Picture this, it’s a fall day in 2002. You’re walking home and pass by the local movie theater. Large crowds are walking out the doors. There’s a buzz in the air and smiles on their faces. You look up at the poster to see what movie is causing all of this.
You purchase a ticket and find your way to the auditorium and take a seat. For nearly two hours, you’re entrenched in this incredible experience and you leave with the same energy of the crowd before you. What movie did you just see? Sam Raimi’s cult classic Spider-Man.
Spider-Man is one of the greatest film series of all time. Raimi managed to bring the famous webhead straight from the comics right onto the big screen. These movies were excellent and it’s due in large part to Tobey Maguire.
Maguire puts on one of the greatest performances in cinematic history in the Raimi trilogy. He perfectly portrays Peter Parker and takes the character on a journey. Parker starts the series as a nerdy high school senior that does his best to keep his head down and get through school without trouble and ends as a sympathetic and confident man trying to keep New York safe while figuring out how to exist as a normal guy.
This transformation isn’t a straightforward arch. In Spider-Man 2, Parker lost confidence in himself. He starts to fall behind in school, work and his social life. This lack of confidence doesn’t just affect the character of Peter Parker, Spider-Man loses his powers because of this.
In Spider-Man 3, Maguire has to tackle the biggest transformation in this character’s history. Spider-Man has to become the villain. His girlfriend Mary-Jane Watson breaks up with him, he loses a staff job at the Daily Bugle, his Uncle’s murderer escapes from prison and gets sand powers and his life-long friend Harry Osbourne spends most of the movie trying to kill him. The character has to take all of that, turn into an arrogant jerk and become the biggest hurdle for Spider-Man to conquer while remaining sympathetic to the audience. Maguire pulls this off, weird dancing and all.
At the end of the film, after Harry Osbourne died. Parker goes to be with MJ in an incredibly moving and vulnerable moment. The last scene of the trilogy is the two of them dancing, both in pain from the loss of their friend. Headed towards healing.
The Raimi trilogy is far from perfect. Spider-Man 3 was notorious for being overstuffed and corny, but it still delivered on the promise of Spider-Man’s final outing. These movies wouldn’t have worked without Maguire behind the mask. He brought life and realism to a character that is out of this world. The emotion was outstanding. His humor always fits in perfectly and his heroic moments bring goosebumps to everyone that sees these films.
There will never be another actor who captures this Spidey magic again. These movies are iconic and will live on tor generations. We can only hope to see Maguire suit up one more time on the big screen.