Gwen Stacy Must Die

The Amazing Spider-Man Blu-Ray Review

Gwen Stacy Must Die

The Dork Knight’s Amazing Spider-Man Review

Admittedly, when I saw this movie in the theater last summer I wasn’t that thrilled. Maybe I was still bummed that I wouldn’t get to see John Malkovich as The Vulture (come on, you know that would have been, for lack of a better word, “amazing”) or maybe I was bummed that I was seeing what ended up feeling like a date movie without my then girlfriend and instead was watching it with a couple of dudes.

Either way, when I left the theater, all I wanted to do was watch Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2 (let’s not talk about Spider-Man 3 please) because to me, this movie felt more like a Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy love story directed by a man (Marc Webb) whose only other movie was a love story (“500 Days of Summer“) instead of a summer blockbuster superhero flick, so I was probably just too skeptical/critical when I first saw it.

Peter Parker, Gwen Stacy, Spider-Man

All of that said, after watching it at least a dozen times since, I really, really, really like this movie, but…

GWEN STACY MUST DIE!

The fateful spider bite that gave Peter Parker...

The fateful spider bite that gave Peter Parker his powers. Amazing Fantasy #15, art by Steve Ditko. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By now most of us should know the Spider-Man origin story, but here’s a quick recap.

  • Peter goes on a class trip and gets bitten by a radioactive spider
  • He wakes up as Spider-Man and uses his powers in a selfish way to wrestle for money because he wants a car
  • He’s cheated by the wrestling promoter and is directly responsible for the death of Uncle Ben because he physically moves out of the thief’s way who then goes on to murder Uncle Ben.

Other than the whole Mary Jane thing, Sam Raimi‘s version of the origin story is pretty spot on, so I would have rather seen an opening montage of the origin reminiscent of the way “The Incredible Hulk” did it with respect to its predecessor “Hulk”, that way we don’t have to wait nearly 60 minutes into a two hour movie before we even see the spidey suit.

Now I don’t have a problem with any of the re-imagining of the origin story because I feel it is in the same spirit and I really dig that Peter Parker is a skateboarder in this version of Spider-Man. It adds a layer of athleticism to the Peter Parker character that never existed before and as a former skateboarder and the father of a very talented one, it was a welcome change for me; unfortunately however, that was not the only change to the Peter Parker character.

Once we get to Uncle Ben’s death, which Peter is not directly responsible for, our superhero’s motivation becomes very different. The wise words of Uncle Ben “with great power, comes great responsibility” (Martin Sheen actually says this in one of the special features of the Blu-Ray, but never in the movie) combined with the overwhelming guilt that Peter feels from being directly responsible for Uncle Ben’s death, shape our character into the hero we all know and love. A hero driven by responsibility, sacrifice, and the need to honor his Uncle’s memory.

Amazing Fantasy 15 Spider-Man Origin

This Spider-Man (Andrew Garfield) is motivated by revenge because the death of Uncle Ben is quite different. Now without spoiling too much from the Blu-Ray special features, there is an alternate version of Uncle Ben’s death that I liked much better. I still have issue with T-Bone (the asshole convenient store clerk) yelling at Peter for help when he was outside already and walking in the opposite direction of the store and the robber so it makes no sense to me that T-Bone would even ask Peter for help. The way it was done in the alternate scene not only makes sense, but it makes it even more Peter’s fault so check that out. There’s also a great alternate scene where Peter doesn’t find out who killed Uncle Ben until the police are at his house. It’s such a raw dramatic performance it nearly had me in tears. Nearly.

Now we have a Spider-Man who is driven by revenge (which is a much darker motivation) so he needs to have something happen to him that will alter the focus of his motivation. The movie tries to do this (and Marc Webb discusses this in the commentary) through the dinner with Captain Stacy (Denis Leary) and family where Peter is actually told Spider-Man seems like he’s got a personal vendetta and not a respect for law and order, then again with the scene at the bridge where Peter saves the kid, but at the very end of the movie Peter still has the police sketch of Uncle Ben’s killer and seems to still be driven by revenge and doesn’t quite get that “with great power, comes great responsibility” because without even waiting to throw it in the sequel, Peter indicates that he’s going to break his promise to Captain Stacy to “leave Gwen out of it.” This kid needs to learn and sadly it will need to be at the expense of Gwen Stacy.

Here’s Emma Stone’s take on the fate of Gwen Stacy:

The bittersweet thing about the fact that Gwen Stacy must die is I really love Emma Stone‘s performance as Gwen Stacy. She gives the love story the heart and soul it needs to make you care about the relationship and when she’s on the screen you care. The chemistry between her and Garfield’s Parker is palpable. Garfield does a great job of playing the angst ridden orphan who needs the type of life lesson that accidentally killing your girlfriend after you promised her dying father you would stay away from her will provide you. What am I talking about you ask? You thought the Green Goblin killed Gwen Stacy? Nope it was Spider-Man and science is on my side. Check it out:

Overall, the movie is worth picking up on Blu-Ray, so go pick it up.

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