Almost a year ago I wrote my first article for the Crawlspace, a rather scathing (although light hearted) assessment of what we knew about the upcoming Amazing Spider-Man movie. I then followed that up with a second scathing article further delving into my reservations with the movie and what we had seen of it so far. My 3rd and until now final part of that series however was an attempt to be as positive as I could about the movie and all the things that were in it’s favour.
So here we are, a year later and the movie is finally out. So it is a perfect time to revisit my thoughts and offer my opinions on the final movie. I have decided the best and most honest way to do this is to examine every major point I made and see how right (or wrong) I was.
But before I do that I do not want to beat around the bush and drag this out. I made no bones about the fact that I thought the movie was going to be bad, hell every post that hit the crawlspace about the movie had me bitching about it in the comments. So now that I have seen it can I hold my head up high and say I told you so? Short answer is no. The movie was great and I have a lot of humble pie to eat
For reference here are links to those original articles.
Part 1: Reboot? AKA: Didn’t they already make this movie?
This is probably the only point I was right on. This movie did not need to exist, there was no reason that they couldn’t have simply carried on from where Spider-Man 3 left off but with a whole new cast. Or simply reboot without redoing the origin story. Because one of the most legitimate criticisms of this movie is that it feels very familiar to the original 2002 Spider-Man movie. It hits a lot of the same beats and story points. Which is not surprising.
Also in order to differentiate itself from the original it is kinda forced to tell the origin in a slightly different way, which leads it to being less faithful to the comic. However that being said, it is still very faithful to the essence of the comic book and is never disrespectful to the source material (more on this next). Going as far as to include a nice nod to the wrestling plot without including it.
Part 2: No respect for the source material. AKA: The soul of Peter Parker. AKA: I hate Marc Webb
I always said that I was fine with them changing certain things for the sake of it better fitting the medium. But I was convinced that the changes being made for this movie were outright assaults on the core elements that were essential to who these characters were, esspecially Peter Parker.
I argues that the core of who Peter Parker was, was something that was sacred. And I believe that it is, and that you cannot make a good Spider-Man movie without being true to that core. Marc Webb made some very concerning statements about this being a different Peter Parker and how because there were many incarnations of Spider-Man it was his responsibility to “reinvent” him in some ways. But I am very happy to say that in my opinion this was not a reinvention of who Peter Parker was and should be.
Andrew Garfield’s Peter Parker is very much the awkward and lovable nerd that should be the core and soul of that character. In many ways he channels Toby Maguire while still putting his own personal uniqueness to the character. Maybe Andrew just understood the character better than Marc Webb, or maybe Marc Webb exagerated how different this Peter Parker is. Maybe he honestly thinks this is avery different Peter Parker, he certainly said those exact words many times in interview.
But whatever the case may be, to me this was very much my Peter Parker. Sure he skateboards a little. Something which I strongly disagree with, but everything else about him was so perfect I can forgive that. In fact I was so impressed with Andrew Garfield’s Peter Parker that I was almost moved to tears in the first 10 minutes of the movie just because I was so overjoyed to see Peter Parker so wonderfully captured in this movie. He is instantly likable, just the right amount of awkward , shy and nerdy. Was he better than Tobey? I know you all have an opinion on this and I guess it simply comes down to personal taste. I think they were both brilliant, but if you put a gun to my head and made my choose I think I would still lean towards Tobey as Peter. Maybe after a few more movies that will change, because there is not much in it.
However Andrew was certainly a better Spider-Man. as much as I complained that Spider-Man came off as too cocky and almost a bully in those early clips. The entire tone of those section are changed not only by the events that immediately proceed them (like Uncle Ben dying and Peter trying to track down the killer), but once you have gotten to know this Peter as the lovable nerd he is it completely changes the tone of his attitude. What before seemed cocky now seems adorable and funny, because we know he’s using the humour as a defense mechanism of sorts. We know he’s trying to act tough and allowing the mask and the costume to give himself reason to act the cocky fool he normally is too shy to be. This nails who Spider-Man is for me.
My only real complaints in regards to faithfulness to the source material, are the skateboard, the costume and the fact that Uncle Ben never says “With great power must also come great responsibility”. Sure he kinda says it in a long winded way, but since he credits the quote to Peter father it undermines the whole speech. A real shame. But a minor complaint.
Part 3: The costume SUCKS! AKA: Basketball head strikes back.
While I warmed up to the costume a little over time. I still think it sucks and that they did a much better job in the previous movies. However the good news is that in the movie, when Spidey is doing his thang, he just looks like Spider-Man. Most of the costumes problems are barely noticeable. His eyes never look yellow and the “webbing” on his face does nto stand out as that bad. The leg stripes are the worst offender closely followed by the blue fingers. Also most of the scenes are at night, so it doesn’t stand out as looking too filthy either.
