“Spider-Man” hit theaters on June 6, 2002. Tobey Maguire’s first appearance as Peter Parker initiated the current superhero hype.

It’s been 20 years now. On June 6, 2002, “Spider-Man” with Tobey Maguire (46) started in German cinemas. At the time, we had no idea what an impact this film would have. Because together with “X-Men” from 2000, the production is considered the initial spark of the modern superhero boom.

Twenty years later, the films about the Hulk, Captain America and Co. dominate the cinema landscape. And not to forget Spidey himself. “Spider-Man: No Way Home” with Maguire’s successor Tom Holland (26) was recently a huge hit in cinemas. Maguire himself stopped by in a guest role. This closed a successful circle.

First superhero blockbuster

“Spider-Man” was an instant hit at the box office. On his first opening weekend, he grossed more than 100 million US dollars. No other film has done this before. As of today, “Spider-Man” is the 84th highest-grossing movie of all time.

Later films about the Spider-Man were more successful, but they also had the full Marvel Cinematic Universe behind them. The 2002 Spidey had to pave the way for them. Almost out of nowhere.

Maguire’s debut was also well received by critics. The film earned two Oscar nominations for visual effects and sound. At the MTV Movie Awards he won two prizes: for actress Kirsten Dunst (40) – and for the best film kiss. The scene in which Dunst’s Mary Jane kisses the Spider-Man dangling upside down went down in movie history.

Maguire must have put up with the rainwater filling his sinuses while filming. He and Dunst became a couple during filming.

September 11, 2001 overshadowed the promotion of “Spider-Man”

The success of “Spider-Man” was also not a matter of course for other reasons. Because the film started in the USA in a climate of uncertainty. The suicide attacks of September 11, 2001 were only a little over half a year away.

The historical background immediately overshadowed the promotion of the film. In the first teaser, Spider-Man spun his web between the twin towers of the World Trade Center. Sony Pictures had to recall the trailer. The production company also had to take down posters showing the building.

The events of September 11, 2001 could also be partly responsible for the success of “Spider-Man”. On the one hand, the audience craved escapism, on the other hand, the film celebrated its setting in New York like hardly any other film of its time.

“Spider-Man”: story and actors

The story of “Spider-Man” doesn’t really have to be explained, it’s similar to the comic book, the series forerunners and the later reboots: The shy student Peter Parker is bitten by a mutated spider. As a result, the teenager develops superpowers. He can climb up the walls of houses and shoot spider webs out of his hand. “With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility”: Under the name of Spider-Man, Peter fights evil. That arouses desires. On the one hand that of Mary Jane, his school crush. On the other hand, Norman Osborn’s. The scientist-turned-rogue Green Goblin wants to turn Spidey to the dark side.

Tobey Maguire took on the title role, despite having never read a Spider-Man comic before. But the script appealed to the young star, who had previously directed smaller, more demanding dramas (“The Ice Storm”, “The WonderBoys”). Former child actress Kirsten Dunst played his crush Mary Jane. Character actor Willem Dafoe (66) is a strong villain as Green Goblin. James Franco (44), who was completely unknown at the time, can be seen in a supporting role as Osborn’s son Harry. Horror specialist Sam Raimi (62, “Tanz der Teufel”) directed it, and he has just returned to Marvel with “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness”.

So it went on with Maguire’s “Spider-Man”

After the success, a sequel was only a matter of form. “Spider-Man 2” followed in 2004. Again starring Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst, again directed by Sam Raimi. The sequel received better critical acclaim than its predecessor, but made less money than it did.

The third and final film from the veteran team came in 2007. Although “Spider-Man 3” was critically considered the weakest entry in the trilogy, it did even better at the box office than the first part.

“The Amazing Spider-Man” was released in cinemas in 2012, the first part of the two-part reboot starring Andrew Garfield (38) and Emma Stone (33). The next new edition of the myth started in 2017. This time with Tom Holland (26) and Zendaya (25). The Spider Man is and remains one of the driving forces of the superhero world.

An anecdote from the last few weeks shows how much has changed in society since “Spider-Man” was released in cinemas. A British TV station censored a homophobic slogan during the broadcast. In the scene where Spider-Man gets into the wrestling ring, he says to his opponent, “Cute costume. Did your husband give you that?” The reference to the husband was now missing.