It all started with my uncle. He loved comics. This love of comics spread from his children to my brother and, eventually, to me. My brother, however, was the big Spider-Man lover. He collected just about every offshoot of the bug-boy while we were growing up. Thus, I gleaned quite a bit of information just from listening to him rave about Peter Parker.
When I learned a new Spider-Man was being made — as in, fresh from the start — I was torn. I just didn’t think anyone could play the part of Peter Parker as good as Tobey Maguire did. I mean, the dude was perfect. He was so geeky and quiet, and he did a great deer-in-the-headlights impression whenever MJ (Mary-Jane) talked to him.
That said, I loved Andrew Garfield’s rendition of Peter Parker. I can’t say I can pick between either since I loved them both for different reasons. Garfield’s Parker had more strength to him, making his jump from supreme-nerd to web-shooting superhero a little more believable.
Plus, there’s the web thing. Because in the original movies I was a little twitchy about the webs being a side-effect of the spider bite. One of my favorite editions of Spider-Man was based off the simple plot device of letting those little web-shooters run out of steam. Poor Spider-Man ran out of web mid-swing whilst trying to get home with spaghetti sauce (I think that was it — it was some kind of tomato sauce) and fell onto a rooftop.
This did two things for me — it made Peter fallible without having to pit him up against a super-bad-mutant-or-otherwise-scientifically-enhanced-guy; and it gave me something to worry about.
In the edition I’m referencing, Peter finds himself in a position where he believes he is dying. (That might be a spoiler. Sorry. But the comic has been out for like … years now … so I don’t feel too bad.) Anyway, his first thought is of none other than Gwen Stacey. This is another spoiler, if you haven’t read the comics (or been related to someone who consumed them like they were necessary to their very existence like my brother did) but Gwen Stacey is kind of … er … doomed.
Because any Spider-Man geek will tell you that her death was a pivotal moment for Peter Parker’s character. There are debates raging still about who was his true love — Gwen or Mary-Jane. Personally, I’m a Gwen Stacey fan all the way. (Yes, it’s totally like the comic-realm fight of Team Gwen vs. Team MJ.)
So, while I enjoyed the original three with Tobey Maguire running about in spandex, this new Amazing Spider-Man put right some of the things that were done a little wrong. We got the web-shooters. We got Gwen Stacey. And … yeah, we got Dennis Leary.