Looking for some news to cheer you up? Hopefully this will do it: Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man will hit Hulu on April 1. And no, that’s not an early April Fool’s Day joke!
Spider-Man was released in theaters almost 20 years ago – can you believe it?! – way back in 2002. At that time, there was no MCU. In fact, the only versions of Marvel Comics heroes fans in the US had seen on the big screen were, well, Howard the Duck (1986), Blade (1998), and X-Men (2000). (Movies like The Punisher, Captain America, and The Fantastic Four were produced in the late 1980s and early 1990s but were either delivered straight to video or unreleased.)
With the debut of X-Men and Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy in the early 2000s, a new era of cinematic superheroes began, paving the way for the rise of the MCU with Iron Man in 2008. Raimi’s version of the web head was and remains a classic interpretation of the character, one that balanced the breadth of action and adventure cinema can provide with the character’s comicbook roots as an ordinary teen who also happens to be a superhero. Considering all the Spidey reboots that have followed (and all the advances in technology since 2002!), it is a testament to Raimi, star Tobey Maguire and the cast and crew’s ability that the first Spider-Man movie holds up so well.
At the time of its release, Spider-Man earned over $820 million worldwide and garnered mostly positive reviews. Heck, the film even was nominated for two Oscars, one for Best Sound and one for Best Visual Effects! But most of all, it helped lay the groundwork for the cinematic superhero explosion that was to come. The Hollywood Reporter’s bottom line even noted that the 2002 flick “sets up Spider-Man for a tentpole series that will continue a long while.” I wonder if they thought the character would still be swinging strong in stand-alone movies almost 20 years later!