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"SPIDER-MAN"
(2002) (Tobey Maguire, Willem Dafoe) (PG-13)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Minor Moderate Extreme *Moderate Extreme
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Moderate Mild Heavy None Mild
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Moderate Minor Moderate Moderate Extreme


QUICK TAKE:
Action/Adventure: After being bitten by a genetically altered spider, a young man develops arachnid-based superpowers that allow him to fight crime and battle his archenemy, the Green Goblin.
PLOT:
Peter Parker (TOBEY MAGUIRE) is a high school senior who's been raised by his aunt May (ROSEMARY HARRIS) and uncle Ben (CLIFF ROBERTSON) and is considered something of a geek by other students at his school. That is, except for his friend, Harry Osborn (JAMES FRANCO), and next-door neighbor, Mary Jane Watson (KIRSTEN DUNST), who doesn't realize he's had a crush on her since they were kids.

While on a field trip to a university science department where researchers have created genetically altered spiders, Peter is bit by one, but doesn't think much of it. The next morning, however, he awakens with a new, muscular body and no further need for his glasses. At school, he then discovers that he has incredibly quick reflexes and heightened senses, as well as the ability to shoot webs from his wrists.

At the same time, Harry's wealthy industrialist father, Norman Osborn (WILLEM DAFOE), has decided to test an unproven human performance enhancer on himself so that his company, Oscorp, will win a lucrative contract with the military. Although he's aware of the potential side effects of violence, aggression and insanity, he doesn't realize that it will turn him into a homicidal lunatic. It, of course, does, and gives him a split personality where Norman is unaware of his new and powerful alter ego, the Green Goblin.

Meanwhile, Peter has adapted to his newfound skills - that include swinging through the city from building to building via his webs - and has even adopted the name, "Spider-Man," for a wrestling match to earn some money. Yet, when tragedy strikes his family at the hands of a criminal, Peter decides he must use his powers to fight crime.

From that point on, and after taking a freelance job shooting photographs for Daily Bugle editor J. Jonah Jameson (J.K. SIMMONS) while still trying to get up the nerve to tell Mary Jane how he feels about her, Peter must keep his superhero identity secret all while battling various criminals, including the Green Goblin who sets out to destroy him.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
It's a good bet many of them will be drawn to this big-budget adaptation of the popular comic book.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG-13
For stylized violence and action.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • TOBEY MAGUIRE plays a shy but intelligent high school senior who develops superpowers after being bitten by a genetically altered spider. While trying to get up the nerve to tell Mary Jane how he feels about her, he becomes a crime fighter and tries to defend the city from the Green Goblin's attacks.
  • KIRSTEN DUNST plays Peter's next-door neighbor who has an unhappy family life, but is popular at school and takes a while before she learns how much he likes her.
  • JAMES FRANCO plays Peter's best friend who isn't happy being the son of a rich businessman.
  • WILLEM DAFOE plays his wealthy father who develops a malicious and homicidal alter ego after performing an experiment on himself.
  • CLIFF ROBERTSON and ROSEMARY HARRIS play Peter's loving and caring uncle and aunt who only want what's best for him.
  • J.K. SIMMONS plays the demanding editor of the Daily Bugle who smokes cigars.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this action/adventure film that's been rated PG-13. All sorts of comic book style violence is present, where various characters punch, kick or otherwise strike others with the intent of harming and/or killing them, and many of the blows are quite severe in nature.

    Several characters are killed in various fashions (one is impaled by a small flying machine, another dies from a gunshot wound, yet another falls to his death, others are vaporized, more are killed in explosions, etc.) but few of the deaths (or occasionally resultant blood) are terribly graphic and not all are actually seen on the screen. That said, some of those scenes and others may be intense or suspenseful to some younger viewers, but that mostly depends on their age, level of maturity and tolerance/previous exposure to such material.

    Profanity consists of a handful of mild expletives, while various religious and colorful phrases are also uttered. Some brief kissing occurs, while a young woman wears some cleavage revealing tops and is caught in the rain in one scene where one can rather clearly see her breasts through her wet top. A few other women are seen in revealing attire.

