Let me explain why I liked the movie Spider-Man.

I dunno if other comic book readers will agree, but for me, when I was growing up, there were two types of comic book people. Marvel people, and DC people. Marvel is stuff like Spider-Man, X-Men, Hulk. DC is stuff like Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman. Anyway, I always thought you had to be a fan of one or the other, not both. I guess there were people who read both, but to me, they were like those lame people who wear those half-Giant, half-A’s caps. Come on. Don’t whore yourself. I wasn’t hard core into comics so maybe other people will disagree, but yeah, I felt you had to choose. And I was a Marvel person.

Mostly because Marvel comics were more “real”. Not that comics are supposed to be realistic. Side note. The most unrealistic aspect of comics today are female characters’ breasts and uniforms. I can buy that they have, for example, psionic powers. They can fly – sure why not. They can emit powerful bursts of energy in the form of playing cards. No problem. What I can’t buy is that every single woman in the comics universe has ridiculously enormous breasts held in place by the skimpiest of outfits, ones that would get them kicked out of most public beaches. Wearing a string bikini gives a fighting advantage how? And isn’t it kind of distracting for their male teammates? Being constantly surrounded by women wearing floss with breasts larger than their heads? But anyway.

What I mean is that Marvel comics were just a bit more complex than DC comics which made them more real. Take Superman. I dunno, he was the very first superhero, so gotta cut him some slack, but he’s just kind of boring. He just has way too many super powers. And why’s he so good? What’s his motivation? Just because? I dunno, I’m a believer that power corrupts. It seems to me that it’d be more likely that he’d be super evil than super good. There’s no compelling explanation for why he’s good. And he has the all time worst disguise. His disguise is a pair of eyeglasses. Compelling.

Batman’s a little more complex with the parents thing. But I dunno. The fact that he’s a super millionaire makes it less compelling to me. But mostly, Batman’s OK. But Wonder Woman? She’s an Amazon. I dunno. DC Comics to me just tended to be like that.

Marvel Comics, on the other hand, were a bit more complex. You still had your lame heroes who are just purely good, no internal conflict, like Thor. Kind of Captain America. But there was a lot more complexity. Like the Incredible Hulk, he’s this weak scientist who becomes this massive brute with no intelligence that he can’t control. The contrast there is brilliant. I love how the Thing hates the way he looks, how he used to be this jock type guy and now he’s this ugly thing. Love the whole mutant thing, how having powers isn’t a panacea – they’re hated by society and either reject human society or work for it, with the whole Professor X redemption thing, sometimes going back and forth between sides. That’s more real to me. Or at least much more complex. SN. I was randomly in a comic store the other day and Juggernaut is an X-Man??? And is it just me or are there a lot more Koreans in the comics industry now? But I digress.

I always liked Spider-Man in particular because he was the most real. Meaning, he was almost someone we could relate to. And the conflicts he went through in his life were real also. Yes, he’s a superhero. But he still has to make a living. Goes through relationship struggles. A little socially awkward, a little sarcastic. And always, always, conflicted. If I was bitten by a dying radioactive spider, I’d probably be a lot like Spider-Man.

What I loved about the movie is that they got this, the most important aspect of Spider-Man, just right. He’s “real”. He’s not Christopher Reeve or Michael Keaton (??), these guys totally unlike you, who are fully noble and completely powerful or rich. He’s this nerdy guy who’s kind of an outsider. I heard the studio fought with Raimi on using Tobey Maguire, but he was perfect for the part, if you understand the character. Because that’s exactly who Spider-Man is, kind of an outsider, constantly commentating, kind of glib. I dunno, it was just right.

Anyway, the movie got a lot of parts just right to me. How he tries to use his powers selfishly at first. We’d all do that. Power corrupts – that’s what happens. And why he ends up doing good. It’s an inner conflict thing, lots of shame and guilt working there. A completely believable motive. He’s not innately noble. He’s driven in large part by guilt. Again, the movie got that right.

And the movie also got right the complexity of all his relationships. Which is again to me, very real. How his boss hates Spider-Man. How in general, he can’t make everyone like him and has to resign himself to that. How in fact, people will dislike him for doing good things. That because of who he is, one of his good friends hates him (without knowing it). That’s all really interesting to me, all these complex things.

I loved the MJ relationship also. I dunno, I actually thought Dunst was a little weak in the movie, but in terms of the nature of the relationship, it was right. In some sense, he can only win her because he’s Spider-Man, but because he’s Spider-Man, he can’t have her. I love the conflict there.

So, some people have said they disliked the effects for being cartoony and whatever. But I actually liked that part. It made it more comic-y. I remember when McFarlane started drawing Spider-Man, he revolutionized the character, not just with his detail and overinking (this is key to McFarlane’s style. I have this old G.I. Joe where he does pencils and someone else inks sparingly and it’s not the same at all. Conversely, when he inks someone else’s stuff it looks a lot like his own) but also in the way he completely exaggerated poses and stuff. Like made his eyes huge, made him more spindly, and put him in poses where his legs would almost be above his head. It was revolutionary.

Anyway, yeah, to me, the movie kept the spirit of the comic book feel, right from the beginning when it flips through all those comic things and with the effects – I think it’s intentionally exaggerated and stuff. That is Spider-Man.

I know, it’s kind of contradictory, that on one hand, what I like best about Spider-Man is that it’s “real”, and on the other hand, I like how the effects are so unreal. But again, it’s just getting into what I liked about the comic. He’s a fantastic character with very real life problems. So to me, the parts that are fantastic about him (his powers, etc.) should be treated fantastically. And the parts that are real should be treated realistically. And the movie got that right.

Anyway, my claim is that the people who liked the movie most were the people into the comic, because the movie “got” the comic just right. The parts that make Spider-Man so compelling and popular. I think the people who liked it next best were females. That’s my claim. Because so much of the movie is about relationship. And I think the people who liked it least were guys who weren’t into the comic. I dunno, that’s my claim.

Anyway, yeah, liked the movie a lot.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *