Computer-Generated Imagery (CGI) and an Army of Acrobats
Swinging. Swooping. Buzzing. How do you capture these spider-riffic sensations on screen?
CGI, that's how.
Spider-Man's production is heavy on the computer-generated imagery. Hopefully, that sentence doesn't come as a surprise to you—and you didn't turn off your TV or close your laptop and think, "Man, that Tobey Maguire can really jump!"
The filmmakers used a clever combination of practical stunts, including acrobats and wirework, and CGI, including digital animation, to send Spider-Man and the Green Goblin soaring through the streets of New York City.
Take a quick look at the list of special effects technicians, visual effects artists, and stunt performers in the closing credits, and it's clear that it takes a village to raise a spider.
But sometimes, even by 2002 standards, the special effects are a little "off": Spidey looks a little too much like a video-game character or a little too cartoonish. Most of the time, though, these effects are breathtaking, and Spider-Man, on screen, is a boundless comic-book sketch come to life. It's as close as filmgoers are going to get to hurtling through Queens while rockin' some spandex.