Saturday, May 05, 2007
Movies I've seen in 2007, part 2
As I mentioned here I don't really care for comic book movies, even though -- or maybe because -- I love comic books. The movies rarely get it right, "Superman 2" was the last one as far as I can tell. Last night I went with a bunch of family members to see Spider-Man 3 for my niece's birthday. There's no way I can review this movie without revealing what a comic book nerd I am, but since I don't think that'll come as a shock to anyone who's read much of this blog, here we go:
When I was a kid reading comic books, "Spider-Man" was one of my favorites. And I liked the action, sure, but I knew Spidey was going to triumph over Doc Ock and the Kingpin and the Lizard and the Vulture and those guys. I didn't know if Aunt May was going to get well, I didn't know if Peter Parker was going to end up with the sweet beautiful Gwen Stacy or that redheaded hussy Mary Jane Watson. So it was the soap opera elements that kept me coming back month after month. (Which is what I guess I liked about Archie comics too, and in Riverdale I was a Betty Cooper man; I've always been impervious to the charms of divas.) And I don't think I'm alone in this; it was the essence of Marvel Comics' success.
But I may be alone in the size of the crush I had on Gwen Stacy. It was huge, but the way John Romita drew her and Stan Lee wrote her she was irresistible. Peter Parker was a nerd, picked on at school, racked with guilt over the death of his uncle and worried all the time about his sick aunt, mistreated by his abusive boss, struggling to keep his grades up and still help people in his Spider-Man persona. And he had this absolutely drop-dead gorgeous girlfriend, who was smart and funny and, well, perfect. Yes, she eventually died because the creative team felt they had taken her and Peter's relationship as far as it could go and they didn't want him to get married yet. Yes, I took it pretty hard, stopped reading comic books for several years and never really read Spider-Man again.
When the first Spider-Man movie came out I saw it with the same family members I saw last night's movie. There were several things I didn't like about it -- one was that the Green Goblin had a metal mask which was not as scary as the more flexible face-covering the "real" Goblin wore. But mostly it was the fact that they acted like Gwen never existed. So, you'd think I'd be happy that Gwen is in this one, but I'm not. This Gwen is not my Gwen. She doesn't have enough sense to move away from the window when I huge metal beam is coming straight for her, she has no rapport with Spidey except the black-suited bad Spidey. And she's just there to test and eventually strengthen Peter and M.J.'s relationship. So no, if they don't understand her character any better than that I think I liked it better when they left her out altogether.