spider-movies

i have been rewatching every movie with spider-man in it because i like spider-man, and i am perhaps not so surprisingly having a ton of very deep thoughts about them

so far i have recently only rewatched civil war, and the first two raimi movies. i started with civil war mostly because falcon and the winter soldier was so confusing i had to rewatch it to remember like, who zemo was, but that is what inspired this probably bad decision.

at first i thought i would wait until i finished all of them to start typing, but i don’t want to forget as i go so this is probably going to turn into a thread as ridiculous as my star wars thread. i know a lot of people here hate this shit so i’m quarantining it to its own thread rather than polluting the general movies or comics book thread. if you just want to post contentless rumination about how you hate marvel movies please feel free to do it in another thread. on the other hand as you can see i don’t really love any of these movies either so it’s not like this has to be a ‘let people enjoy things’ thread.

about civil war all i have to say is that the scene between peter and tony stark is still the best and most personally affecting version of the ‘great power/great responsibility’ story for me, hate me forever about it i guess.

anyway my reaction to seeing spider-man 1 for the first time maybe since it came out is: i didn’t really like this movie when it was released, and i still don’t really like it. i am honestly amazed it performed as well as it did, people were really starving for some spider-based action adventure i guess.

the things about it that are great are:
willem dafoe, even though the script barely knows what to do with him about 3/4 of the movie.

everything with jj jameson - in fact i am certain that these scenes alone are why these movies are still so highly regarded in general. i think the style of the writing captures the Actual Energy of a certain era of Spider-man comics a lot better than anyone gives them credit for, but i still don’t think this makes them good cinema (example: spider-man calling green goblin “gobby”). with jameson i feel like they struck a perfect balance between matching the energy of the comics while still shooting it in a way that made it entertaining to watch.

james franco: honestly not a person i care about at all, and he is a mega creep so forget him, but if there is anything about the raimi movies i didn’t appreciate the first time around, it is how much of the trilogy is really about peter / harry relationship, and how much of that is carried by franco’s performance. in the script there is literally nothing to justify why they are friends, but i still accept it is true because of his performance.

tobey maguire, sometimes. this is also something i’ve changed my mind about. the thing that bothered me the most about the movie when it came out was how pathetic parker was. i don’t mean like peter parker needs to be this ultimate badass hero guy, i mean in the way i felt like the movie was too often expecting you to laugh/cringe at him rather than actually relate to him.

i think i was probably too close to adolescence to be able to see it any other way. but looking back on it from my current grizzled state, i actually feel like it is a pretty good take on the character and the general awkwardness of being a teen. i still think the movie would be a little bit better if his arc to where he ends up at the end was executed a little better, but in general i appreciated him a lot more in this movie than i remembered when i saw it the first time.

stuff i didn’t like:
basically everything else? the cgi is horrible, these movies are all grossly pro-cop, and the peter-mary jane relationship is so confusing. i like that it ends up with him vowing that he needs to be a vigilante volcel to protect his loved ones, but the path that gets him there just feels very discordant and chopped up. i also think it’s weird that mj falls for him for basically no reason, it just seems kind of gross to me that she goes from not knowing who he is to being like, obsessively devoted to him basically because he stopped wearing glasses.

i don’t want to rant too much about this, but something i’ve been noticing more and more as i rewatch movies is how often you can kind of see the seams in the editing and screenwriting showing. like there are lots of scenes that don’t really seem to lead logically from one to the next, and lots of lines in the script that appear to refer to things they expect the audience to know but have been cut out of the movie. it also just has a ridiculously gross aesthetic

anyway i will probably post more about spider-man 2 later but, spoiler alert, it’s much better.

i will leave you with this observation: until looking up the cast, i thought elizabeth banks’s character was actually played by parker posey. also, did you know that octavia spencer and jim norton are spider-man? i did not know until exactly this moment that flash is played by joe mangianello. he looks different.

did you know that daniel dae kim, aasif mandvi, and joel mchale are in spider-man 2?

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When I re-watched these a few years ago, I thought James Franco was the absolute worst part of these movies because he’s absolutely god-awful in all of them, like he’s too high to act or something. I find the original Spider-Man movies not so great but like, way easier to stomach than pretty much every modern comic book movie, which are all so “same-y” and feel like they’re written in one universal voice.

I find Tobey Maguire Spider-Man easier to relate to, I guess, in the sense that he’s just a pathetic twerp that got super lucky with his radioactive spider blood, and not some wise-talking Gap model that subsequent Spider-People have been.

Also, I noticed this on Wikipedia a little while back:
image
image

Real Life Mary Jane has Gwen Stacy hair and Real Life Gwen Stacy has Mary Jane hair.

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I skipped school to go see the first one in my senior year of high school with a few friends (my mom actually being cool enough to let me do this was kind of amazing). One of those friends totally blindsided me the week we graduated by kissing me. I didn’t see her for a few years, then we dated for about a week. She broke up with me the day before my birthday, and a little while later when she was cleaning all of her stuff out of her room when she was moving out, she gave me her old Dreamcast.

