10 Best Moments from Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man Trilogy

8. Doc Ock in Surgery

For a scene filmed in the early noughties, the creation of Doc Ock and his mechanical arms required quite the mix of state of the art special effects. Whilst a significant amount of CGI was implemented, many of Doc Ock’s scenes used more traditional visual effects methods to bring his tentacles to life.

The now famous scene in which surgeons attempted to remove the fused arms from Otto Octavius was originally a test shoot for the tentacles, investigating the effectiveness of the blending of these two approaches. This scene alone validates the movie’s 12 rating as Otto’s tentacles brutally neutralise the medics that threaten their existence, looking like something straight out of one of Raimi’s own horror movies. It is almost a direct Evil Dead homage with nurses being dragged across the floor, the pitch of their scratching nails matching that of their screams, and even a chainsaw making a cheeky appearance.

Despite 12 certificates being slapped onto most big family franchise action flicks in the 2020s, this scene really isn’t suitable for children. It also packs in a huge amount of character development with barely any dialogue: the tentacles’ deadly onslaught whilst Otto remains unconscious represents Doc Ock’s duality and the man versus machine thematic exploration that underpins his involvement in the narrative, all of which is made more complex and terrifying as the monstrous metal creations seem to think they are working to their creator’s best interests.

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7. Peter Frees Himself from Venom

Allegedly, one of the major clashes between director Sam Raimi and distributors Sony regarding Spider-Man 3 (2007) was the inclusion of Venom. This might be difficult to believe when considering the pivotal scene in which Peter Parker finally frees himself from Venom’s corrupting influence.

The final Spider-Man film of the 2000s trilogy has been accused of being over the top by critics and fans, but with the passage of time Raimi’s extravagant approach has proven that his work remains memorable and entertaining, and very much apart from many of the works of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The melodrama of Peter’s corruption leading to aggression and cruelty comes to its peak in this scene.

The juxtaposition of Peter Parker facing his literal demons and determining to change himself for the better whilst Ed Brock down below is begging God for the former’s death is in no way subtle but is certainly perfect for the sheer theatre that is Spider-Man 3. At this point in the film, it isn’t clear who the good and the bad guys are as Peter brutally victimises Brock, getting him fired. Raimi’s Spider-Man is the unopposed squeaky clean boy of the superhero genre, so the fact this reputation is even threatened is quite dramatic; clearly an obvious heaven and hell metaphor in a Catholic church is the only suitable solution to this narrative conundrum.

6. Peter and MJ’s Upside Down kiss

Despite being a badass superhero, Peter Parker’s life still sucks. And, true to the superhero trope of the protagonist’s subject of affection falling for the alter-ego rather than the man, Parker’s love interest MJ becomes intrigued with New York’s up-and-coming friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man as opposed to Peter himself, not least because she is rescued by the masked web slinger time and time again.

Spider-Man rescues MJ from assault at the risk of exposing his secret identity (and let’s not forget Peter’s central dilemma is choosing between a life as Spider-Man and one with MJ), even momentarily being unmasked whilst he fights off the attackers. Then, after quickly disposing of the nameless goons, Spidey allows MJ to “thank” her hero. She starts by cautiously rolling down half of his mask as he hangs upside down, and she ends by offering her faceless hero a deep, passionate and undeniably sexy kiss.

This kiss is so steamy that it won the MTV Movie Award for Best Kiss, placing it in the annals of history alongside the likes of Twilight (2009) and The Notebook (2005), its success cementing how it permeated through the social consciousness.

No 21st century silver screen kiss is as instantly recognisable, nor has been so often parodied and referenced (from Shrek to “Family Guy”). It is also a plot point that remains relevant throughout the trilogy: Peter’s familiarity in this kiss nearly betrays his identity at the end of Spider-Man (2002) when he kisses MJ as himself and her lips seem to tickle with recognition, and then a re-enactment of this kiss with Gwen Stacey in Spider-Man 3 threatens his relationship with MJ.

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