My third and final article in this series is my best attempt to look on the bright side of the new Spider-Man movie. For anyone that missed my first two articles please be sure to go back and a take look lest you mistakenly think that my expectations for this movie are mostly positive. Find them here -

Why “The Amazing Spider-Man” movie is (probably) going to suck!

Why “The Amazing Spider-Man” movie is (probably) going to suck! – Continued

So as I made clear in my previous articles, I have some serious reservation about this movie. Mainly that they are taking far too many liberties with the source material and offering a completely different take on the characters. Something I do not want. And I especially find the use of the classic comic books name to be in poor taste if you are not going to be faithful to important character aspect of the original comics.

But with that said, there are many things about this movie that bode well for it insofar as it being a good superhero movie. Even a good “Spider-Man” movie, if you are ok with your Spider-Man movies being alternative universe (because what else could it be when the characters are so far from those found on the pages of the comic). I know some people are still arguing that the characterization won’t be untrue to the comics and disagree that the evidence already in the public domain disproves their opinion, well time will tell on that so let’s save those arguments for another time.

But I do feel that anyone willing to view the movie with an open mind to reinterpretation of the characters does have a lot to look forward to in this movie. And it is those things that I wish to examine while I make a case for why this movie might be awesome.

Part 1: The Spider casts his web

By far the most promising aspect of this movie for me is the cast. While I feel some choices are better than others, and some people would have been more suited to other roles (see below). For the most part we have a solid cast with some wonderful actors. Let’s take a look.

Andrew Garfield (Peter Parker/Spider-Man)

My goodness all of the big three superheros are now being played by Brits (Christian Bale as Batman & Henry Cavill as Superman)! OK so Andrew is actually only half British, being born in LA (to a British mom and American father) but raised in England from 3 years old. Even so he’s British enough to be considered one (and a citizen). As a Brit myself I like this trend, after all how many classic British hero’s have been played by Americans over the years (Robin Hood, Lara Croft & Sherlock Holmes to name a few)? And we have been playing the villains for far too long.

I am very pleased with the casting of Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker. I think he has the perfect look, a handsome nerd. Maybe even more so than Tobey. He is an excellent actor and as a plus he’s even been in Doctor Who, the longest running science fiction show in the world (true geek credit).

For anyone that has even the slightest trepidation over Andrew, I beg you to watch the Comic-Con panel and his pre-panel fan letter. His giddy excitement to be playing the role and obvious passion for the character is infectious. I was very fond of him before this panel. Afterwards I was as head over heels in love with him as any hetro-sexual man can be for another man. He is quite simply adorable in the exact way that I feel Peter Parker’s character should be. And while I will admit I not fond of the hairstyle chosen for the movie and feel it does not suit Peter Parker at all, I am 100% happy with this choice of actor for Spider-Man.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8lkIagfmaD0&feature=channel_video_title

 

I also recommend this EW interview for more observations of Garfield’s adorableness and fandom for Spider-Man (we’ll not mention Marc Webb’s cheeseburger comments)-

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uGBQGe02JsQ

Emma Stone (Gwen Stacy)

Oh Emma Stone, allow me to count the ways I love you. Not only is she one of the most exciting young actresses around, she is also one of the most likable. Wether it be her roles in movies or in interviews, she seems to be so instantly loved by everyone and has already built quite the online fan base. She’s funny, beautiful, talented and down to earth. She has improved every movie she has appeared in in my opinion and has at least two movies with a bonafide claim of being considered all time classics (Superbad and Easy A). And she has been in a great Zombie movie too (massive geek cred).

