Features and Columns · Movies

Why Everyday Joes Make Sam Raimi’s ‘Spider-Man’ So Special

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By  · Published on October 21st, 2022

Welcome to The Queue — your daily distraction of curated video content sourced from across the web. Today, we’re watching a video essay that looks at why the regular people of Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man make the trilogy so great.


There is rarely one singular answer for why trends in cinema are the way they are. Complex truths are often the end result of a lengthy grocery list of interlocked factors on-screen and off. For me, and a number of the filmgoing public, Marvel movies feel significantly soulless. And the causal gumbo is vast: these films are too big to take big emotional risks; CGI and virtual sets are inherently less involving than the real thing, and the prevalence of snark over sentimentality leaves something of a bad taste.

I don’t think there’s one culprit for this hollow feeling in modern Marvel movies. But I do think the following video essay is absolutely on to something. Back in the early 2000s, Sam Raimi set the stage for what would become the MCU. And through the benefit of hindsight, it’s clear that Raimi’s Spider-Man films have yet to be bested by their later peers.

As the video essay below identifies, one of the things that makes Raimi’s Spider-Man films so great is the way the director goes out of his way to make New York City feel like a place full of real people. Civilians in these movies feel like they live their own lives when we’re not looking. From street performers to commuters, Raimi takes the time to make the everyman feel important. Not only does this tie into Spider-Man’s purpose within the larger MCU (“he’s just a kid!”), it makes the city feel like a place full of people worth fighting for … a quality that’s been sorely missing from Marvel’s roster of late.

Watch “The Secret Ingredient That Makes Raimi’s ‘Spider-Man’ So Great”:


Who made this?

This video essay on why everyday people make Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man films feel so special is co-written by Patrick (H) Willems and Siddhant Adlakha.  You can find their own directorial efforts and their video essays on their channel here. You can also find Willems on Twitter here. And you can find Adlakha on Twitter here.

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Meg Shields is the humble farm boy of your dreams and a senior contributor at Film School Rejects. She currently runs three columns at FSR: The Queue, How'd They Do That?, and Horrorscope. She is also a curator for One Perfect Shot and a freelance writer for hire. Meg can be found screaming about John Boorman's 'Excalibur' on Twitter here: @TheWorstNun. (She/Her).