8. The Kiss (Spider-Man)
Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) has begun his crime-fighting career as the web-shooting Spider-Man, and one of his first acts of heroism is saving his neighbour (and his crush) Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst) from being mugged in a dark alleyway. After seeing off the thugs and disappearing in the middle of a heavy rainstorm, he reappears hanging upside down in front of her. MJ gently peels down Spidey’s mask just enough to reveal his lips and gives him a thank you kiss as the rain pours.
Peter Parker is one of the great loveable losers who has always had an unrequited love for MJ. And, while she might never fall for her sweet but awkward neighbour, she is attracted to an exciting mystery man who, wouldn’t you know it, is really a more confident self-actualising Peter.
Possibly the most unashamedly romantic image in a superhero movie since Superman took Lois for an impromptu night-time flight way back in 1978, it’s here that Raimi makes it clear that in addition to his love of blood, guts and campy humour, he’s just a big old softy really.
7. She’s Using the Reflections (Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness)
As the corrupted Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) pursues dimension-jumping teenager America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez) to magical fortress Kamar-Taj to drain her powers and kill her, Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and Wong (Benedict Wong) manage to trap the powerful Scarlet Witch in the Mirror Dimension, but an unbreakable prison won’t hold Wanda for long and she soon finds an unexpected way out.
As if Wanda Maximoff’s power level previously demonstrated in the MCU wasn’t scary enough, Raimi shows that she can quite easily outmatch Doctor Strange and escape the apparently inescapable dimension which has been his main method of neutralising his most dangerous opponents to date, and that she can do so through her own cunning and the use of reflective surfaces.
If there was any doubt that this Marvel entry comes from a famed horror director, that soon fades when, before our heroes can cover every last puddle and mirrored surface, Wanda emerges dislocated neck and limbs first from a polished gong (like some kind of a Sokovian Sadako) to resume her hunt.
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6. Pink Elephant (Darkman)
Surviving a gangster’s horrific murder attempt disfigured, mentally unstable and without pain receptors, scientist Peyton Westlake (Liam Neeson) ventures outside wearing his artificial skin for the first time in public. He wins his girlfriend Julie (Frances McDormand) a prize at a fairground game but the vendor claims his foot was over the line, prompting Peyton to melt down in more ways than one.
In a rare moment of calm in Darkman, Payton’s lovely afternoon is ruined when someone pushes him over the edge and he loses all impulse control, manifesting in him lashing out with his unnatural strength to hurl the vendor through his booth and then make a hasty exit as his artificial face begins to break down.
As Peyton demands his pink elephant and launches into his rage, the cinematography and editing of Raimi’s film responds in kind and truly goes bananas with Dutch angles, crash-zooms, background fireballs, and just about every other OTT visual out there.
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