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Spider-Man Catch-All

post #1 of 81
Thread Starter 

Disclaimer: This can be a place to discuss Spider-Man across multiple mediums. I have not seen The Amazing Spider-Man yet, although now that I've gotten some distance from all the controversy I think I can give it a chance.

 

Spider-Man is a character and concept full of complications. He's a street level vigilante that is responsible, however indirectly, for most of the villains he fights. He's brilliant without profit. Being a super hero is not directly tied to his brilliance (re. webshooters replaced with organics with little story modification). He's also, simultaneously, portrayed as an every man. He's racked by guilt but uses humor as a defense mechanism. Ironically, even after the life lesson learned from the death of his Uncle Ben, he's still opportunistic in how he takes pictures of himself in action and in recent comics invents at Horizon Labs using knowledge he's cribbed from adventures as Spider-Man.

 

Compare Peter Parker/Spider-Man to Tony Stark/Iron Man and Bruce Wayne/Batman. Stark and Wayne use their brilliance in crime fighting, but also run benevolent corporations that, to a certain extent, are more effective than or at least complimentary to the crime fighting. Parker, arguably, accomplishes little as Spider-Man. One man patrolling an entire city may stop the occasional mugging or bank robbery, but what he lacks is presence. Through their very existence, Iron Man and Batman create peace. Iron Man is basically a walking nuclear bomb that has "democratized peace", while Batman keeps Gotham in a perpetual state of fear. Spider-Man doesn't reign over New York with fear, so what is he really accomplishing?

 

This is an inherent problem with most superheroes. Do they cause more problems than they stop? What Spider-Man lacks in most incarnations, and specifically in the Raimi Spiderman series, is introspection. The Iron Man films have explicitly covered the danger of the spread of Stark technology and Iron Man's responsibility over that technology. Nolan's opinion that Batman is actually hurtful to Gotham is evident in his trilogy, and the sense of escalation is a main theme of the series. 

 

So what does Spider-Man mean to New York? Oddly enough, Maguire's take on the character doesn't come across as a boy from the big city at all. The suburbs of Queens might as well be a small midwestern town for all of Parker's lack of world weariness. What Spider-Man can be for New York, however, is the epitome of good Samaritan. He may not curtail a crime wave, but what Raimi nails and Maguire personifies is naive but uncynical good intention. Spider-Man isn't at war with crime, he's just doing his part. That's why the bridge scene, and of course the elevated train scene, in Raimi's movies work perfectly for me.

 

The way he changes the city is by his influence. His oft-quoted motto, as well, isn't an abstract concept about fighting crime because you can. The reason that the villains are always directly connected to Parker is to offer up concrete examples of taking responsibility for your actions. This is also fascinating considering Raimi's known penchant for abusing his actors and characters, and his having been raised in Conservative Judaism. Much like the very Jewish running theme through the Coen bros. movies of actions on Earth receiving repercussions, Spider-Man's guilt and past mistakes manifest in Old Testament ways. Much like the strong judgment in Drag Me To Hell, the super villains in Raimi's Spiderman series appear whenever Spider-Man acts selfishly. 

 

The Green Goblin exists, yes, almost from the start of the first movie but only makes trouble in Parker's life when he acts selfishly. That is, when he encounters Mary Jane again in Manhattan and when he takes the freelance photography job at the Bugle. Raimi seems to be perfectly aware of the strange contradiction of Parker taking advantage of his own infamy in that way. The second movie sees Doc Ock manifest when Parker sets Spider-Man aside to focus on his classes. The third movie is the most blatant with this cause/effect correlation, as New Goblin shows up when Parker plans to propose and Sandman when Spider-Man wins the key to the city. 

 

In that way, Raimi's Spider-Man is a New Yorker in how he follows in the tradition of NY Jews like Woody Allen: he can't catch a break. This, however, is inherent with its own contradictions as Raimi loves Christian and specifically Catholic imagery: Spider-Man in the Christ pose in the second movie, the Cathedral in the third movie. 

 

What's important for a Spider-Man story, and what Raimi understood, is the tone. It only works with a heightened, magical realism feel. Spider-Man is an inherently silly concept, and doesn't lend himself to philosophical musings about world peace or ruling through fear. He has personal demons that manifest as villains, not unlike Batman, but unlike Batman these villains exist to punish Spider-Man for the slightest deviation from the path. This may seem incredibly harsh, and comparable not just to Drag Me To Hell but the Coens' A Simple Man, so the only way to present it without coming across as nihilistic is with a bright brush. Bright colors, spectacle, fun, and hope.

 

What sets Raimi's Spiderman movies apart from his other films is the protagonist may be put through the ringer but he never loses his hope. 

 

In conclusion, I plan to see The Amazing Spider-Man soon for a good comparison. We'll see...

post #2 of 81

Well Spiderman as a character got the Bite when he was what? 14? 15? How many people that age engage in introspection? (As opposed to navel gazing, which most Teens do). I also think Peter Parker is the most grounded comic superhero: he really just wants to live a normal life and being a SuperHero is something that's thrust on him. He's a product of his upbringing which is to not get too big a head (and the one time he does so, Uncle Ben diiieeees!). As opposed to Tony Stark who clearly relishes the public spotlight and being larger than life.

post #3 of 81

An interesting point I've heard regarding Spider-Man is how age specific he actually is. Meaning he seems to be stuck in that high school/young adult mindset and time frame. That even when the character aged, he was still kind of like a teen regarding his constant guilt trips and striving for approval. I know that the character in the mainstream Marvel U has of course aged but the argument is interesting. Every time a new iteration of Spidey shows up it starts in high school. This does not have to be a negative thing. The Spectacular Spider-Man show was amazing and started in Parker's high school years. The Ultimate Spider-Man however, not so much. I know the character got his powers as a teen but is he going to be stuck as a "teenager" forever? Thoughts?   
 

post #4 of 81
Thread Starter 

So I finally got around to watching The Amazing Spider-Man. With lowered expectations, I actually fall into the more positive crowd.