    Some unhappy family life is present, there's a death in the family (via murder), and some kids may be enticed to imitate some of the action and fighting that occurs during the film. Finally, various characters have varying degrees of bad attitudes, while some brief smoking and drinking are present. Should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home, you may want to look more closely at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • It sounds like Mary Jane's stepfather complains about her or her mother not getting him some beer (heard from Peter's house).
  • We see an ad for whiskey on a building.
  • Mary Jane and others hold what look like glasses of champagne.
  • Norman pours some whiskey and then drinks it.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • We see a raised and somewhat infected looking spider bite on Peter's hand.
  • A man has a tiny bit of blood on the side of his head after being hit there.
  • A man has some blood soaked through his jacket (after being shot).
  • The Goblin throws another device that explodes and vaporizes some board members (we see them turn into skeletons before dissolving away).
  • Harry appears to have a little bit of blood on his shirt (from banging the side of his head over which there's now a small bandage).
  • We see a slightly bloody slice on Spider-Man's arm from where a spinning blade cut him. We later see this again and then see a drop of blood fall from it and land on the floor.
  • May has a few slightly bloody cuts on her face after the Goblin blasts through her wall.
  • Spider-Man appears to have some blood come from his mouth after being injured, while the Goblin also has a bloody mouth after being injured.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • The Green Goblin obviously has both types of attitudes for killing or attempting to kill others.
  • Various miscellaneous criminals have both for attempting to rob or injure their victims (one of whom dies from being shot).
  • Some school kids are mean to Peter (as is the bus driver) as he runs alongside the bus, wanting to get on. Once onboard, students laugh and throw things at him, won't let him sit down next to them, and one trips him. Later, they repeatedly bump him to ruin his picture taking efforts on a field trip.
  • Mary Jane's stepfather is mean and disrespectful to her and calls her trash, etc.
  • Peter is somewhat disrespectful to his uncle when the latter gives him some advice about life.
  • Spectators are mean to Peter (booing him and throwing food at him) when he goes to wrestle a man for money.
  • A wrestling promoter reneges on his agreement with Peter to pay him a set amount of money for wrestling a wrestler.
  • Jameson has a boss-oriented, short attitude with his employees.
  • Norman has a bad attitude toward Mary Jane (not in front of her, but within earshot), where he essentially describes her as a gold digger. He then tells his son, "Do what you need to with her then broom her fast," and Harry does not defend her honor.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Scenes listed under "Violence" may be unsettling, tense or suspenseful to some viewers (particularly younger kids but that depends on their age, level of maturity and tolerance for such material).
  • The Green Goblin's appearance and his bizarre mask might be unsettling or scary to some younger kids.
  • For those who don't like spiders, a scene where one descends toward Peter, lands on his hand, and then bites him (in graphic close-up) may be unsettling.
  • Norman begins to convulse after testing a performance enhancer on himself (while strapped inside a chamber). His heartbeat then goes flat and an assistant goes to help him. Norman then suddenly opens his eyes, grabs the assistant by the neck and throws him backwards through the chamber's glass wall and into some lab equipment that crumples and sparks beneath him (we later hear that this man is dead).
  • The Green Goblin lobs some grenade-like devices into a building that causes some major explosions and a large stone balcony to begin to fall away from the building (with Mary Jane on it). Peter uses his web to pull people out of the way before parts of the building fall on them. As Spider-Man then fights the Goblin, he tries to save Mary Jane as that balcony eventually falls away from the building and she plummets toward the street.
  • Spider-Man spots a group of men following, chasing and then accosting Mary Jane in a dark alley. After she hits one and kicks another, he sweeps in and yanks the men backwards with his webs.
  • Spider-Man zips into a burning building to save a baby whose mother is outside worrying about the child.
  • Peter tries to hide from Norman by sticking to the ceiling, but a drop of blood from a cut on his arm slowly falls toward Norman, threatening to give away Peter's location.
  • Mary Jane awakens to find herself perched atop a high bridge structure from which she nearly falls when stepping backwards.
  • The Goblin fires a missile that causes part of a bride structure to explode and sends a cable car (filled with children) falling toward the river. The Goblin catches it, but then has it suspended on one side of the bridge and Mary Jane on the other (with Spider-Man having to choose who to save). The Goblin then lets go of both and Spider-Man swings into action to save both (resulting in everyone hanging below him by a spider web as he tries to ward off the Goblin's attacks on him and attempts to cause the others to fall to their deaths).
