It was May 2002, the first summer blockbuster season after the tragic events of 9/11. If the world ever needed a hero, especially one so entwined with that fateful New York City, it was now. After years in b-movie splatter, Sam Raimi delivered with the first big budget Spider-Man movie. I remember the catharsis of watching the Green Goblin terrorize NYC only to get a swift beat down from your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. It was exactly what a country hungry for revenge and healing needed. After a few sequels and over $2 billion in box office receipts, the franchise went dead for nearly 5 years. Now, Marc Webb (500 Days of Summer) brings his own unique vision to the Spider-Man mythos on July 3rd.
Here’s what you do to get ready.
1. Watch “Night of the Lizard.”
It’s no secret that the villain in the new movie will be Spider-Man’s friend in science and subsequent enemy Dr. Curt Connors, who moonlights as a deranged lizard due to an experiment gone wrong. Maybe I’m feeling nostalgic, but the 1994 animated series is by far the best incarnation of the character and the Spider-Man universe. “Night of the Lizard” is the very first episode, and better yet, a mere 20 minutes. Can’t find it on DVD? You’re on the internet, be resourceful.
2. Read What I’m About to Tell You About Dr. Curt Connors.
In the comic books, Dr. Curtis Connors is not merely a gifted surgeon, but even served in Uncle Sam’s U.S. Army. Yes, things were going well for Dr. Connors, but after an injury to his right arm in the war (read: blown off and amputated), his career as a surgeon was suddenly cut short (thank you, I’ll be here all week).
This is where things get interesting.
During his research as a one-armed scientist, Connors became obsessed with uncovering the secrets of reptilian limb regeneration and studied reptilian biology extensively. Like most “I’m smarter than everyone” intellectuals, Connors decides to ignore warnings from his colleagues and forgo a human trial to use an experimental “reptilian DNA” serum on himself. Unbelievably, it worked, and his arm was back. Sure, it had the whole “turn into a psychopathic reptilian/humanoid monster” side effect, but aside from that..
3. Say His Damn Name Right.
It’s REESE Ee-Vans. Now go impress your friends. You can thank me later.
4. Quit Complaining
I swear, if I have to read another “it doesn’t look very realistic” comment about The Amazing Spider-Man, I may allow myself to be ravaged by a radioactive spider so I can shoot a web from my wrist and strangle you with it. You’re going to see a story about a teenage boy who is endowed with the superhuman powers of an arachnid, but you suddenly have an issue with suspending disbelief? A boy in a costume is fighting a giant mutated lizard, but his homemade web shooting mechanism is what sticks out as science fiction? Why would anyone want realism in a superhero movie? I want complete comic book insanity. Laws of physics be damned.
These are the same people who complain about video games not being realistic.
When I was a teenager, I wasted countless hours playing the Tony Hawk series on my PlayStation. It was the most unrealistic skateboarding video game of all-time, but it was incredible fun. If you aren’t leaping 20 feet into the air to grind the edge of a school roof, you’re doing it wrong. I attempted to play “Skate” for PS3 which claimed to be the most realistic version of skateboarding in a video game. It sucked. Why? Because there was already a realistic version of skateboarding out called SKATEBOARDING.
5. Read The “Torment” Storyline
Love or hate Todd McFarlane, a great place to start with Spider-Man is his 90’s run for Marvel. He penned the issues for this reboot of Spider-Man and started it off with a battle of spider vs lizard. The Torment storyline is only 5 issues long (#1-#5), but to an attention span destroyed by the internet, the equivalent of War & Peace. I know, I’m sorry. I won’t spoil the issues for you, but they won’t take long to read; the story is told at break neck speed.
This is the summer of the superhero with The Avengers coming first, The Amazing Spiderman second, and ending with The Dark Knight Rises. The hype around this seems to be positive, and I have zero doubts that The Amazing Spider-Man will earn back it’s money and then some.
Now follow this article and go do some caped crusading.