I have fond memories of Spider Man and not really any of the Sega Dreamcast, even though I understand that the former is kind of bad and the latter is pretty good.

The End, thank you for reading

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I’ve never seen any of the Andrew Garfield ones and I probably won’t ever bother tbh. I do want to watch the Venom movie though.

i really don’t understand the rose-tinted glasses perspective on these movies, its analogous to the recent love for stuff like the mummy. i mean the mummy is honestly horrible in almost every way a big blockbuster movie can be, and is not at all different from anything that is exactly like it that are released today. with the spider-man movies, they do hold up a bit better, but one of my main takeaways from rewatching them (especially 2) is how much of the “marvel formula” is already present in these movies.

like i would love to see a more specific breakdown of what it is they think distinguishes these movies from everything that comes after. is it the part where aunt may like recites a speech about how everyone needs heroes? idk

i think there is a certain like visual flair that raimi brings to some of the action sequences, but most of the stuff that is supposed to be the most spectacular in terms of action just looks… so stupid. it’s not just a case of being dated, lots of even earlier movies use cgi better, i just feel like the ambition outweighed the actual technology, and they could have made better use of stunt work and practical effects but just… didn’t.

one thing that has been really enjoyable and surprising is how dated they are just in terms of the world they were shot in. seeing a scene about not having enough money to use a payphone to leave a long message on someone else’s answering machine, while they are actually in the room listening to you leave the message as it is being recorded, really brings me back. like that entire sequence from spider-man 2 feels like it could appear verbatim in a movie made today but set in the past, as a like “Hey… remember when???” thing

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I try not to think of the post-9/11 pandering scene

“You mess with one of us, you mess with all of us!”

bleh

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they are bad, about the only thing they have going for them is moderately better special effects, but definitely the “wise talking gap model” criticism applies here.

i don’t buy that critique at all for the tom holland spider-mans, they have other issues but he’s the first peter parker i’ve felt really captured my imagined version of that character. i like that he is very clearly a teenager surrounded by adults, and is only mature enough to sort of partially realize how ridiculous that is.

plus like… spider-man’s whole thing is wisecracks. one of the most tonally discordant thing about the first raimi movie is the second he puts on his mask he becomes a little smartass, and prior to that is just a dweeb. i get thematically why the anonimity kind of enables that, but it’s really jarring. with holland you can kind of see instantly how he is both incredibly dorky but also just sort of inherently funny.

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spider-man 2 for example has a scene that is exactly what would have appeared in the post-credits sequence if it was in the mcu, in which harry discovers the goblin glider. it just happens to appear before the actual last scene

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My first “date” with my now-wife was watching Spider-Man 3

As we were leaving the theater, a kid said very loudly something to the effect of “I didn’t like that movie at all!!” it was great

That’s my contribution

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I was trying to think of what comic book superhero movies directly preceded this movie at least in terms of very recognizable characters and I think it’s basically the first X-Men and like, Spawn? The latter of which was pretty bad outside of John Leguizamo.

In contrast Spider Man was pretty good (I mean X-Men was fine but I never really cared about them like I did Spidey) and the reappraisal of the Joel Schumacher Batman movies didn’t happen for a long time. So I think in a lot of people’s memories, Spider Man was the first Good comic book adaptation after a pretty long drought of anything. And then it went through a wave of people saying “Oh yeah those movies actually kinda sucked they were so cheesy” and a counter-wave of “But that’s why they’re sort of timeless versus all this super-serious MCU stuff”.

I’m rambling. I don’t feel particularly enamored of that trilogy at all, and feel no real need to go back and watch them. But I can see why at least the first movie is regarded with some affection even if it’s easy to point out all its flaws.

I remember doc-ock’s arms grabbing surgical equipment while he was anesthetized and murdering a bunch of people and thinking “NOW THIS IS SAM RAIMI” at the time, that’s pretty much the only thing i remember about that movie. but it’s a great scene!

Kirsten Dunst is good in quite a few things but she makes me grind my teeth in all of these

rewatching Spider-Man 3 a year-ish ago made me reappraise what it was going for - was “evil” spiderman supposed to be annoying and unfunny? he gets quite a few confused/annoyed looks from random people. i think the movie is…making fun of itself?? I can’t tell

this is how i felt at the time, yes

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I hated the Sam Raimi Spider-Man movies when they came out. I thought they were boring, and I didn’t like Tobey Maguire. I liked the newer movies closer to when they came out, but re-watching them, I think absolutely every Spider-Man movie I saw was awful, but the first two (I can never remember shit from the third) Raimi movies were the most tolerable but also filled embarrassing moments (like the aforementioned patriotic shit), but then that entire Electro Spider-Man movie was one long embarrassing moment.