 

It lacks the above subtext I discussed in regards to the Raimi films. This doesn't feel like a New York film. There's no Jewish persecution or even Catholic imagery. Thematically, it's pretty shallow, with vague ideas about heroism and a strange sense of elitism in relation to vigilantism. Like I said above, Spider-Man as superhero rarely works for me because there's no reason he shouldn't be working for the cops. He doesn't believe in a broken system like Batman, and he isn't cynical about corporate interests in warfare like Iron Man. He's just a guy doing his part. Raimi handled this well by positioning Spidey as a good samaritan, not so much patrolling as intervening when crime happens nearby. The police, aside from a brief scene in the first movie, live and let live and the third movie basically has Spidey as a New York mascot. ASM asks us to actually consider Spidey's role in fighting crime, however, with him being pitted against Captain Stacey and the NY police department while making quips about doing 80% of their job and arguing with Stacey at the dinner table. Obviously this Spidey considers himself above the police.

 

That ties into the jerk Peter that everyone has been talking about for six months. I, however, found this take a bit refreshing. I have 50 years of comics and the Raimi trilogy, so give me a fresh take. He's obviously a troubled young man, and this story is in fact taking place during the timeframe when Peter is supposed to be a jerk. In the classic iteration he's a wrestler and television star for weeks if not months. In Ultimate he excels on the basketball team. The decision here seems to be to interweave Peter's cocky learning curve directly into his crime fighting learning curve, which is a fresh take. 

 

I love the Raimi films, but Maguire never quite worked for me. He's a great actor, but I prefer him in roles like in Wonder Boys when he's a bit mysterious and unknowable. Peter is supposed to take us along in his emotional journey and I didn't buy Maguire as selfish because his take on hero is someone that always acts with good intentions. It's hard to believe when he makes mistakes. It also doesn't help that MJ, while entirely accurate to the comics, is a fascinatingly flawed character that is incredibly selfish. She dates the school jock and then cheats on the rich kid with the masked celebrity. Norman's little speech about her in the hallway is actually entirely how I view the character, so mooning after her for three movies didn't work for me. Emma Stone is, therefore, quite refreshing. I like that her character likes Peter for acting bravely from the start, that she's smart and industrious and disobeys Peter's orders at the end. The only problem with her is a bit too much coincidence. She's not only an intern at OsCorp but also Captain Stacey's daughter! 

 

It's funny how easily this could've been a Spiderman 4 soft reboot. Add the deleted scenes back in and it's about 150 minutes. Cut out 50 minutes of the origin being retold and even keep most of the Uncle Ben scenes in as flashbacks. Set it in college with Peter and Gwen dating after the events of Spiderman 3. Mention MJ briefly then move on. Connors takes a job at OsCorp and have Rajit Ratha be the new boss with Norman and Harry dead. Not that different at all.

 

I don't know, this'll do. Not the best script but a great cast. The tone is more grounded and although I prefer the operatic feel of the earlier movies this isn't a betrayal of Spider-Man. I'm glad I gave myself distance, but much like I rarely watch X-Men or Spiderman because the sequels did it better I hope ASM 2 makes this one irrelevant. 

post #5 of 81

Great analysis Bartleby,

 

I love the Raimi Spider-Man films, I even have affection for 3, despite it's many flaws. As for The Amazing Spider-Man, I have so many problems with it that I could probably write a Lord of the Rings length tome on it. 

 

So, to cut it down to size I'd say my main problem with ASM is the Spider-Jerk thing that you brought up and everyone seems particularary incensed about. Firstly let it be said that the character of Spider-Man does not belong to me, he belongs to everyone, so for me to declare what Spider-Man should be could carry a tinge of arrogance. However, I do feel that since his creation in Amazing Fantasy 15 the character has worked with a very specific moral viewpoint, a idea of morality that is altogether undermined in The Amazing Spider-Man. And I don't feel it's discarded to challenge the core concepts of the character in any way, I don't think Parker being an aggressive bully is there to show us something different about the character, rather he was made that way to be more palatable to an audience that prefers heroes to be "badass" rather than "good". Altruistic Good Samaritans sadly aren't cool, whereas angry, revenge fueled vigilantes are, so Sony changed Spider-Man to fit into this trend and by doing so lost the very heart of the character.

 

post #6 of 81
Again, the whole point of Spider-Man's origin can be summed up in those magical words: "With great power comes great responsibility. Yes, Parker is supposed to be kind of a jerk; but the whole point of his journey is that he assumes his role as a superman, and the responsibilities of the people far outweigh getting laid or whatever petty bullshit young adults like myself get into.

I can understand the argument that ASM's Spider-Man is one that makes mistakes--"he's just a teenager" my friends say. The problem is, I don't believe that's the tone of the film. Say what you want about Raimi's film or Mcguire's performance, but one thing that movie absolutely nails is having Spider-Man teetering at that edge of vengeful violence. Spider-Man could have easily been that angry youth committing acts of violence--he could have easily become Batman. The problem with ASM is that it doesn't even come close to that: Spider-man simply taunts a car-jacker and then turns into "Your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man" simply because the film needs him to. It doesn't feel honest at all. This all culminates into the infamous"but those are the best kind of secrets" line at the end of the film. A man at his death-bed practically begs Parker to leave his daughter alone; But Parker ain't having that--Bitches love Spider-Man. Parker fails his uncle by putting his interests ahead of his responsibilities; but the film does not see it that way. It's supposed to be a triumphant moment; he's the hero and he gets the girl!!!

