About the Contest
Here is a cool contest hosted by CineTV asking members to talk about their favorite movies. I mean, everybody watches movies, so it shouldn’t be that difficult, right?
If you answered – right – then you can participate too. 😊
If you fancy participating and share about your own favorite movie, you can do so here.
Spiderman | Marvel or DC?
At least, I wasn’t sure that there was a difference between Spiderman, Superman, He-Man, and the other superheroes that I grew up watching in the animated version. Well, I am not that old to have seen them in comics first. 😊. But here’s the thing - among the superheroes that I have mentioned above, find the odd one out.
By now, most know that Spiderman has nothing to do with Superman and He-Man. He literally comes from the competing universe. Avengers' movies had made it amply clear that Spiderman belongs to the Marvel Universe while Supes and He-Man to the DC world. But that distinction was not so obvious for us as kids. The Superman and Spiderman cartoons were aired on Sundays, and we, as tiny fans, loved them both.
But you’ve got to admit that Supes did not have such a mind-tingling (hehe, pun intended) and nostalgia-evoking jingle to his name. In fact, none of the cartoons back in those days had a jingle to them, barring He-Man. The latter is the only other cartoon that had a good background score (not jingle).
Hey, hold on, aren’t we talking about movies here? Yes, we are. Let’s get to the cinematic world.
Spiderman | Difficulties in the Reel World
While we had seen the animated (cartoon) versions of the superheroes that I talked about, we also saw their celluloid version. In fact, supes debuted in films as early as 1948. Phew! We remember our beloved Christopher Reeve playing the Supes and making himself a household name by 1978. We also saw shows around Batman, Green Lantern, and others quite close to their comic debut, but not so with Spiderman. Why?
Here’s why and it is a bit of trivia for you.
Representing Spiderman on celluloid was beyond the special effects of the 1960s and 70s. In fact, the 1980s and the 90s also had not evolved to host Spiderman in the cinemas. So, Spiderman could not make it to the reel world.
Despite Star Wars and Terminator being around in the 20th century, getting Spiderman on the reel was difficult. I hope you can imagine the complexity of getting a web-swinger animated!
Just for comparison. Here is the Terminator-1 CGI from the 1984 Terminator movie.
Notice how the terminator’s metal version shakes and breaks in every frame with respect to (w.r.t) the background. Now try doing the movement at a high speed, and the whole scene would look unreal. That was the problem with showing a web-swinging Spiderman - which would have been a high-speed movement w.r.t. the background. It was next to impossible.
And that brought us to the turn of the century.
CGI Becomes Fast Enough to Catch Up With Spiderman
And then Spiderman was ready to make it to cinemas. The first Spiderman movie starring Tobey Maguire happens to be the one that just bamboozled me. Do you want to know why?
I was short of breath when I saw this scene for the first time. Can you believe the CGI over here? And this is 2002. I am a Terminator fan, but anybody could tell that this web-swinging scene was beyond special.
Now, the chances are that you would have watched all the current Marvel movies and, therefore, are like, what’s great about that scene? But then you aren't seeing it for the first time. Let's do a small exercise. Forget all that you saw for a moment. Assume that the best CGI you would have seen is in Terminator 2 when the liquid metal villain takes form. From that perspective, go back and watch this scene again.
Do you see it? Do you feel it? And that’s why I love the first Spiderman movie the most. It just swept me off my sci-fi entrenched feet! I still love all the other Spiderman movies, including the other actors, but this set up the tone. So, we will look at the very first Spiderman movie.
Spiderman Vs. the Green Goblin
The ones who have read the comics or the animated version of the Green Goblin would have a bit of background. But let’s understand the story in this movie. I am sure everybody knows that Spiderman is the humble Peter Parker who gains his spider strength after being bitten by a radioactive spider. He first uses his strength to win wrestling matches and earn some quick buck. After one such bout, the owner of the place refuses to give Peter Parker what is due. Peter is angry, but he leaves anyway. Just about then, a thug steals the money from the owner and runs in Peter’s direction. However, Peter lets him run away as a payback to the owner, who refused his actual due.
As Peter makes his way home, he gets the news that Uncle Ben had been shot few blocks down the road and that the cops were behind the suspect. Peter puts on his mask and follows the suspect, and gets him at an old warehouse. As he removes the suspect's mask, he recognizes that it was the same thug who stole the money and ran out in front of him. It then occurs to him that had he stopped him then, Uncle Ben would have been alive.
That’s where he transforms and remembers one saying of Uncle Ben.
“With great powers come great responsibilities.”
And that’s how we get the crime-fighting, friendly neighborhood Spiderman. He is a student in the morning going through his daily chores and becomes a crime-fighting hero in the night.
The Green Goblin
The movie also pans on Peter Parker’s school life and his best friend, Harry Osborn. Harry’s father, Norman Osborn, is the multi-millionaire owner of Oscorp. Norman is quite impressed by the young Peter Parker whom he finds to be smart and confident. However, he does not have the same impression about his own son. Harry gets it but is not keen to do anything about it.
Did You Know?
In the comic books as well as the animated version of Spiderman, there is this realization that Spiderman does not use his full power in combat. This is evident in many circumstances when other Avenger characters took over Spiderman's body. Peter Parker is a student who is pushed into crime-fighting by circumstances. So, he usually held back his punches, unlike Captain America who was trained for combat.
Norman, in the meanwhile, is keen to win a military order on the back of his new invention. However, time is not in his favor, and his own board of directors votes him out of office. To expedite the production of his new serum and get back his lost pride, he tries it on himself. The serum, though, is not ready for human trials. The serum gives Norman enough strength but also drivers him crazy. Now, Norman is a civilized-looking man with a monster lurking inside him. He wishes to take revenge on his board and finds a festive gathering as the right place. Incidentally, Peter Parker, as Spiderman, is also invited to the same place.
As Norman, suited up as the Green Goblin, comes to the outdoor festivities, he blasts his board members standing on a balcony. All of them are instantly vaporized, and Spiderman enters the turmoil to stop Green Goblin. That’s the first tryst between the hero and the villain.
The Green Goblin Suspects He Knows Spiderman
As the movie progresses, Norman, the Green Goblin, suspects that Peter Parker is Spiderman. At one point, after their clash, Norman reaches Peter’s house to check on him and clear his doubts.
Take a look at the scene. Back then, this was a gem too.
That was close, but Norman does believe that he has, in fact, found out Spiderman. From then, it is the fight of the good against evil. It has a lot of arcs intertwined. For example, Peter does not want to harm his friend Harry’s father, Green Goblin (Harry’s father) wants Spiderman to join forces with him, Mary Jane is Parker’s secret crush, and yet Harry’s girlfriend.
So, the movie is fast-paced from thereon while handling each character well. As much as I would want to tell you the full story and it wouldn’t be criminal considering that the movie itself is nearly two decades old, I have to think about potential movie buffs. For their sake, we will stop it at this.
But let me also tell you that you should not be carrying any doubts about the movie. After all, this specific version led to seven more movies coming out with two other heroes in Peter Parker’s role. So, yeah, a good movie, and I would definitely recommend it.
Go and watch! 😊
Wasn’t I Right?
I am sure now you agree with me that this movie was indeed a great one at the turn of the century. Also, if you see the most recent avenger movie that came out in 2019, you would agree that the CGI of the 2002 Spiderman was not bad. It was awesome, and the web-swinger cast a web of magic on his fans. I am one of them too!
I hope you enjoyed reading about the movie. Do let me know your views about the movie as much as what you loved in it. I look forward to your thoughts!
Image Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons