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'Spider-Man' is a fun superhero film

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Continuing our focus on sequels, this summer, "The Amazing Spider-Man 2," will be released. The producers of this franchise do not want fans to go very long without the webbed wonder as this is the fifth "Spider-Man" movie since 2002. If you are keeping track, this is the first sequel to the 2012 reboot "The Amazing Spider-Man."

In the first "Spider-Man" film, Peter Parker (played by Tobey Maguire) is a dorky, unpopular high school student living in New York. He has a crush on his fetching neighbor, Mary-Jane Watson (played by Kirsten Dunst). His best friend is Harry Osborn (played by James Franco) whose father, Norman (played by Willem Dafoe), is quite wealthy and unscrupulous in his business dealings. While on a field trip of a science lab, Peter gets bitten by a genetically mutated spider. After the bite, he is much stronger, can shoot webs and stick to walls. Also, he no longer needs his glasses. At first, he uses his newfound abilities to ward off the bullies who have tormented him. But Peter is soon confronted with more serious scenarios in which his powers can be effective. He turns himself into a superhero, "Spider-Man." After an experiment goes wrong, Norman develops a split personality and becomes the "Green Goblin," who terrorizes New York. Spider-Man has to stop him.

"Spider-Man" has very good action scenes. Although the special effects occasionally look somewhat cheesy, the fight scenes are still impressive.

The cast is strong. Tobey Maguire is excellent in the lead role. We see that Peter is weak at first, but becomes stronger when he turns into a superhero. James Franco is also very good as Harry, Peter's brooding friend who does not like being the son of a rich industrialist. The Peter/Mary-Jane/Harry love triangle will remind many viewers of the two guys/one girl sagas that undergird many film franchises. Another memorable performance is by Willem Dafoe, playing Harry's dad. J.K. Simmons also gives a solid performance. He plays Jameson, the over-the-top editor of the Daily Bugle, the newspaper Peter works for.

"Spider-Man" is an impressive start to the franchise.


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