EDITORIAL: The Lizard: Good Choice Or Bad?

The character's portrayal in Marc Webb's movie has come under a bit of scrutiny, so was The Lizard really the best villain to start of a new Spider-Man trilogy or series? Read on for my thoughts on the matter..

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By Nick Salinski - 1/2/2013


User name suggests it all. The Lizard is my all time favorite comicbook villain, between Dr.Connors and The Lizard. He has appeared in three films, became an antagonist for a reboot of the original Spider-Man trilogy and has been around since November of 1963. He's always been my all time favorite villain because he's not really a "full" villain. His motives are cartoony but every superhero has a villain or two that's a bit cartoony. The Lizard has always been a sympathetic villain and because he is both an ally and enemy of Spider-Man, it has never been easy to stop him outside of the fact that he is one of Spidey's most dangerous enemies. The villain needs to be stopped but the man needs to be kept safe. Anyways, was The Lizard the right choice for a Spider-Man villain for a reboot series or a series period? My unbaised opinion is yes.



Goomba Lizard? I think not.

Spider-Man has his good villains, bad villains, cartoony villains, pure evil villians and sympathetic villains. What superhero doesn't? In the case of, The Lizard, he has a solid, tragic backstory and he truly is a tragic character. He wants to do good but a good thing went wrong. Obviously. All that Dr.Curt Connors ever wanted was to have his arm back. For the film, The Amazing Spider-Man, that was brought in full focus when Connors was on screen early in the film. We never did meet Martha and Billy but, story wise it really wasn't necessary. Although, it would have helped his backstory so the audience would have had a much better appreciation for the character and realize that this is a good man trying to do good. Also, the look of the character. "Shit, look. He has no snout" Umm, anybody who has ever read the original Spider-Man comics knows that he never had a snout. He was created before goombas. Therefore the goomba insult is pointless. The goombas look like, The Lizard. They stuck to the source material and it worked well.



Cinematic Potential

When you read the comics, it's easy to see how well the character would work on screen. You have a sympathetic villain and it puts the hero in a tough position. While, we never got to see that in the film, it doesn't mean that it didn't work. Peter in the film had to save New York and also when you watch the high school fight, you hear Peter say "Doc stop! This isn't you!" You can tell that he wants his friend back. Visually, he has great potential. He's cool looking villain and he has entertaining battles with Spider-Man (I'm talking even outside of the film). Every story needs a villain that it can meld with. I never cared for Doc Ock but he worked in Spider-Man 2. The Lizard isn't popular amongst audiences because of, The Amazing Spider-Man but I feel he worked well story wise.



Future villains and tone setting for rest of the series

The Lizard really a bad villain choice for The Amazing Spider-Man? Hell no. This is a character who is entertaing to watch as well as being a villain that we all feel sorry for. Similar to that of the Doc Ock character from Spider-Man 2. Yes, I just compared Doc Ock to The Lizard. The Lizard worked really well for the start of a new series or trilogy and with Electro for the villain in the next film and Green Goblin for the 3rd (hopefully final film of this series) it's easy to see that The Lizard was a perfect choice. Making Electro a sympathetic villains really puts more weight on Spideys shoulder emotionally while trying to save New York and as far as the Green Goblin goes. Yea, that swan song really doesn't need much explination. Sure, The Amazing Spider-Man isn't a good stand alone film. But, it was never meant to be that. Call, The Lizard, a goomba all you want. The Lizard was truly the best choice for the start of a new cinematic Spider-Man. Entertaining, sympathetic and is a villain that truly works on screen. Not to mention that Sam Raimi (whose trilogy I love and grew up on) was hinting at Dr.Connors for the trilogy and was gonna use the vulture for the fourth and create a new character for Felicia Hardy. When it was clear he should have gone with either The Lizard or Carnage. Love the film or hate it. The Lizard was (even though a 90% interpretation) was close the it's source, it works well for the story, and is up there with the Green Goblin as the best portrayal (adaptation wise) of it's comicbook counter part.

