THE COMBINED efforts of director Sam Raimi and screenplay writer David Koepp gave birth to the much-awaited motion picture, Spider-man, adapted from the popular Marvel comic book character.

In the film, Tobey Maguire plays Peter Parker, the nerdy teenager who has a crush on his beautiful neighbor, Mary Jane “MJ” Watson (Kirsten Dunst). It is during a Science field trip that the major transformation takes place. Peter suddenly turns into superhero after being bitten by a genetically-enhanced spider. His acquired extraordinary strength not only allows him to help those people in need, but also enables him to save the life of MJ on two occasions.

The first part of the film focuses on very emotional encounters such as the bullying scene involving Parker and his classmates. Another tearjerker showes a regretful Parker, before the death of his uncle. The dramatic element of the story is powered by the concept of human relationships like Peter’s strong ties with his aunt and uncle and with his best friend, Harry.

Unfortunately, it is Harry’s wealthy and powerful father, Norman Osborn (played by Willem Dafoe) who becomes Spider-man’s enemy. The elder Osborn is a gifted scientist who fails a significant experiment and eventually turns himself into the Green Goblin.

Spider-man’s encounters with the Green Goblin are amazing though obviously computer-generated. A few encounters appear superficial and drowned with special effects.

In three very important aspects, the film makes up for all the other inconsistencies–the acting is convincing, the musical score, effective and the touching message about strong family ties, perfectly conveyed. The emotional scenes are also superb like the funny dialogues in between action-packed sequences.

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The ending scene smells another sequel to the movie. Spider-man the movie has a great chance at succeeding as a sequel because the comic book series went on for decades. In fact, Filipinos are hooked by its popular comic book version, that it has a big following since the ‘60s.

Not many are aware that a fascinating sequence was edited out due to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. This was the scene where Spider-man caught a helicopter in his web, which he placed between the twin towers of the World Trade Center.

One will easily like Maguire’s portrayal of Peter Parker and Dafoe’s devilish performance as the Green Goblin/Norman Osborn. The two actors gave justice to their contrasting yet substantial characters.

Spider-man’s character suggests that power should be used for a noble purpose and must be handled with responsibility. In contrast, the Green Goblin utilizes his overwhelming strength in order to spread evil and terrorize the city. This juxtaposition of characters reminds us of how power can greatly affect one’s life. In the case of Peter Parker, he realizes that he has to accept his mission and limitations as a lifesaver. The Green Goblin, on the other hand, shows the exact opposite, reflecting the modern-day man and his wrongful and abusive manipulation of power. Joanne G. Fajardo

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