|Posted by Ratin8tor on July 18, 2012 at 5:00 PM|
Hello and welcome to In Too Deep, where I over-analyse a certain section of pop culture.
As of time of writing I've just gotten back from The Amazing Spider-Man, a halfway decent film that's nether terrible nor fantastic. But there was one thought bugging me throughout the entire thing: I've seen this exact same movie before. More specifically, Batman Begins. So if that is true, can I predict what the next two sequels are going to be like.
First off, lets look at the comparisons. Is it fair to make them, considering the both films do present the subject matter differently and both telling the same type of story? No, not really. But the influences cannot be denied so readily. First off, lets look at the beginning. Both Bruce Wayne's and Peter Parker's parents leave him when he is a little kid, leaving him bitter and antisocial. They are taken in by a wise mentor (Ra's Al Ghul and Curt Connors respectively) and each have their respective love interests (Rachel Dawes and Gwen Stacy). Both leads gain their superpowers and eventually promise to do good with it, although it takes a few false starts. When their mentors turn rouge in an attempt to gas the city they're in, both heroes must stop them. Both save the day but vow to stay away from their love interests (and yes I know Spider-Man subverts it, but the point still stands). Both end with a hint about who the next villain of the movie is gonna be. So if The Amazing Spider-Man is a retread of Batman Begins, what can we expect in the future?
Well lets look at the sequel, The Webslinger. The villains of this movie are Norman Osborn and his son, Harry. Norman becomes the Green Goblin and, in traditional Spider-Man fashion, kills off Gwen Stacy because that's just what is needed to make the series dark and edgy. That and Rachel Dawes also died. Harry then goes on to become the Hobgoblin due to blaming Spider-Man for Gwen's death (who he'd fallen in love with), before redeeming himself and defeating his father. And dying at the same time. Spider-Man goes on to be a bigger vigilante.
Now since I haven't seen the Dark Knight Rises yet, I can only theorize what The Webslinger Swings would be about. Well since Bane is shaping up to be the anti-Batman, the obvious conclusion is to introduce Venom as the anti-Spider-Man. Add in the Black Cat for a bit of romance and you have a trilogy done and dusted.
But is it really that fair to compare The Amazing Spider-Man to Batman Begins? I mean there are only ten plots (as The Amazing Spider-Man points out at the end in the hopes that people won't be as annoyed by the tired rehash), so of course the hero's journey is what is in common between them. But it's more than that. It's not just doing a superhero origin story. It's doing the almost exact same origin story. Great films like Iron Man and Captain America showed how you could break the traditional mould when it comes to Origin Movies and still make them interesting. You could make the lead characters likeable and enjoyable to watch, not dull padding while we wait for the superpowers to finally kick in.
Truth be told I really don't like the first three Spider-Man movies. I certainly don't see the big appeal in them. Toby Maguire isn't a bad actor, he's just not all that interesting as Peter Parker. I don't care about Peter Parker. I paid to see Spider-Man and when he does come out on screen it generally tends to be quite good (though what's with him taking his mask off all the bleeding time. Batman never does that). But Peter Parker as a character is essentially not only a difficult character to write, he's also a very boring one. The point of the character is that he's a nerdy social outcast that gets given superpowers and decides to be good (something that was lacking in DC, hence the character's popularity). Until that point he is a smart loser. Now Steve Rogers was also a loser, but he had a loveable heart to him that made him appealing to watch. Peter Parker is meant to represent the audience, but the audience doesn't want to watch Peter Parker. We want to watch Spider-Man.
But getting back on topic, is it fair to compare Spider-Man to Batman? It wouldn't, if it wasn't for the fact that Sony only made this movie to keep the rights to Spider-Man. Oh sure the director and actors and whatnot seemed passionate about the project and do a decent enough job, but there's no love behind it. It's made to make money. Hence why it seems like such a shameless rip-off of Batman Begins. It saw how much money and prestige and money the Dark Knight made and decided to copy it. Hence why I can guarantee that the Green Goblin will be a cackling psychopath in the vein of the Joker. I can guarantee that Harry becomes like Two-Face. I can guarantee that Venom pops up in the third film. And it's already been written and well-known that Gwen Stacy is going to die.
Course when the films come out in 2014-2018 feel free to quote this back at me and prove how wrong I was.
So there you have it. My view that The Amazing Spider-Man takes too much from Batman Begins and suffers for it. If you disagree with anything, or have anything to add, feel free to leave a comment. Till next time.
Categories: In Too Deep