Review By Paul Mount, 3.5 out of 5

Was it really only five months ago that this long-awaited superhero flick was redefining the term ?ox office smash? Apparently so and here it is on shiny DVD just in time for Christmas stockings everywhere. I became a Spidey fan when Marvel UK opened its doors for business ion the early 1970? so whilst I haven? been waiting for this film as long as the fans who were around at the beginning, back in 1962, the film? been a long time coming. False start after false start has dogged the project for years and we?e had to make do with TV cartoons and the laughable short-lived TV series starring Nicholas Hammond. Fans were baffled when Sam Raimi was announced as the director of the SPIDER-MAN film when all those tedious legal difficulties were finally overcome and I was personally affronted when BUFFY? Nicholas Brendan didn? get the starring role he was surely born to play. The superhero super-role finally went to intense indie actor Tobey Maguire. And so the problems beginzp>

The trouble with superhero films is that, with the notable exception of X-MEN, they?e almost always origin stories. By the time the film? over and the hero? come to terms with his special powers and won his first battle, we just want more. We want the next one. We don? want to wait two years to see our hero in action again. So it is with SPIDER-MAN. The film? storyline is pretty flimsy, the villain (Willem Dafoe as the Green Goblin) pretty weak and ineffectual and when the bad guy finally breathes his last, we?e into Spider-Man as a character enough to want to roll straight into his next adventure. This apart, there? a lot going on here but I still can? come to terms with mopey Tobey Macguire as the web-slinger and I just can? see this famous chemistry between him as top girl Kirtsen Dunst as Mary Jane Watson. The scripts is iffy in places, the pace is all wrong, some of the CGI is distinctly iffy. But it? an engaging, enjoyable film, if only because we?e waited so long for it. Just tell yourself, as I have, that the next one will be a lot betterzp>

THE DISC: A lavish 2 disc set which actually isn? as lavish as you might think. The film itself looks and sounds awesome, of course. Extras include commentaries and dozens of trailers and TV sports whilst disc 2 issplit into 2 segments concentrating on Spidey in the comics and Spidey in the movies. Much of the former is static text-based stuff and highlights from the comic book but there? an interesting half-hour documentary featuring creator Stan lee and some of the other luminaries who have worked on the comic book over the years. The film segment is made up of three puff promotional documentaries which gush and enthuse and tell you very little about the complexities of making a film starring a largely CGI character. Screen tests are interesting and there? a chuckle-free gag reel. A nice set, but the new STAR WARS and LORD OF THE RINGS sets will raise our expectations of special edition DVDs far above this standard.

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