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  1. #16
    Extraordinary Member WebLurker's Avatar
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    I actually thought Jake Johnson did the best in terms of capturing the original comics character (albeit with the added context of it being an older Spidey who'd kinda made a mess of things and needed a push to make them right).

    For live action, each seemed to take on a different facet of the character. I think Tobey Maguire came out the best, with the emphasis of the burden the mantle had and his trying to navigate life with all the plates he needed to keep spinning (unlike they other films, it was Peter first, Spidey second, which is a better fit to the comics), while Tom Holland got the eager rookie we see in the early issues (and Ultimate) trying to find where he fit really well, as well as being the only one to nail the chatty, jokey nature of the character (Maguire got the ironic situations that the comics did so well but not the one-liners, and I have no idea what Andrew Garfield was doing).

    Andrew Garfield was a good actor who was given a badly-written version of the character.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mauled View Post
    ...however if you're going to next say that Kirsten Dunst was a good MJ we are going to have words
    Okay, let's have words.

    I'll concede that MJ in those movies wasn't a carbon copy of her source material counterpart, but I think a lot of the changes made more sense for the film narrative. Case in point, if they'd followed suit with us only seeing the shallow party girl mask at first, we'd be scratching our heads at why Peter was pining for this woman. So, while there are some scenes that communicate the point that she hides her problems under a carefree veneer (e.g. when Flash shows up with the car, her trying to hide that she's a struggling waitress), it's toned down to communicate the point that Peter is someone MJ trusts enough to be herself (e.g. her opening up as they consider where they'll go after high school in the backyard scene). That gives a better foundation to the relationship for the film's narrative and makes it easier for us to root for them, since we can see that they're good for each other and all that.

    I can concede the point that comic book MJ remained pretty lively even after maturing and balancing herself out, while the movie showcases the more serious aspects of the character, but the struggles she has are pretty well rooted in the comics (bad relationship with her father, low self-esteem, etc.). The adaptation only has so much time to cover, so they have to pick and choose which parts of the character to explore, and it makes sense why the did what they did here. Movie MJ may be admittedly a more "girl next door" type a la the Ultimate comics then 616 was, but, once again, worked in the context of the story it was telling, and I'd rather have that then something slavish to the source material irregardless of how well it fits the new medium.
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  2. #17
    Moderator Frontier's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WebLurker View Post
    I actually thought Jake Johnson did the best in terms of capturing the original comics character (albeit with the added context of it being an older Spidey who'd kinda made a mess of things and needed a push to make them right).
    If we're going to count Into the Spider-Verse, I'd go with Pine's Peter since he was supposed to come off like the prime Spider-Man before he died to make the contrast with Johnson's Peter B. Parker more prominent.
    For live action, each seemed to take on a different facet of the character. I think Tobey Maguire came out the best, with the emphasis of the burden the mantle had and his trying to navigate life with all the plates he needed to keep spinning (unlike they other films, it was Peter first, Spidey second, which is a better fit to the comics), while Tom Holland got the eager rookie we see in the early issues (and Ultimate) trying to find where he fit really well, as well as being the only one to nail the chatty, jokey nature of the character (Maguire got the ironic situations that the comics did so well but not the one-liners, and I have no idea what Andrew Garfield was doing).
    Holland babbles or nervously exclaims more then he jokes in my opinion. Garfield totally quips: "A God named sparkles?" or that entire sequence of him messing with that crook.
    I'll concede that MJ in those movies wasn't a carbon copy of her source material counterpart, but I think a lot of the changes made more sense for the film narrative. Case in point, if they'd followed suit with us only seeing the shallow party girl mask at first, we'd be scratching our heads at why Peter was pining for this woman. So, while there are some scenes that communicate the point that she hides her problems under a carefree veneer (e.g. when Flash shows up with the car, her trying to hide that she's a struggling waitress), it's toned down to communicate the point that Peter is someone MJ trusts enough to be herself (e.g. her opening up as they consider where they'll go after high school in the backyard scene). That gives a better foundation to the relationship for the film's narrative and makes it easier for us to root for them, since we can see that they're good for each other and all that.
    Not necessarily, but without Gwen you can't really do the dynamic from the comics without changing things up anyways.

  3. #18
    Astonishing Member Jekyll's Avatar
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    Tobey will always be my Spider-Man.
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  4. #19
    Extraordinary Member WebLurker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frontier View Post
    If we're going to count Into the Spider-Verse, I'd go with Pine's Peter since he was supposed to come off like the prime Spider-Man before he died to make the contrast with Johnson's Peter B. Parker more prominent.
    I kinda thought Pine's Spidey seemed more like Superman with a Batcave in terms of presentation, kind of to be the perfect hero. Peter B. was also from a Earth-616, so it really seemed like he was supposed to be seen as the "main" Spidey. Granted, both Spideys seemed to draw a lot of backstory from the Raimi movies (heck, if Peter B. hadn't had webshooters, I would've been really happy if he had been the Maguire version).

    Quote Originally Posted by Frontier View Post
    Holland babbles or nervously exclaims more then he jokes in my opinion. Garfield totally quips: "A God named sparkles?" or that entire sequence of him messing with that crook.
    Sparkles was good, but the car thief scene was just bad and I have to say that I'm not sure that Garfield got that many memorable lines. In any event, I think Raimi got the humor of the franchise the best (Spider-Verse close second) and no one makes Spidey quip as well as Brian Michael Bendis.

    Quote Originally Posted by Frontier View Post
    Not necessarily, but without Gwen you can't really do the dynamic from the comics without changing things up anyways.
    Okay.
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  5. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    Close to one aspect of the character at the expense of others, that much we can agree on. Just like Tobey's Peter is close to other aspects of Peter, namely as Frontier said, Peter's haunted introspective sensibility.



    That's not realy a good excuse. Look at the character development in A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back. Two movies and think of how much serialized development happens there. Luke Skywalker is a different character at the start of ANH and at the end, and the start of TESB and the end of that. Likewise both TASM -1 (136mns) and TASM-2 (142 mns) are longer movies than ANH (121 mns) and TESB (124mns).

    I don't think it's significantly hard or impossible to do, it depends on the film-makers and writers involved.



    That might be because in real life both Garfield and Emma Stone are younger actors than Maguire and Dunst. Relative to production and character however:
    -- Garfield was 29 when he made TASM-1, Emma Stone was 23 years old.
    -- Tobey Maguire was 26-27 years old during SM-1, and Kirsten Dunst was 19 years old.

    Dunst is age-wise the only actress close to character's age at the time of character's introduction in comics (MJ first showed up when Peter went to college so she was 18-19 in ASM#42). So both Garfield and Emma Stone were older to their characters relative to Raimi's movies.
    I think Garfield's Peter was just as introspective, especially in ASM1. What I like about his performance is that I (almost) always feel like I'm in his head and know what he is thinking. I see Peter as the type who gets lost in his head and tends to come off as a jerk as a result of that. I would argue that is also the kind of actor you need for Peter Parker if you won't do the monologues like in the comics and cartoons. I didn't get as much of that with Maguire.

    I'll have to go back to SM1 in Dunst's case but Tobey looked a little older to me even if he was younger than Garfield at the time. I think it's because Maguire was bulkier and had more "manly" features in the face (particularly the chin area). Garfield has a more slim anatomy and softer facial features (similar to Grant Gustin) and I think that gave him a younger look relative to Maguire in SM1.

    As for character development, my point is that it is harder to do an early Ditko/late Romita transition with a character as serialized as Spider-Man (especially when the studio is foolishly trying to set up a "Spider-Man shared universe" in a character-driven film). Even the MCU has a hard time with this and they're the best at doing serialized films. Maguire's Peter stayed a relatively quiet and shut-in kid even after becoming Spider-Man, so he doesn't have the "let's squeeze 10 years of Peter Parker development into two movies" problem (as much as I don't like that he never outgrew the nerd stereotype).

    The OT is a good example, though.
    Last edited by Kaitou D. Kid; 07-04-2020 at 08:23 AM.

  6. #21
    Astonishing Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kaitou D. Kid View Post
    I think Garfield's Peter was just as introspective, especially in ASM1. What I like about his performance is that I (almost) always feel like I'm in his head and know what he is thinking. I see Peter as the type who gets lost in his head and tends to come off as a jerk as a result of that. I would argue that is also the kind of actor you need for Peter Parker if you won't do the monologues like in the comics and cartoons.
    I will say one thing, the decision to not include voiceover narration in any of the movies* is a major mistake and a huge loss, and till today I can't fathom why film-makers refused to do anything like that. To get back to Ryan Reynolds, the greatest Peter Parker that never was, think of how much Deadpool would be diminished without his VO narration. The absence of voiceover is a result of the proliferation of screenwriter manual thinking and philosophy (which these days even substitutes for film criticism) when so many great movies use voiceover well. And the attempt to get around the issue of voicover is what denies audiences a full spectrum of Peter as a character. The worst is the MCU with those AI Companions which is the worst idea yet. The absence of voiceovers leads film-makers to put all the character stuff on the surface. Hence's Tobey's overly morose and sad Peter, Garfield's overly intense performance, and Tom Holland's well Tom Holland-ness.

