‘Spiderman, Spiderman, does whatever a spider can. But does the franchise, do all it can, to excite an eager Marvel fan?’
Launched in the early Noughties, Spider-Man was a revelation to superhero films, offering something new and original to the genre with epic fight scenes and a modern destructive twist to draw the audiences in their masses, placing the superhero genre firmly in the mainstream. With X-Men released around the same time as Spider-Man just after the turn of the millennium, these two were modern pioneers of ensemble and solo hero movies. The decade that followed Spider-Man saw a Batman franchise reboot, Superman franchise reboot and the massive Avengers franchise and its single character films. These are high-profile superhero franchises and Spider-Man’s weighting in this cannot be understated.
2002 saw the first instalment in the Spider-Man franchise, impressively generate over $820m worldwide from an approximate $140m budget. Two years later director Sam Raimi’s sequel managed to bring in over $780m, despite the budget being significantly higher at around $200m. The last film in the original trilogy in 2007 saw the $258m budget blockbuster only hit around $335m domestically in the US, but smashing the other two films’ in foreign cinemas, generating over $890m.
The famous franchise saw a reboot titled The Amazing Spider-Man in 2012, which went on to generate approximately $752m, which isn’t as impressive as expected from the previous, but allowances can be made from a brand new cast and the story starting again. April 2014 saw the latest in the franchise with The Amazing Spider-Man 2, our highest rated film of the series so far. While we have high hopes for the film’s success, the previous film shows that this might not get the high box office success film studio, Sony, is after.
Harry’s transformation from friend to villain is great to watch both times around, albeit the second one being a lot shorter. The James Franco-Harry change can be likened to Anakin from the Star Wars franchise, slowly becoming more aware of his potential while an evil grows inside him. He even takes up similar traits to Anakin, with his eyes darkening and with him becoming more reckless. Not too many franchises actually allow this to happen, with many usually setting the friendship foundations early on and sticking to them. The fact that we’ve seen this happen twice in the series, even if it was the same character, is fantastic and welcomed.
As a popular superhero franchise, it’s a surprise to see an average of 5.6 explosions per film; there are only 28 explosions throughout the franchise, reinforcing it as a slightly tamer series when compared to other Marvel films. There are also 16 instances of guns used, with both statistic records including more counts towards the beginning/end as the franchise developed.
The first three films are perhaps more renowned for Peter Parker shedding a few tears but surprisingly Tobey Maguire cries seven times in his three films, while Andrew Garfield only cries five times in two. Both sets of films have a death close to the lead in Uncle Ben; however, Maguire’s Peter Parker never quite seems to settle with Mary-Jane, allowing more space for some tugging of the heart strings, while Garfield’s Parker has a girlfriend for the majority of the two films. Furthermore, the final film contains the most kisses for Parker, where he holds a steady girlfriend for a lot of the film. Aww, the big romantic.
In Spider-Man 3, Aunt May proclaims “I don’t understand. Spider-Man doesn’t kill people.” And boy is she right. While saving 125 people throughout the franchise, Spider-Man doesn’t kill even one person. There are a few near kills (i.e. Norman Osbourne in the first film), but no one actually dies by Spider-man’s sword (or more likely, web). This is remarkable considering 36 people die in the franchise, and makes the baddies that much ‘badder.’
The first three films were a stable trilogy with each film adding something different while Tobey Maguire did well to control the masked hero. However, the most recent two films have blown away Maguire and co, creating a more back-story focused plotline, a cocky and fun lead, and a couple of great baddies. More of the same please, Sony.
As an afterthought from watching the entire franchise, one niggling question keeps resurfacing: will Spider-Man ever be combined with the Avengers in an attempt to reignite both franchises? I’d hope that they wouldn’t need to and with the different studios’ it seems extremely unlikely, but in the modern trend of superhero films, it’s undeniable that this could become a reality if both studios stand to make enough money – which they likely would. Let us know on Twitter what you think or drop us a line on Facebook.
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