EDITORIAL: Bizarre Trends In The SPIDER-MAN Franchise

EDITORIAL: Bizarre Trends In The SPIDER-MAN Franchise

The recent release of the first trailer for The Amazing Spider-Man 2 made me excited for the future, but also nostalgic for the past. I decided to go back and remember the the strange patterns, and bizarre creative decisions from the four existing Spider-Man movies...

Bizarre Trends in the Spider-Man Franchise

The recent release of the first trailer for, “The Amazing Spider-Man 2”, made me excited for the future, but also nostalgic for the past. I decided to go back and remember the the strange patterns, and bizarre creative decisions from the four existing Spider-Man movies. Join me as I openly mock the movies I love!

I love the “Spider-Man” movies. I really do. It is an unconditional love, not affected by scenes of “emo” Peter or “stutter-like-an-idiot” Peter. Nevertheless, I realize these films are not flawless, and I have noticed a few questionable creative decisions. Go ahead and read through my list, and I promise you will be entertained!

Let It Rain

Upon initial viewing of, “Spider-Man”, I was proud of the filmmakers. The film ended at a funeral, but it did not conform to the hollywood standard for funerals. It was an overcast, windy day, with not a raindrop in sight! Usually, rain at a funeral is meant to cause an overall sense of gloominess, but I was proud to say “Spider-Man” defied this cliche.

Then came “Spider-Man 3”, and I was severely disappointed. This movie also had a funeral at the end, but it was pouring rain. However, I assumed that “The Amazing Spider-Man” would break this curse, since this was a new take on the character, with fresh ideas! Except, wait, this movie also has a funeral scene, and it is pouring rain.

Even if you ignore the irritating cliches of the latter two films, it becomes apparent that three of the four existing Spider-Man movies end with a funeral. Oddly enough, these funerals are never for Uncle Ben, even though we see him die twice. Sure, the psychopath serial killer that nearly murdered Peter multiple times, Peter’s bipolar buddy, and the guy who sounds like Diego from the “Ice Age” movies deserve to be honored, but forget about the guy who basically became Peter’s father.

Gobblin’ Up The Spotlight

The original “Spider-Man” featured the man who was arguably Spider-Man’s greatest enemy, the Green Goblin. In “Spider-Man 3”, his son, Harry, discovers his equipment and becomes the second Green Goblin. You could argue that he actually becomes the “New Goblin”, but you probably will not, because that is a stupid argument. He is only referred to by that insanely stupid moniker in the credits, he is never called that in the movie itself. In addition, Harry is never called that in the comics, he just becomes the Green Goblin.

In the trailer for, “The Amazing Spider-Man”, it appears that Harry will once again become the Green Goblin. Even if Norman is really the one wearing the armor, or if it is someone else entirely, we are still going to see a new version of the Green Goblin. My initial reaction was doubtless the same as most viewers of the trailer.

Come on, again? That means that three out of five of these movies have included some version of the Green Goblin. You might argue that ol’ Gobby has been brought back so that he could kill Gwen Stacy, but I think it is far more likely that the Sony executives have a Goblin fetish.

Size Matters Not… Except When It Does.

Fans had plenty of complaints with the depiction of Venom in “Spider-Man 3”, but I think their biggest complaint was that Venom was just too small (or was that just me?). In the comics, Venom is huge, but in the movie, he is the same size as Spidey.

Marc Webb must have listened to the fans (or just me, I really cannot remember), because in “The Amazing Spider-Man”, Lizard is twice the height of Spider-Man! Nevermind he was the same size as our favorite wall-crawler in the comics.

I know they exist in different continuities, but am I the only one who thinks it is a little odd that the sizes of Venom and Lizard have been swapped?

Make Up Your Mind, Darn It

Am I the only one who has noticed that the majority of supervillains in this franchise eventually turn good? The only exceptions are the original Green Goblin and Venom. Doctor Octopus goes from being a murderous, kidnapping, psychopathic lunatic to a nice guy who sacrifices himself to save New York City. (Okay, he saved the city from a problem he is responsible for, but it is still a nice gesture. ) Harry Osborn is Peter’s best friend, then he tries to kill Peter, then he is Peter’s best friend once more, then he tries to kill him again, then he dies protecting Peter from Venom. One might argue that this is an abusive relationship that Peter should flee from as soon as possible, but the point is that Harry died a hero.

