Sunday, June 28, 2015

An important message about Spider-Man

Greetings, internet. My name is Alex Shannon, and I am addressing the following post as an open-letter to everyone at Walt Disney, Marvel, Sony, and whoever is involved with the production of the upcoming Spider-Man movies.
Way back in the early 2000s, Sam Raimi's Spider-Man films ranked at the top of my favorite movies list. Super-hero films were picking up in popularity and quality, blazing forward into bigger and better things as time went on.
Time passed, new movies were released, new franchises gained ground, and some cinema-goers forgot the revolution that was Sam Raimi's Spider-Man movies. I'll bet that some don't even remember how bleak the outlook on super-hero films was before Sam Raimi came along and made a movie everyone loved.
And then along came Spider-Man 3, and the star of Spider-Man fell in the eyes of the public. It was a little bit rushed, it wasn't as long as it needed to be, and there was a little too much going on.
But even as the 2000's waned, I still loved watching the Spider-Man films. You see, the first movie made me pick up the comics. And from that point on I became a die-hard Spider-Man fan. Before that, I didn't have much interest in comics. I knew they existed, but I didn't care about them.
And Spider-Man changed that for me. I got invested in the characters and the stories. Over time though, I abandoned the comics. Marvel's Civil War crossover left a bad taste in my mouth. Some of the characters I loved betrayed their beliefs and values for the sake of a pointless conflict, and others were forced to fight the best of their friends and loved-ones in response to that conflict. Tony Stark was especially out of character, betraying his friends, and siding with the pro-registration side? I'd like to think that he's got a stronger moral fiber than that.
And the fallout led to even worse things. As a Raimi fan, I shipped Peter and Mary-Jane like a fleet of Galaxy-class starships at Warp-9. So you can imagine my reaction to One More Day.
I kept reading for a while after that, but those storylines soured the Marvel universe for me. The magical spark that Spider-Man had was gone. The wonder of being a man who can do whatever a spider can just vanished under a cloud of darkness. This world of escapism and amazement which had so inspired me was gone, replaced by something less than it had been before.
So I stopped. I stopped reading comics about this time. I tried going over to DC for a while, but I had no clue what was going on or where to start, and eventually I just stopped reading ongoing comics altogether.
But I still had Sam Raimi's Spider-Man movies, the X-Men movies, the Avengers series and Christopher Nolan's Batman movies. My favorites remained unruined and perfect there. Nothing could change that.
And that's why I reacted so negatively to the 2012 reboot of the Spider-Man movies. I became invested in Sam Raimi's version of Spider-Man. I wanted to see how he and Mary-Jane ended up. I wanted to see what new stories were to be had. And for all of that to be swept away in favor of retelling the story with a new cast? I hated the idea. Especially since the new love-interest was going to be Gwen Stacy.
I thought The Amazing Spider-Man wasn't going to be as good as Spider-Man, I thought they were going to ruin it and destroy everything that made the movies good.
But they didn't. They made it better.
Andrew Garfield was a better Spider-Man than Tobey Maguire could ever be. And I'll remind you, I was among the most die-hard of die-hard Raimi fans. I went into the theater with dread in my brain and hate in my soul. And I came out of that theater inspired and rejuvenated. This was the magic of Spider-Man that had captured me in the first place. The wonder, the heart and soul of Spider-Man was back, and better than ever. With an amazing cast, a great director, and great ideas, this was the best thing that could have happened to the series.
And then, two years later, Amazing Spider-Man 2 came along and wrecked it all.
I don't know if any of you reading this know me personally, but most of my friends and family know I don't like Spider-Man 2. It was a downer of a movie with too much time dedicated to despair and depression, and while it had its good moments, I didn't like it as much as the previous Spider-Man film, which I felt covered Peter's particular issues with Uncle Ben's death adequately.
That was my main issue with Amazing Spider-Man 2. It went from Peter being on top of the world to seeing George Stacy's ghost warning him to stay away from Gwen.
And Peter heeding those warnings didn't make any sense. He'd already decided to ignore them at the end of the first film in the series, and there was no reason for him to go back to that. And that tone follows him around through far too much of the film.