Considering that the synopsis for the sequel directly mentions this, I imagine that the writers have become aware of how shitty it makes their hero look.
post #7 of 81
Thread Starter 

I think how Spidey's progression from vengeful night stalker to Friendly Neighborhood works in ASM is (1) he starts off tracking muggers, then (2) gets off on the public's attention when he ends up on youtube and is mentioned by the police, then (3) saves a kid. Saving the kid is the first act of unselfish altruism he commits. Even then his drive throughout the rest of the movie is to stop the Lizard because he was responsible for the mutation. I don't think he really decides this will be a full time superhero gig until Captain Stacey says the city needs him. 

 

Compare that to Raimi's Spiderman, when the New Yorkers montage cements Spidey as a superhero around the hour mark. There's no more learning curve at that point, and I think that's the movie Raimi wanted with an already established college age Spidey. He perfects the formula with the second movie. 

 

I have no excuse for the end of ASM. I think the filmmakers want us to think it's equivalent to Mary Jane telling Peter she chooses to be with him even against his wishes in Spiderman 2, but all we get is Gwen calling Peter out on the promise. One more line of dialogue from her could have fixed the movie. 

post #8 of 81
With ASM, I believe Peter isn't the hero we need we need right now, and he isn't taking responsibility for his actions yet. It will probably kick up at the drop of a Stacey.
post #9 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by SAIRUS View Post

With ASM, I believe Peter isn't the hero we need we need right now, and he isn't taking responsibility for his actions yet. It will probably kick up at the drop of a Stacey.


1. THAT QUOTE WILL NEVER GET OLD.  I DON'T CARE HOW MANY TIMES IT'S REWORKED--IT'S STILL HILARIOUS!!

 

2. And that's the problem: The Spiderman at the end of ASM is not Spiderman--He's just a jerk-ass with a costume.  The fact that the ASM trilogy (at least this first set) is a trilogy long origin story is kind of lame.

 

@Bartleby

 

And the whole Gwen Stacy thing ultimately breaks the movie. I see what you're saying, but that line completely undoes everything Parker supposedly learned throughout the movie. It's just shitty fucking writing.  Want to write a movie where Parker is flawed and "human?" Fine. But I don't care how much of a "teenager" Parker is supposed to be--that ending is straight up awful no matter how you look at it.

post #10 of 81

I was fine with that ending. Parker's human, not a robot. Teenager or not, it can never be easy walking away from someone you love.

 

If anything, what was more hilarious was Captain Stacy making that request of Parker to begin with, using his own deathbed as sick leverage. That's a dick move!
 

post #11 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by Agent Z View Post

I was fine with that ending. Parker's human, not a robot. Teenager or not, it can never be easy walking away from someone you love.

 

This.

 

I totally understand why he did that. Peter really loves Gwen. What was he supposed to do? Stay a loner for the rest of his life? Without getting close to anybody for fear of endangering them.

post #12 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ska Oreo View Post


1. THAT QUOTE WILL NEVER GET OLD.  I DON'T CARE HOW MANY TIMES IT'S REWORKED--IT'S STILL HILARIOUS!!

Will you teach me to be cool? I have a fondue set we can use.

Kid you not, I didn't realize I typed the Batman reference till I submitted. Although ironic as this new franchise is trying to be like Nolan's trilogy. There was a quote where the director mentioned what he was inspired by, but I'm too lazy to look it up. Oh well, I have fondue.

Got the feeling the girlfriend bites it this film, in a situation Peter will have to pick between the greater good and his own desires. Just hope the producers don't get too heavy into copying the TDK and have Spidey get to her on a bike, after an interrogation scene.
post #13 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by felix View Post

 

This.

 

I totally understand why he did that. Peter really loves Gwen. What was he supposed to do? Stay a loner for the rest of his life? Without getting close to anybody for fear of endangering them.

If he's gonna insist upon making himself a target for super-powered psychopaths than maybe he should consider it, I mean it's not as if he even gave it a really good go, if they carried that thread into the sequel, showed Peter really struggling with his promise and then in a moment of weakness break down and be with her again than I'd buy it. But the fact that he throws the promise away with a smirk despite it being from her dead father, a death that he was witness to, that he utterly refused to hep her through leaving her to grieve without his support, and then brushes the whole thing off and says "oh we can be together now", really in my eyes doesn't that sell his humanity. In fact it's more inhuman, an abhorrent, nasty, manipulative act which a mainstream blockbuster aimed largely at teenagers should be ashamed of passing off as the "right thing". And it does do this, the scene ends with a cute smile and immediately cuts to Spider-Man triumphantly swing across the city, there is no challenge of this ending, it wants us to cheer for Peter Parker despite the fact that what he's doing is despicable.    

post #14 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by Agent Z View Post

I was fine with that ending. Parker's human, not a robot. Teenager or not, it can never be easy walking away from someone you love.

 

If anything, what was more hilarious was Captain Stacy making that request of Parker to begin with, using his own deathbed as sick leverage. That's a dick move!
 

Yep. Father that totally wants to make sure his daughter doesn't die at the hands of some sick psycopath.  WHAT A JERK!!!!

