I think that Gwen, and most of the other characters were in the film, more than anything else, as signifiers of Spider-Man-ness. Know what I mean
I assumed they used Gwen this time just so they could kill her off next time. Which is a signifier of Spidermaness, but also might speak to some ideas about “story” as any Spiderfriendly viewer already knows she dies in the comics, so they are as much anticipating, even looking forward to her death as expecting some new plot development.
But you’re not saying the Gwen’s character (at least in relation to her “love” for Peter—isn’t important, right? I would argue that it is, if they want Gwen’s death (if that’s what happens) to have dramatic impact. When I read the comic books as a kid, Gwen’s death definitely had an impact. It’s probably the most poignant moments in my reading of comic books (which, admittedly, isn’t saying much).
I haven’t seen the movie, but I would say that Gwen has to signify as important to Peter for her death to have an impact. How this would work will depend on the emphasis the filmmakers wish to impart. Given there is some expectation of Gwen dying, the filmmakers will either attempt to play with this and draw out the suspense, which requires relatively little need for “chemistry” at this stage since the effect will be gained through situation, or they will want the viewer to feel despondent over the loss of a character they care for, which seems relatively unlikely given the limited time they will have to develop a relationship between her character and the audience though I’m sure they will do what they can, or, the most likely option, will be that her death, if it happens, will be used to show its effect on Peter. Indeed, that is the narrative beat which people will most be looking for. Her death wouldn’t be important in itself as much as how Peter will react to it. This is a sort of narrative construction which is fairly common in movies. The film, somewhat morbidly, essentially asks the viewer to look forward to a death or loss so we can see the reaction that loss causes on the primary character or characters in the film. It becomes as much an interest in wanting to see how they do it as in caring about what they do since we already have at least an indication of what that might be. It is keeping the viewer as more of an observing force rather than an involved one, and that is generally the standard for Hollywood and its particular emphasis on plot development as the main aspect of storytelling. It’s easier.
lol. You guys need to see the movie.
@Jazz – I don’t know what Andrew Garfield is supposed to be in the movie, but he seems good looking enough to me.
But you agree that the film’s intention about Garfield’s looks and social status is important, right? Many films cast actors, who would be considered very attractive in real life, in homely roles. And unless the film utterly fails, we suspend our disbelief. My sense is that Parker is basically someone who isn’t popular or thought of as very attractive or desirable.
Garfield might not be as homely as Maguire (ouch), but I felt a real sense of awkwardness and vulnerability from him.
Yeah, Greg. I had the sense that Gwen was there largely as a set-up (this is one of the more interesting aspects of comic book movies—because there’s a who character pre-existing character world, the makers can introduce characters to lay groundwork for sequels, foreshadow, etc). Especially since the film went to great pains to “establish” Norman Osborne (though without every actually really showing him on screen) . . . which obviously could set up the other part of the big Spider-Man/Green Goblin/Gwen Stacy story.
The other thing that I thought was sort of interesting is how they used Captain Stacy to sort or parallel Gwen and her father and Peter and Uncle Ben.
Greg X, I see your point and I have to agree.
I feel really skeptical about all those attempts Hollywood studios are making at enforcing audience to care about their films. I just don’t see the whole promotion of the idea to establish the character and then make her die to cause cries as valid as they are trying to pull it off. It’s like them basically saying they want to introduce her just for the sake of killing her in the sequels. Webb & Sony have been pushing her death as a tool to make us wait, spend more money and time, for the next films. They did not even laid a proper foundation for why these two even got together at all. The whole first film was intentionally spent to repidly kick off their romance as a node to her death later in the series. And, they simply gave it away. It is not even going to be anything unexpected. Like, there is no twist no. They clearly say ‘yes, she will die. But, you have to see how it’s going to happen’. Well, can’t I see that without knowing it will happen?
Gwen’s death is supposed to be a great tragedy in Spider-Man’s arc. And, as I remember, it was also the unexpected one. However, just like most other storylines in the first film, it just serves as an appetizer for the sequels. I mean the same story is with Peter’s parents. Sony is like claiming in its trailers: Pay us and we will unveil the untold story of Peter Parker. We waited, we paid, and all we got was a sort of a 2-hour trailer for the sequel to find out what was the whole buzz about.
Now, I am claiming they should have killed her in the first film. That would be a disaster. What I am saying though is that it is pointless for Sony & Webb to promote her death as a key event in the trilogy and making all of us wait for it just to see it happening. They were so into marketing their first film taht they even gave out one of the major twists in their sequels.