    * I know that we had voiceover intros and outros at the start of Raimi's Spider-Man movies but that's not really the same thing as an actual voiceover narration for the entire movie.

    I'll have to go back to SM1 in Dunst's case but Tobey looked a little older to me even if he was younger than Garfield at the time. I think it's because Maguire was bulkier and had more "manly" features in the face (particularly the chin area).
    This might be a generational thing. As someone who saw the movies when it came out, Tobey Maguire was definitely not an actor with a "manly" reputation. In fact comments at the time said that he was a baby-faced bug-eyed dork. Before he did Spider-Man, Maguire appeared in a series of independent films where he played a bunch of off-kilter roles. Like Wonder Boys, made in 2000 as a gay student who gets in a relationship with an older man (played by...Robert Downey Jr. back when he was affordable) and The Ice Storm, his first breakout movie, where he plays a comic collecting nerd. I don't think Maguire has a stronger chin either, certainly not a lantern jaw (think Ben Affleck). I mean Maguire's certainly less macho than James Franco and Willem Dafoe, and for that matter Cliff Robertson who plays Uncle Ben.

    Garfield has a more slim anatomy and softer facial features (similar to Grant Gustin) and I think that gave him a younger look relative to Tobey in SM1.
    I suppose. To me the skateboard affectations and overt braggadoccio and his showboating, came off as too macho.

  7. #22
    Moderator Frontier's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WebLurker View Post
    I kinda thought Pine's Spidey seemed more like Superman with a Batcave in terms of presentation, kind of to be the perfect hero. Peter B. was also from a Earth-616, so it really seemed like he was supposed to be seen as the "main" Spidey. Granted, both Spideys seemed to draw a lot of backstory from the Raimi movies (heck, if Peter B. hadn't had webshooters, I would've been really happy if he had been the Maguire version).
    I think Pine had more in common with 616 Spidey in terms of behavior, personality, and effectiveness as Spider-Man. The Batcave was a bit much but up until that point he was pretty much just an ideal Spider-Man for Miles to live up to.

    I don't think he was that different from PS4 Spidey.
    Sparkles was good, but the car thief scene was just bad and I have to say that I'm not sure that Garfield got that many memorable lines. In any event, I think Raimi got the humor of the franchise the best (Spider-Verse close second) and no one makes Spidey quip as well as Brian Michael Bendis.
    Well, nobody writes Spidey as much of a nonstop quipper like Bendis did.

    Raimi at least realized that Spider-Man is supposed to quip and act differently from Peter Parker. Something we don't really get as much in the following film takes.

  8. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    I will say one thing, the decision to not include voiceover narration in any of the movies* is a major mistake and a huge loss, and till today I can't fathom why film-makers refused to do anything like that. To get back to Ryan Reynolds, the greatest Peter Parker that never was, think of how much Deadpool would be diminished without his VO narration. The absence of voiceover is a result of the proliferation of screenwriter manual thinking and philosophy (which these days even substitutes for film criticism) when so many great movies use voiceover well. And the attempt to get around the issue of voicover is what denies audiences a full spectrum of Peter as a character. The worst is the MCU with those AI Companions which is the worst idea yet. The absence of voiceovers leads film-makers to put all the character stuff on the surface. Hence's Tobey's overly morose and sad Peter, Garfield's overly intense performance, and Tom Holland's well Tom Holland-ness.

    * I know that we had voiceover intros and outros at the start of Raimi's Spider-Man movies but that's not really the same thing as an actual voiceover narration for the entire movie.



    This might be a generational thing. As someone who saw the movies when it came out, Tobey Maguire was definitely not an actor with a "manly" reputation. In fact comments at the time said that he was a baby-faced bug-eyed dork. Before he did Spider-Man, Maguire appeared in a series of independent films where he played a bunch of off-kilter roles. Like Wonder Boys, made in 2000 as a gay student who gets in a relationship with an older man (played by...Robert Downey Jr. back when he was affordable) and The Ice Storm, his first breakout movie, where he plays a comic collecting nerd. I don't think Maguire has a stronger chin either, certainly not a lantern jaw (think Ben Affleck). I mean Maguire's certainly less macho than James Franco and Willem Dafoe, and for that matter Cliff Robertson who plays Uncle Ben.