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Handguns/Knife/Shotgun/Switchblade: Used by various criminals to rob or attempt to rob others, as well as shoot or shoot at people (one who dies).
  • Laser-like blasts/Grenade-like devices/Missiles: Fired or thrown by the Green Goblin to kill people and destroy property.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "You're so lame," "Jerks," "Don't fall on your ass," "(You are a) Freak," "Get up off your ass," "You really freaked us out," "Sure as hell," "That sucks," "You moron," "Hey, freak show," "That's a cute outfit, did your husband give it to you?" (what Peter says to taunt a male wrestler), "What the hell/ is the matter with you/is that/was that?" "Shut up," "They're crap," "Mega-crap," "Creep," "Pissed me off" and "We're gonna have a hell of a time."
  • Mary Jane shows some cleavage and bare midriff in various outfits in various scenes.
  • Various students are mean or condescending to Peter.
  • Peter sees a student shooting a spitball at someone else (in slow motion).
  • It's possible some kids could try to imitate Spider-Man jumping from buildings and then swinging on his web (by using ropes). The same holds true for all of the fighting, etc.
  • We see a miscellaneous woman with a pierced nostril.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • We suddenly see a close-up of a spider as it bites into Peter's hand (with sudden music).
  • Norman suddenly grabs an assistant by the neck.
  • A sudden and very brief flashback image (accompanied by sudden, loud music) might startle some viewers.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A heavy amount of suspenseful and dramatic music plays during the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 6 hells, 5 asses (with another possibly used with "hole"), 4 craps, 7 uses of "Oh my God" and 1 use each of "Jesus," "Oh God" and "My Lord" as exclamations.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • Mary Jane shows some cleavage in various outfits in various scenes. In one scene, she's caught in the rain and her wet top reveals that she's not wearing a bra (the shape of her nipples can be seen).
  • Some women in a wrestling ring wear leather-like bikini tops that show varying amounts of cleavage.
  • We see some photos on the wall in the background of a scene that show women in skimpy attire and one holding her hands/arms across her bare breasts (we don't see anything explicit).
  • Talking about Spider-Man, a woman on the street says that a guy with eight hands sounds hot.
  • As Spider-Man hangs upside down, he and Mary Jane briefly but passionately kiss.
  • There's some brief, but passionate kissing between Peter and Mary Jane.
  • SMOKING
  • Jameson smokes a cigar in two scenes, while a miscellaneous person on the street also smokes.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Harry isn't happy to be the son of a rich businessman.
  • Peter lives with his aunt and uncle (we never hear what happened to his mother and father).
  • Mary Jane's stepfather is mean and disrespectful to her and calls her trash, etc.
  • One boy's uncle is killed (and the aunt grieves), while another's father is also killed.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Spiders and spider bites (what to do if bitten).
  • The allure of comic books and their superhero characters.
  • What you'd do if you became a superhero.
  • Kids who don't fit in with other kids.
  • Mental delusions and schizophrenia/split personality.
  • VIOLENCE
  • A student trips Peter to make him fall to the floor on a bus.
  • Norman begins to convulse after testing a performance enhancer on himself (while strapped inside a chamber). His heartbeat then goes flat and an assistant goes to help him. Norman then suddenly opens his eyes, grabs the assistant by the neck and throws him backwards through the chamber's glass wall and into some lab equipment that crumples and sparks beneath him (we later hear that this man is dead).
  • Peter inadvertently causes a lunchroom tray and its contents to fly backwards and land on a bully, Flash. That large student then comes after Peter (knocking another student aside) and throws a punch that Peter avoids but dents his metal locker door. The bully then tries to punch Peter several more times, but Peter easily dodges the blows. Flash then pushes another student out of the way and tries to punch Peter again, but Peter easily deflects the blows and then punches Flash quite hard, sending him flying across the hallway.
  • Peter accidentally slams into a wall when he can't stop himself after swinging through the air for the first time via a line of web.
  • Peter accidentally breaks some items (a lamp and framed picture) in his room while testing out his web shooting.
  • We see some wrestling violence (in the ring) where a muscular man, Bone Saw, jumps from the ropes and lands with his elbow on another man's chest. Bone Saw then throws another man from the ring where he lands on a table that collapses beneath him. Peter then decides to wrestle Bone Saw for money, but then finds the ring enclosed by a cage (with metal bars). The wrestler then rushes Peter who jumps out of the way, causing the wrestler to smash face-first into the bars. A woman then gives Bone Saw a metal folding chair that he repeatedly uses to hit Peter. He then picks Peter up and slams him into the metal bars. The woman hands Bone Saw a crowbar, but Peter repeatedly kicks the man in the chest and face and then slams him into the bars, knocking him out.
