Comic book movies, specifically Marvel ones, have become a ubiquitous part of the blockbuster universe in the last few years, across multiple studios. But it hasn’t always been that way. In fact, the quest to make the first live-action Spider-Man movie took many years and numerous fits and starts, before it was finally released in the summer of 2002.
The film, the first of three directed by Sam Raimi and starring Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker/Spider-man, did a lot to set the template for superhero movies to come. And now, the man who created Spider-Man has called that film his favorite superhero film to date.
Lee, in an “Ask Stan” Q&A on his Facebook page, named Raimi’s first Spider-Man film as “my favorite comic book movie.” The 93-year-old Lee, who of course had a cameo in the film. “I think my favorite comic book movie was the first one that was such a hit, the first Spider-Man. After that, everything else seemed easy."
The 2002 Spider-Man, which earned $403.7 million domestically and $821.7 million worldwide during its theatrical run, helped establish the viability of the superhero/comic book genre in the present-day, while also showing a way forward for how these films are structured and marketed. This helped paved the way for today’s Hollywood landscape, in which multiple studios have slates and extended universes based on comic book characters.
There are a lot of movie observers, myself included, who prefer 2004’s Spider-Man 2 to Raimi's first installment in the franchise. That film truly had a truly great character arc for Spider-Man - not to mention, its famous train sequence, and the aftermath of it are as magical as movies get. Critics overall agree with that, with Spider-Man 2 being at a 93% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes (compared to 89% Fresh for its predecessor).
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with the first Spider-Man film, which is by any measure better than both the third Raimi film and either of the Marc Webb/Andrew Garfield-led Amazing Spider-Man movies. There’s a strong plot, a good villain (Willem Dafoe’s Green Goblin) and that famous upside down kiss between Spider-man and Mary Jane. And like the other films in the trilogy, the film really captured the distinctly post-9/11 New York communitarian vibe that was so present at the time. Lee’s favorite film, of course, is a matter of Lee’s personal taste, and he’s more of an authority on this particular subject that virtually anyone else on the planet.
Meanwhile, the current big screen version of Spider-Man (Tom Holland) can be seen in Captain America: Civil War. We'll find out where his own solo movie, titled Spider-Man: Homecoming, ranks in the grand scheme of Spider-Movie films (and how Lee feels about it), next year.
Captain America: Civil War is in theaters now. Doctor Strange opens November 4, 2016; Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – May 5, 2017; Spider-Man: Homecoming – July 7, 2017; Thor: Ragnarok – November 3, 2017; Black Panther – February 16, 2018; Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 – May 4, 2018; Ant-Man and the Wasp – July 6, 2018; Captain Marvel – March 8, 2019; Avengers: Infinity War Part 2 – May 3, 2019; and as-yet untitled Marvel movies on July 12, 2019, and on May 1, July 10, and November 6 in 2020.
Source: Stan Lee