    I suppose. To me the skateboard affectations and overt braggadoccio and his showboating, came off as too macho.
    I agree with you that voiceover narrations can work. Furthermore, they are not even that uncommon in teens films. Kick-Ass had good voiceover narration. The American Pie films have some decent voiceover narration. Spider-Man would be no different.

    Tobey looked "manlier" in the sense he looked more like an actual man and not someone in the 15-20 range (I'm talking relative to Andrew and not relative to all men). He was bulkier and had a more defined chin (to be fair, Peter also ages faster in the Raimi films than he does in the Webb films).

    I think the skateboard and hoodie was the film going "Look, everyone, look! He's a loner! He's an outcast! Would he have a hoodie and skateboard if he wasn't an outcast? ". Both the Raimi and Webb franchises were afraid audiences wouldn't "get it" that Peter is a loner, and felt the need to be over the top about it. In Raimi's case it was turning Peter into a nerd caricature closer to George McFly (which Peter never really was). That said I still find Garfield's Peter closer and more grounded relative to Maguire's version, as much as I think the skateboard and hoodie were unnecessary.

    Quote Originally Posted by Frontier View Post
    I think Pine had more in common with 616 Spidey in terms of behavior, personality, and effectiveness as Spider-Man. The Batcave was a bit much but up until that point he was pretty much just an ideal Spider-Man for Miles to live up to.
    Was the Batcave even supposed to be taken seriously, or is that just them having fun with animation?

    I heard some complaints that they made Pine's Spider-Man rich, but I never got that vibe. The media describes him as a grad student, and MJ describes him as an "ordinary person". I think any talk about him being like Batman or having this successful mega-franchise is supposed to be the production crew having a bit of fun, or him breaking the fourth wall, or both.

    This is actually one of my only critiques with ITSV. The film sometimes has too much fun with the fact it is animated and can do anything. Some scenes are confusing because we don't know what's there for fun and what is actually happening in-universe.
    Last edited by Kaitou D. Kid; 07-04-2020 at 10:52 AM.

  9. #24
    Astonishing Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kaitou D. Kid View Post
    Tobey looked "manlier" in the sense he looked more like an actual man and not someone in the 15-20 range (I'm talking relative to Andrew and not relative to all men). He was bulkier and had a more defined chin (to be fair, Peter also ages faster in the Raimi films than he does in the Webb films).
    Ah I get what you mean.

    The other thing to keep in mind, in addition to casting, is visual style. Sam Raimi's visual style and visual design for the Spider-Man films was to mix elements from the 50s to 70s with the 90s and 2000s. If you look at those movies you don't find the internet, or mobile phones, or computers on screen. Like Peter looks up yellow pages and so on for information about the wrestling gig. That was Raimi mixing in the decades when Spider-Man emerged with the time the movie was made and released in. So the high school stuff in the first half of Spider-Man 1 is meant to suggest not a real high school but a high school from stuff like Grease and so on. Spider-Man 2 famously had an elevated train in the middle of Manhattan when that was taken down decades back (and the movie actually shot in and around Chicago's Loop to make it work). Raimi's movies also have a rich visual look with a summer glow there in most shots so it makes it look timeless.

    So that also helps justify the casting in my view. Raimi indicates clearly that the movie takes place in its version of reality and that sells the casting of Tobey as Peter.

    In Raimi's case it was turning Peter into a nerd caricature closer to George McFly (which Peter never really was).
    Do you mean Crispin Glover, i.e. Marty's Dad or Marty himself? Because Andrew Garfield is definitely closer to Marty McFly, being a skateboarding dude with a girlfriend/sidekick.
    Last edited by Revolutionary_Jack; 07-04-2020 at 11:32 AM.

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  11. #26
    Astonishing Member Mutant God's Avatar
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    I like Maguire the most of the Spider-Men

    As far as I'm thinking Holland and the villains are the only ones who look/act like their comic book characters or it seems that way to me.
    Skeeter: Hey time traveling O5 members of the X-Men We don't take kindly to people who create a time paradox around here!

    Bartender: Now calm down Skeeter they aint hurtin nobody.