 

You're right, it's not easy to walk away from love--BUT THAT'S THE POINT.  It's supposed to be hard; it's supposed to be frustrating. But that's exactly what Parker inherited when he decided to put on the mask.  RESPONSIBILITIES AND ALL THAT SHIT.

post #15 of 81
Thread Starter 

What I talked about in my first post, and what both Spiderman and The Amazing Spider-Man lack is introspection.

 

Raimi's version learns everything he needs to know in the first hour. By the time we get the "he stinks, and I don't like him" montage he's cemented as classic Spiderman. This is a guy that after one fight with Flash is confident enough, even with super powers, to go out and take on thugs with guns on a daily basis. This isn't a criticism, exactly, because the heightened nature of the narrative lends itself to big sweeping storytelling shorthand. Still, I never once buy that Maguire's Peter is a passionate photographer, and although he demonstrates scientific knowledge the absence of the webshooters leaves that knowledge without practical application. All it does is gain Osborne's initial attention, but if the second half of the movie has a story arc it's Osborne trying to tempt Peter and the Goblin trying to tempt Spiderman. The problem is that, like I mentioned above, Peter never once shows any human frailty. He's a saint in the second hour, feeling guilty for drawing Osborne's attention away from Harry, Mary Jane's attention away from Harry, and basically being alive. The "I have a father. His name is Ben Parker." line is a triumphant moment, connecting the two halves of the movie together, but it's deflated when it's considered that neither Peter nor Spiderman once shows a crack in relation to the father figure of Osborne/Goblin.

 

Consider, alternatively, The Amazing Spider-Man. Although the moments are there, Film Crit Hulk is absolutely right when he says the movie doesn't have a story. Peter shows progression but there's no connective tissue in the plot. He has at least three, possibly four, motivations driving him throughout the story. At first he wants to learn about his father, then he gets distracted by his powers, then he wants to catch his uncle's killer, then he needs to stop the lizard. These are like check marks on a list. Garfield's seemingly contradictory take on the character could be smoothed out, and his flaws made provocative, if he had any introspection. Once he gets the powers, he needs to show curiosity about their connection to his father's experiments. Once he loses Uncle Ben, Connors has potential to be yet another tempting father figure but that's never given a thought. Once the Lizard takes priority, Peter needs to say to Gwen, "this is more important than my uncle's killer because it's my responsibility," totally tying back in to what Ben says about revenge in relation to humiliating Flash. Finally, getting with Gwen at the end can be softened if it's her choice, possibly compounded by her own speech about taking responsibility for her own actions.

 

But nooooooo.

 

Still, I can't help but enjoy them both. Spiderman is a bit disjointed due to it basically being its own sequel in the second hour, and The Amazing Spider-Man tries to do too much without tying it all together. Still, I love Raimi's spectacle and quirk, and Webb does a good job with individual moments. I'm confident a sequel has the origin out of the way and will actually cover the "untold story" the first one discards halfway through. 

post #16 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bartleby_Scriven View Post

It's funny how easily this could've been a Spiderman 4 soft reboot. Add the deleted scenes back in and it's about 150 minutes. Cut out 50 minutes of the origin being retold and even keep most of the Uncle Ben scenes in as flashbacks. Set it in college with Peter and Gwen dating after the events of Spiderman 3. Mention MJ briefly then move on. Connors takes a job at OsCorp and have Rajit Ratha be the new boss with Norman and Harry dead. Not that different at all.

 

This is exactly what Sony should have done. The skill with which you described it makes me hate ASM that little bit more.

post #17 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bartleby_Scriven View Post

What I talked about in my first post, and what both Spiderman and The Amazing Spider-Man lack is introspection.

 

Raimi's version learns everything he needs to know in the first hour. By the time we get the "he stinks, and I don't like him" montage he's cemented as classic Spiderman. This is a guy that after one fight with Flash is confident enough, even with super powers, to go out and take on thugs with guns on a daily basis. This isn't a criticism, exactly, because the heightened nature of the narrative lends itself to big sweeping storytelling shorthand. Still, I never once buy that Maguire's Peter is a passionate photographer, and although he demonstrates scientific knowledge the absence of the webshooters leaves that knowledge without practical application. All it does is gain Osborne's initial attention, but if the second half of the movie has a story arc it's Osborne trying to tempt Peter and the Goblin trying to tempt Spiderman. The problem is that, like I mentioned above, Peter never once shows any human frailty. He's a saint in the second hour, feeling guilty for drawing Osborne's attention away from Harry, Mary Jane's attention away from Harry, and basically being alive. The "I have a father. His name is Ben Parker." line is a triumphant moment, connecting the two halves of the movie together, but it's deflated when it's considered that neither Peter nor Spiderman once shows a crack in relation to the father figure of Osborne/Goblin.

 

Consider, alternatively, The Amazing Spider-Man. Although the moments are there, Film Crit Hulk is absolutely right when he says the movie doesn't have a story. Peter shows progression but there's no connective tissue in the plot. He has at least three, possibly four, motivations driving him throughout the story. At first he wants to learn about his father, then he gets distracted by his powers, then he wants to catch his uncle's killer, then he needs to stop the lizard. These are like check marks on a list. Garfield's seemingly contradictory take on the character could be smoothed out, and his flaws made provocative, if he had any introspection. Once he gets the powers, he needs to show curiosity about their connection to his father's experiments. Once he loses Uncle Ben, Connors has potential to be yet another tempting father figure but that's never given a thought. Once the Lizard takes priority, Peter needs to say to Gwen, "this is more important than my uncle's killer because it's my responsibility," totally tying back in to what Ben says about revenge in relation to humiliating Flash. Finally, getting with Gwen at the end can be softened if it's her choice, possibly compounded by her own speech about taking responsibility for her own actions.