Thanks for reading. Leave comments below and above all else, be respectful.
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38 Comments
Spideyguy94 - 1/2/2013, 8:52 AM
Great stuff. The lizard was very comic book accurate, and I thought ifans gave in a good performance with what he was given. The problem with the lizard in TASM is we didn't get enough time and development with him to really feel bad for him when he did become the lizard, and when he did there wasn't enough shown as to whether the lizard was a different personality or even just effecting Connors psyche. As for the lizard in and of itself, you really can't do much with him motivation-wise, which is why making him sympathetic is much more important, because the whole friendship and respect Peter and Connors have for each other really make the lizard into more than just a two dimensional villain, and it makes the conflict he has with the lizard much more personal and raises the stakes.
Spideyguy94 - 1/2/2013, 9:08 AM
@Levi I want mysterio in the next movie, because in my opinion while electro isn't a bad choice because we haven't seen him yet, I don't know whether he could hold an entire movie by himself. Mysterio can't really either so teaming them up would make sense and it would probably more entertaining to watch as well.
FirstAvenger - 1/2/2013, 9:12 AM
I agree with spideyguy94. @LEVITIKUZ if they patterned after Batman then they'd get even more hate people already compare it to Batman Begins.
Another good article lizard1
CorndogBurglar - 1/2/2013, 9:16 AM
You said that in the comics Lizard never had a snout, but that is not fair, because he has.

Over the years, different artists have portrayed his look differently, so I certainly didn't have a problem with him having no snout in the movie.

It was just a little weird because you said in the comics he never had a snout, then posted a pic from the 60's that showed he didn't have one, then one from Todd McFarlane's run, that showed he didn't have one. Then, the very next pic clearly shows him with a snout.

People were just a little upset because the Lizard most people know and recognize has a snout.
EdgyOutsider - 1/2/2013, 9:34 AM
CorndogBurglar: I see where you are coming from and I should have been more specific. I do also understand why people are upset with no snout but they also got to think it would have looked insanely ridiculous with the snout than without it.
EdgyOutsider - 1/2/2013, 10:51 AM
LEVITIKUZ: To me, a sympathetic villain is a more interesting villain. Villains like, The Joker, get old after awhile. Sympathetic villains create emotional problems with the hero and make the battles and overall interactions between the hero and the villain that much more interesting and engrossing.
bazinga85 - 1/2/2013, 11:31 AM
The Lizard: Good choice or Bad?

BAD
lapress - 1/2/2013, 11:59 AM
Villains like Joker get old after a while?!
EdgyOutsider - 1/2/2013, 12:16 PM
lapress: Yes, I'm not a fan of villains that are pure evil. At all. I'm not saying that, The Joker is a bad villain but I can watch and read him in comics for only awhile before I get seriously bored.
GuardianDevil - 1/2/2013, 1:52 PM
Great write up dude!!

I agree, Lizard was a good choice for the film. I liked the first "Spider-Man" the best, but TASM was a great movie. I don't get why people hate on it so much, my only problem with it was the whole snout thing. I really think that the Lizard with the snout just plain looks better, that's all. As for the other reasons I agree, Lizard is one of Spidey's best villains.

Btw Lizard is my favorite villain as well.
GuardianDevil - 1/2/2013, 1:54 PM
I think Kraven needs to be in a movie as well.
Pending - 1/2/2013, 3:43 PM
Lizard was definitely not a bad choice, the way they handled it was. He brought nothing new and didn't have much development or screen time and his motives didn't make much sense. It seems the movie was more interested in Peter and Gwen's go nowhere relationship rather than properly develop the lizard.