    Skeeter: No! I wanna know som'in from the "O5" How come you cant go back to your own timeline in the first place and how come when Reed Richards "fixed" the universe you wasnt put back and how come the changes that happn to you dont happn to your present day selves?

    Bartender: Skeeter I dont want trouble

  12. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    Do you mean Crispin Glover, i.e. Marty's Dad or Marty himself? Because Andrew Garfield is definitely closer to Marty McFly, being a skateboarding dude with a girlfriend/sidekick.
    I mean Crispin Glover/ George McFly. The way Tobey carries himself, the way he moves/smiles/waves at girls is all very Crispin Glover-esque. Even things like the bus driver and the nerdy girl taking jabs as him remind me of George McFly, who was also someone that everyone and their dog liked to crap on.

    Some people would say that's a good thing because Peter is supposed to be a nerd, but I think they are basing that more on nerd stereotypes (and often caricatures) than on any version of Peter. Not only has Peter never been conceived as that much of a nerd caricature, him and George arguably aren't even the same archetype. If I had to think of a caricature of the Peter from AF #15, it would be something closer to Morty Smith.

    By contrast, Andrew's Peter was more grounded and closer to the kind of nerd Peter usually is in AF # 15 or the first Ultimate arc. Again, not exactly ideal - the skateboard and hoodie fall into caricature territory too - but his core personality traits are there. I'm referring to things like the fact that he keeps to himself and is 'invisible' to most of his peers (as opposed to sticking out like a sore thumb), the way he gets lost into his work, and his passive-aggressive attitude. Also while I wouldn't consider Peter Parker and Marty McFly the same archetype, I do think Peter has more in common with Marty than with 1955's George. He has that delinquent and adventurous side that is stronger in Marty than it was in his father. I know that even Tom Holland took inspiration from Marty McFly for his role, and it is probably for that reason.
    Last edited by Kaitou D. Kid; 07-06-2020 at 12:13 PM.

  13. #28
    Astonishing Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kaitou D. Kid View Post
    I mean Crispin Glover/ George McFly. The way Tobey carries himself, the way he moves/smiles/waves at girls is all very Crispin Glover-esque. Even things like the bus driver and the nerdy girl taking jabs as him remind me of George McFly, who was also someone that everyone and their dog liked to crap on.
    Interesting. I never saw it that way, mostly because Sam Raimi was appealing to an older set of references than Back to the Future (which itself was based on older movies for the flashback sequence set in the '50s) but I see what you mean. The important thing is that Raimi's Spider-Man, both the first and second movie, is premised on a love story. It's a classic boy-meets-girl love story. Whereas the Garfield movies and Tom Holland's movies aren't really premised on a love story*. So that meant that Raimi concieved Peter and Mary Jane to be more like a typical movie love story/romance and reconfigured their personalities accordingly.

    Is that accurate to the comics? Well Raimi's movies adapt and condense a big swathe of Spider-Man serialized storytelling into movies. The emotional center of the Spider-Man stories ultimately became the Peter-MJ love story in the comics, so on that level it is accurate. Raimi's movies are accurate to the spirit of the comics more than the letter. I still feel that, at least the first 2 movies and between them really the first one which to me is still the best Spidey live-action film and which hasn't been surpassed by anyone.

    *A lot of people will argue that the Garfield movies are also centered on the romance with Emma Gwen. But again the premise of the TASM movies is Peter's legacy and the issues with his dad Richard Parker, which motivate the entire plot and backstory, of which Emma Gwen is just a distraction (a welcome one since it's better executed by comparison). Whereas in Raimi's Spider-Man, Peter's feelings for Mary Jane is the motivating element of the entire story (as he says in the narration "this story is about a girl") and the romance is far better integrated into the character and superhero plot.

    Some people would say that's a good thing because Peter is supposed to be a nerd, but I think they are basing that more on nerd stereotypes (and often caricatures) than on any version of Peter. Not only has Peter never been conceived as that much of a nerd caricature, him and George arguably aren't even the same archetype.
    To the degree that anyone is a nerd (since that word originated as an insult and rarely conformed to reality to start wtih) I'd say that Peter at the outset of AF#15 was concieved as a nerd. Again Peter (and for that matter his supporting cast) is a dynamic character who changed and transformed dynamically and drasticaly over the course of the character's publication history. Anyone adapting the character to the screen eventually has to pick and choose to distill stuff down. Even in AF#15, Peter changes quite a bit in that story.

