Mary Arline (queen_of_kithia) wrote,
Mary Arline

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The "Amazing" Spider-Man

I got the DVD out of the library, watched about two-thirds of it, then gave up. I'm SO glad I didn't pay money to see it in the theater.

I'm not a reader of comic books so I try not to get on a high horse about comic book adaptations because I know I'll eventually be cut down by the comic book fans, who of course are the real authorities. But COME ON! Spider-Man is supposed to be clever and articulate. I'm sorry, but it got to the point where I just couldn't bear to watch Andrew Garfield stutter out one more line. I assume that was an actor's choice, but I didn't find it effective at all.

[ETA: I later went back and watched the last 45 minutes; they didn't impress me much either.]

Steve Kloves, are you bound and determined to try to destroy EVERYTHING1 that I love?

When I was a kid, I had a hard time with adaptations because I was concerned with trying to determine which was the "real" version. Like, if I'd read a book, then I never wanted to see the movie version (or vice versa); if I'd seen one production of a play, that became the "real" version to me, and I never wanted to see another production or a movie adaptation because it would be different from the "real" version, meaning the one I saw originally. Fortunately, I got over that for the most part before I went to college and majored in English and minored in theatre and encountered many, many different productions and adaptations of books and plays, etc.

But I still have a little bit of this tendency. I'm able to appreciate the strengths and weakness of different productions or adaptations, but I still tend to think of one version as the "real" version. For example, with all due respect to both Roald Dahl and Johnny Depp, in my mind Gene Wilder is the "real" Willy Wonka, and it's doubtful that anything is going to change that.

My point is that I loved Tobey Maguire as Spider-Man and hate Andrew Garfield as Spider-Man,2 but in my mind, neither of them are the "real" Spider-Man, nor is the Spider-Man from the comics. In my mind the "real" version of Spider-Man is the animated TV series from the 1990s.

So I guess what I'm trying to say is that my point of view of a live-action Spider-Man movie is always going to be a little warped. Since the animated series doesn't include Gwen Stacy, she is always going to feel like a foreign element to me, even though I know better. There are things I love3 about the concept behind the most recent movie, but also things that I hated4 and things that I felt just needed a second draft.5

With the beginning of this live-action movie franchise having been so recent, I guess I just don't see why they had to go back to the beginning and rehash Spidey's origin story YET AGAIN. It almost gets to the point where I stop emotionally investing in Uncle Ben's character because I know that he's just going to die and it's going to break my heart again. Maybe they could have just dealt with that in a flashback and spent more time on the Lizard's origins and the mystery surrounding Peter's parents.

It's funny; when the first movie came out in 2002, I raised my eyebrows at the idea of his spinning web being part of his mutation, but by the time the most recent movie came out I was so used to the idea that I raised my eyebrows again when his webbing returned to being external and synthetic. I still haven't decided which way I prefer, but I've determined that organic web must have been a move towards narrative economy in the 2002 version and spared a lot of tedious explanation. Of course, it still doesn't explain why his spinnerets are in his hands rather than his abdomen.

1I suppose it's not fair to scapegoat him; his is the only one of the screenwriters' names that I recognize, but it's hard not to think about my quibbles/issues with the Harry Potter movies when I see his name.

2Although I must admit that Andrew Garfield is adorable and probably a good actor; I'm just not convinced that he was right for this role, in spite of his fanboy credentials. I do hold out a little bit of hope for the sequel, though, based on the fact that they've now gotten the origin story out of the way, as well as the fact that Kloves is not credited as a screenwriter. I still won't be paying money to see it, though.

3Dealing with the mystery surrounding Peter's parents; the Lizard as an antagonist; the fact that Peter assisted Doc Connors in the lab and so was involved, however indirectly, in his becoming the Lizard.

4Spidey is a stutteringly inarticulate skater dude; Uncle Ben gets shot on camera; Doc Connors toggles back and forth between lizard form and human form, and the serum makes him crazy even when he's not in lizard form; the way the Lizard looks; the existence of a carnivorous lizard-mouse mutant hybrid that I expect to haunt my nightmares from here on in; Gwen Stacy talking to her father about cramps, which is where I stopped watching the first time; the music, which at one point sounded like the Lizard paused in his diabolical scheme to bang on a piano, except why would there be a piano at Oscorp?

5The whole "doesn't know his own strength" gag got annoying almost immediately.
Tags: films
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