It’s a big week, Sony are about to release the third reboot of Spiderman, this time however in conjunction with Marvel Studios and officially making Spidey a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. A lot of fans are excited for this, hoping for an improvement on the character after the disaster that was The Amazing Spiderman 2 : Rise Of Electro (no joke that is seriously what it was called!) and hopefully introducing the Venom-verse to the MCU as well. It is no easy decision to reboot this franchise again and while I don’t think I could see another Uncle Ben murder scene, preview screenings have already confirmed we will not (huzah!)
In honour of this I decided to boot up my Amazon Prime account and watch the original Raimi Spiderman trilogy that I was expecting to look severely dated and was preparing to mock. To be fair I have not seen this films since they were released at the cinemas and my teenage boy hood obsession with these films has long since past.
We started with Spiderman, the film that started it all. I had my laptop and Nintendo Switch beside me ready for the boredom to wash over me and leave it on as background noise. Surprisingly I did not reach for it once, the only thing I did do was send out a few Tweets about how freaking amazing these films are. It would seem that time and a slew of superhero movies in between now and then had pushed the memory of these films into the back of my memory and now the love and excitement I had for this character and films came flooding back.
First of all Spiderman himself aka Peter Parker played by Tobey Maguire. I feel like his performance is so under-rated he completely had the geeky nerd thing down pat and being a complete clutz and bumbling teenager fumbling his way into adolescence. I loved that he is allowed to be human and allow the robber to get away with the boxing ring owner’s money because he didn’t get it and the effect that this ultimately has on his future and family. It is powerful, it’s moving and he cements himself as an incredible actor in his portrayal of Spiderman and Peter Parker as separate characters.
Mary Jane Watson was also perfectly cast by “it” girl at the time Kirsten Dunst. While I am not a massive fan of Dunst and her recent career choices, she had a solid first start with hit films like Bring It On and American Beauty. Her performance in these films were reminiscent of an old Hollywood movie star in the making and it added such a depth and interesting quality to this character. Her consistent screaming in Spiderman 2 however did come through as extremely irritating. She also provided us with the Spiderman dangle kiss that would live on to STILL be on of the hottest on screen kisses ever seen.
Rosemary Harris at Aunt May is definitely my favourite performer in these films. She provides the voice of reason and delivers so many inspiring and moving speeches (particularly in Spiderman 2) that actually brought tears to my eyes. Now I could just be all choked up on nostalgia here but that speech about heroes being inspiring, an overall force for good, admirable and what people need in their lives (particularly in a world of darker and conflicted heroes of late) I found this to be so beautiful. There is also no comparison to seeing Aunt May hanging off a gothic clock tower and hitting Doc Oc in the head with her umbrella. Seriously this Aunt May is the BEST incarnation and after comments from Sally Field about her flippant attitude towards the character in her Amazing Spider-Man version, you can really see the difference in their performances of the same character.
Theme wise these movies hit the mark, one of my favourite parts of Spiderman 2 is the general public who cheer him on everytime he swings past with “Go Spidey!” etc and it wasn’t just here and there, it was all through the film and is further enhanced when he is trying to save everyone on the infamous train scene (one that still gets my heart pumping!) and when the hands stop Spiderman from falling onto the tracks and they do the mosh pit lift to the middle of the car. The music stops, there is a silence and a respect in this scene that superhero movies just can’t seem to hit in the current slew of films. I would consider the only slight comparison could be the Superman saves the burning building in Mexico and the crowd does that weird thing, but it is nowhere near as effective as this scene in Spiderman 2.
With the introduction of Spiderman in Captain America : Civil War, we saw a fun and silly side to the character that Marvel fans apparently are craving. I for one however am a little more cynical. Spiderman for me has always been an amazing character, he was the very first super hero that I was introduced to, my mum still tells me stories of how we she would watch Spiderman cartoons with me when I was young and eat 100’s and 1000’s biscuits and this was our mother/son bonding time, so I have an affinity with this character that if it is done right (Amazing Spider Man I’m looking at you!) I will very disappointed and probably really sad that the third iteration of this character could possibly fall flat on its face or head into bumbling Marvel moron territory.
It may sound like I am a bit cyncial towards Spiderman Homecoming and the fact that Black Panther got pushed back for another Spiderman movie, it made me a little mad. After seeing some great trailers and bringing Michael Keaton into the mix has me very optimistic about Homecoming and the future of the Spiderman movies. Tom Holland has proved he has the acting chops and the charm to bring this character to life and hopefully Homecoming will put my fears to rest.
Keep it locked on Novastream for our reviews and news on Spiderman : Homecoming and the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Article by Alaisdair Leith