I would go as far as to say that I feel she was born to star in a Spider-Man movie. Unfortunately I think the role she was born to play was Mary Jane Watson and not Gwen Stacy. And I’m not just saying that because she’s famous for being a beautiful red head (even though she is naturally blonde). I’m saying that because the spunky girl character she plays so well reminds me so much of the Mary Jane from the classic Romita comics, and not at all of the sassy Gwen of the Ditko days OR the needy daddy’s girl of the Romita era. Now as I have stated before, it appears the Gwen of the movie will be a big departure from the comics in everything but looks. In fact I would not be surprised if this movie Gwen is more like MJ than Gwen in personality. Which is a shame because it adds to the argument that there is nood good reason for Gwen to be in this movie over MJ. The only good reason to use Gwen is either fan service as a bit character or to kill her at the hands of the Green Goblin at some future point. If they intend to kill her in a following movie then I applaud them for telling that story, however that makes me even sadder that Emma Stone will die in a future movie ans that she can’t play MJ in a sequel.

But all that said I have no doubt that Emma will be wonderful in this movie and that the movie will be better for her being in it.


Rhys Ifans (The Lizard/Curt Connors)

And a Brit as the Villain too! Weird.

I have been a long time fan of Rhys, first seeing him in various British TV Shows and then the wonderful off beat Welsh movie Twin Town. So I have been very happy to see his star rise in America. And this is probably his biggest role yet.

Rhys is wonderful as both a menacing character and a comedic one. It will be interesting to see how he is used as the Lizard. I do not consider the Lizard or Curt Connors to be a character with much of a comedic personality, so I am unsure if Rhys talents in that regard will be utilised. But there is no doubt he can play a villain that is both charming and menacing (see Twin Town). So am very happy with this casting.


Martin Sheen (Uncle Ben)

I’m also a big fan of Martin Sheen too, a truly inspired choice for the role of Uncle Ben. I imagine any inspiring words delivered to Peter from Martin Sheen will be very impressive.

 

 

Sally Field (Aunt May)

While I am a big fan of Sally Field (Smokey and the Bandit for life yo!) and her age is appropriate, she looks a little too young and healthy for the frail Aunt May of the original comics. Mind you the age and frailty of Aunt May was always confusing in the original comics. If Aunt May and Uncle Ben were over 60 and Peter was 15/16, then how old was his parents when they had him? Uncle Ben’s brother must have been some years younger than him or had a child very late in life. Say Richard Parker was 10 years younger than his brother (which is uncommon) when him and his wife had Peter, that would still make him at least 35 at the time. Not unheard of, but strange nonetheless. Well checking Campbell Scott’s (Richard Parker) age on IMDB confirms they got the ages right in this movie at least.

But I digress. Sally Field should be wonderful as usual and will breath some much needed life into this character.

Dennis Leary (Captain Stacy)

This one I have a big problem with. First of all he looks nothing like the Captain Stacy of the comics (who I admit also suffers from a strange age inconsistency with his daughter). Second of all he is not a very good actor in my opinion and will be upstaged by the rest of the cast. And worst of all as a massive fan of the late great Bill Hicks, I have nothing but contempt for Denis Leary as a plagiarist and a hack*. And as he has never apologised for stealing his “friends” material, I wish him no further success. Sorry Leary fans.

* See Denis Leary’s wikipedia page and look for the section titled “Controversies”.

Part 2: Webb of Spider-Man

I was pretty outspoken about my concern over Marc Webb’s vision of Spider-Man in the last two articles, and to be honest nothing he has said since I wrote them has changed my mind. In fact I could write an entire third article under the “why the new Spider-Man movie is going to suck” banner based on his recent interviews.

But my respect for him as an up and coming film maker is not an issue I have with him. I was a big fan of 500 Days of Summer. However I am unsure of what he has done to deserve to be responsible for such a beloved franchise, one great romcom and a bunch of music videos does not a great superhero director make. However he has proved he does direct characters and romance very well but can he do action?…

Part 3: The Amazing Vic Armstrong: Stuntman extraordinaire

Well I don’t think it matters if Marc Webb can direct action because legendary stunt man Vic Armstrong (Indiana Jones, Superman, James Bond) is going to be the stunt coordinator and  “second unit director”. For those that don’t know the lingo, “second unit director” means he will essentially be directing all the action scenes. And since he has a very impressive resumes as both stunt man and second unit director I have no concerns that the action scenes will be anything but brilliant.

