Cover of "Spider-Man (Full Screen Special...

Cover via Amazon

The Sam Raimi picture, Spider-Man (2002), starring Tobey Maguire, might have been released about the time the bullying of  kids was starting to receive a whole lot of contempt, for Peter Parker is bullied disgracefully by bigger dudes.  However, after turning into Spider-Man, he never avenges himself on his personal bullies but becomes a crime fighter instead, often rescuing the popular girl he loves, M.J. Watson (Kirsten Dunst).  Proof, this, that the boy is now a (Spider) man, as is the awful guilt he feels concerning the death of his uncle—which is no small burden for a young mensch.

Alas, the garish Green Goblin is sort of a villain on the cheap, but he certainly doesn’t spoil the nicely photographed fun.  Spider-Man is involving, vivacious, jokey—not to mention sexy-with-Dunst (and so not a complete family film).