Why Brad is wrong about Spiderman

In response to Brad’s post at What Culture:

1. Andrew Garfield is not a better Peter Parker.

He’s not a worse one, either. Toby Maguire is good and expresses well Peter’s pain and awkwardness. His transformation is steeper. Garfield’s Parker is fine, but for me, he starts out too cool, riding his skateboard through school (if anyone did that here, he’d be worshipped) and catching Gwen’s eye straightaway.

2. I also mourned non-Martin Sheen Uncle Ben. Plus, the “with great power comes great responsibility” line was great. I remember it. People remember it. Nothing Martin Sheen said was as good. All we got was that rambling phone message.

3. The superhero formula is indeed tinkered with, but so what? I’ll agree with Brad here and it was good to see TAS try something different. But as Raimi’s Spiderman was part of the genesis of the new superhero genre, you can’t really accuse it of being formulaic.

4. It kind of was a love letter to NYC. You get all the motifs: brownstone row homes, wise-ass cops, brave blue collar workers. And as Brad points out, given the spectre of 9/11, you can hardly blame Raimi for being less subtle.

5. Raimi’s Spiderman is neither kiddie nor camp. Brad is just wrong here. It was dark in the right places — notably the angst between Peter and Harry. For its part, TAS was wildly lame at times, especially Lizard Man whose actions make no sense and is woefully camped up by Rhys Ifans.

I liked TAS well enough. It’s just not any better than Raimi’s and maybe a little worse.

Also, Mary Jane > Gwen Stacy.

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4 thoughts on “Why Brad is wrong about Spiderman

  1. I haven’t seen Spiderman and the way life’s gone I’m not sure I will. (It’s hard to get out to see movies and I’d really like to see Batman on IMAX)

    That said, it seems like Raimi’s Spiderman was much more the Spiderman of Steve Ditko and the early 60’s. That’s why Venom was so out of place – it really was a product of the 90’s Spiderman rather than the 60’s Spiderman. Even though his used Mary Jane instead of Gwen Stacy it really was more Gwen Stacy than Mary Jane. (Although they did throw in her being a model)

    From what I’ve seen this tries to capture the spirit of the new Spiderman in a kind of mishmash of elements of Ultimate Spiderman and few elements of the early but post-Ditko Spiderman and then a more modern feel. The nerdy uncomfortable Peter Parker is gone. The whole way Spiderman let Parker be who he felt he couldn’t be. The conflict over his responsibility. Mostly gone. (People who actually saw the film feel free to dispute me here – I’m just going by what I’ve seen and read)

    That’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s definitely more in line with what I think Marvel would like – even though they’d obviously prefer the franchise come back to Disney. And it is good that the movie was much better than the trailers made out.

    As I’ve said a few times I don’t really care for the angle that Marvel has been taking their franchises. (And admittedly they’re a little more limited in their manipulations when it comes to Spiderman due to Sony) They really have embraced a “put the comics on the screen wholesale” view. Whereas to me the most successful movies have been ones that recognize that film and comics are radically different mediums. While Avengers is a financially hugely successful film as I’ve said to me it fails because it does fully embrace that adopt all the aspects of comics. My suspension of disbelief could only go so far. Whereas I think Singer’s X-Men, Matthew Vaughn’s X-Men, the first Iron Man, and Batman all go the other direction. Trying to take the essential core of the characters but rethink them in a more cinematic fashion.

    While there were some problems with the first two Raimi Spiderman films (how strong is Spiderman anyway?) overall I think they were some of the few good comic book films.

    I recognize some people want comic book movies to be more like the comic books. But for me, there was a reason I largely stopped reading comics at 14.

  2. Mary Jane greater than Gwen Stacy? Your post is right in a lot of ways, but this is nuts. Dunst is weird, awkward, and unattractive compared to the amazing Emma Stone. Stone is just gorgeous. She almost made the entire movie worth it.

    That being said, I liked TAS – but I loved Maguire’s Spider-Man better.

  3. Just saw it last weekend and totally agree. I loved Emma Stone, but other than that I could not for the life of me figure out why this movie needed to be made. There was nothing that was better or really even different enough to make it worthwhile. Waste of time for everyone.

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