Sandman, after being defeated, tells Peter that he killed Uncle Ben on accident, and then apologizes, or something. It is hard to remember, I have not seen the movie in a while (I am still mad about that funeral scene). The Lizard saves Peter’s life after receiving the cure, which is a good thing, because falling down the side of a building would be a really stupid way for Spider-Man to die.

Out of six supervillains, four have turned good by the end of the movie. I cannot help but wonder, are the filmmakers trying to send the opposite message of “The Dark Knight”? Apparently, you either die the villain, or you live longer enough to see yourself become a hero.

Freaky Friday

Gwen Stacy was Peter Parker’s first love, but she was not very interesting. She was a sweet girl, but she was not particularly complicated, or conflicted. Since this is Marvel, she was promptly killed off. Mary Jane Watson was far more interesting, as she had a troubled backstory. She was also much more lively, and, of course, she used a lot more adjectives.

Why exactly did the movie Gwen and movie Mary Jane switch personalities? In the original trilogy, Kirsten Dunst’s Mary Jane may have a troubled backstory, but she is nowhere near as animated as the character in the comics, and she does not use nearly as many adjectives. Emma Stone’s Gwen is still nice, but she is also spunky, and has a lot more personality than the comic book character.

I do not mean to confuse people, I think Dunst was great as Mary Jane, and Stone was great as Gwen. However, I cannot help but wonder what these films would have been like if the two actresses switched roles, and I doubt I am the only one who feels this way.

You have made it to the end of my list! You should feel proud, as this article is longer than “Spider-Man 3”, but only half as entertaining. I know, I promised you would be entertained, but I broke my promise, because let’s face it, those are the best kind.

Did you like my article? Have you noticed any other bizarre trends in the Spider-Man franchise? Do you think think I have the editorial skills of J. Jonah Jameson? Let me know in the comments! Just keep in mind, when you say mean things, this is what I do:
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GuardianDevil - 12/24/2013, 9:44 AM
This is a great article, but I still love all four Spider-Man films.

I first saw Spidey 3 in theaters when I was 13, I thought it was one of the best movies I've ever seen. When I watched it again a year or two later I realized this was not the case but I still liked it a great deal. I watched it again on FX last night, and was like "dang, I don't remember it being that good" I always liked it but I don't remember as good as it actually was.

Spider-Man 3 is still the worst Spider-Man film so far, it's really good in it's own right IMHO.
GuardianDevil - 12/24/2013, 9:45 AM
Thumbs up from me though! One of the most interesting reads I've had in a while, good job!
BobbyDrakeApproaches - 12/24/2013, 9:50 AM
JJ63, thank you! I completely agree with you about Spider-Man 3, it's the worst film in the franchise, but it's still a good movie.
GliderMan - 12/24/2013, 10:26 AM
"Apparently, you either die the villain, or you live longer enough to see yourself become a hero."

Holy shit.
iMVuze - 12/24/2013, 11:46 AM
I like the article lol however this right here: "I cannot help but wonder, are the filmmakers trying to send the opposite message of “The Dark Knight”? Apparently, you either die the villain, or you live longer enough to see yourself become a hero." All 3 Spider-Man movies came out before The Dark Knight.
CaptainComicBook - 12/24/2013, 11:55 AM
My only beef with the Spider-Man films is that we don't get to see Spidey interacting with other heroes. My favorite part about him in the comics is his humor. He kind of represents the every day teenager when mixed in with the Avengers. It's a shame we won't ever get to see Spidey interact with others and it's a tragedy we'll never see the Iron Spider.
thewonderer - 12/24/2013, 12:00 PM
The Lizard in TASM is the worst excuse and mockery for a CBM villain since Batman and Robin.
TTT0809 - 12/24/2013, 12:06 PM
Lol the first time in a while I've read an article and really actually enjoyed it. Lol Keep up the good work hey and I also agree with everything in the article! XD
SpiderFraud - 12/24/2013, 12:13 PM
@thewonderer I think you mean Malekith or The Mandarin? ':)

