So first off, apologies for not posting in…several weeks….I started an internship and honestly just didn’t have the time to really sit down and write. I’ll try to keep updating every week like before. Seems I missed a few important topics during my hiatus, The Maple Leafs were eliminated (boo), the Raptors were eliminated (boo), I watched Wonder Woman (yay) and Game of Thrones released a few trailers (yay). The other thing that is slowly approaching is the debut of the highly anticipated Spider-man remake, no not that one, this one.
That’s right we’re going to talk about Spider-man.
A little backstory: Spider-man was actually my favourite superhero growing up, that 90’s cartoon was pretty much the most defining piece of media I’d ever seen. When I got older and went to go buy my own comics I grabbed the “Back in Black” series and the “Civil War” graphic novels from a lovely shop in Streetsville where the cashier was 45 and had hair down to his knees. My father was less than impressed. I watched the Sam Rami movies, played with hundreds of action figures, bought all the video games and now I await the Tom Holland iteration of the famous web-slinger. I’m pretty sure I had dreams about kissing Spider-man in the ran upside down. Shit, I didn’t mean to admit that. Anyway, once I saw “The Dark Knight” (which is the best super hero movie ever made) I thought Spider-man would be the next super hero to have someone make a great movie about but I was wrong, oh so very wrong.
The central issue with Spider-man movies is that they tell the same story, the origin of Spider-man has probably been told more times than the story about that baby in a manger. Everyone knows, “With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility” and that’s fine but you don’t have to re-tell it every two years. Sam Rami’s Spider-man movie hits every piece of the myths you want, great villain, responsibility, awkward hero, check check and check. Obviously the third movie is a load of hot garbage, but the other two are solid super hero movies.
The “Amazing Spider-man” movie really doesn’t offer that much more to the mythos, it adds Gwen Stacy and Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield’s chemistry is the best part of those movies. Gwen is a central character to Peter Parker’s guilt trip so I understand the desire to tell her story but two movies is a lot to set up that one iconic image.
Really though you probably could’ve made the audience fall in love with Gwen Stacy and Peter in half a movie. The Death of Gwen Stacy is important sure, but it’s really only important because of how it affects Peter. I realise that isn’t a great look for how the series treats women as a whole but honestly if you’re looking at Spider-man as a leader in the portrayal of women I’d suggest you look elsewhere. Gwen and MJ are honestly just motivators to Peter, they’re the archetypes of damsels in distress, it’s just how it’s been written, sorry. So hearing director after director talk about how they want to create a strong and independent role model for young girls in Spider-man is just silly. It’s a male power fantasy about a nerd who eventually dates a super model, moving on.
What does this mean for “Homecoming”? Not much, they’ve already decided to tell another origin story where Peter is still under the age of 18, and that’s what I’m disappointed in. Wouldn’t it be far more interesting to see Peter in his early adulthood trying to get a full time job, struggling with Aunt May’s increasing age, all the while meeting enemies he’s possibly been fighting for years? It just seems like a wasted opportunity, sure they have to introduce him to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (a term I absolutely loath) but you could’ve had Peter struggle to adapt to the MCU vs have the MCU just bring him in from scratch. Maybe he’s used to fighting bank robbers and street thugs as the MCU’s introduction to his universe leads to more deadly and interesting villains,
Which leads me to the franchise’s other struggle, it’s villains. Doctor Octopus and Green Goblin are great but Vulture, Shocker, the Lizard…these just aren’t villains with a whole lot of depth to them. The Lizard’s grand plot in the movie is to make New York a city of Lizard men….what? Most other Spider-man villains are just Bank Robbers with Super Powers, you have to do what Nolan’s batman series did, take the essence of the character but remove the more comic-booky nonsense. Ra’s Al Ghul isn’t actually immortal, he just seems that way. If you introduce these villains in a way that the viewer feels like they’ve been around for a few years you can tell a different story, one that has a little more weight to it but they’ve decided to go a…different route.
I’m sure Spider-man Homecoming will be a box office success, seems all you have to do nowadays is slap a Marvel logo on a movie and it will be crowned the greatest movie ever made. It’d be nice to see something different though, the best comic movies have been other genres mixed with comic mythos. “Ant Man” was a heist movie, “Wonder Woman” was a feminist movie, “Logan” was a western and “Deadpool” was…I don’t really know that was. I’ve mentioned it before but with a sheer amount of comic movies being made you really need to do something spectacular to stand out or dare I say…Amazing.