 

Part 4: The story of a Spider

While I am always concerned when a studio hires several writers to improve a script, there is not too much concern over the quality of writer they have chosen. No my concern is what they have asked them to write. But it’s worth noting that while “Amazing Spider-Man” credits one man with the story, it took 3 to get the script right (although one of them also wrote the story). While Spider-Man 2 for instance had 3 people write the story outline and only one to get the script right. Take from that what you will.

The biggest concern would be the story by James Vanderbilt, whose only credit of note is the screenplay for David Fincher’s excellent Zodiac. Here he is credited for the story and a screenplay credit. I assume he wrote the original screenplay and two writers were brought in to improve it afterwards.

One of those writers was Steve Kloves whose most notable credits are Wonder Boys and most of the Harry Potter movies. However the final writer credit is the one that should ease most of our concerns, Alvin Sargent the man who holds the single credit for the screenplay of the almost perfect Spider-Man 2.

Part 5: Thwips and quips

While I had no problems with the organic web shooters in the Sam Raimi movies, I do like the idea of Peter making his web shooters as an example of what a genius he is. So I do think having web shooters in this movie is a cool thing if handled well in the context of the movie.

But far more exciting to me is the information we have learned in regards to Spidey’s witty banter. One of the few pieces of criticism I had towards the Raimi movies was the lack of funny from Spidey. Sure there was a little, just enough so Spidey felt accurately portrayed not not close to the amount we expect in the comic books. And as talented as Raimi is with physical comedy his failure to get some classic banter from Spidey was something I noted.

So it is with great pleasure I read reviews of the comic con footage that discussed some great lines Spidey had, here is a sample -

  • Spidey joking around and making light of catching robbers. He falls to his knees, mocking the guy and begging, “A knife?! No, no, no! Please! Not a knife!”
  • Another scene has a criminal in a car. Spider-Man is already sitting in the back. The criminal freaks out. “Are you a cop?” “Really?!” says Spider-Man. “You think the guy sitting here in red and blue spandex is a cop?”

Sounds great. My only concern is that this could come across really cheesy, which I think is why Raimi chose to be conservative with the banter and didn’t use too much. But all reports from the San Diego comic con I saw said it worked well and got good laughs. Hopefully the movie has a lot more of this.

Part 6: Villain singularity

Why is it that movie studios feel superhero movies can only have one villain when they also include an origin story? I think the fanbase is almost always united in thinking having one villain a movie is the best chose, maybe with a C lister thrown in to be dispatched earlier in the story. Anyway this movie has the hero’s origin story, and the one good side to that is that we get to concentrate on a single villain again.

I think The Lizard is a great villain and perfectly suited as a single rival for Spidey. And his alter ego is perfectly suited for an engaging story between himself and Peter that will compliment the hero vs villain stuff. Although I worry it may have a little too much in common with the story of Spider-Man 2.

The blurry picture next to this text is the leaked photo of the CGI Lizard from comic con. What you are seeing is the Lizard terrifying some girls in the high school bathroom. Looks very cool.

CONCLUSIONS

I’ll have to admit to being something of a Spidey purist. I want my Peter Parker to be as close the Peter Parker I grew up with, and it is because of this that I never liked the Ultimate Spider-Man comics. It is also because of this that I am extremely weary of the direction this movie is taking in regards to it’s respect for the source material and the creators apparent desire to try and modernise Peter and Spider-Man. But outside of that aspect, everything else is looking very promising. And I truly hope that when the movie comes out, that I can put aside my desire to see the Spider-Man I want on screen and enjoy this movie for what it is. And it does seem that what it will be is something that may be very good in it’s own right.