One thing I always found annoying was the stupid shots with Spidey and the American flag, it looks like it shall return in TASM2...sigh.
MrReese - 12/24/2013, 12:19 PM
@Bravado lol
HulkbusterNYC - 12/24/2013, 12:25 PM
My biggest problem with all of the Spidey films are the villains. Spidey has one of the best rogues galleries in comic history but the movies haven't done them justice. Why does Peter Parker have to have some connection to every bad guy before they actually turn into the bad guy? The Osborn's are like Peter's second family, Doc Ock & Doc Connors both knew Peter before their "transformations", Sandman was involved in Uncle Ben's death & Venom worked at the Bugle with Peter. Way too much connection to Parker if you ask me.
SpiderParker - 12/24/2013, 12:49 PM
Venom size was a problem cause he was not frightening at all... his size and suit is supposed to give chills to Spider-Man. And he never did his iconic tongue sticking out thingy.

SpiderParker - 12/24/2013, 12:58 PM
What?? Even Miley has bigger tongue than SM3's Venom...

soaponapope - 12/24/2013, 2:18 PM
the raimi films embraced the nature of the movie rather than attempting to distance itself from genre stereotypes by taking itself too seriously. they took ownership of the fact that ultimately it should be entertaining and that there is nothing wrong with some silliness and a bit of light hearted innuendo. the problem we see now is that comic adaptations cannot decide what kind of movie they want to be. the nolan batman movies approached it with a more mature tone, and the raimi spiderman movies as well as the first iron man did the opposite and were unapologetically fun. a lot of the comic movies since have tried to have it both ways ultimately finding themselves having done neither effectively. it's disappointing because i really, really like andrew garfield. with respect to maguire, garfield was in my opinion a lot closer to the way i always saw both spidey and peter parker. one of the things was that maguire was just too old. i like the guy but he was 27 playing a high school student, but more important his life just didn't feel at all like one of a brilliant, if angsty social outcast, which garfield in my opinion more effectively captured.
Doughdzm - 12/24/2013, 3:02 PM
I dislike the Green Goblin thing, Im kinda sick of them recycling the same villains. The Rhino I thought was a great way to go until I saw he was a damn Power Ranger.Electro could be dynamic but I saw that it was the same role Jamie Foxx played in the Violinist with Robert Downey Jr. ironically. The vulture could be good though. But I would like to have seen them use Smythe and the Spider bots. Now that would be a feat.
ruadh - 12/24/2013, 3:57 PM
"And he never did his iconic tongue sticking out thingy."

Ugh. I'd stopped reading spiderman comics by the time the tongue became "iconic". So, in my head, Venom doesn't do that.

"I first saw Spidey 3 in theaters when I was 13, I thought it was one of the best movies I've ever seen. When I watched it again a year or two later I realized this was not the case but I still liked it a great deal."

Man I feel so old when I realize the age of most of the posters on here.

Spiderman 3 was on tv last night, and I put it on. I'd watched all three relatively recently with my son, and I realized 3 wasn't really all that different from the first and second one. I also realized all three are horrendously campy, and this was before I ever saw Amazing Spider-Man.

ASM isn't perfect, but I enjoy the tone and performances FAR more than the Raimi movies.

I also don't really have a problem with funerals having rain. THat has to be one of the most bizarre issues I've heard someone have with a film.
macfint - 12/24/2013, 3:58 PM
he didnt mention the gay trend
NovaCorpsFan - 12/24/2013, 4:32 PM
Venom didn't look right at all. The symbiote shouldn't look like a costume on him, it should look like actual skin. He wasn't menacing in any way. His voice should have had that tone from the cartoon, where it's like two voices speaking at once. He didn't say, "We" or "Us", when referring to himself, which is fundamental to the character as it shows he's two separate entities. He wasn't big enough either. I didn't want to see a Venom twice the size of an average man, just a Venom that was stocky and at least seven foot tall. Topher Grace was absolutely awful in the role and he didn't do any aspect of it any justice.

I just hated the way the character was done.
hawkeye2012 - 12/24/2013, 7:05 PM
hawkeye2012 - 12/24/2013, 7:07 PM
staypuffed - 12/24/2013, 7:57 PM
Good points!
Jollem - 12/24/2013, 8:03 PM
Ocelot - 12/24/2013, 8:41 PM
The main problem with Venom in Spider-Man 3 was the lack of Venom and lack of development for Brock not his size. In the film he's the dark twisted mirror image of Spider-Man, him being the same size as Spider-Man helped to reinforce that. Venoms tongue was size-appropriate for the film. I was surprised they even gave Venom razor sharp carnivorous teeth.
GuardianDevil - 12/24/2013, 8:56 PM
The ONLY problem with Venom in Spider-Man 3?

