Why Tobey Maguire has us by the testicles and why he isn’t going to let go
Whence Spider-Man? Whence, indeed, and whither?
It has come to pass in these United States that you can spend $100 million making a film that has no more flavor than a glass of warm tap water and sell it for $1 billion. Spider-Man lacks the gee-whiz impact of the original Star Wars; the campy atmospherics of Batman; the in-your-face stupidity of Independence Day, Armageddon, and Twister; the hokey romance of Titanic; and even the ponderous self-indulgence of The Phantom Menace. In fact, it lacks everything.
Spider-Man is nothing more or less than a flat-footed retelling of the story of “Spiderman,” as set forth in the 1962 comic book. Nothing has been added, and nothing has been taken away, with the possible exception of Kirsten Dunst’s nipples, which are on screen for approximately two seconds.1
The original comic book was composed exclusively of clichés stolen from the Superman comic books, which began in 1939, and the film Spider-Man preserves these clichés with scrupulous care.2 Today’s filmgoers are paying good money to see story lines that were retro to their grandparents. To call Spider-Man formulaic is an insult to infants. A babe wet from the womb would find this pap unadventurous.
Where will it all end? Obviously, it isn’t going to. Aggressively stupid films like The Mummy, The Mummy Returns, and The Scorpion King all did huge box office. Spider-Man will easily gross more than all three combined for no reason other than that it is more inoffensive.
The inoffensive blockbuster! A film without any ideas at all! This is Hollywood’s masterpiece!