2. Spider-Man and Green Goblin: The Final Battle
It has been established that it was Raimi’s vision that helped to solidify the concept of the living comic book in 21st century cinema through his Spider-Man Trilogy. As much as we could chew over the ideas of exaggeration, melodrama and even colour scheme, it goes unsaid that his forte really lies in the moments of unabashed and thoroughly entertaining violence.
The concept of a friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man gives the opportunity for many action set pieces, but it is the final showdown between Spider-Man and The Green Goblin in the first franchise instalment that proves to be the most impactful, for it is the first time in which Peter’s life actually seems to be in peril.
Until this point, Green Goblin has been pulling the punches he has thrown at Spider-Man, as he was not even his main target and because he was hoping that he could seduce Spidey into joining forces with him. However, after Spider-Man’s frank rejections, combined with the revelation of his secret identity, Green Goblin is committed to flushing this spider down the drain, and boy do we see every detail.
Slow-motion is used as the flimsy silk of his suit is blasted from his face and body, and the score is silenced so as to accentuate every bone crunch as Goblin slams his fists into Peter’s flesh. Perfect mimicry of actual frames from the pages of a comic book. Glorious.
1. Spider-Man Stops the Train
We would be kidding ourselves to imagine that there could be any moment other than this one to occupy the top space in a list of iconic Raimi Spider-Man Trilogy moments, but the now famous metro train rescue transcends the limitations of this mere list. This is one of the most iconic moments from all of Sam Raimi’s iconic filmography, from all comic book film adaptations.
Released in 2004, the plot of the second film of the trilogy is inescapably influenced by the events of 9/11, as are most Hollywood movies of this era. The whole trilogy bleeds with related themes such as the attack on American values, public anxiety due to the constant threat of mass devastation, and a corrupt crime-ridden New York. However, what is curious is that unlike any number of other films from this era, the Spider-Man Trilogy manages to take the aftermath of this horrifying global event and transmit a hopefulness that respectfully honours the tragedy of that day.
Peter Parker’s rescue of the subway train is not just memorable from the character’s near fatal effort to stop it, but for the actions of the passengers who rescue the passed out Spider-Man.
They rescue Spider-Man trough teamwork and mass effort, and make a commitment to him (as he has done to them) by swearing to the secrecy of his true identity. These New Yorkers don’t focus on fear and aggression towards “the other”, and in doing so they come to represent the solidarity of the cultural melting pot of New York City in the face of adversity. They protect the members of their diverse community.
For a film that came out the same year as The Passion of Christ (2004), it ironically portrays more effective Christ imagery and a much more hopeful outlook regarding the state of humanity.
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Which moment from Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy do you consider to be the best? Let us know in the comments below, and be sure to follow @thefilmagazine on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for updates on more insightful movie lists.