    If I had to think of a caricature of the Peter from AF #15, it would be something closer to Morty Smith.
    Aw jeez...don't say that. Peter was never that bad.

    I'm referring to things like the fact that he keeps to himself and is 'invisible' to most of his peers (as opposed to sticking out like a sore thumb), the way he gets lost into his work, and his passive-aggressive attitude.
    I don't think comics!Peter ever had that attitude. Like in AF#15, Peter tried to ask Liz (not named yet) if he could tag along and he got insulted for speaking up. Peter kept to himself and remained invisible because he was poor, he had intellectual interests and he was bullied repeatedly.

    I've noticed for some time that people are trying to downplay the level to which Peter was really bullied in the original comics. I think it's in understandable reaction to the false idea people have that Peter was some kind of prospective school shooter (based on the false idea that a lot of school shooters are bullied nerds when in most cases they aren't, and in the case of the Columbine shooters, they were white supremacist bullies whose victims included people they picked on). But the fact is that Peter Parker before the Spider-Bite was genuinely downtrodden socially and emotionally. And Sam Raimi's movies captured that wonderfully whether it's him latching on to Harry in a toxic friendship where he lets the rich kid exploit him for free unpaid homework just because Harry allows Peter some scraps of attention. Make no mistake, Peter Parker in the original Lee-Ditko run HATED high school like any normal person.

    Also while I wouldn't consider Peter Parker and Marty McFly the same archetype, I do think Peter has more in common with Marty than with 1955's George. He has that delinquent and adventurous side that is stronger in Marty than it was in his father. I know that even Tom Holland took inspiration from Marty McFly for his role, and it is probably for that reason.
    I think ultimately Peter Parker is his own unique character and I think the movies have always fallen short in some manner by trying to ascribe other teenage types on to him. Peter Parker was a working-class kid from Queens, who was born and raised poor, for whom his uncle getting him a microscope for a gift was something that meant as much to him as the latest console for any middle class kid. The original Lee-Ditko comics and for that matter the Raimi movies to some extent, really do deal with that class subtext well. Whereas Marty McFly in Back to the Future is a middle-class suburban kid, and most of his hijinks and ideas revolve on some consumerist trapping, idea, and fantasy. His defining thing is wanting to be cool, and everything to be cool. In that sense Marty McFly is just like Morty Smith who's also a consumerist middle-class kid at heart (but which the show exposes the way it exposes every other subtext of those movies) and not like Peter at all.
    Last edited by Revolutionary_Jack; 07-06-2020 at 01:30 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    Interesting. I never saw it that way, mostly because Sam Raimi was appealing to an older set of references than Back to the Future (which itself was based on older movies for the flashback sequence set in the '50s) but I see what you mean. The important thing is that Raimi's Spider-Man, both the first and second movie, is premised on a love story. It's a classic boy-meets-girl love story. Whereas the Garfield movies and Tom Holland's movies aren't really premised on a love story*. So that meant that Raimi concieved Peter and Mary Jane to be more like a typical movie love story/romance and reconfigured their personalities accordingly.

    Is that accurate to the comics? Well Raimi's movies adapt and condense a big swathe of Spider-Man serialized storytelling into movies. The emotional center of the Spider-Man stories ultimately became the Peter-MJ love story in the comics, so on that level it is accurate. Raimi's movies are accurate to the spirit of the comics more than the letter. I still feel that, at least the first 2 movies and between them really the first one which to me is still the best Spidey live-action film and which hasn't been surpassed by anyone.

    *A lot of people will argue that the Garfield movies are also centered on the romance with Emma Gwen. But again the premise of the TASM movies is Peter's legacy and the issues with his dad Richard Parker, which motivate the entire plot and backstory, of which Emma Gwen is just a distraction (a welcome one since it's better executed by comparison). Whereas in Raimi's Spider-Man, Peter's feelings for Mary Jane is the motivating element of the entire story (as he says in the narration "this story is about a girl") and the romance is far better integrated into the character and superhero plot.

    To the degree that anyone is a nerd (since that word originated as an insult and rarely conformed to reality to start wtih) I'd say that Peter at the outset of AF#15 was concieved as a nerd. Again Peter (and for that matter his supporting cast) is a dynamic character who changed and transformed dynamically and drasticaly over the course of the character's publication history. Anyone adapting the character to the screen eventually has to pick and choose to distill stuff down. Even in AF#15, Peter changes quite a bit in that story.