The acting? Nope.
The visuals? Nope.
The action? Nope.
Topher Grace? Nope.
The tongue? Nope.
The cheesy lines? Nope.

The lack of screen time? Bingo!

That's why I like Venom in this movie, I just wish there was more. I understand his motivations, loved Grace in the role, loved the visuals and fight scenes. There just isn't enough of him, but he does steal the show in the few scenes that he's in.
epitaz - 12/24/2013, 9:45 PM
I agree with the villains becoming sympathetic characters towards the films end. I hated that ( and the fact that they mostly die ) but my biggest beef has been the fact that everybody knows his identity. I think he took his mask off in every movie. Goblin knew who he was, Doc Ock found out and he lost his mask on the train, Harry found out. Venom knew and Prof. Conners ( Lizard ) knew who he was. He took the mask off in ASM to get the kid out of the van. Years and years of working to keep his identity a secret in the comics is just constantly pissed away in the movies.
TheRationalOne - 12/24/2013, 11:04 PM
Spider-Man 3 sucked. Venom sucked in it. And it wasn't because of his size. I was more irritated by the fact that he didn't refer to himself as "we" and "us". He's self aware that he is two beings sharing a body. That's a major character point. As Grace was a shittastic Eddy Brock. [frick]in terrible. That whole movie was atrocious.
ruadh - 12/24/2013, 11:39 PM
Like I said, Spiderman 3 was on the other night, and I noted when Venom actually appears in the film. Yes, the symbiote gets some "character development" in the film...I still think just a random alien thing crashing by Peter is lame. BUT...I guess it's not that outrageous after random enhanced spider bit him. And Eddie gets some development, sure. It's just weird to introduce this new villain, more or less, at the beginning of the third act. If he was meant to be the ultimate opponent for Spiderman, then he needed to be FAR more active of a villain.

THe Sandman ending was also pretty weak, especially since he's the villain that closes the story. I also will be happy to never see Tobey Maguire cry again. I'd rather watch Wonder Boys over and over for 24 hours straight than a half hour of Spiderman 1, 2, or 3. Well, except for the bit after he stops the train in Spiderman 2. I still think the passengers' reaction to him being a kid, etc etc, is one of the best superhero moments in any CBM.

I also think Gwen covering her mouth after yelling "Peter!" in the trailer for ASM2 is easily another though. It's just a great play on a trope.
MarVell - 12/25/2013, 5:12 AM

CimJerrey - 12/25/2013, 6:19 AM
LOL FACE -  lol didn't read
rabid - 12/25/2013, 3:04 PM
The Webb film's changes haven't been as random as many people think. Most of the "changes" to the mythos are culled from the last decade of Spidey comics. From the last film's new costume to a monsterized Goblin, it's almost all straight off the page.
Christuffer - 12/25/2013, 8:03 PM
I loved Topher Grace as Venom. Perfect casting, spot on, couldn't have done better.

But he needed more screen time. If they just made him the main villain, it would have been different
Ocelot - 12/25/2013, 9:32 PM
You also have to taken into consideration that Raimi didn't even want Venom and the symbiote in the film in the first place, the character was shoehorned into the film during production, which is pretty much why everything to do with it was uninspired. It also didn't help that Raimi didn't even like the character.

"I had never read Venom in the comic books, since they came after my time. Because of that, I didn't have a natural inclination toward him. And when I read those comics, at [producer] Avi Arad's urging, I didn't understand where Venom's humanity was. I know that kids think he looks cool, and they think he's a good villain for Spider-Man. I actually didn't. What was it about Peter's own makeup that this villain represented some weaker or darker side to? Just looking like a dark version of him is not enough for me. The more I read [Venom stories], the less interested I became." - Sam Raimi
JediPhilosopher - 12/26/2013, 4:00 AM
I loved the first Raimi Spider-Man and each one after it less than the last. Spider-Man 3 and TASM sucked imo.

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