By the way, I actually liked the way they portrayed Gwen in the film. Nonetheless, I thought the whole characterization of Gwen was contradicted by simply one scene in the end. I mean the one during the class, when, having just lost her father (with her boyfriendinvolved in his death), all she does is smiling after Peter’s line, clearly hinting she’s ok with that. It seemed very unnatural and contrasting to the way she acted in the previous scene, after the funeral.
//lol. You guys need to see the movie.//
Have you seen it yet sir? Or has Dark Knight fever swept away all interest in other super heroes? LOL
lol @ Grimes.
Yes, I finally rewatched it last week. It was ok. My impression didn’t really change from my first viewing several months ago. It’s better than the Raimi films but I hated the Raimi films so that’s not saying much. The acting was great, the two of them had nice chemistry, I liked the little bits of comedic banter, Garfield is a natural Peter Parker.
My trouble with the film is that it just feels outdated. Had this film been released ten years ago, maybe I would’ve responded more favorably. But superhero movies have changed over the past couple years. With Batman and Iron Man, the genre is different and so to go back and make a movie that’s in that older, lighter style – it just didn’t do much for me. At this point, because I’m so exhausted with all the superhero movies, unless it’s something really fresh and inventive, I’m not that interested. And The Amazing Spider-Man just didn’t stand out. It wasn’t bad and I definitely recommend the film. But eh, it’s hard for me to get very enthusiastic.
I will say though that Marc Webb did an admirable enough job and let’s see where the franchise goes. This first installment definitely felt “safe” but with it’s success, maybe Sony will take some risks with the next one. Who knows.
Valid points sir….but I’m thinking this will take a much darker turn in the next installment……and I think the Raimi films look much worse compared to this one…although I have some fondness for the Raimi films…..I don’t think this Spidey was light though….I think it already had a darker tone (even with the lighting used) than the Raimi films.
I agree the super hero genre has changed significantly in the last decade…..which makes me think that the new Superman movie is doomed……he’s just a hero out of time at this point….he’s from an earlier, more innocent time….and I have no clue how they could possibly make his story feel fresh or relevant at this point.
I agree with you on Superman. The director who can make Superman fresh is a director that will reinvent the genre. I don’t know how the hell you tackle that character in these times but I’m pretty sure Zack Synder is not the guy to do it. lol
Superman is not supposed to be fresh or modern. That seems to be the way Snyder’s going and its looking troublesome. The key is to make him a boy scout steeped in out of date squareness. Then the drama develops from his being a fish out of water in dealing with complexities of modern life. What works for Batman will not work for Superman.
I agree they shouldn’t try to make Superman like Batman. When I say “fresh”, I mean something different from what we’ve seen before. Different from the Donner films, different from the Singer film, different from Lois & Clark, Smallville…
If you’re going to reboot the most iconic superhero, it’s gotta be different – there’s gotta be a wow factor to the material.
I thought that this film was great. I am still a bigger fan of the original, though. Emma Stone was hot!
Superman doesn’t take on dark themes quite as well as Batman does, though.
I mean, he’s an alien who has all these crazy powers and decides to use them for law enforcement.
I think it’d be interesting to see some sort of Incredibles-like take on that, except gritty. Like, in real life, how people might react if there existed a Superman. He’s going around enacting his idea of justice, protecting the weak against the strong. Maybe bad guys learn to manipulate his sense of justice to their advantage. Maybe he stops a bank from being robbed, and then because the robbers are being put on trial all the witnesses get murdered. Maybe the government is starting to seize power and Superman starts to fight against civil disobedience. People start to hate him, feeling like he’s abusing his power and feeling nervous there’s no way to stop him, and they start manufacturing kryptonite-tipped bullets.
But, if any of those things happened in a Superman movie, would it feel like a Superman movie?
Brad S., isn’t it rather what Singer attepmted with his Superman Returns? His Superman was still a boy scout, who was missing for unknown time until he came and faced the fact the world has changed. However, Singer’s story was flawed and did not involve enough conflict. I mean, once Superman is back, the film takes an optimistic note in depicting what teh world thinks of him. To me, it seemed like most of the story had a rather bland tone (especially visually), whileSuperman himself kept that modest, even slightly depressed, look throughout the film. It seems like the only real fun was suppsed to be with Lex Luthor, but that was just a pile of some ridiculous camp.
Snyder has not made anything really significant in his career, while his Dawn of the Dead and 300 were the only successful movies. Good thing Nolan bros. are involved in the story and producing, but this does not mean they are pulling the entire film on their shoulders. I really dig the idea of people’s reaction as they become aware of Superman. In the Comic-Con footage, you can even see the whole military targeting him. I think this would be the actual reaction of human kind to something unbelievable and unknown, something like an alien, who has been among them for a long time.
