Hank McCoy (Before the Fur)

I suppose the obvious thing is start writing about Thor, but it seems kind of trite to me at this point.

Long story short? GREAT movie! I really couldn’t have asked for much more out of it actually. To me, the greatest victory in comic book movie-dom is when they take a story that’s really, really weird and don’t cop out on making it anything less than what it IS in the comic. So, Asgard, the Rainbow Bridge, Frost Giants…they just went NUTS. And I approve.

I’m really impressed with the way this Avengers thing is shaping up. I mean, if you had told me ten years ago that there would be a Hollywood film featuring Cap, Iron Man and Thor would I have believed it would have been any good? And that’s the thing: ten years ago it WOULDN’T have been any good. It would have been campy and cheesy. It wouldn’t have had the same depth or seriousness that it could have.

I give a lot of credit to X-Men. I mean, we kind of turned a corner there. I think Superman (1979) and Batman (1989) are great movies. But they’re movies from their time. And at the time, it was sort of like comics could take themselves seriously up to a POINT. But it was kind of like not TOO serious...don’t forget your roots in cheesiness and campiness.

Take Batman (1966) with Adam West. It’s like those movies ‘winked’ at the camera and the audience, you know? But X-Men didn’t. There was one or two throwaway jokes, sure, but overall it took itself seriously. Seriously enough that if you had never seen or heard of an X-Men comic before in your life, you’d walk out of the movie with a fair amount of X-Men lore stored up.

I’m still really, really curious about the Spider-man reboot. I just don’t know what to say about it yet. I really love Sam Raimi’s vision of Spider-man here. He really got the kind of dry humor that makes this comic great. Sure, I could say one or two things about getting into the habit of cramming one too many villains into a movie. But overall? I have few complaints. Even with 3. And people don’t seem to dig 3.

Raimi’s Spider-man is lovable. All of the characters. But I have this feeling that the new Spidey will be…dark. Sad. Isolated. I mean, I hate to say it but that’s really what people loved about this comic back in the day. We've gotten used to seeing Spider-man as funny, optimistic and heroic, but it wasn’t always that way. Spidey may have come through in a big way, but Peter Parker always seemed hopeless. Pathetic and lonely.

We love the idea that as Spidey becomes more heroic Peter starts to learn and grow in the same way, but in the old days I think the comic was more like no matter how amazing Peter is as Spider-man, he’s trapped in a world of rejection, teenage angst and depression. It’s like Spider-man is his only OUTLET to BE someone, because everywhere else he’s completely forgettable. He doesn’t even ‘rate’ on girls' radar screens and he’s so awkward and tense he’s barely got a chance of making a friend.

This is a painful, PAINFUL incarnation of the character, but I suspect it’ll be the one that they go with. It’s the only reboot that would give you something new on film, and yet feel like we’re going back to the beginning. I mean, I could be wrong, but let’s face it. Even if I wasn’t we all know how the Gwen Stacey story ends, right? This is some dark, DARK stuff for Peter Parker age 14-18 to be dealing with. Too much, actually.

Whether it’s this movie or the next (oh Lord, if they have any common sense they won’t rush it and wait a movie or so), the end destination of any story with Gwen Stacey is going to involve a guilt stricken Peter wondering about his own culpability in the death of one of the only women he ever felt close to. Terrible stuff, really. Of course, we’ve also got this weird thing with the Goblin.

I’m not sure what to say about that. The problem with a reboot is that Willem DaFoe was such a GREAT Goblin (AND Norman Osborn). It’s hard to picture anybody else in that role, now. Of course, would you really want Gwen’s death scene to happen any way other than the way it did? With Spidey and Goblin fighting hundreds of feet in the air over a New York bridge?

I’m surprised to find ‘Van Adder’ as the cast list villain for the movie. A relatively obscure figure in the Spidey-verse, Van is just one of a bunch of people who after such and such exposure to the goblin formula became such and such new version of the Green Goblin (Protogoblin or something). I’m a little iffy on this. To me the only Goblins who are movie material are the original, Norman ‘Green Goblin’ Osborn (and, occasionally, his son, Harry) and Green Goblin’s mysterious and shadowy heir Hobgoblin.

(In one of the cooler arcs in Spider-man, Spidey had no idea who Hobgoblin was and why he did what he did for a long time. The writers gave you plenty of misdirects, too, leading you to believe it was one character or another. Harry was, of course, the lead suspect for the readers. In the end, Hobby turned out to be someone Spidey had never even met- a fashion designer named Roderick Kingsley who decided to put his competitors out of business pumpkin-bomb style.

Complicating the matter was the fact that Kingsley lined up a whole set of brainwashed or otherwise disgruntled individuals to stand IN for him, from time to time, leaving Spidey- and you- totally baffled about who the hell Hobgoblin was.)

I suppose, it’s good that there IS a Goblin. But see this is my thing with reboots. I don’t really CARE what characters were in the last movie. If Norman Osborn needs to be recast because we’re telling the story that made Spider-man the comic that people read and related to just DO it. I know there are a hundred other fanboys all over the inernet out there saying this and that a bunch of Hollywood execs are out there saying ‘well, that isn’t really feasible’, etc.

But just- if you ARE going to go back to the ‘beginning’- don’t bail part way through and introduce some rebooted Goblin story too. It defeats the purpose: why go back if you’re going to make up something new, instead of telling the story as it was? Hmm- not my most articulate moment there, but I think you guys understand what I’m talking about, right?