 

But nooooooo.

 

Still, I can't help but enjoy them both. Spiderman is a bit disjointed due to it basically being its own sequel in the second hour, and The Amazing Spider-Man tries to do too much without tying it all together. Still, I love Raimi's spectacle and quirk, and Webb does a good job with individual moments. I'm confident a sequel has the origin out of the way and will actually cover the "untold story" the first one discards halfway through. 


Well put.

 

I'll admit that despite my saying that the Raimi film is far superior to ASM, I'm not all that crazy about that first film. It's a decent, studio-action film--for what it is, it's enjoyable.

 

But you're absolutely right about ASM. Are there some decent moments from Webb's adaptation? Sure, I guess. But ultimately it's a film that stars to likable actors absolutely failed by a ho-hum script. Perhaps if it actually focused on making the mystery subplot actually interesting, perhaps I'd feel differently about the movie.

post #18 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bartleby_Scriven View Post

What I talked about in my first post, and what both Spiderman and The Amazing Spider-Man lack is introspection.

Raimi's version learns everything he needs to know in the first hour. By the time we get the "he stinks, and I don't like him" montage he's cemented as classic Spiderman. This is a guy that after one fight with Flash is confident enough, even with super powers, to go out and take on thugs with guns on a daily basis. This isn't a criticism, exactly, because the heightened nature of the narrative lends itself to big sweeping storytelling shorthand. Still, I never once buy that Maguire's Peter is a passionate photographer, and although he demonstrates scientific knowledge the absence of the webshooters leaves that knowledge without practical application. All it does is gain Osborne's initial attention, but if the second half of the movie has a story arc it's Osborne trying to tempt Peter and the Goblin trying to tempt Spiderman. The problem is that, like I mentioned above, Peter never once shows any human frailty. He's a saint in the second hour, feeling guilty for drawing Osborne's attention away from Harry, Mary Jane's attention away from Harry, and basically being alive. The "I have a father. His name is Ben Parker." line is a triumphant moment, connecting the two halves of the movie together, but it's deflated when it's considered that neither Peter nor Spiderman once shows a crack in relation to the father figure of Osborne/Goblin.

Consider, alternatively, The Amazing Spider-Man. Although the moments are there, Film Crit Hulk is absolutely right when he says the movie doesn't have a story. Peter shows progression but there's no connective tissue in the plot. He has at least three, possibly four, motivations driving him throughout the story. At first he wants to learn about his father, then he gets distracted by his powers, then he wants to catch his uncle's killer, then he needs to stop the lizard. These are like check marks on a list. Garfield's seemingly contradictory take on the character could be smoothed out, and his flaws made provocative, if he had any introspection. Once he gets the powers, he needs to show curiosity about their connection to his father's experiments. Once he loses Uncle Ben, Connors has potential to be yet another tempting father figure but that's never given a thought. Once the Lizard takes priority, Peter needs to say to Gwen, "this is more important than my uncle's killer because it's my responsibility," totally tying back in to what Ben says about revenge in relation to humiliating Flash. Finally, getting with Gwen at the end can be softened if it's her choice, possibly compounded by her own speech about taking responsibility for her own actions.

But nooooooo.

Still, I can't help but enjoy them both. Spiderman is a bit disjointed due to it basically being its own sequel in the second hour, and The Amazing Spider-Man tries to do too much without tying it all together. Still, I love Raimi's spectacle and quirk, and Webb does a good job with individual moments. I'm confident a sequel has the origin out of the way and will actually cover the "untold story" the first one discards halfway through. 

Well put, especially about Raimi's film, which I feel extends into Spider-Man 2, but he has a small amount of frailty with wanting to give up the responsibility. It works like gang busters. THEN Spider-Man 3 comes around, and it feels a tad redundant.

Now taking a shot into the dark, I do believe ASM 2 will pick up the threads of ASM 1 a little more, basically spanning the origin over 3 films to some extent. I'm assuming they'll probably stick with the biologist storyline, and use it as a building to Venom. I mean they couldn't do the Red Skull routine?
post #19 of 81
Thread Starter 

So I've been reading Stan Lee's original run through the Marvel Masterworks series at my local library, and have finished the first two volumes which cover about the first two years. It's really fascinating to see the wheel being invented with Spider-Man, but at the same time frustrating to know that 50 years lately there's such an adherence to the tropes established so early on.

 

Surprisingly, however, Peter is a bit of an asshole. He comes across as resentful, both in and out of the costume. It's strange to compare how Lee handles Spider-Man's humor compared to, say, Bendis or Slott in the 21st century. Lee has Spider-Man making jokes at the expense of others, whereas modern writers often play up the self-deprecating humor. Lee's Peter, as well, is petulant and often times blames the world around him for his problems whereas modern Peter is very self-pitying and racked with guilt. This demonstrates the changing of the times, as the "teen-ager" was such a new concept in the swingin' '60s that Peter being so overcome with emotion was to be expected. For the writers, I believe it's also a byproduct of Spider-Man's motto "with great power comes great responsibility," which as it turns out is not equated with Uncle Ben from the start. It's said in the narration in the closing of Amazing Fantasy #15, but at least in the first two years it's not something said by Uncle Ben and must be retconned down the road via flashback. 