The personality, I guess, of the Raimi Spider-Man movies appeal to me more than the personality of subsequent reboots, and I can’t explain why just like I can’t explain why every single Final Fantasy game has a stink about it that makes it really hard for me to stomach for very long. I’ve never read a Spider-Man comic outside of like, a Valentine’s Day issue I got in the mid-90s because the cover looked nice, so I don’t have any idea of how the character should be or any real frame of reference outside of the cartoon that I barely watched and also didn’t like. :man_shrugging:

I think I liked some of the X-Mens? But again, this was after the fact, I hated the OG X-Mens when they came out. I liked the one set in the past when it came out, but I don’t think it stood up to a re-watch. I think I came to the conclusion after re-watching them a few years ago that the more deplorable person who was directing those movies was doing the better job. But I guess X-Men is not really relevant for the Spider-Man thread.

I thought Alfred Molena was an excellent casting choice for Dr Octopus, speaking as somebody who only knows of Dr Octopus from a Kid’s Meal toy of the cartoon character. They totally wasted Willem the Foe, though. Why cast this guy who has a very distinct and devious face to be a villain and then just hide it in a big, shitty plastic mask? They could’ve put him in prosthetic, or given him a mask that conforms a bit to his facial features or something. :man_shrugging:

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I liked the first Sam Raimi Spider-Man when it came out, and I still do.

It’s goofy. It’s got close ups of dudes fighting in rubber suits like a Godzilla movie except they aren’t supposed to be giants. It goes for a lot of in-camera practical effects where other movies would use CG, and while the effects often don’t look believable, they do look interesting.

It’s super cheesy.
It feels like a Spider-Man comic.
It feels like a Sam Raimi movie.

“You mess with one of us, you mess with all of us!” - the city saving Spider-Man feels like something that would happen in one of the early comics.
That this super up-beat line is from this film’s variant of the Gwen Stacy scene, but cheating it, sure is something too!

I don’t usually like super-hero movies much, but this one works for me.

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i like the raimi movies but the worst part about them is hearing tobey macguire try to mumble out peter parker style quips he is absolutely godawful at it and totally miscast as a high energy wisecracker but i also kind of like that so who knows

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This is both accurate to the comic, and more restrained.

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i wonder if the affection for the 2000s mummy / spiderman movies is that both brendan fraser and tobey maguire as leads both give off a sense of nonthreatening amiability that seems to leak through into the rest of the movie. even more than with most studio pictures there’s a sense that nothing bad can really happen, since the appeal is really just this secondhand sense of invulnerable gormlessness. the kind of emotional guardrail this creates is why i ambiently rewatched these movies a lot as a 13yo and why trying to go back to them since just feels like biting into a huge marshmallow.

haven’t watched the andrew garfield ones or the spiderverse one. spiderman was my favourite as a kid so i caved and watched the first of the tom holland movies - he was a good version of the character but is it me or did the whole movie seem like some weird parable about trying to become an online influencer?? peter parker is building up a local following but wants to jump to the big leagues of corporate sponsorship, however the friendly tech billionaire he’s sucking up to is running cold on the idea, can he impress senpai and move into the avengers tiktok house? and at the end he learns boundaries but still gets to keep the branded merch. idk, maybe it was just because holland spends the whole movie with what i think of as “youtuber hair”. it was not as baleful as the comics arc where peter parker becomes a millionaire ceo working to invent new high-tech, uh… prisons.

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First, I would say that the original The Mummy and the Raimi Spidermans are not good movies. I’m not going to make that argument, and this is in the context of “good” where Yojimbo (or to use a more modern example, Big Trouble in Little China) is a good movie.

I think the main reason these movies are thought of fondly, or become better-than-remembered when revisited, is that they compare well with modern films, especially modern action films, which I find to be wildly incoherent in the sense that they have this artificially-accelerated pace where they just seem impatient to hit the next Required Emotional Beat – I originally typed “Story Beat” and then deleted it because I don’t think it’s about telling a Story (whereas I think The Mummy and the Raimi Spidermans are), it’s about, this is what comes next because this is always what comes next, no matter if that feels jarring or disconnected from what came previously and what will happen later. Modern mainstream film increasingly feels to me like somebody made a checklist, distributed each item to an individual or small team, then just shoved what they came back with into a rough sequence and slapped their hands together, job well done.

Or to put it another way, they’re data points that are just slightly higher on the plunging curve of big-picture holistic craft when it comes to making film.

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I don’t think affection for The Mummy is rooted solely or primarily in Brendan Fraser, I think it’s rooted more in the fact that it’s an Indiana Jones-esque romp that people born too late to have seen that in theatres could experience (a fun action adventure that happened to connect well with people growing up at the time’s sensibilities or whatever). Brendan Fraser being affable helps but whenever I think about the Mummy I’m thinking about the whole primary cast, I don’t even think of Brendan Fraser as the protagonist, I think of him as the vehicle (like Vaan or something) and Rachel Weisz as the actual hero and her brother as the true sidekick.

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Even if big superhero movies only have glimmers of the director’s style inside, it’s fascinating that they trusted Spiderman to the Darkman director. James Gunn got his start working on Troma movies and Taika Waititi did New Zealand comedies. I suppose I’m happy for them

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oh also no discussion about spidermovies is complete without mentioning this hilarious bullshit:

makes me think some of this stuff stuck in the mix and that’s how we ended up with

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