It’s love month and here on Nerd Book I wanted to make you guys a little something-something that would fit the theme. *totally unsuspicious wink* I’m totally trustworthy, just ask the Bookeater. *another totally unsuspicious wink* Okay my winky eye is getting tired, so I’d say it’s about time to jump into the thick of this article, so let’s go!
This article is going to be about the two most recent Spiderman films, and just so you can’t say I didn’t warn you,
You can be a DC fan or a marvel fan but you gotta love you some Spidey right? I mean back in 2000(ish) Tobey Maguire awkwardly brought Peter Parker to life on the big screen. It’s not hard to relate to a nerdy guy that’s always picked on by most of his schoolmates. Kind of hard to argue with this point, it’s like he was created so that high school loners across the world would have a hero to relate to. To my knowledge, and personal experience, he was the first hero any normal person could relate with (unless you were a popular kid in high school), you could actually go up to Peter Parker and go “oh hey bro, I kinda feel you.” Imagine saying something like that to ultra-bourgeois psychopath Bruce Wayne, or alien from another mother Clark Kent. Right? Right. Now after 3 movies, the last one including an awkward emo strut from Tobey Maguire, we immediately got word that they’re rebooting Spiderman. Whoaaaaaa. That was big for me, it kinda just shakes me so hard whenever someone reboots a franchise, off the top of my head I can't help but think there was an executive that just went “oh hey that was nice, but I think we can top that.” And reboot they did.
Enter the Spiderman of the new generation, Andrew Garfield. Okay I’m not gonna go in depth with this guy because he’s not the main point of this article. What? A Spiderman article that’s not focused on Spiderman? Why Melo?? I WILL TELL YOU READER. But you’ll have to wait to hear the answer. Hahah
Okay so Andrew Garfield, first thing I noticed about this guy when I watched the first Amazing Spiderman is that this guy’s way to freaking good lucking to be Peter Parker. I mean come on, it’s just not viable that a guy this attractive looking would be picked on consistently in high school. At least he’s still a photographer, but he’s using an old school film SLR which is kind of anachronistic for the time period that this version of the origin story is set in. I mean he uses a friggin Sony Alpha SLR in the next film. It just makes him look like a hipster rather than a nerd that he is supposed to be. And he has a SKATEBOARD of all things. Who the hell would be bullying a skateboarding attractive hipster? Honestly? No matter how you look at it he’s popular kid material.
Way too handsome and rich to be “Peter Parker”
Now while I think that he’s not a good Peter Parker, I would argue that he is a good Spiderman, in the sense that Spiderman is an actual limber hero that runs his mouth off a lot (which I think is an aspect that Tobey Maguire lacked). So Andrew Garfield, good Spiderman, bad Peter Parker. Let’s move on to someone else shall we? Let’s start talking about Gwen Stacy.
Very quickly let’s get a brief intro on this character. Gwen Stacy is Peter Parker’s first love interest, although this was reversed in the old Spiderman trilogy before the reboot. In this new generation Gwen Stacy is played by Emma Stone who a lot of people grew to love, and while I think that she did an okay job with her role, she isn’t really the focus of this article, her character is.
One of the primary plot points in both Amazing Spiderman movies is the relationship between Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy, this is where most of the two films’ drama comes from. And if you’ve watched the second film, which I hope you did before reading this, you’ll kinda piece it together that the movies’ direction is to make you fall in love with Gwen Stacy before ultimately killing her in a horrific fashion to make you question everything you thought you know about the universe. I’m guessing most of you were shocked when this happened, watching terrified while Gwen Stacy fell down that clock tower in slow motion. Now since she was built up as an integral part of the story, her death had a lot of implications for Peter Parker and the story in general. The movie suddenly turned into New Moon all of a sudden. You know how that epilogue went, it was a lot of heartwarming stuff as Peter Parker got over Gwen’s death as he got back into being Spiderman. So the second film ended on a high note, a high note I will now proceed to dissect and ultimately destroy, so brace yourselves.
