Along with being a celebration of America’s independence July 4th also tends to be a big day for the box office. Studios usually reserve the holiday for the release of a big budget action spectacle. This year July 4th ushered in the beginning of a new Spider-Man franchise, you don’t get much bigger than that. Spidey is one of the most well recognized characters in the world and has legions of fans from the die-hard to the casual. I consider myself of the die-hard variety. I’ve loved Spidey for as long as I can remember, what kid doesn’t? I bought my first Spider-Man comic in the mid 80s and I haven’t missed a beat since. I have bought every single issue of The Amazing Spider-Man published since that day right up until today when I bought the latest issue. Besides that I have complete runs of all kinds of other spin-off titles that have sprung up over the years like Spectacular Spider-Man, Web of Spider-Man, Peter Parker: Spider-Man, Sensational Spider-Man, Spider-Man Unlimited, Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man and so on and so on. Not to mention all the various Spidey mini-series’ and books published about his friends and foes. I have a very decent sized comic collection, and I’d say more than half of it is made up of Spider-Man books. And yet, even being a die-hard fan able to rhyme off the civilian identity of most of his villains I wasn’t uber excited about this new movie. Maybe because it was over shadowed by the Avengers and G.I. Joe: Retaliation (nerd rage)and the conclusion of the Dark Knight trilogy. Or maybe it’s because it was his origin story yet again and I’ve been there and done that more times than most people. The last thing I wanted to see in a Spidey flick was Uncle Ben getting gunned down yet again.
However the casting looked good and the trailers showed promise and at least a new villain was included rather than revisiting a villain we’d already seen on film. I did still want to see it and I was sure I’d enjoy it (I even enjoyed the debacle that was Spider-man 3 after all) I just wasn’t super-stoked to see it. Well I went and saw it last night and I got out of it pretty much what I expected. It was good. They changed up his origin story just enough to not be blasphemous to the mythos and not to be overly repetitive to what we saw in the first Tobey Maguire film. They didn’t include key characters of Peter Parker’s youth who played key parts in the last trilogy. It was kind of strange to not have a Harry, Mary Jane or especially J. Jonah Jameson included in this picture but I’m glad they weren’t there. I’m sure those characters will start popping up in the inevitable sequels but for now it was a nice change of pace. It’s almost a shame that Spider-man 3 introduced film audiences to Gwen Stacy and her father George as their inclusion in this film would’ve seemed that much fresher otherwise. I do like that this new series started out with Peter’s first love being Gwen as was the way it happened in the comics.
They’ve come a long way with the effects. This Spider-Man looks much more realistic when swinging through the city. While not nearly as cheesy as the Rami series this film had a few groaner moments. I could’ve done without the gigantic American flag and the scene where all the regular New Yorkers decide to pitch in and give Spidey a hand. Overall the film was quite good and if it had been the very first Spider-Man movie I probably would’ve loved it. But with a rehashed origin story, tweaked or not and a plot similar to ones we’ve seen in past super hero movies this left me feeling just alright.
I’ve spoken before about Spider-Man’s stellar rogues gallery. He’s got the best villains in the biz. The original trilogy covered some classics like the Green Goblin, Doctor Octopus, Sandman, and Venom but there were still at least a dozen more great villains for the filmmakers to pick from this time around. They opted for the Lizard and I’m glad they did. The Lizard is a great classic Spidey villain and they managed to merge their origins in this version in a way that made sense. Besides, it seemed as though the Lizard was bound to appear in the next installment of the Tobey Maguire series had a 4th been made. The Lizards alter-ego Dr. Curt Connors appeared in both Spider-man 2 and 3 with a mention in 1 as Peter’s university professor. It seemed as though he had earned his place as a leading film villain. When I first saw the movie-fied look of the Lizard I wasn’t really sold. Why fix something if it ain’t broke? I understand why they chose not to put Wolverine in yellow spandex on film but with the Lizard, his iconic comic book look would’ve translated fine and would’ve looked super cool. I reviewed a figure based on his standard comic book appearance of The Lizard a little while ago. The comic book version looks more like an alligator walking upright in a tattered lab coat. The movie version is much more humanoid and buck naked. Upon actually seeing the film I was a little more sold on this new appearance. I assume the more human like face was chosen so the character could emote more on screen. You’d think it would’ve made the lip synch easier too but I found the lip synch didn’t always line up with the audio. I do not think this look is an improvement but it’s still a cool variation and so the action figure was worth picking up.
The figure is pretty nice. It’s well detailed with all the little scales covering his body. The head is a pretty good representation of what appeared on screen but I’m not sure what emotion he’s supposed to be conveying here, angry maybe? To me it kinda looks like he’s just speaking here. I think an angrier scowl would’ve been better. The paint apps are nice and the articulation is decent will ball jointed shoulders and elbows. One thing I do not like about this figure is his size. The previous release was way too big and this guy is too damn small. He’s smaller than the Spider-Men figures in the line. In the movie the Lizard was a big hulking reptile making the comic version seem more appropriate in size. This guy is completely dwarfed when placed next to the other Lizard figure. He looks like the Geiko Gecko by comparison. I like this figure but it would have seriously benefited from some bulking up. Over all a pretty good toy for a pretty good movie. 7 out of 10.