That's part of the issue. Another part is that Harry Osborn's character was ruined. Dane Dehaan makes a great villain, don't get me wrong, but he shouldn't have turned villain quite so fast, since it ruins any chances he'd have for redemption later on in the series.
And now let's talk about the bizarre plot.
Marvel's Civil War was a plot that hinged on certain characters making stupid decisions. The Amazing Spider-Man 2's plot hinges on Peter Parker and Harry Osborn making stupid decisions.
For one thing, Peter had plenty of opportunities to explain to Harry why using Spider-Man's blood wouldn't be a good idea. He could say Spider-Man has HIV. He could say that Spider-Man has some other blood-borne disease that the super-healing can't cure.
Or, he could just explain how he is Spider-Man and found some of his father's research that said that the Spider-Serum was tuned to Parker family DNA and that it wouldn't work for anyone else unless they find some way to engineer the Spider-Serum to work with Osborn family DNA.
And the best part is that Harry couldn't do anything about it. Peter would be able to tell (Spider-sense) if Harry wanted to go public with his identity, and if he tried to tell anyone Peter could just kill him. He wouldn't, but he could. He's Spider-Man, and no matter what, Harry Osborn could do a total of jack and squat to him.
Besides, he's Peter's best friend. Yeah, Harry is a little bit nuts, but he still would have understood, especially considering how much they uncovered about Norman Osborn's experiments in that film.
Then again, he might not have, considering how poorly his character was written.
It's not like the plot couldn't have worked. It just didn't work the way they made it.
And then there's the ending.
Spoiler warning, Gwen Stacy died at the end.
I dreaded that the moment I found out that the Green Goblin was going to be in Amazing Spider-Man 2. Despite my love of Mary-Jane Watson, Emma Stone's Gwen Stacy made a great impression on me.
She and Andrew were great together, and I couldn't imagine them replacing her with someone else. It would just be wrong. Peter Parker went through enough when George Stacy and Uncle Ben died in the last movie, and killing a character like Gwen would have just been cruel.
And they did it.
You remember what I said about killing the magic? Well that took what had become throughout the movie, the blazing fire of Spider-Man magic and doused it with enough water to drown a freaking whale.
Yes, they managed to recapture part of it with the ending. It doesn't matter. The shadow had been cast.
But I figured there might be a glimmer of hope. Spider-Man was going to be in The Avengers, and I thought that would improve matters.
But at this point, it's only looking worse and worse. Andrew Garfield is gone, replaced by Tom Holland.
Tom Holland is about four-inches too short to be Peter Parker, and he doesn't look a damn thing like Andrew Garfield.
Yes, we've had cast transitions in the MCU in the past. We went from Terrence Howard to Don Cheadle as Rhodey, from Edward Norton to Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner, and from Rebecca Romjin to Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique in the X-Men movies. Yes, I know all of those cast-changes worked. But the problem at hand is that they're trashing the pre-existing Spider-Man that captured peoples imaginations.
So I've got a proposal for Marvel, Sony, Walt Disney and everyone else who's working on that new Spider-Man movie.
Emma Stone has a contract for at least one more Spider-Man movie, right? And Marvel has an ongoing Elseworlds series where Gwen Stacy was bitten by the spider, right?
So here's my suggestion. Rather than rebooting the whole series, just rewrite the ending of Amazing Spider-Man 2 so that Peter dies instead of Gwen, and find some way for Gwen to get the powers of a spider.
Basically what I'm saying is that I want a Spider-Gwen movie with Emma Stone in the starring role.
Andrew Garfield might not be able to stick around in the role of Peter Parker, but we'll at least be able to keep some continuity with The Amazing Spider-Man series.
And best of all, we'd get to keep Emma Stone for a few more movies.
Granted, if you guys over at Marvel decide to do the right thing and scrap this upcoming reboot, fire Tom Holland and get Andrew Garfield back, you guys still have the perfect Mary-Jane Watson at hand, and her name is Emma Stone.
So, to the fans of Spider-Man who read this, which do you want to see? A continuation of The Amazing Spider-Man movies with the same cast as before, or a quasi-reboot with Emma Stone in the role of Spider-Gwen? I've made petitions for both, check them out below!
To maintain the series as it is, click here.
For a Spider-Gwen movie with Emma Stone, click here.

And for my fans who were looking forward to more of my summer cinema-catchup, I'll be getting back to that next week if there isn't another issue such as this one that requires my attention. The film in question?
The Maze Runner!

Image from