I just saw this. It’s really good, I thought; easily the best super-hero movie I’ve seen (and yes, that means it’s better than the Dark Knight.) Tobey Maguire is excellent as Peter; he’s got charming neurosis down cold, and he’s got a nice sense of comic timing too; Peter’s constant litany of hard luck comes across as both funny and touching, and you’d have to be pretty hard-hearted to begrudge him the happy ending (though I do wish MJ had told him off more thoroughly about the “I can’t risk your life” thing. He deserved to be told off for that.)
I mean, it wasn’t perfect or anything. The effects were pretty blah, — the computer generated stuff just doesn’t look all that good, and the blocking tended to be confusing rather than dramatic in the fight scenes. And having Doc Ock keep kidnapping those nearest and dearest to Peter just by accident strained credulity. But overall, it’s amazing how much the story benefited from being a story rather than a serial, so you could do things like, for example, give Doc Ock some sort of coherent personality, and a storyline with a beginning and end, rather than being forced to make him just an evil nutter and keep him around for infinite reboots. Which is to say, with all the flaws, I pretty solidly liked this more than the original comic, which I read not that, that long ago. It seemed like this got at the core of Lee’s concept — the melodrama, the humor, the moral dilemma — a lot more cleanly and subtly than Lee managed to himself. (I know Ditko’s art is really what’s supposed to tip the scales…but as I think I’ve admitted before, his work on Spider-Man never really thrilled me the way it does lots of comics fans.)
Come to think of it, I believe I like the Christopher Reeves movie overall better than the original Siegel/Shuster comic, or even than the Mort Weisinger silver age stuff. And I liked the Adam West Batman movie way, way more than the vast majority of comic-book Batman stories. For what that’s worth.
Updated: Edited to fix Tobey Maguire’s name. He spells it with an “e”? Who knew?