When Spider-Man first hit theaters, it was such a relief to see that director Sam Raimi hadn’t Screwed It Up — i.e., messed too much with the Marvel Comics concept of a young schmo, Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire), granted superpowers after a spider bite — that it was easy to overlook the crucial flaw of the film. Which is that Raimi’s Spider-Man is about exactly what Maguire’s opening speech says it is: ”a girl” — Kirsten Dunst’s squeezably soft Mary Jane Watson. And as a pop love story, the movie’s peachy-keen. As a battle with evil as personified by Willem Dafoe’s hammy Green Goblin, however, it’s an F/X-overloaded noisefest.
The two-disc DVD is full of goodies that turn out to be mediocrities: Marvel editor Stan Lee yakking about his own marvelousness; interviews with other Spidey-comic artists and writers who give short shrift to Steve Ditko, the artist who gave Spider-Man his distinctive look; a gag reel with no gags; unilluminating screen tests by Maguire and the scene-stealing J.K. Simmons (J. Jonah Jameson); the video of Sum 41’s soundtrack irrelevance ”What We’re All About.” With great promises come great responsibilities: This ”special edition” just doesn’t swing.