Friends, I loved ‘The Amazing Spiderman 2’ (hereafter referred to as ‘TAS2’) so much that I was under the impression that everyone loved it.
It is only recently that I discovered that the film has something of a negative reputation amongst ‘fans’ of Spiderman.
This is a shame since as far as I can tell it is by far the best Spiderman movie ever made.
One of the main reasons why people dislike the movie is because they don’t like the fact that a different take on the Siderman universe is being portrayed. And I’ve come to realise that the reason why some people hate this different take is actually quite simple: they are children.
I’m not saying that as an insult, even though it may sound as if I am.
What I mean is that these people are too young to realise that there is no ‘Spiderman’. There are only interpretations of Spiderman.
I’m in my 30s and I’ve been reading Spiderman since I was a titanium cub.
As mentioned previously I have lived through so many remakes, reboots, and alternate timelines that I honestly do not give a shit what a writer chooses to do with a character, unless they violate the spirit of the character.
Halle Berry’s Catwoman was a steaming pile of shit.
But that had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that she’s African American, or her performance, or anything else that was under her control. They could have put any European American woman in that movie (including Michelle Pfeiffer) and the movie still would’ve sucked balls because it had nothing to do with the character of Catwoman.
This is relevant to TAS2 because what most of the peanut gallery don’t seem to get is that Andrew Garfield’s Spiderman absolutely is in the spirit of the character. Anyone who complains that parts of his version aren’t ‘canon’ is missing the point.
In fact they’re missing the point twice, because the version of Spiderman’s world that appears in the Garfield movies is heavily influenced by the version that exists in Earth-1610, the ‘Ultimate’ Marvel universe.
I know, I know, I’ve gone full geektard.
Now, there are literally hundreds of entirely canon versions of the Marvel universe, but the only 3 that you need to know about are:
Earth-616: The ‘regular’ Marvel universe (the one whose comic books we’ve all been reading since childhood)
Earth-19999: The Marvel cinematic universe (the one all the Marvel Studios movies are set in)
Earth-1610: The Ultimate universe (so named because in it the Avengers are called The Ultimates)
The Ultimate universe is on that list because it’s the place where a large amount of the best comic book writing of the past 15 years has taken place. It’s not just a single title, it’s an entire universe of multiple comics, most of them good, some of them extraordinary (although as with all comics they go through good patches and bad).
Marvel started the Ultimate universe for two reasons, one narrative and one practical. The narrative reason is that they wondered what it would be like to have a universe where fresh ideas were given a chance to flourish. So in it Peter Parker still has to cope with several years of high school. The Fantastic Four are grappling with puberty in addition to their superpowers. Many of the villains are more twisted by what has happened to them and so on.
For example this is the Green Goblin:
And this is Ultimate Green Goblin:
Anyway, the practical reason for making a new narrative universe is that it gave them a chance to give a bunch of under-appreciated comic book writers a whole world to play in where they could show off their abilities.
It’s pretty damn awesome.
I bring this up because many people don’t seem to realise that the Marvel movies that have been so successful borrow heavily, and shamelessly, from the Ultimate universe, because it’s a storehouse of great ideas.
Example, this is Hawkeye:
And this is Ultimate Hawkeye.
Guess which one they decided to use as inspiration for Jeremy Renner’s character?
But if that isn’t obvious enough for you then try this on for size.
This is Nick Fury:
And this is Ultimate Nick Fury:
Hmmm…there’s something different about him but I just can’t place it…
(As a side note the Ultimate universe is also a lot more politically aware than the Marvel universe. One example is that Ultimate Nick Fury is a badass because he was the black guy that they tested the supersoldier serum on the night before the top brass arrived to see Steve Rogers get dosed. True fucking story.)
So people who dislike the ‘different look’ of the Electro in TAS2 should remember that this what Ultimate Electro looks like:
There is nothing ‘non-canon’ about it, and it wouldn’t matter if there was, it would still look a lot better than this:
And Andrew Garfield’s Spiderman is a composite of both Spiderman and Ultimate Spiderman (although to be honest the two really aren’t very different) and he actually does a better job of showing some of Spiderman’s classic characteristics (“a god named ‘Sparkles’!?”) than Tobie Maguire did (although I think he did a decent job too).
There really isn’t anything wrong with the version of Spiderman that is on display in TAS2. It isn’t just a valid interpretation it’s a composite of the two main Marvel universes, and a bunch of fresh ideas, just like every other Marvel comic book movie.
Then there are the people who complain that the film makers were just “cashing in on the franchise”. I have bad news for those people: that’s what every fucking comic book movie does!
You think the people who spend millions on those movies don’t want to make money?
Are you a communist?
Because it’s fine if you are, I am just saying that they definitely are not.
And once again it really wouldn’t matter if the film was some sort of ‘get rich’ scheme, it’s still the best Spiderman movie ever made. The scene where Spidey has to save three people at once was well conceived and brilliantly executed, and what’s more it is the first time in any of the movies that we in the audience have had an opportunity to see what it feels like to be Spiderman. To be completely aware of what’s going on around you and to have the speed and the certainty that is needed to act on that information.
It was fucking awesome!
Plus the acting was top notch throughout, as was the writing. All the action scenes were great and I found the pacing to be perfect.
And they killed Gwen Stacy.
Do you have any idea what kind of balls that took? They killed off Emma Stone, one of the franchise’s main draw cards. And they did it because that’s what happens to fucking Gwen Stacy! She falls off of a high thing and despite all his efforts Spiderman just isn’t fast enough to catch her. They stayed true to the source material, even though it was difficult.
When I was watching that scene, and I saw Spidey’s webbing flying towards her to try and snatch her from death, my heart was in my throat because I knew that she is supposed to die, but I desperately hoped that in this version, in this timeline, she might somehow survive.
The scene was all the more impactful because of the way they interspersed slow motion and regular speed to show the different perspectives of the characters. The normal speed shots are Gwen’s perspective. It’s an incomprehensible cacophony, a shamble of twisted metal, all she can be certain of is that she’s falling. But Spiderman’s perceptions are superhuman. He can see every piece of debris, every opportunity to save her as it vanishes from him. And he can see, with perfect clarity, how utterly terrified and desperate Gwen is as she falls.
And thanks to the use of slow motion and closeups we can see it too.
I cry whenever I watch that scene. It’s heart-wrenching.
But it’s also fucking brilliant.
It’s well presented and, most importantly, it’s true to the characters.
All in all ‘The Amazing Spiderman 2’ is by far the best Spiderman movie ever made.
And I haven’t come across any criticisms of the movie that overturn this belief.
It’s just all around awesome
[Standard Disclaimer: this post was entirely my own opinion and was not paid for in any way, directly or otherwise, by anyone or anything that stands to gain in any way from the ideas expressed herein.]