The "Doc stop! This isn't you!" line in the high school fight I feel was too forced and felt out of place. That and the music was just not right for the tone either. Peter trying to connect with the Lizard could've been used for a greater dramatic effect maybe in some other scene, but they just slip it in real quick so it just comes of as lame.
Jollem - 1/2/2013, 3:46 PM
what doesn't come under scrutiny? the lizard was cool
AC1 - 1/2/2013, 4:11 PM
@Levi true, but The Lizard is really Spider-Man's only true sympathetic villain, the ones Raimi wrote sympathetically (Doc Ock, Sandman, etc) were never meant to be sympathetic characters. However, the way Lizard is handled in the film is that you don't really feel sorry for him, but you can almost understand his motives, even if they do seem a bit silly at times; you get the point of his argument.
PeterParker1991 - 1/2/2013, 4:13 PM
Good article. Loved the Lizard and ASM. If anything at least Connors' survived... which is more than what can be said about every other villain except the Sandman (strangely)
CaptainObvious - 1/2/2013, 5:04 PM
It doesn't matter if the Lizard didn't have a snout in the 60's. That was 50 years ago. What worked then doesn't necessarily work today.
Spideyguy94 - 1/2/2013, 5:26 PM
I remember on the blu-ray documentary, Marc Webb said that the reason they went with the snoutless look was because when the lizard talks the snout look would look wouldn't come off that good with the way his mouth moves and that ifans used motion capture on the face to show expression.
Albie - 1/2/2013, 6:33 PM
The shortest way to put it: While long-time Spiderman fans remember Ditko's original Lizard's more human-with-lizard-skin than human-sized-lizard design, no one else does. And the kids buying more movie tickets than anyone else now only remember MacFarlane's Lizard (or closer to it) thanks to Fox's 90s Spiderman cartoon.

So people unfamiliar with the Lizard who went in knowing Spiderman fights Lizard were probably expecting something that looked more like, y'know, a bad ass Lizard, not Rhys Ifans' head only slightly bigger with CGI scales and shit. And at the same time, the long-time Spiderman fans get to be re-divided between Ditko's Lizard and MacFarlane's Lizard, and for a movie in 2012, I vote MacFarlane's all the way.

Maybe if there'd been a Spiderman movie in the 60s when they used Ditko's designs on the older Spiderman cartoon, too, sure but how can you look at any of MacFarlane's artistic contributions to Spiderman and then use any others on-screen?, MacFarlane took each Spiderman character he drew the next step forward in each of their evolutions, while reminding us all why we first fell in love with the characters to begin with. Then he gave us Carnage. Ditko loses this one.
Spideyguy94 - 1/2/2013, 7:03 PM
@LEVI I've been planning to write a script for a spidey movie, I've got the story figured out and it has the scorpion as the villain.l, it's a real mix of all spider-man incarnation much like the spectacular spider-man. I just need to get down to writing it but I don't have the time at the moment, with all my university work I've not really got much free time. But when I do complete the script I may post it on here.
CaptainAmerica31 - 1/2/2013, 7:23 PM
The worst part of the movie was the lizard
silverdog - 1/2/2013, 7:45 PM
the villain was a good choice, the bad choice was the actor they picked for curt connors...
preacher - 1/2/2013, 8:15 PM
While I'm with the group that prefers the long snouted Lizard over the "goombaish" version (have always been a huge fan of the Lizard regardless) I have a small problem with the character design and the name The Lizard.

Ok, he's called the Lizard and for quite some time, in the comics AND cartoons he's been depicted as basically, in MY opinion, as The ALLIGATOR! I mean, that's what he looks like. A freakin gator or croc. And now that i've mentioned croc, Killer Croc looks more like Killer LIZARD than what his name implies. If anything, Killer Croc should look like what McFarland designed the Lizard to be and vice versa.

But, regardless, The Lizard AND Killer Croc are two of my favorite villians for Marvel/DC. Killer Croc especially. Have always wanted both characters to be depicted correctly in the film versions but...

