The Amazing Spider-Man: what’s missing


The Amazing Spider-Man, Sony’s high-flying reboot of the Marvel franchise, takes you on a whimsical ride through New York City skyscrapers as a high school geek bitten by a radioactive spider swings through burglars, the NYPD and a giant mutant lizard all while falling in love and learning life lessons.

We’ve seen this story before. And not just in the comic books created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko.

Toby Maguire brought Spider-Man to life on the big screen 10 years ago and followed up with two sequels recent enough for most people to remember the plotline.

But a fresh cast starring Andrew Garfield as Spider-Man and a new twist on an old story keeps this superhero movie swinging.

I liked the movie a lot. It was slick, lots of fun and the acting and effects were believable.

But what stood out most were the pieces that were missing; essential Spider-Man mythologies distinctly not included in this retelling of the origin story.

MaryJane Watson, Harry Osborn and J. Jonah Jameson, key players in all Spider-Man stories were nowhere to be found in The Amazing Spider-Man.

MJ is out and Gwen Stacy is in for Director Marc Webb’s interpretation. Emma Stone plays a convincing sweetheart who falls for the emotionally bruised Peter Parker, who is angry after he loses his parents and then Uncle Ben. Gwen is Peter’s first love in the comic books so the timeline of this film seems earlier than the 2002 Spider-Man. It’s also important to note that two biggest spidery comic book series are “Spider-Man” and “The Amazing Spider-Man”, so its not so far fetched to build this offshoot of the original arachnid story.

It was disappointing not to find J. Jonah Jameson and a major downplaying of The Daily Bugle, the fictional newspaper run by the always boisterous JJ. Maybe it was a little early for Peter to be shooting for the Bugle but the yearbook photographer approach seemed forced…and with no photojournalistic integrity or reason for Garfield’s character to be taking pictures of the Lizard, viewers new to the franchise were probably left wondering.

The Osborn family was almost entirely absent from The Amazing Spider-Man. There was plenty of OSCORP but no Norman or Harry (not really anyway). Keep an eye out for some allusions to Green Goblin, but a glimpse of Norman’s silhouette is the best we get.

Lastly, the infamous line “with great power comes great responsibility” was intentionally missing from a more brooding and serious approach to the webslinger. Peter’s Uncle Ben, played by Martin Sheen, has a semi-inspiring rant at one point that basically covers it and probably includes all the words, but he never outright says it. Clearly an intentional tactic to avoid campiness.

It’s pretty clear to me that everything missing from The Amazing Spider-Man will make its way into the sequel, which is already slated for 2014 and confirmed to not jump ahead in time. But as a lifelong comic book nerd and major Spider-Man fanboy, I can’t help but wonder where these essentials will fit in to the new Spidey.

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