In 1977, Nick Hammond became the first theatrical Peter Parker. The two hour movie branched into a thirteen episode tv show. The movie was made to see if a series would succeed but during this time, tv land was suffering from its own superhero fatigue. Hulk, Batman, Wonder Woman and many more incarnations of comic book heroes had been going strong for a while. The villains of the show weren’t even apart of Spidey’s famous rogue gallery but a mind controlling guru. It was such an expensive project that every scene that Peter’s Aunt May appeared she was played by a different actress. It was as campy as it could get.
Then came Tobey McGuire. He wasn’t executives’ first choice but director Sam Rami suggested he was the best choice. Tobey had a nerdy charm that Rami liked. McGuire also showed dedication with his workout results. And when the director and his star made their movie, it was the first film to crack a one hundred-million-dollar weekend. It showed studios that superheroes were the next big thing. It was a critical and commercial success because it was highly stylized, self-realized and it didn’t hold back on its character development. I speak about a scene, where Green Goblin attacks Spidey while he protects Mary-Jane and a trolley full of kids. Spidey is tested with his heart and his duty and suffers the consequence for it. The Goblin throws a bomb in his face and brutally beats our hero down. He literally doesn’t pull back any punches and its truly a shock. Soon Spidey triumphs with the power of love when the Goblin directly threatens MJ.
In Spider-man 2, Parker comes to terms with excepting the responsibility of being this hero. Audiences loved watching Spidey’s torturous self-discovery. We learned that being a superhero usually meant that blissful happiness wasn’t possible under the savior lifestyle. This sequel changed the face of the superhero story. The film has a more contemplative pace. There is a scene where a power-less Peter saves a girl from a burning building but can’t save another victim. It follows with a scene of Peter thinking about his choice to take his responsibility as NYC’s defender, Spider-man or live his life as college student, Peter Parker. It’s a hard choice but he makes it and is rewarded for all his hard work in the end with heart of his true love. But the looming doom of said responsibility left it open for the next chapter. Spider-man 2 is known as one of the best superhero films of all time.
Then came Spider-man 3. The studio, director, and the fan service all came to a clash. Rami had a certain direction he wanted to go but the studio wanted to adhere to the fan out cry to include certain characters in the film and it resulted in a big huge mess. Although the production team returned from the previous film and it was financial success like the others, critiques and fans didn’t like it much. A few years later the studio decided to reboot the whole franchise.
In this next version, the studio went for an overly used film tradition of being more “gritty” with The Amazing Spider-man Directed by Marc Webb. In this story, Peter meets his comic-book- soulmate, Gwen Stacy. Peter and Gwen are played by Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone. The paired dated in real life after finishing this film. Their chemistry was beautifully shown on film. In fact, the studio birthed ideas for more sequels, spin offs, and a shared universe because of this. But during Amazing 2’s production the studio got a little carried away and spun too many ideas for the one film and went out of control. The Amazing series wasn’t a complete failure. It featured a more comedic Spidey and beautifully included one of the character’s most iconic storylines in comic-book history.
Finally came the unprecedented event. During Marvel’s production of Captain America: Civil War, Executive Producer Kevin Feige, proposed to include the character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe movie. This was a gamble for a few reasons. The character was owned by Sony Studios but Feige and fans alike wanted to see Spidey interact with other Marvel characters. Also, because in the comic version of the ‘Civil War’ story, Spider-man plays a very big part. Sony and Marvel miraculously came together to bring the latest version of the character to the big screen again. His part wasn’t as big as it is in the comic version but it allowed for Spidey to have his own story told in the MCU. This new version promises to take the Spider-Man character in a different direction than before.
Just as our world has evolved from era to era so has the character of Spider-man. In Homecoming, Peter Parker learns how to use his powers with his new suit and live as a normal teenager. It’s different from its predecessors. It didn’t waste time telling stories it told before about Parker. The love interest wasn’t the central plot and it didn’t focus on the over played origin story. It was about the spider-boy becoming a man. Marvel took a risk and told a Howard Hughes-esc high school centered story. The film utilized some of creators, Stan Lee and Steve Ditko’s strongest imagery from the comics including the heroic struggle Parker faces while under tons of rubble. Parker finds inconceivable strength within himself from the thoughts of the people he cares about. Tom Hollands acting truly sells it and once again we have a great Spider-man and movie. However it felt like another piece of the MCU puzzle with an exciting but low stakes third act. But that also leaves it open to a multiverse of possibilities.
Facebook: Bobby Braceface