 

For a character often so associated with high school it's clear by the end of the first year that Lee isn't interested in Archie-esque hijinks at all. While the first few issues give lip service to the daily grind of high school, after a while there's usually not much more than a page devoted to what's going on with Flash and Liz and maybe Peter messing around with bunsen burners. When Peter mentions midterms around issue #10 while Aunt May is on vacation in Florida, he might as well be in college. He's mostly transitioned away from the sweater vest look to a suit and tie and the focus has almost entirely shifted to the romance angle with Betty and the going-ons at the Daily Bugle.

 

For instance, whereas super villains like the Sandman and a robot attack Midtown High in the early issues, as time goes on you get the Vulture attacking the Bugle and a columnist being revealed as a crime boss in disguise. Speaking of Betty, it's a breath of fresh air to see Peter madly in love with someone besides Gwen Stacy and Mary Jane. I'm not sure why those two are now considered Peter's great loves, because Betty's working class sensibilities (she dropped out of high school and got a job at the Bugle to pay off her brother's gambling debts) and sassy banter with JJ make for a much better companion. That's one of the reasons I love Carlie Cooper so much in the modern comics, at least until MJ was brought back in Superior Spider-Man for some rapey Doc Ock shenanigans (ugh). 

 

The High School aspect is only important because of Peter's "nerd" status and the subsequent bullying and disrespect that entails. Peter only truly acts like an antisocial milquetoast for about four issues, however, and becomes more of a gadgety "every man" pretty quick (and being able to make gadgets almost doesn't matter, because Electro, a common thug, creates a suit that can charge up his powers). While there's emotional truth in Peter's hardships there's very little logic. He can create webshooters and spider tracers but struggles with money. He can hop a flight to Philadelphia on a whim but can't pay for Aunt May's operation. What Raimi understood and demonstrates in Spiderman 2 is it's not just bullies that make trouble for Peter, it's life in general. He doesn't need to be picked on to be down on his luck, and troubles with rent and struggling with your own vanity about not getting credit for Spider-Man's accomplishments are much more satisfying conflicts than Flash calling Peter "puny" yet again. 

 

It is vital, however, that Peter be a "young man". That's why I was never a fan of the marriage to MJ. I believe during Millar's Marvel Knights run Peter actually went to his High School reunion, which would've made him like 28. Just no. Having Peter be fresh out of college and still struggling, positioning him as being somewhere around 23 or 24, is actually a natural progression for the times. In 1963 an 18 year old could break into a career and be considered an adult. In 2013 that's a rare thing, so having Peter be a "failure to launch" (at least until recently with the Horizon Labs job and it looks like Doc Ock will get him fired from that) is very topical and relatable. Peter's not going to be Occupying Wall Street, but he may be snapping photos of them while feeling conflicted. Having Spider-Man be successful by finally becoming an Avenger (and FF member) is also appropriate, because it plays into the bitter irony that Peter can only be successful as his alter ego. That's probably going to be reverted back to status quo soon, anyway. 

 

All in all, the old stories hold up. They're obvious simpler stories from a simpler time, but they're breezy and fun. Ditko knows choreography and how to convey movement, and is often very clever with changing up the nature of the action scenes. The fight in the garage with the Enforcers is a good example, with Spidey weaving out of a carseat like Jackie Chan. I also love how Ditko shows Peter lounging around wearing parts of his costume. Though I'm sure Batman had been shown down in the batcave with his mask off before Spider-Man, the way Peter is shown in a bathrobe with his costume poking out is so human and still fresh today. I also love that Lee wasn't afraid to try new things before the rules were written. Spidey can do just about anything with his webshooters, creating parachutes and even a giant fake spider he uses to intimidate a criminal. There's no "Spidey wouldn't do that!" because his personality isn't quite nailed down yet.

 

Worth a look. I can't wait to get to the John Romita Sr. years.

post #20 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ska Oreo View Post

Yep. Father that totally wants to make sure his daughter doesn't die at the hands of some sick psycopath.  WHAT A JERK!!!!

 

You're right, it's not easy to walk away from love--BUT THAT'S THE POINT.  It's supposed to be hard; it's supposed to be frustrating. But that's exactly what Parker inherited when he decided to put on the mask.  RESPONSIBILITIES AND ALL THAT SHIT.

 

Gee, by that black/white logic, Captain Stacy's an irresponsible asshole for marrying and having a daughter.


Edited by Agent Z - 3/3/13 at 4:24am
post #21 of 81

I admit at first, I wasn't really interested on the new Spiderman. I didn't know the actor and I'm a big fan of the trilogy with Tobey. But when my friend told me it was amazing, I thought maybe its worth a try. And so I did and I love it. No matter how ironic it is that the father of his girlfriend dies on his hands, its still a good story. 

post #22 of 81
Thread Starter 
So I caught the first Raimi Spider-Man on television the other day, and I was amazed at how many wisecracks he makes.

I'm paraphrasing here, but along with the "Who picked that outfit for you, your husband?" he says "Cheese" when taking his own picture; "Beats taking the subway. Don't get up, she just needs to take the elevator" after he saves Mary Jane the first time; "Hey kiddo, let mommy and daddy talk" when he saves Jameson from the Green Goblin; and "It's you who's out, Gobby. Out of your mind."

This is being really anal, but that's five wisecracks. Sure, Raimi pretty much cut them down to zip in the sequels, but why was this a criticism as far back as 2002? Is it because he's not a motormouth, which is really only how he's been portrayed in the 21st century by Brian Michael Bendis and Slott? Or because the jokes are cheesy and lack any sense of mean spirit?
post #23 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bartleby_Scriven View Post

So I caught the first Raimi Spider-Man on television the other day, and I was amazed at how many wisecracks he makes.