  • A thief holds a gun on a wrestling promoter and then hits him on the face with it.
  • We see a man who's been shot as he lies on the ground, dying.
  • Spider-Man chases after a killer (who knocks over or runs through various items while fleeing from the police) and lands on top of his getaway car. He punches a hole in the roof to go after the driver who fires several shots at him up through the roof. Spider-Man then lands on the hood and punches a hole through the windshield, causing the car to crash into a gate. Now in a warehouse, the man fires several shots at Spider-Man, but misses. Spider-Man then grabs the man and repeatedly slams him into a door, breaking some glass in it with the man's head. The man then tries to strike Spider-Man with a knife but misses, and Spider-Man kicks him back against a wall where he picks him up by his shirt. The man then holds a gun to Spider-Man's head, but Spider-Man then grabs the man's arm, twists it (inflicting some pain) and the man falls out a window to his death below (we don't see the impact, but do see his dead body on a dock).
  • The Green Goblin fires a laser-like blast that hits a man in a flying suit and causes it to explode (presumably killing the man) and then fires more shots into a bunker like facility, causing more explosions and presumed deaths.
  • A man holds a shotgun on some clerks while robbing their store, but Spider-Man swings through and kicks the man aside, while picking up and then dropping his accomplice.
  • A man holds a gun on a woman while robbing her and Spider-Man grabs him.
  • A miscellaneous thug holds a gun on a security truck guard and then punches him in the face. Spider-Man then arrives on the scene, kicks other criminals around and flips one over who lands hard on the sidewalk. He then hits and knocks more of them around (including as one prepares to shoot him).
  • The Green Goblin lobs some grenade-like devices into a building that causes some major explosions and a large stone balcony to begin to fall away from the building (with Mary Jane on it). Peter uses his web to pull people out of the way before parts of the building fall on them.
  • The Goblin throws another device that explodes and vaporizes some board members (we see them turn into skeletons before dissolving away). During this, Harry hits his head and is knocked unconscious and Spider-Man knocks the Goblin aside just as he tries to grab Mary Jane. Spider-Man then saves a kid from being squashed by a large falling object and the Goblin then punches or knocks aside many police officers.
  • The Goblin then knocks Spider-Man backwards so hard that he knocks over a lamppost. The Goblin then flies after Spider-Man and fires machine guns and a missile at him. The Goblin then smashes Spider-Man into a wall and the two then exchange punches and other blows with Spider-Man having to save Mary Jane as she plummets toward the street.
  • Norman throws a drinking glass off to the side and we hear it break.
  • The Goblin blasts through a window, grabs Jameson by the neck, and then uses some sort of sleep/paralyzing gas on Spider-Man, knocking him out.
  • Spider-Man spots a group of men following, chasing and then accosting Mary Jane in a dark alley. After she hits one and kicks another, and one pulls out a switchblade, Spider-Man sweeps in and yanks the men backwards with his webs. He then hits and knocks the various thugs around.
  • The Green Goblin knocks Spider-Man backwards through a burning building. The Goblin then sends various flying blades at Spider-Man who must duck out of their way as they repeatedly whiz by him (one nicks his arm) and as he fights the Goblin (with more punches and hitting).
  • The Goblin blasts a hole in the side of May's house, injuring her (we later see her in the hospital, but she turns out to be okay) and destroying part of the house.
  • The Goblin fires a missile that causes part of a bride structure to explode, various cars on it to crash into each other, and sends a cable car (filled with children) falling toward the river. The Goblin catches it, but then has it suspended on one side of the bridge and Mary Jane on the other (with Spider-Man having to choose who to save). The Goblin then lets go of both and Spider-Man swings into action to save both.
  • As Spider-Man tries to ensure everyone's safety (from falling to their deaths), the Green Goblin attacks him, knocking him aside and then punches him (sending him falling backwards).
  • People throw various items at the Goblin to stop his attack on Spider-Man, but he manages to wrap a cable around him and flies him through the air until he crashes (rather hard) through a building. He then lobs one of his grenade-like devices that causes an explosion that knocks Spider-Man back through some walls.
  • The Goblin then proceeds to hit Spider-Man repeatedly with severe blows to the body and face, knocking him back into more walls. He then tries to impale Spider-Man with some sort of multi-bladed device, but the hero stops it and then drives him backwards. He then uses his webs to pull a huge, brick wall down onto the Green Goblin, crushing but not killing him.
  • Spider-Man then continues to pummel the Goblin with severe blows.
  • A flying device impales a character, killing him (without gory results).



  • Reviewed April 30, 2002 / Posted May 3, 2002

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