Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Amazing Spider-man

I posted this on my facebook page about six weeks ago. I posted it there instead of here because I had just created it. I've never liked facebook, and I wasn't able to get into it, so now the only thing that gets posted on my facebook page are Captain Rorrick's tweets. Anyway, this rightfully belongs on my blog, so here it is.
I saw Spider-man last night. You know what I heard while I was waiting in line? Some kid said “Why is it called ‘Amazing Spider-man’? He’s not really that amazing.”

Kids these days.

What’s amazing about Spider-man is that he’s a pro-human Transhuman. Despite his superhuman abilities, he does not view ordinary Humans as inferior. His powers are not a licence to tyrannize mere mortals, but a moral mandate to protect them. He truly believes his motto “With great power, comes great responsibility.” When the real Transhumans get here, I fear too few of them will share Spidey’s moral code.

Doctor Connors/the Lizard is a wonderful contrast to Spider-man in this regard. He becomes physically superhuman, and then runs amok. He’s all like “being human sucks, and being a giant frickin’ lizard is awesome! You should all be giant frickin’ lizards too!” He is quickly corrupted by power, and then decides to ‘uplift’ others without their consent. Today transhumanists tote morphological freedom as one of their highest values. They insist no one would ever be forced to be ‘enhanced’ against their will. Sadly, I doubt actual Transhumans will value the wishes of ‘puny humans’.

Since all the marvel movies take place in the same universe, I would have liked a continuity nod to the fact that two months ago New York was invaded by aliens. When I was watching the Avengers, I was thinking “Spider-man lives in New York. Where the hell is he during all of this?” It would have been cool if Spider-man could have had just a two second cameo in the Avengers. He could have just swung down and rescued some civilian. Of course, since the Fantastic Four live in New York, you could also have asked where the hell were they? Since Johnny Storm and Captain America are played by the same actor, that would probably have raised some continuity issues.

Speaking of which, what happens when you reboot one superhero without rebooting the others who share his universe? I don’t think including Spider-man’s origin was strictly necessary in this movie. Spiderman’s an A list superhero. Everyone knows his origin story. Everyone knows Superman is a refugee from Krypton. Batman? HIS PARENTS ARE DEAD!!! Same with Spiderman. The movie probably could have omitted the origin story and focused more on the lizard plot.

The Dawson casting bugged me a little. Spider-man’s supposed to be a teenager, and the actor playing him is almost thirty. I like him better than Tobey McGuire, but if they had skipped the origin story then Spider-man could have just been a young adult and they wouldn’t have had a twenty eight year old in high school.

My only other problem with the movie was its typical Hollywood shape-shifting. Connor transforms into a giant lizard and back in a matter of seconds, with no explanation of where the extra mass came from or where it went. This is par for the course in superhero movies, but I think it would have been not only more realistic but more interesting to see Connor gradually transforming into a Lizard over the course of the movie while his humanity slowly slips away.

Overall, I give the movie four and half stars.

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