I'm paraphrasing here, but along with the "Who picked that outfit for you, your husband?" he says "Cheese" when taking his own picture; "Beats taking the subway. Don't get up, she just needs to take the elevator" after he saves Mary Jane the first time; "Hey kiddo, let mommy and daddy talk" when he saves Jameson from the Green Goblin; and "It's you who's out, Gobby. Out of your mind."

This is being really anal, but that's five wisecracks. Sure, Raimi pretty much cut them down to zip in the sequels, but why was this a criticism as far back as 2002? Is it because he's not a motormouth, which is really only how he's been portrayed in the 21st century by Brian Michael Bendis and Slott? Or because the jokes are cheesy and lack any sense of mean spirit?

 

I'm probably influenced by the Bendis comics, but I seem to recall cracking wise being a major part of Spider-man, even in the 60's animated show. And you just recounted ALL the quips that appear in Raimi's film.

post #24 of 81
Thread Starter 
Eh, but see that works for me because the jokes are pretty evenly spaced out across the narrative. Constant quipping could really deflate the tension and stakes.

Even when not directly wisecracking Spidey is still referring to himself as "your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man" and calling cops "chief", so there's a sense of flippancy to him that's fitting.
post #25 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bartleby_Scriven View Post

Eh, but see that works for me because the jokes are pretty evenly spaced out across the narrative. Constant quipping could really deflate the tension and stakes.

Even when not directly wisecracking Spidey is still referring to himself as "your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man" and calling cops "chief", so there's a sense of flippancy to him that's fitting.

 

Well see, how high should the stakes be in a Spider-Man movie? He's fighting people in Rhino and Goblin costumes! That to me has always been the biggest negative of the Raimi films. They are way too serious and Po faced when compared to the classic comics. Even when Peter got Butt Hurt and decided to give up being Spider-Man he'd just end up facing a guy who turned himself into a giant Scorpion.

post #26 of 81

Amazing Spider-Man already feels like it's at least three years old. When will Amazing Spider-Man 2 be on Netflix? 

post #27 of 81
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cylon Baby View Post
 

 

Well see, how high should the stakes be in a Spider-Man movie? He's fighting people in Rhino and Goblin costumes! That to me has always been the biggest negative of the Raimi films. They are way too serious and Po faced when compared to the classic comics. Even when Peter got Butt Hurt and decided to give up being Spider-Man he'd just end up facing a guy who turned himself into a giant Scorpion.

 

Spider-Man comics have always been about high emotion. Almost all the early issues ended with Peter slumping away into the sunset, lamenting the tragedy that is his life. That was always alleviated, of course, not just by the wisecracks but by the hyperbole of J. Jonah Jameson, the absurdity of the super villains, and the soap operatics with Betty and the like. Raimi captured all of that, but I think cut back on the quips because, without the benefit of seeing Peter's face (most of the time), jokes can come across as invincible confidence.

 

Take, for example, another Raimi character, Ash in Army of Darkness. His constant one liners contribute to a heightened tone that has more in common with screwball comedy than the black humor of Evil Dead 2 and the funhouse horror of Evil Dead. Although most of his lines are, for lack of a better word, badass, they create a contradictory dichotomy between Ash the clutz and coward and Ash the cocky warrior. There's never a tense moment of worrying about Ash's survival in that particular movie because the tone has slipped into the vicinity of Loony Tunes. 

 

That tone is, of course, perfect for what Raimi was trying to accomplish by that trilogy capper, but his Spider-Man movies are predicated upon making Spidey, and Peter, incredibly vulnerable. The stakes aren't about fighting for the soul of New York, or winning Oscars, but creating believable conflict between characters with empathetic motivations and then showing that struggle. Peter, therefore, is dealt out massive amounts of battle damage and also loses his mask on multiple occasions so the audience can see his face and eyes, a trick that The Amazing Spider-Man picked up on for its climax.

 

Different strokes. My point is simply that comparing Spider-Man to The Amazing Spider-Man, Spidey in the latter is a wiseass during the mugger interrogation, "I'm walking here!" when he's swinging around the bridge, something like "You've been a bad lizard" and "Don't...make me...have to hurt you!" during the lizard fight at the high school, and I think he calls Gwen a "mother hubbard" late in the movie. All in all, an equitable amount of wisecracks so I just find it bizarre that fans heralded the new movie for improving on Raimi by adding quips when, at least in the original (and sporadically throughout the sequels, with "Here's your change", "Where do these guys come from?" and "Look at little Goblin Jr. Gonna cry?"), they've been there all along.

 

I'm just saying, there's a consistency of cornball attitude throughout Raimi that matches up with Stan Lee's iteration. Mostly I'm responding to the retroactive history backlash against the Raimi films in relation to the new film, because the only real "true to the comics" addition is the mechanical web shooters, something that I think the movie actually improved on by having his father be the creator of the web fluid. 

 

Okay, rant over.

post #28 of 81

Well you have me there, since I haven not seen Amazing Spider-man and have no plans to do so. I will say that I was maybe too disappointed that Raimi's Spider-Man wasn't the same level of Wise-Ass as Ash, but as your post indicates, maybe that was an unrealistic expectation on my part


Edited by Cylon Baby - 9/30/13 at 8:19pm
post #29 of 81
Thread Starter 
Cylon, you baby.
post #30 of 81

No you're a baby. So there.

post #31 of 81
Thread Starter 
Yeah, baby. Yeah.
post #32 of 81

What, you're saying the willingness to watch a movie you know will be shit is now the mark of Manhood? Well son, I've seen the 1970's Spider-Man TV show as well as the TV movies where The Hulk meets Thor and The Kingpin. And I'm still standing tall.

