Friday, July 6, 2012

Spoiler questions, now that we've seen 'The Amazing Spider-man'

Posted By on Fri, Jul 6, 2012 at 9:18 AM

HOOK EM HORNS: Spider-fans have been wanting to see these for more than a decade.
Where do his webs come from? Going back 50 years, comic book tradition has that Peter Parker, after getting his super powers, develops his web-fluid as well as the mechanical shooters in his palm. In Sam Raimi’s films, Parker generates the webs organically, from his hands, sort of like a real spider. (Just not, you know, from his abdomen.) It’s one of those seemingly trivial details that the Internet gets totally bent out of shape about. Amazing goes back to web-fluid basics — sort of. At one point Peter tells a car-jacker that it’s “webbing that I developed myself,” but he seems to be stretching the truth, since we see him derive the formula from an Oscorp innovation. He did make his own mechanical shooters, though.

What’s wrong with Peter getting even with Flash? Early in the film, Peter sticks up for a classmate and gets a vicious beating in front of classmates from Flash Thompson. Later, powered-up Peter gets a little payback by mocking Flash on basketball court, culminating with a dunk that accidentally destroys the backboard. When Uncle Ben scolds him for it, he seems to go overboard. Flash seems to roam the school as an unchecked bully and totally had it coming, and Peter takes a non-violent reprisal. His implementation may have messed up, but the intention seems justified.

Did Peter get the guy who shot Uncle Ben? In a smart tweak on the Spider-man origin, Uncle Ben’s killer escapes and Peter turns super-powered vigilante in order to track down the mugger with lank blonde hair and the star tattoo on his wrist. His efforts to find one specific criminal nudges him inspires him to fight crime on a more general level. I don’t recall any of the muggers he caught having the wrist tattoo, so maybe this is a loose end to be resolved in the next film, scheduled for release in May of 2014.

What’s with the “real” lizards? After Curt Connors transforms into The Lizard, a giveaway of his presence is that he attracts pet iguanas and other small reptiles to him. We see them going down sidewalk grates and scuttling along Spider-man’s big web in the sewer. But they don’t seem to actually do anything, and Connors’ sewer-pipe workstation seems surprisingly reptile-free. Maybe he’s eating them.

How did those construction workers line up the cranes in time? Near the end, an injured Spider-man races against the clock to get to Oscorp Tower and prevent The Lizard from infecting Manhattan with his transformation formula. The dad (C. Thomas Howell) whose kid he saved on the bridge realizes what he’s trying to do and decides to help out, so he calls his buddies to line up their cranes and other equipment along the street, so Spider-man can swing quickly to the Tower. If memory serves me right, within the 10-minute span it takes for Gwen to cook the Lizard antidote, Howell coordinates with apparently dozens of guys and move heavy bits of construction equipment at night. Couldn’t Spidey just hitch a ride on a helicopter? (I know, it’s like a reprise of the scenes in the Raimi films, when New Yorkers rally around Spider-man.)

But what about the mutated cops? The Lizard releases a sample of his mutation gas that turns a SWAT team into creatures like him. What happens next? Who knows? The film makes us watch the bit with the cranes, when apparently ARMED REPTILIAN POLICE MONSTERS are running amok on the New York streets. But who wants to see that?

Who’s that at the end? In the mid-credits sequence at the end, an incarcerated Curt Connors enters a dark cell, and a figure comes out of the shadows. The mystery man says something to the effect that Connors didn’t reveal the truth about Peter’s father (and I’m not sure if the film spells out that Peter’s parents are presumed dead, or just long missing). The shadowy figure appears and vanishes so abruptly that he could be just a hallucination; what little we glimpse of him reminds me a little of Otto Octavius. Apparently the producers have denied that this is ailing industrialist/future Goblin Norman Osborn (who is mentioned but never shown in this film, and was played by Willem Dafoe in the Raimi films). He could even be Richard Parker himself, but the scene doesn’t give us any real information. I was hoping that it would be a cameo from Thanos.

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