All in all it’s not too bad. And we can always hope that in the sequel Peter has improved the design, no reason for them not to make fixes to this costume for the next movie. For me just fixing the face webbing, losing the leg stripes and making his fingers red would be enough to make me happy.
Part 4: The bad news from Comicon. AKA: Peter Parker on suicide watch.
As I said before, luckily all this stuff was out of context. The clips were described like this -
After the trailer, the first footage shown at the panel introduces us to Peter Parker’s pre-superpowered life. His teachers complain that he’s tardy. He’s reprimanded for skateboarding in the hallway. He’s constantly bullied. He’s the kid who hides beneath his hoodie in the back of the classroom, the kid who always comes home with a black eye and can say he tripped and fell only so many times. But when he punches one of the boys who hit him in school, he and Uncle Ben are called into the principal’s office.
Pretty much none of this is true. His teachers complains Peter is tardy AFTER he is Spider-Man, him being late is only because he is Spider-Man at that point. He does get told not to skateboard in the hall and as I have said I take issue witht the skateboard, but I can let it slide in light of everything else.
The clip of him hiding beneath his hoody at the back of the class is right after Ben has died, not pre-powers Peter. That makes a big difference!
He is NOT the kid who always comes home with a black eye pre-powers. The parts of the movie when he comes home with bruises are all when he is Spider-Man and nothing to do with bullying. He get’s one black eye from Flash Thompson pre-powers. This footage was clearly poorly shown and poorly chosen. Or at the very least poorly interpreted.
Part 5: Dissecting the trailer. AKA: My god is that web coming out of his neck!?
I think the marketing people on this did a terrible job portraying Peter accurately. The trailers first shot of Peter has him walking down the corridor as most of the other kids turn to look at him as he passes by. It makes it seem like they are afraid of him or he did something that freaked them all out. I joked that he may have brought a gun to school in my original article. They then show him brooding for a second, as if he is some scary outcast that broods around school.
This is shockingly out of context. Both these scenes are after Uncle Ben dies, in the movie the corridor scene it is clear that the others kids have heard about Peter’s loss and it is pity that lead them to look at him this way. The following brooding shot is also immediately after Ben’s death., But the trailer show’s these shots as establishing shots of Peter’s character. Terrible choice and very misrepresentative of the character.
Still don’t like the fact the spider bites his neck as apposed to his hand, but that’s very nit picky so I’ll drop it.
I also complained about the plot line tying Peter parents to his origin. I still am not fond of this but the movie handles it well, although ti saves any resolution for a sequel.
Part 6: Gwen Stacy. AKA: I heart Mary Jane.
Emma Stone is a wonderful Gwen Stacy and although she is a little wasted (would have been a better sassy MJ than the straight laced Gwen), they do a great job capturing the essence of who she was in the comics. While she does not fear Spider-Man like in the comics, she is very much the daddy’s girl that gets all sappy and needy for Peter. And her finding out Peter is Spidey is handled really well and certainly no less faithful to the source material than having Peter be in love with MJ since he was a child and MJ living next door from an early age. All acceptable changes to suit the medium and the story they are telling in my opinion. Especially since it seems they will be telling Gwen’s infamous story! If Gwen does die and they bring in MJ in the sequels I will be overjoyed. Especially if MJ get’s he famous “Face it tiger, you just hit the jackpot” line.
In Conclusion I was Wrong
I think that the marketing for the movie did a very poor job of presenting Peter Parker as he appears in the movie. However I am not going to shy away from the fact that I was wrong. OK I said it, big slices of humble pie for me
However I have never been happier to be wrong in my entire life!
Why “The Amazing Spider-Man” movie is going to be awesome! (maybe)
I was right about a few things in my follow up positive article. The cast were all great, especially Andrew Garfield and Martin Sheen. Vic Armsrong did a wonderful job with the stunts which all looked great (although some of the CGI was not perfect).
And I clearly owe Mark Webb an apology, not only did he direct the characters and the romance very well (as I expected) but he made a truly great Spider-Man movie that was very much respectful to the source material. James Vanderbilt did a great job with the story and I was especially happy to see they let the villain live in this movie. Which means the Lizard could return in a hypothetical Sinister Six storyline!
The web shooters were great and Spidey’s wisecracking was fantastic. I especially enjoyed “Crotch!” and “Someone has been a very naughty Lizard”.
Or in summary: ROLL ON THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2!