Monday, May 13, 2002 :::
"With great power comes great responsibility"
--Ben Parker, to his nephew Peter.
I saw the film last night. for me, it really lived up to the hype... so far beyond the hype/reality ratios of the first batman film, or the x-men (let's not get started on hype/reality of films like episode 1 and this weekend's soon to be disastrous episode 2). i was impressed on so many levels, not the least of which was how much fucking fun it was. here is a film that was was cast brilliantly (i'm slowly coming over to the tobey maguire is good camp... i had been resisting for too long, really, and for no good reason) and directed by the perfect man for the job. the sense of fun inherent in the comic is overwhelming, and if you don't have fun when you see it, i think you ought to reevaluate your capacity to even have fun.
look, cliff robertson is amazing. he's one of these old actors who makes it look so easy, as if he's doing absolutely nothing up there. and it works. wow does it work. as uncle ben, he has about 12 minutes of screen time, and his performance had me so enthralled, i was emotionally spent when he teaches peter his final lesson. maguire and dunst are flawless as two teens caught up in a world just a little too fast for them, and capture the gawk/beautiful of movie teendom more fully than any other portrayal i've ever seen. dafoe is out of this fucking world. in some incredibly bold moves, he does a schizo freakout with himself in a mirror that you would expect to see at the performing garage. he later plays a scene with an empty mask. the theatrical flair of this guy is not to be believed, and i mean that in a good way.
for anyone who has ever read a single comic book, the writing style of this picture will make perfect sense. if you've not, then i say go out to your nearest comic book shop and pick up a copy of ultimate spider-man. read it, and you will understand. this is a genre that can only be told in this language. simple, funny, heartfelt.
a strange thing happened while at this particular movie. a fight broke out in the row in front of me. a few kids were being loud, so some other kids started pounding on them. this was a rather large theatre, mind you, and it took seeming ages for the ushers to show up. everyone was yelling at these idiots to sit down, and finally, as i stood up to try, from behind a row of chairs, to pull one idiot off of the other, and some old ex-army dude did the same from the front, the ushers came in, and all was well. the kids were kicked out, and on our way out of the theatre that night, after picking up our free-movie vouchers, we saw one of the idiots in an ambulance.
here's the thing. i got so caught up in the with great power comes great responsibility thing... and since i box, i figured i might could lend a hand. but the roommate/life-partnere differed, pulling me away--almost as quickly as i stood to try to intervene. so my movie-goer/hero fantasies were dashed as i was forced to wait out the incredibly tardy usher response. the rm/l-p later said she knew a guy who was killed breaking up a fight. which certainly gives me pause. so, my question: was it wrong for me to endanger myself and add to the fight by trying to break it up? i still don't know where i come down on the issue. i do remember the feeling upon being pulled back down to my seat, wishing i had remembered to take off my glasses before (hypothetically) getting into a brawl. note to self: ALWAYS take off the glasses. way too expensive to easily replace.