18 Responses to “Why “The Amazing Spider-Man” movie is going to be awesome! (maybe)”

  1. #1 AbdulAziz says:

    Nice to have a positive attitude towards the project

  2. #2 Jon says:

    “Nice to have a positive attitude towards the project”

    Who would of thought, eh? I would not have been surprised if this article never appeard.

    - Leary looks like Ultimate Stacy, which is pretty obvious yet not mentioned in the piece.

    - (500) Days is not a romcom, it subverts that entire genre. It was just marketed as one.

    “However I am unsure of what he has done to deserve to be responsible for such a beloved franchise”

    Nolan didn’t exactly have a track record to suggest he could do Batman did he? But you answered you own question a bit in the second part of your statement.

    Overall well made points and I share your fandom of Rhys. And just watch Andrew in Boy A for an actor with great depth.

  3. #3 Iron Patriot says:

    The only thing I’m worried about Andrew Garfield is his accent coming through. In the Social Network, he was mostly consistent, especially in the final “Screw you all” speech, but in the quiet moments, his accent slipped. And in that Doctor Who two parter, he had a terrible Southern accent. Other than that, from the research that I’ve been doing, he’s fantastic. A lot of people say he’s too good looking, but  Pete’s usually drawn as a handsome man by artists like John Romita Sr(that’s how Stan hyped him up,”Ring a ding Romita is bringing glamor to our favorite characters!”), Mark Bagley and Scott Campbell.

    Emma Stone is perfect for Ultimate Gwen. Look at this one image and see if you don’t think of her.
    http://x.annihil.us/u/prod/marvel/i/mg/7/80/4e3826d989d7b/detail.jpg

    Rhys Ifans, I don’t really know, beyond Harry Potter. His accent, as far as I can tell from the trailer, is weird.

    Just thought of something, since you brought up Doctor Who. Could Garfield ever channel The Tenth Doctor in his Spider-Man and have it work?

  4. #4 Parabolee says:

    Thanks for the great comments guys.

    @#2 Jon

    Didn’t recall Ultimate Stacy, that’s why I didn’t mention it. Just wasn’t a big fan of the books.

    I’ll concede 500 days is not a typical romcon, but regardless of that point I said I loved it anyway.

    Well I thought Nolan did prove himself before the Batman movies because Memento is one of my favourite movies of all time. In fact I am a HUGE fan of all Nolan’s movies except the Batman ones, weird as that is.

    Agree 100% with garfield, love him.

    @#3 Iron Patriot

    I guess as an Englishman myself I am less likely to notice any slip of the American accents, but I understand your concern as any American actors do a very poor job at doing regional English accents.

    Unfortunately your Ultimate Gwen point may be true but doesn’t help me at all because I hated Ultimate Gwen more than I disliked the rest of the comic.

    Not sure exactly what you mean on the Doctor Who comment. I don’t see the 10th Doctor as Peter Parker at all, although they are both slightly geeky and funny but the 10th Doctor is much more giddy/silly than Spidey.

  5. #5 Jon says:

    “Well I thought Nolan did prove himself before the Batman movies because Memento is one of my favourite movies of all time”

    I agree he proved himself by making more personal/intimate films, not in the big-budget/genre type of film that Batman is. But because he is smart and very skilled as a filmmaker, he apapted. That’s all I meant. Webb is similar in this respect.

  6. #6 Daniel says:

    It seems like the Gwen in this movie is gonna be modeled after ultimate Mary Jane, which is kind of fitting in a way since ultimate Mary Jane has always struck me as the original version of Gwen Stacy with red hair anyway. And I’m sure Andrew and Emma will be perfect in their roles, i’m just hoping that this movie evenly takes cues from both ultimate and classic spider-man and not just ultimate.

    And I don’t think Denis Leary is a bad actor or anything, he’ll probably do a fine job, but I think Bruce Greenwood would have been a better choice.

  7. #7 Iron Patriot says:

    #4 Parabolee

    The silly,giddy thing is what I was thinking of. Depending on the situation, Spidey can be quite talkative, just like Tennant’s Doctor was.