    I don't think comics!Peter ever had that attitude. Like in AF#15, Peter tried to ask Liz (not named yet) if he could tag along and he got insulted for speaking up. Peter kept to himself and remained invisible because he was poor, he had intellectual interests and he was bullied repeatedly.

    I think ultimately Peter Parker is his own unique character and I think the movies have always fallen short in some manner by trying to ascribe other teenage types on to him. Peter Parker was a working-class kid from Queens, who was born and raised poor, for whom his uncle getting him a microscope for a gift was something that meant as much to him as the latest console for any middle class kid. The original Lee-Ditko comics and for that matter the Raimi movies to some extent, really do deal with that class subtext well. Whereas Marty McFly in Back to the Future is a middle-class suburban kid, and most of his hijinks and ideas revolve on some consumerist trapping, idea, and fantasy. His defining thing is wanting to be cool, and everything to be cool. In that sense Marty McFly is just like Morty Smith who's also a consumerist middle-class kid at heart (but which the show exposes the way it exposes every other subtext of those movies) and not like Peter at all.
    I brought up George McFly because he's the most obvious go-to caricature of a nerd. I don't know whether or not Tobey actually based his performance on Crispin Glover's.

    I am not claiming that Peter wasn't conceived as a nerd, just that his nerdiness felt believable and authentic. The difference between that and a caricature may not sound as much but is crucial. It is the difference between, say, Bill Finger's dark-and-broody Batman and All-Star Batman. It is important for your protagonist to not feel over-the-top like that if you're telling a serious story and if all your other characters feel grounded. The over-the-top caricature of the nerd works better if you're doing a comedy and if all the other characters are over-the-top as well (i.e. in shows like Big Bang Theory or Blue Mountain State). Raimi's Spider-Man films are neither comedies, nor do the other actors give as over-the-top performances as Tobey's (JK Simmons and Dafoe maybe being the exceptions, with the latter playing a crazy person).

    Honestly, Maguire's performance makes him come off like he had the least experiencing with being the bullied nerdy kid compared to Garfield and Holland. I could be wrong, I don't know anything about his personal life, but if not him then at least the people directing him. There is a subtlety to the way Garfield and Holland play being the bullied nerdy kid that I just didn't get with Maguire. I read interviews where they both talk about how they experienced bullying and being similar to Peter Parker growing up, so I'm assuming a lot of their inspiration for the role comes from there (I don't know if Tobey has said anything). For example, while I'm not a big fan of MCU Spider-Man, there is one scene in Homecoming where I feel Holland nails Nerdy Peter Parker. It is in those 30 seconds when he first gets off the subway and walks to his locker. He gets out of the subway wearing a lame-looking sweater and dress-shirt. As he is walking towards school, he already looks tense and uncomfortable in his body. Flash then almost hits him with his car, calls him a derogatory name, and a couple of girls laugh at him. Peter's body just tenses up more as he continues to walk to his locker without saying anything or making eye contact with anyone. I've had those moments before, where a kid is mean to you and your body goes into 'freeze' mode, you have the pokerface but on the inside you're restless and full of anxious thoughts. It is things like those that make the latter two performances more believable, but also more in tune with Lee/Ditko's take - Peter in AF #15 also doesn't move or act over-the-top much when he is being teased or rejected.

    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    I've noticed for some time that people are trying to downplay the level to which Peter was really bullied in the original comics. I think it's in understandable reaction to the false idea people have that Peter was some kind of prospective school shooter (based on the false idea that a lot of school shooters are bullied nerds when in most cases they aren't, and in the case of the Columbine shooters, they were white supremacist bullies whose victims included people they picked on). But the fact is that Peter Parker before the Spider-Bite was genuinely downtrodden socially and emotionally. And Sam Raimi's movies captured that wonderfully whether it's him latching on to Harry in a toxic friendship where he lets the rich kid exploit him for free unpaid homework just because Harry allows Peter some scraps of attention. Make no mistake, Peter Parker in the original Lee-Ditko run HATED high school like any normal person.
    I actually noticed the opposite. The MCU prides itself on having the first Flash who is not a cartoonish bully that gives Peter wedgies and shoves him into lockers as a daily ritual. But Flash was never that cartoonish of a bully to begin with. He only physically assaults Peter in one issue in the Lee/Ditko run (ASM #8). The rest of the time he is either threatening to hit Peter, or is using his alpha status to get others to make fun of him. This isn't to say those aren't serious forms of bullying, though.

