So, my son is somewhat obsessed with Spider-Man.
When the second and third films came out, he was massively obsessed and now, with the new reboot release imminent, his obsession has returned. Initially he was sceptical. “He’s not the real Spider-Man”, he complained. But, after seeing a few trailers, and realising that he just loves Spider-Man whatever (and don’t we all?) he’s now properly excited.
So after watching the trilogy over the last few weeks (several times: no, it never gets boring…oh wait…) and declaring that the third one is his least favourite (that’s my boy) because it’s the scariest (oh, not because it’s the worst, son?) I decided to test his Spidey devotion.
So we watched The Amazing Spider-Man. The one from 1977. It’s on Youtube in all it’s glory here. I had only ever seen the two sequels as a lad, and it always irked me that I had never seen him actually become Spidey. In hindsight, it might have been better to leave it that way. A hasty, unseen bite, and sudden wall-climbing abilities do not a great superhero creation make. Lots of “hey, look, he’s definitely on a wall here” sequences were immediately foiled by my son saying, “he’s obviously on the floor”.
The crazy way Spidey runs in these TV movies is instantly recognisable, and something I remembered creating in my youth. Forget Andrew Garfield or Tobey Maguire, THIS was the Spidey I remembered. And good God, but I wish it wasn’t. My son seemed unfazed, watching it faithfully, querying why he had to make web-shooters, why Peter Parker had so much hair (70s lol). Meanwhile I was amazed that this was what passed for superhero action 40 years ago. Truly, looking at this, and the Incredible Hulk, and the Captain America TV movies, and the Batman TV series, it’s no wonder that when Tim Burton made Batman in 1989 he changed the game completely and utterly.
With the new Spidey about to reboot the myth, it was fun to look at what life was like for comic book heroes before the last cycle of films started. Spider-Man was always my favourite superhero growing up and, while the Maguire films were competent, I still felt there was something missing. Not quite as much as was missing from the ‘77 TV movie, mind, but still. I wonder if Marc Webb (such good director casting) can bring the hero to life the way I remember him in my mind, and not the way I saw him in blurry video on Youtube the other day.