel the same exhilaration that "Superman: The
Movie" brought me the first time I saw it at the age of 10 at a Florida
Cineplex. But I was wrong.
"Spiderman" delivers a romantic, emotional story primarily focusing on
Peter Parker, as played by Maguire. I was familiar with Maguire's work
and had always considered him a capable actor, even though many critics
who learned of the casting were concerned that he was not what they
pictured as an "action hero." Maguire plays Parker to perfection, and
Spiderman, in the capable hands of director Sam Raimi, is simply an
extension of Parker.
Maguire has a gift for minimalism. He does not overdo anything and his
performance is extremely facial. His eyes are used vigorously to show
growth, understanding, love, pain and transition.
Willem Dafoe plays the millionaire industrialist Norman Osborn. I
particularly enjoyed seeing Dafoe portray his interest in Peter Parker's
intellect as a student, and then his parallel interest in Spiderman's
powers, before realizing they all belonged to the same person.
Rounding out the cast and playing Osborn's son, who is also Peter
Parker's best friend, is James Franco. Franco's role evolves at the end
of the film to propel him into a role as a villain in one of the future
Spiderman sequels. Rosemary Harris is endearing as Aunt May. Spiderman
creator, Stan Lee is said to have made a cameo, although I confess -- I
Composer Danny Elfman's score did not seem to distract at any point in
the film, but his main musical theme also did not seem to "attract."
Kudos to screenwriters David Koepp and Alvin Sargent for a balanced
script, which not only contains the stereotypical sinister "We'll meet
again, Spiderman" line, but also bouncy clever dialogue and dramatic
The writers and director seemed to borrow a concept from the early 80s
cult favorite ABC TV show, "The Greatest American Hero" in which a
schoolteacher bumbles his way through life learning and developing his
One of the primary joys of Raimi's Spiderman is that we get to see the
experimentation and awe that Parker experiences while tapping his
This movie is full of powerful morality lessons. An extremely poignant
moment is captured as Parker/Spiderman chooses not to act when a man that
cheated him, ends up getting robbed. Parker learns the hard lesson that
inaction can also have its consequences as the robber that he let go free
impacts his life personally. Parker also learns that superheroes are not
exempt from scrutiny, and the public will be suspicious of even the most
altruistic of intentions.
* RAY BUFFER, 32, is a professional singer, actor and voice-over