    Now that I think about it, it probably won’t work, in this first movie at least, unless he has somebody to bounce off of, and the Lizard doesn’t really fit that. Maybe when we get somebody like Mysterio,Shocker or any of the Goblins.

  8. #8 fantasyfreak says:

    Best out of the three articles! :) Thos three examples of jokes I didn´t find super funny, let´s hope there´s some better material somewhere in the movie. But hey, at least he does joke.

  9. #9 Parabolee says:

    @#5 Jon – I agree Webb is like that in that respect. But the style of Memento lent itself better to a dark superhero movie than 500 days does.

    @#7 Iron Patriot – Ah I see what you are saying now. Maybe with some of the street criminals.

    @#8 fantasyfreak – Well I guess it comes down to delivery, and those attending comic con all seemed to report that these parts were funny.

  10. #10 Enigma_2099 says:

    “For anyone that has even the slightest trepidation over Andrew, I beg you to watch the Comic-Con panel and his pre-panel fan letter. His giddy excitement to be playing the role and obvious passion for the character is infectious.”

    It would so surprise me if that WASN’T scripted, or if he actually wrote that himself. I still say publicity stunt.

    @#2

    ““Nice to have a positive attitude towards the project”

    Who would of thought, eh? I would not have been surprised if this article never appeard.”

    Okay, I know the obvious answer to this, but what the hell… I’ll ask anyway. Why would you say that?

  11. #11 Jon says:

    @10 “Why would you say that?”

    Based on the close proximity of the 2 negative articles and the greater amount of time that passed before we got the one positive one. Still not a balance. I was beginning to wonder if it would come. I was surprised it did frankly. Sad that I think that, but negativity seems to thrive more then anything. Don’t you agree?

  12. #12 Enigma_2099 says:

    @#11

    Nope. I don’t agree at all. Negativity seems to thrive because let’s face it… it’s all people like you focus on when you come here.

  13. #13 Jon says:

    “It would so surprise me if that WASN’T scripted, or if he actually wrote that himself. I still say publicity stunt.”

    Cynicism is indeed a NEGATIVE outlook.

    “it’s all people like you focus on when you come here.”

    Or in your case look to find.

  14. #14 Enigma_2099 says:

    And you make it soooo easy to locate, don’t you?

  15. #15 Jon says:

    “And you make it soooo easy to locate, don’t you?”

    I’ve already answered your initial question, then backed up my statement of negativity with fact, by quoting you. But you deflect this truth with trite. You’ve already lost, accept that. But that’s what makes you a good foot soldier I guess, you just keep coming. Let’s end the hijacking of the commentary and get this topic back on track.

  16. #16 George Berryman says:

    Come on folks! Less fighting, more Wang Chunging tonight. :)

  17. #17 Enigma_2099 says:

    And the next time someone asks a question, try answering with less snark.

    Also, I wasn’t aware this was a contest.

  18. #18 Parabolee says:

    @#11 Jon

    This article was announced as part of the aeries when I wrote the first one, there was never any doubt that it would arrive or I would not continue being a writer here. I could hardly write another article without delivering the promised final part, at least not without losing any credibility I might have. The distance between the last article and this was merely down to things going on in my life. Nothing more, nothing less. I was actually very eager to write this.

    @#10 Enigma

    I thought the same thing when I read the description of Andrew reading the letter. But after seeing him interviewed about the movie several times, he ALWAYS has that giddy excitement when talking about Spidey. So I sincerely doubt he’s faking it, and I think the studio would worry about making their star look like a lame dork by writing him that letter. I highly doubt it was written for him. I mean the parts about him needing “web-head” when he was a kid, I can’t see a studio wanting him to say that and I can’t see him saying it because they asked rather than because there is truth in it.

    No I think he really is that geeky about Spidey and passionately wanted to communicate his love to other Spidey fans in fear that they might not embrace him in the role.

    Thanks for the comments