Off topic, but damn, a Batman movie featuring the cannibalistic Killer Croc in Gotham's sewers? Kinda with an "Aliens" type of feel to it? Could be freakin amazing and scary as hell!
DrHorrible - 1/2/2013, 8:52 PM
@TheWallCrawlingMenace That is one of the most thought-out posts I've seen in a while on here. Bravo! I agree with everything you said.

DrHorrible - 1/2/2013, 8:57 PM
@TheRedHood Different strokes, but I feel as if your last post is incredibly single-minded. But, like I said, your opinion, so I won't crucify you or anything for it.

BTW, Peter is a photographer for the school paper. It even said so in the movie. They showed that he still takes pictures, but won't involve the Bugle until the next movie.

Just saying. ;)
mgeoff88 - 1/2/2013, 11:03 PM
I think he was a good choice, but he was poorly adapted in TASM.

They should've went with McFarlane's take on The Lizard.
That's not the only reason the film didn't deliver though, they also wasted screen time rehashing Spider-Man's origins.

Which could've been used to better develop the overall story.
Pending - 1/2/2013, 11:25 PM
@RedHood

Agreed.

They didn't deliver one bit on the "Origin of Peter Parker" they just started the film with him as a child, established his parents died, fast forward 9-11 yrs skipping over a lot of helpful character development, to him as a senior in HS.

That was such a cop out and it only made this already unbelievable character of PP less believable.

tripttwe - 1/3/2013, 12:10 AM
@Albie- McFarlane gave us Venom. Carnage came about 61 issues later...
HankPymp - 1/3/2013, 3:19 AM
@TheWallCrawlingMenace: THANK YOU... HELL-TO-THE-YES!
Spideyguy94 - 1/3/2013, 5:20 AM
While I think TASM did make a big mistake in retelling the origin again, but I did like Parkers character and I really enjoyed watching garfield interact with stone, Leary and ifans in the movie. I think what the sequel has going for it is that it has new writers and they have some things to pay off. While I am a believer in your first movie should stand alone and you shouldn't rely on sequels. However if the sequel does improve the previous movie I'd be fine with. Almost in the same way of if you watch batman begins and the dark knight back to back, TDK really does build upon BB. And what I mean by that is while BB stands on its own in a way that TASM doesn't, TDK for me at least makes BB even better.
amazingspideygal - 1/3/2013, 11:37 PM
I wholeheartedly agree with the article. I'm really tired of all the complaining about snouts, etc. I think they did a great job with the Lizard in the movie, and thought it was a great choice to launch the reboot series.

Can't wait for the next one!

SpideyMan123 - 1/3/2013, 11:56 PM
@TheRedHood

Just Read the first like 3 issues of Ultimate Spider-man

Peter acted the same way to Aunt May and Uncle Ben in USM when he got his powers.

So stop trying to talk about something you don't know :p
Pending - 1/4/2013, 4:05 PM
@SpideyMan123

Movies and comics are 2 different things just cause it works on a comic doesn't mean it'll automatically work on screen,
Peter was like 15 during that time in ultimate spider-man, understandable he's still a very young kid. TASM he's basically a senior and still acts like a ungrateful little prick.
SpideyMan123 - 1/4/2013, 9:00 PM
How does it not work in the movies?

I'm pretty sure most of the people that go watch TASM are teenagers and can relate to him.

Ungrateful little prick? ... Go watch the movie again

And take that disgraceful SpectacularSpider Username and Avi off
Pending - 1/5/2013, 3:52 PM
Why not your terrible TASM avatar first then I'll think about it :)
CoulsonLives - 1/5/2013, 4:08 PM
Why the heck does lizard have a snout? He isn't a croc...
SpideyMan123 - 1/5/2013, 4:24 PM
TASM >>
SpideyMan123 - 1/5/2013, 11:03 PM
smh lol
AmazingFantasy - 1/6/2013, 2:04 PM
Oh wow some people are pretty [frick]ing ignorant and stupid.



Straight out of the comics kids.

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