Okay so as I said, the entirety of the second Amazing Spiderman film almost felt like it could have just as easily been named Build-up to Gwen Stacy's Death The Film. I mean honestly, the whole dad thing should have been resolved when Peter Parker made the lame joke during the epilogue of the last film. Every single "conflict" between Peter and Gwen only served to beef her up to the audience, to raise her up to a pedestal. So that her death would be more devastating.
Gwen in Her Death Clothes
Side note, this was already noted in several "Amazing Spiderman 2 Easter Eggs" articles, but I think it's kinda nice that the filmmakers decided to dress up Gwen in the same outfit that her comic book counterpart died in, it's a morbid nod, but it's still a nod towards the story's origin, which I think is neat. However there was another nod to the source material that I believe to be accidental, because if they did do it on purpose, the filmmakers are horrible people. I'm talking about that scene when Gwen was in a cab on her way to the airport, and she spots from her window a message strewn across the side of the bridge all for her (this is also the first full shot we see of her in her "death outfit.") Now after this quick sequence the film cuts to them being all flirty flirty on the bridge right? Remember? Did you feel the cheesiness of this scene? THIS WAS WHERE GWEN STACY DIED IN THE COMIC BOOKS.
This is sweet, Gwen, BUT YOU DIED HERE
I was cringing the entire time. "Omigod Spiderman you butthole, why would you bring Gwen here? HORRIBLEEEE." I'm still unclear whether the filmmakers were aware of this fact, whether or not they knew the significance of this specific setting is the thin line between lacking info, and being absurdly horrible people.
Looking beyond that, I can't argue against the fact that Gwen Stacy's death in this film series was monumental for the plot, and particularly for Spiderman's character development, but there's just one thing I want to challenge. Gwen Stacy's death in the comic books held a great weight in the entire Marvel universe because it ushered in a darker era for all comic characters. So there's a similarity true enough, between the deaths of the two Gwens, but there was a critical difference made in the film version of her death that compelled me to write this article.
The difference might seem negligible but the implications of the change in scenario makes a world of difference. See in the films Gwen Stacy was dropped down the shaft of the clock tower by goblin, we had this slow-mo Spiderman tries to save her moment, but ultimately Spiderman fails to catch her in time before she hits the concrete. How is the comic death any different? First off, as I said, the scene takes place on top of the bridge, with Gwen being thrown towards the water by Green Goblin (Norman Osborn, not Harry Osborn. But this is negligible.) In this scenario Spiderman actually latches a spiderweb onto Gwen's leg, but when he brings her up to the platform on top of the bridge, the entire tone of the comic book world is changed forever triggered by the death of Gwen Stacy. Now what happened?
Source for both gifs: click
In the comics, it is implied (by big sound effecty text) that Gwen's neck snaps when the spiderweb latches onto her leg. How is this death different then from the movie version? Most people might just see that they're similar because Gwen died in both occasions. I say nay! This changes who actually causes Gwen's death. In the movies it can be said that Harry Osborn caused her death with Spiderman only failing to save her, she dies from the impact of her fall and Spiderman's inability to catch her in time. But in the comics she dies from whiplash, caused by Spiderman haphazardly latching spiderweb on her leg in an attempt to "save" her. Movie Gwen was killed by Harry Osborn, comic Gwen was killed by Peter Parker. *mind blow*
(I wanted to post screeners of Gwen dying, but even I’m not that heartless)
That's right folks that love story you followed for two movies actually ended with Peter Parker inadvertently causing the death of Gwen Stacy. Think of it this way, movie Peter's thoughts would definitely have been "I couldn't save her," versus comic Peter's thoughts that would have been "I killed her." How messed up is that? This implies that comic Peter Parker must have gone some way intense stuff following his accidental homicide. Take a minute to actually take in all of this.
I leave you with a question, which death then had a bigger impact on Peter Parker? Happy love month, lovelies. ;-)