As you’re most certainly aware, largely due to the massive influx of Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone relationship news over the past few weeks, it’s almost time for some more Spidey!
People seem to have very strong (often negative) opinions about Spider-Man, and more specifically about the imminent release of The Amazing Spider-Man 2. I’m already preparing for the fact that I’m probably going to have to talk one friend of mine off a ledge after she reads this. (Then again, she thinks any superhero who isn’t Batman is a complete waste of space.) So while I may be in the minority and I may regret going public with this, I confess to being truly excited to go see Peter Parker swinging from buildings next weekend.
This isn’t because Spider-Man is my favorite superhero. Far from it actually. For about 18 different reasons my favorite on the page has always been Wolverine, but that’s a post for another day. And for one very simple and embarrassing (and obvious) reason my favorite onscreen in recent years has been Thor.
In fact, when I would read comic books as a kid I generally didn’t even bother with Spider-Man. He just never piqued my interest the way others did. His backstory wasn’t that interesting to me, and my phobia of eight-legged creatures couldn’t really handle the added terror of the possibility of a radioactive option. Even so, I’ll admit to spending a fair amount of time running around in my yard shooting silly string out of my hands and pretending to swing from the trees. And there was that one failed attempt at building a web…
Despite his unfortunate fatal flaw of not being Wolverine, Spider-Man will always have a special place in my heart. I was a junior in high school (and still deeply hidden in the geek witness protection program) when Spider-Man came out. I freely admit the movie itself didn’t do much for me. I found Tobey Maguire’s version to be excessively mopey and pathetic, basically the same problems I had with the comic books. And frankly I’ve liked it less and less with repeat viewings over the years.
But for some unknown and still unexplainable reason, my classmates were hooked. They hadn’t ever cared about the strange ride that had been the 90’s era Batman movies, so this was new. Never before had I walked through the halls at school and heard people talking about a comic book character. (Admittedly I’m not sure many of them knew Spider-Man had existed before the movie, but hey, details.) My friends were actually excited to go see the movie. There was an eventful shopping trip to Toys R Us where we searched in vain for costumes to wear to the theater. We even camped out in line for a midnight screening on a school night and wore the circles under our eyes with pride the next morning.
It was a glorious moment for me. For the first time I felt like my friends understood why I loved superheroes. Turns out they were just really excited about the movie and would move on distressingly quickly, but for a few weeks my random knowledge of the Marvel Universe was an asset and not a carefully guarded secret.
Ok maybe the Spider-Man release didn’t actually start the permanent revolution I was hoping for. (And unfortunately I can’t go back in time and tell high school Fern that she only has to wait about a decade for The Avengers to change everything.) But it still marked a big change for me. Maybe these weren’t the friends that would ultimately share my passion, but I now believed that there were going to be people out there that would get it. And obviously I was right.
So next Friday night I will buy an overpriced ticket, some stale popcorn and a bucket of soda and sit with a few hundred wonderful strangers and remember that this is why I love Spidey. I can’t wait!