Thursday, July 15, 2010

Raimi and the Goblin

Partly in follow up to last month's post on Doc Ock, and partly just because I felt like it, I watched a little of the first two Spider-Man films. I think they hold up pretty well, despite a few problems (not enough Spider-banter and bad humor) but a few thoughts occured to me and I felt like sharing them.

-Looking at it a little more closely, I'm finding the Goblin's motivation throughout to be both a criticism of Objectivism and at the same time, confirmation of it. Like it or not, Osborn is a guy who has (rightfully) achieved success and riches off his work. In fact, his whole rant to Spider-Man after he drugs him on the rooftop is very Randian - about how the exceptional people shouldn't be held to the standards of their lessers and should blaze their own trail. His whole arc is of trying to protect what's "his" from others who would take it from him and whom (we assume) haven't earned it. Of course, that's undercut by the fact that yes, Osborn took shortcuts and weaseled. I'm pretty sure I'm not the first person to think of this, but I figured I would share it anyway.

-The Train scene in the second movie - yeah, it's a big bag of sap, but who cares? One thing I liked about the first two movies was that despite all the negative press Spidey got, the "average person" actually knew a hero when they saw one. The idea that there were dissenting opinions and that the media isn't a perfect manipulator of the public thoughtsphere is something you don't see often. Of course, it'd be nice if that were shown in say, the Marvel Comics themselves.

-Despite the mistakes and misteps here, I think these movies hold up pretty well. In fact, the only thing that I think that a rebooted movie series could do better is to take risks. Let's face it, "The Dark Knight" proved that yes, you could actually pull off the actual Gwen Stacy story without losing the audience. That said, I don't think Spider-Man should be as dark as Batman, but I can't deny that there's ample evidence that it could work, and that with the superhero market proven and strong, they might just try it.

EDITED TO ADD: Not directly related, check out today's "MADE OF FAIL" webstrip by friend of the blog Jens Altmann for an amusing take on Marvel's Spider-writing policy.

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