Posted July 4, 2012 by Mikael Angelo Francisco in Movies/TV

A Spider-Fan’s Thoughts on THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, Part 1 (SPOILERS)

It was probably a good thing for me to not have very high expectations for The Amazing Spider-Man (read our movie review). As a longtime Spider-fan, I was pissed off by some of the things I saw in the trailers and set pictures. It reached the point where I actively refused to look at any preview material for the film. Among other things, I initially couldn’t get over the costume design, as well as their decision to omit JJJ, Robbie Robertson, Betty Brant (Spidey’s “first love”, if we were to be technical about it) and pretty much the entire staff of the Daily Bugle – staples of Spidey’s supporting cast since Amazing Spider-Man #1. However, my opinion of the movie changed drastically after seeing it. I loved it, and I think it’s the best Spider-Man film so far, and one of the best comics-related films ever made. It’s as if you took the best elements of Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, dumbed them down a bit, and put an acrobatic wisecracking teenage hero in the starring role instead of a brooding Renaissance man with a serious throat problem.

Pictured: Batman performing Angry White Boy Polka.

As much as I loved the movie, though, it left me with a lot of questions. I ended up seeing it three times in three consecutive days (define “obsession”) and doing my best to make sense out of every single plot hole and inconsistency I took note of. Before I begin, I’d like to say that Amazing has made me more receptive to adaptations that don’t follow the source material to the letter. This used to be a big issue for me, but as I saw more and more comic book movies over the years, I realized that taking liberties with established continuity could not only give you a unique movie experience (see: The Avengers and Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies) but also improve your understanding and appreciation of the character/property when done right (see: Captain America and Iron Man). Hence, I stopped focusing on deviations from Peter Parker’s story in the comics, and instead decided to take a look at things that didn’t make sense from a logical standpoint.

One of the things that really bothered me was the surprisingly lax security at Oscorp. There’s no getting around it – Peter Parker was let in way too easily. They allowed this lost-looking kid with a skateboard to enter the premises, without even checking for proper identification. Apparently, shopping malls have tougher security than a multibillion-dollar science arm responsible for enough advanced technology and scientific breakthroughs to justify corporate thievery every Tuesday and a break-in every Friday. I mean, come on. They didn’t even ask for any supporting documents to verify “Rodrigo Guevara”’s identity. I’m pretty sure that if I tried pulling that shit at work, I’d probably get a logbook to the face and a boot between the asscheeks. “Are you having trouble finding yourself?” is a funny line, but demonstrates how the entire sequence sacrifices logic and common sense for a cheap laugh and to keep the story moving.

Making superpowers easy to get, one plot hole at a time.

Also, where are all the security cameras and burglar alarms at Oscorp? Hell, do they even have any concept of security? Peter Parker shadows Dr. Ratha, watches him draw a mirrored Fantastic Four signal on a computer interface, and just straight up walks to it when he’s gone and repeats the same thing? And gets in?! What, is Oscorp too good for a fingerprint recognition system? Do they just let people through doors based on “Significance To Plot”? Why didn’t any of the security guys see Peter messing around inside the Biocable chamber? Do they even have security guys over at Oscorp? Yeah, I really can’t defend the whole Oscorp thing, which is sad because this is the part where he freaking gets his powers.

Another thing that bothered me was Peter Parker’s cavalier attitude about his secret identity. The basketball sequence with Flash Thompson was ridiculously funny, but also showed a Peter Parker who clearly did not have the wisdom and cautiousness of his mainstream comic book counterpart. If I saw an established nerdy milquetoast of a kid suddenly showing some sweet basketball moves and embarrassing the school’s biggest jerk of a jock – and then pulling off a beautiful slam dunk that straight-up smashes the backboard into little fragments – I’d certainly start asking questions. Especially if a masked teenage hero shows up at school within the same week battling what looks like a cross between a dinosaur and a Goomba. However, it isn’t too much of a stretch to believe that he’d actually do this. I know *I’d* take advantage of new powers in the flashiest (pun not intended) ways possible if I spent most of my life being stuffed in a locker and punched in the twig and berries. I’m chalking this one up to youthful brashness and immaturity – after all, this IS a Peter Parker who just got his powers, and has yet to realize the importance of keeping secrets, well, secrets.

I was also amazed (no pun intended, again) at the sheer number of times in the film when he was unmasked – at school, on the bridge, on the street with a dozen cops and bystanders, on top of Oscorp… Man, I know this was partly influenced by Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley’s (rather excellent) Ultimate Spider-Man, which was known for establishing just how bad Ultimate Pete was at keeping his dual identity a secret, but I was hoping that they’d at least tone down the “aw man, my mask!” bits. This was after he made the costume specifically because he realized how important it was to keep his identity a secret. Granted, he had sufficient reason to unmask for the kid on the bridge (as ham-fisted as it was) and he was unmasked by Captain Stacy and the Lizard while he was incapacitated on both occasions. Pulling off the mask at school after hearing police sirens, however… that’s a totally different story.

“Why won’t you stay on? Why? WHY?”

Most of all, the sequence that showed Spider-Man saving a child from a flaming car suspended above a bridge really didn’t feel right to me. He saved the child using a single webline to the chest – that should have been enough to snap the kid’s neck, and was pretty much the same way he accidentally caused Gwen Stacy’s death in the classic Amazing Spider-Man #121 (in that comic, it was a webline to the ankle, but you get the idea). Mark Millar even addressed this in a recent Spider-Man story, where he showed Spider-Man saving Mary Jane from a fall by shooting multiple, precisely-aimed strands of webbing to avoid killing her via whiplash.

I have a few additional (minor) gripes about the film. While it made sense to me that Peter would have his name on his camera, you’d think that he’d have the foresight to remove it before using it as Spider-Man. I was also wondering about what happened to all the other people/cars suspended on the bridge, but I’m just assuming that most of those were abandoned cars. Also, what happened to Dr. Ratha after he saw everything that happened on the bridge? He just kind of completely disappeared from the movie after that, and I’m fairly certain that he was NOT the wild-haired figure in the post-credits scene (I think it was either Osborn or Connor’s fractured psyche). I’m guessing we’ll see more of him in some kind of DVD-only content or something though, if this screencap is any indication.

This wasn’t in the movie. Trust me, I saw it three times. Accidentally. Or not.

Lastly, I laughed at the graphical representation of the Lizard’s evil plan, conveniently displayed on his computer. This is the scene I was talking about in my review of the movie. I mean, I understand that it was done to illustrate what he wanted to do, but…I kinda predicted that he’d do that the moment the movie first introduced the Ganali device and defined its capabilities. Then again, this could be because I grew up reading the comics, watching the 90s cartoon and playing the Spider-Man game on the PlayStation, where “giving everyone scales, snake eyes and halitosis” was pretty high on the Lizard’s to-do list (I hope that sentence didn’t come off as a high-and-mighty geeky statement, that really wasn’t my intention).


I’m too terrified to even think of a lame joke.

Okay, I think that just about covers everything in terms of plot holes. Feel free to drop me a line in the Comments section if you feel like adding anything, asking about stuff or demanding my head on a plate for being such an uppity little nerd. Thanks for reading, guys!

Oh, and here’s Part II, AKA Why I Am In Love With This Movie And Emma Stone (Sort Of)!

Mikael Angelo Francisco