All of this considered, I still have mixed feelings about Snyder (particularly after Watchmen). I’d prefer to wait longer and see what else he has for us to see.
I truly detested the Singer version of Superman, so Snyder does not have a high bar to reach to be better than that. Singer was so obsessed with carrying on the mantle of the 1978 film that he brought zero creativity of his own (and what was new was really really bad). Truth is, we have no idea what Snyder’s up to, but some publicity materials seem to indicate a brooding quality (and a strange fascination with giving the suit more texture), which is what concerns me. Since Superman comic books have remained a mainstay, one would hope they’d be used as a template for keeping true to the character in changing times.
So I had had no intention of seeing this movie under the philosophy “I already paid to see it once before,” but my roommate rented it and it was awesome.
I agree with everything RGrimes said, as well as the discussion of Peter Parker as a legit teen. The early high school sequences were a bit too typical but different things like Parker’s cockiness, lack of ability to communicate, and ultimately the fantastic line about, “He’s hunting down people who look similar to our profile, this is a product of revenge, not justice” showcase how he develops from a secluded high schooler to someone suddenly thrusting himself into the world and learning that shit’s complicated, even with superpowers.
Anyway, I really hope the star-wristed gunman narrative is never resolved in this new arc. No reason for it — he shouldn’t be able to randomly run into that guy in a city of millions of people, and now he’s gotten over profiling criminals and started thinking about the wider good. To bring that narrative back would be to put as much contrivance as the revamping of the same storyarc in Spiderman 3, which did not work.
It had a lot of things I liked about it.
The Lizard was always one of my favourite Spider-Man villains (very Jekyll and Hyde-ish) so I was glad he finally was given an appearance in a live-action film. I liked the actor playing him and Garfield is a fine actor as well IMO (his work in the Red Riding Trilogy is noteworthy and probably the best episode of the series). I liked him much more than McGuire, who is an alright actor but I always felt he was only a passable Peter Parker.
The chemistry between Parker and Stacy was pretty convincing and I liked Dennis Leary as her father but this is where my main issue with the film arises… all of these characters are setup well, but they aren’t given enough time to develop – or perhaps it is less an issue of time but quality character-building scenes. Uncle Ben isn’t developed enough either despite Sheen’s reliable portrayal of him. There’s an interesting ‘chemistry’ between Parker and Dr. Connors as well earlier on but that soon disappears once The Lizard starts growling and whatnot. Aunt May has some good scenes but very few.
I don’t know. It’s rather frustrating because there’s a good film in there somewhere. As far as Webb’s direction … it has a nice indie feel to it. I wish there was a more minimal way of shooting Spider-Man though. Raimi didn’t have it either, so both series’ are guilty of this. There’s such an overuse of CGI that it gets boring. The fight scenes were satisfying I suppose and the sequence of Spider-Man’s origin at Oscorp was well-done but I never felt any form of intensity or real threat to Spider-Man … perhaps this was because of the overbearing soundtrack but I never doubted Spider-Man was going to overcome without too much trouble. One thing I did like is that The Lizard didn’t die. The death of Leary’s character seemed unnecessary.
And some of the plot devices were kind of lame. Construction workers just suddenly banding together and operating mass cranes throughout the city to assist Spider-Man across the city … I mean, it was all so glossy and ‘convenient.’ Very schmaltzy. The sequence where he rescues the child near the beginning is well done. The sequence at the school was pretty well done as well (Stan Lee’s cameo is humourous) – the action sequences (except the whole crane part) were solid. The acting was solid. The editing was meandering and rarely enlightening despite the actors’ best efforts.
Horner’s music really distracted me. I thought it was horrible. Just horrible over-sentimentality.
In fact, my other main beef with the film is that I didn’t like the crew involved. Webb is okay; he hasn’t really directed a quality film yet IMO though there’s promise there I think. Cinematographer Schwartzman did some Bay films and others just as equally bland. Screenwriter Vanderbilt wrote Basic and Darkness Falls and such…only Zodiac stands out a bit, but I wasn’t a big fan of that either. I think overall, it was just the style that irked me – purely a preferential/subjective dilemma but it is what it is. It all seemed very generic with brief moments of promise.
I’m looking forward to the sequel however, not only because it is supposed to have Electro as one of the villains (another favourite of mine, heh), but that it may enhance this one by expanding more on all of these characters and focus a little more on development.
EDIT: Another thing I liked was the little wisecracks Spider-Man makes at times … it’s that cheesy element in the comic series that Raimi seemed to downplay. So, the film seemed to echo the old animated series in certain regards but it wasn’t consistently present, therefore it was also out-of-place. Hopefully, Webb will balance out those elements a bit better in the next one.