SO FUCK YOU!

post #33 of 81
Thread Starter 

I like when Banner hulks out in a courtroom, but then it turns out to be a dream. 

post #34 of 81
Thread Starter 

From Geoffrey O'Brien's new collection of his writing on film from 2002-2012, Stolen Glimpses Captive Shadows, he has a lot of fascinating insight on Raimi's Spider-Man. From the review:

 

"There are even moments when Raimi seems to be evoking the mood of curdled domesticity that he cultivated to such ominous effect in the underrated thriller A Simple Plan, as if to defy the inevitable moment of heartwarming emotional outpouring which all American movies now require."

 

"If Spider-Man had been filmed back in the sixties, we might have gotten something like Joseph Losey's Modesty Blaise (1966) or Mario Bava's Danger: Diabolik (1968), obtrusive exercises in applying primary-colored Pop Art style to every frame, with results that were eye-popping if not necessarily moving or even absorbing. If it had been filmed in the seventies or eighties, it would probably have been a tacky production filmed on location in a developing country and jazzed up with a little gratuitous nudity or a bit of martial arts. What we get now is Spider-Man as narrative theme park, cautious, respectful, planned down to the last dangling coil of webbing, realized by the usual coordinated teams of disciplined professionals, and pre-sold with the skill that is an art in itself to a global audience that will wake up to find that this is what it was waiting for all along."

 

He spends the first few pages of the review summarizing what made Spider-Man provocative to the young people of the '60s in the first place, then spends equal parts of the rest of the review critiquing the weightlessness of the action scenes and the poignancy of the soap opera elements. He also posits J. Jonah Jameson and the Daily Bugle as an analogue for the hectic, seat-of-your-pants workplace that Stan Lee always purported Marvel Comics was in its formidable days, which really made something click in my head. JJJ may not be a 1:1 Stan Lee parallel, but he embodies the huckster energy of the man, which adds a nice bit of meta-commentary to the entire 50-year run of Spider-Man.

 

So anyways, check out O'Brien's book, it's an enlightening read. 

post #35 of 81
post #36 of 81
Bruce Campbell as Mysterio...

:'(
post #37 of 81

Would hug?

post #38 of 81
Absolutely.
post #39 of 81
I went down a rabbit hole at lunch, reading the Wikipedia pages for the Raimi Spider-Man movies. Naturally, I'm now obsessed with the never-filmed "Spider-Man 4." Have any of you guys who read unproduced scripts ever read that unproduced script? There were apparently a few different drafts, but I don't know if any leaked out.
post #40 of 81
Thread Starter 

All I ever heard about it was Anne Hathaway as Vulture Girl or something.

 

I still wish The Amazing Spider-Man had just been a sequel. With a few small tweaks (have Peter in college, he and Gwen date after breaking up with MJ, nix Uncle Ben dying obviously) it easily functions that way. 

post #41 of 81
Vultress!

*pukes*
post #42 of 81
Mommy?
post #43 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bartleby_Scriven View Post

All I ever heard about it was Anne Hathaway as Vulture Girl or something.

I still wish The Amazing Spider-Man had just been a sequel. With a few small tweaks (have Peter in college, he and Gwen date after breaking up with MJ, nix Uncle Ben dying obviously) it easily functions that way. 
An interesting thing I've never seen or heard repeated was Laura Ziskin's claim during ASM's production that it took place between the first and second Raimi films. This was from an Entertainment Weekly interview.

I have no idea how that could have worked.
post #44 of 81
Thread Starter 

Haha, wut? He doesn't meet Gwen until the opening of Spider-Man 3...

post #45 of 81
That's simply one of a dozen things that never could have worked.

Agreed that this just should have been SPIDER-MAN 4 and continued forward.
post #46 of 81
Here's the real question: does the existence of Keaton Vulture make up for the loss of Kingsley/Malkovich Vulture?

On a side note, it's pretty funny Vulture of all characters is the villain the franchise has struggled the hardest to gift unto audiences.
post #47 of 81
This afternoon, I listened to the Screenplay Archaeology podcast episode about all the pre-Cameron, Cannon-era Spider-Man movie scripts. I didn't know a hell of a lot about those drafts. Once the host finishes his seemingly endless 25-minute monologue about every big- and small-screen adaptation of Spider-Man and finally gets into the scripts, it's an interesting episode.
post #48 of 81

I read Cameron's treatment years and years ago, but only remember stuff like Peter screwing Mary Jane on a bridge atop a bed of webbing or something and calling someone a motherfucker as he beat the shit out of them. What was the villain's name? Carlton Strand or something like that? I think he was an amalgamation of Electro and Dr. Octopus but again, it's been a minute since I've read it. 

 

I do know that the organic webbing originated from that treatment, same as the idea of Dr. Doom being the fifth Beatle in the FF's origin story came from the abandoned Chris Columbus film. 

post #49 of 81
All this talk about the new Venom movie compelled me to revisit "Spider-Man 3" this evening. I still get a kick out of it for the most part. It's clunky at times, but better than the two rebootquels that followed.

The two fights between Peter and Harry are still a couple of my favorite throwdowns in the series.
post #50 of 81
I love the second Peter and Harry fight in Harry's penthouse.

It's a great punch up and I really get a kick out of the way Harry's forearm blades making that singing noise when he swings them. Good stuff.
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