    I think most of the downplaying of how much Peter was bullied is in response to the myth of the Lee/Ditko being a caricature of a nerd or a loser. Some of that maybe comes from Tobey's performance, but a lot of it from Marvel's insistence in the last 20 years that Peter is this huge loser. Of course, when Marvel doubles-down on that idea so hard, some people will naturally swing the other way and say that Peter was always a low-key casanova.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kaitou D. Kid View Post
    Raimi's Spider-Man films are neither comedies, nor do the other actors give as over-the-top performances as Tobey's (JK Simmons and Dafoe maybe being the exceptions, with the latter playing a crazy person).
    I actually think most of the performances in Raimi's movies are expressive. Because again the style of the movie is trying to synch up the 90s with the 50s and 60s in a kind of melange. Sam Raimi's Spider-Man movies aren't really trying to be completely realistic...like a lot of Raimi movies it's a little classical, i.e. 50s and 60s Hollywood where the acting style was more personality than technical range. So the actors are cast for emotional resonance. Like it matters that Tobey is laidback and earnest in his speech and behavior on screen, that Kirsten Dunst's Mary Jane brings emotional warmth and radiance in any moment she's on-screen, that Willem Dafoe always makes us uneasy when we see him (which you know given that he's Dafoe, isn't that hard).

    Honestly, Maguire's performance makes him come off like he had the least experiencing with being the bullied nerdy kid compared to Garfield and Holland. I could be wrong, I don't know anything about his personal life, but if not him then at least the people directing him.
    Well I had experience being bullied growing up, within my family and outside, and it did make me a shut-in and a little repressed for the longest time (the reason I respond in lengthy messages with facts is that I am used to people picking apart stuff I say, so I always take the extra room to back up what I say), I felt Maguire's Peter spoke to that experience. But in any case, Raimi's Spider-Man, and for that matter, Spider-Man the character is not meant to be a completely accurate or realistic look at the psychology of bullying, ultimately the larger importance is to convey a story of an ordinary decent man giving extraordinary powers and duties at a young age, and Maguire as an actor was able to project those qualities, which ultimately Garfield and Holland haven't done so yet, in my view.

    I actually noticed the opposite. The MCU prides itself on having the first Flash who is not a cartoonish bully that gives Peter wedgies and shoves him into lockers as a daily ritual. But Flash was never that cartoonish of a bully to begin with. He only physically assaults Peter in one issue in the Lee/Ditko run (ASM #8). The rest of the time he is either threatening to hit Peter, or is using his alpha status to get others to make fun of him. This isn't to say those aren't serious forms of bullying, though.
    It was implied that he bullied Peter pretty badly, including physically, before the Spider-Bite and a lot of comics showing the early days did hint that. Like his obsession with picking on Peter in the early Lee-Ditko issues and Peter briefly contemplating Doctor Doom killing him, doesn't make sense (on his part and Peter) if it was simply mild insults. Again, the comics are ultimately about Peter growing up so the stuff about how badly Flash bullied Peter is backstory and there for you to infer but I think it was pretty bad. I think some writers downplay it on account of Flash becoming a nicer person and standup guy later on but it had to have been bad enough for that change to be that dramatic.

    I've had those moments before, where a kid is mean to you and your body goes into 'freeze' mode, you have the pokerface but on the inside you're restless and full of anxious thoughts. It is things like those that make the latter two performances more believable, but also more in tune with Lee/Ditko's take - Peter in AF #15 also doesn't move or act over-the-top much when he is being teased or rejected.
    Tobey's Peter didn't overact either. He mostly bottles up and doesn't say anything. The one time in Spider-Man 1 and 2 that he explodes is at Uncle Ben right before he goes wrestling. Otherwise, he's really low key.

    I think fundamentally this is generational more than anything. When I saw Tobey's Peter in 2002, I felt it was a restrained and nuanced performance and for me Garfield is too intense and needy as an actor while Tom Holland is just bland.

    Nothing against them as performers (though I have serious doubts about Tom Holland as a leading man, I think he's fundamentally a character actor). Andrew Garfield is a capable actor. I saw him in a movie called Under the Silver Lake over the weekend (a very weird and not very successful movie but worth it if you watch it in the right mood) and Garfield's performance there isn't different from how he played Peter (there's even a shout out to Amazing Spider-Man, with the issue alluding to Conway's first clone saga) only the character he's playing is openly a s--thead as opposed to his Peter being accidental and unintentional one.

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