What On Earth-616 Is Going On With Spider-Man These Days?
Andrew Garfield is a beautiful man. Okay, perhaps that wasn’t — if you’ll excuse the pun — the most amazing way to start this off. Let’s try again.
We live in a post-Avengers world. That means that the world has been forever changed by the overwhelming success of The Avengers in 2012. As a result, every other superhero license has tried to follow suit by jumping on the bandwagon and bringing a whole bunch of characters in one go. Gone are the days where it was simply a single superhero and a single villain. Gone also, are the days when two villains — a la every Batman movie ever — was the order of the day. Now it’s a case of how many possible team-ups can you squeeze onto a screen at once?
- You’ll Be Able To Play (Expensive) PS2 Games On Your PS4 Now | 2 months ago
- Jessica Jones Disempowers Its Male Characters And The Effect Is Refreshing | 2 months ago
- Hell Is 30 000 Deathclaws Tearing Through Boston And It’s Glorious | 2 months ago
- Sony Santa Monica Is Teasing Something Truly Strange | 2 months ago
The grand irony is that it was a different team-up that kicked all of this off in the first place, with the first X-Men movie. The very next superhero film to come out was then Spider-Man, and it had everyone’s friendly neighbourhood wall-crawler as well as a Norman Osborne inspired Green Goblin. The thing about the Spider-Man movies is that none of them were particularly bad, but all of them didn’t quite get the superhero. Spider-Man is one of the most unlucky and conflicted superheroes in comic book history. He’s a perpetual teenager who masks his insecurities with wise-cracks and unnecessarily over-the-top battle poses.
The movies, however, have always come across as an extended metaphor for puberty.
I mean come on, the unwanted hair growth is there, the sudden unexplained body changes, and of course, excessive amounts of webbing…
The one thing that the movies did get right was that Peter Parker is an absolute dork, and no matter how hard he tried, his social ineptitude always shone brightest when he hadn’t donned his mask. When he had, he was a different person, and his genius as a person tended to take centre stage along with his extroverted compulsions. He was a show-off, with the mask on. Simple as that. The other thing that the movies got right, at least initially, were villain choices. Green Goblin and Doctor Octopus are Spider-Man’s greatest villains and fair play to the movies for bringing them in right at the beginning. It wasn’t until the third movie that they started tripping over themselves.
Okay that’s not entirely true. See, I didn’t particularly mind Venom and Sandman, nor the new Green Goblin, but I felt that all three of those characters were the same archetype, meaning that the role of primary antagonist, unless it was Peter himself, was simply not filled at all. All three of those characters could have played second fiddle to a more traditional villain and it would have made for a better experience. But I don’t agree that it was the worst movie ever. I think that the ‘goth Peter Parker’ portrayal was absolutely perfect, because that, to me, was how a dork would try to be cool, if he thought he could get away with it. The cringes induced were there by design, is what I’m saying.
Fast-forward a bit and the Spider-Man license has been rebooted
so that Sony doesn’t lose out to Marvel with The Amazing Spider-Man releasing shortly after The Avengers in 2012. It wasn’t the greatest film in the world, and formed yet another unnecessary origin story, but it did a few things right. For one, it cast a much more believable Peter Parker in that Adonis of a man, Andrew Garfield. For two, it had actual pacing that gave you the feel of setting up for a larger world. For three, it had Gwen Stacy and for that I will forever love the film. There were mistakes made, hopefully those can be ironed out in future. Still, I enjoyed the movie and found the humour especially to be far more organic and well-placed.
Now the news has been revealed that not only has a third Amazing Spider-Man movie been planned, to go with Amazing Spider-Man 2 which is releasing later this year, but there are also plans in place for a Sinister Six movie and a Venom movie.
My first, pretty much immediate response to that is, “Okay so who’s going to be appear opposite the Sinister Six and Venom, if not Spider-Man?” With the Sinister Six, we at least see some of the older Spider-Man content and what you might consider to be the ‘Avengers’ equivalent of the Spider-Man universe but with an obvious role reversal. I mean unless they attempted to pull off the Clone Saga, there was no other way to do it for this license. But Venom…
What the younger generations — or even the ones who, like me, grew up watching Spider-Man on TV in the 90s — don’t get is that Venom is a newer age character in the Spider-Man universe. He was created as a symbolic representation of the darker times of comics books, and represented a darker alternative to Peter Parker. That’s great and all but it means that he’s still something of an upstart character as a villain; very niche and situational. His strength is as an anti-hero opposite Spider-Man. The Venom from the Ultimate series especially, is a very much sentient creation that is capable of higher thought and has its own set of morals to work with. Far more interesting than the Scientologist’s wet-dream of an alien
orgasm organism that developed a liking to a teenager and then created another orgasm organism that was bat-shit insane.
Moving to the comics, and completely breaking cohesion, just like the Spider-Man series, we have Spectacular Spider-Man having finally killed off Peter Parker for good, with Otto Octavius having taken over Peter’s body and banished his mind, playing the role of Spider-Man in his place. The craziest thing is that readers of the ongoing series actually like the change, and enjoy watching Doctor Octo-Man battle himself and try to be a better person. I’m just like, “WTF is actually going on right now?”
But that’s okay because then we have a new ongoing series coming out this year called, have a guess… That’s right, Amazing Spider-Man. Featuring Peter Parker. Alive and well. Mephisto be damned.
Once again, I’m just sitting here going, “WTF is actually going on right now?”
That’s enough of comics for now. So ahead of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 later this year, we know that Rhino, Electro and some version of the Green Goblin will be playing parts in the story — and no, it’s not Hobgoblin because contrary to popular belief, unless they’ve retconned the original character, the Hobgoblin is just another goblin character — with no other villains confirmed as yet. Does this mean that The Amazing Spider-Man 3 will feature the rest of the makings of the Sinister Six?
More to the point, why the fuck are we getting side-characters the likes of Rhino and Electro when we could be getting truly evil antagonists the likes of Alistair Smythe? Maybe even the likes of Kraven or Mysterio. Villains who are every bit as intriguing as they are dangerous. No. The world is too morally grey for that, nowadays. Instead we get a man in a machine built like an animal and a walking torch. Because that’s what the fans want, right?
I’ve always been a massive fan of Spider-Man. As a kid, I collected random issues of comics, had a massive wall-sized poster of the first movie and even had Spider-Man figurines I kept in mint condition. And now that we have the Spider-Man series getting this much attention in mainstream media, I’m quite excited for it. It’s just that after having to witness the downfall of the original trilogy of Spider-Man movies, even after I quite enjoyed Spider-Man 3, I’m not up for watching another massive backlash and I really, really hope that Sony is aware of what’s going on with the license and aren’t just jumping the shark.
What do you think about the likes of a Sinister Six and Venom spinoff? Who would you put down to be antagonists in these movies? And do you read the comics at all? WTF is actually going on right now? Let us know in the comments.