When was the last time you watched one of your favorite movies or shows?
Sometimes it’s hard to go back to something older, I know, especially nowadays with so much new content being pumped out. I find it really odd how easy it is to dismiss what is perceived as old and to homogenize it with being outdated. It’s not like a lot of these works set ground for the very new things to stand on or anything. Maybe it’s better than you remember, but maybe it’s not and is experiencing it again really worth the risk of disappointment? On the other hand, I know there’s a lot of people who continually re-watch titles in an effort to stay cozy. Sometimes I am one of those people and I’ll tell you what, when I wrap up a watch through I feel like I’ve gained something new. Isn’t that odd? So odd that it’s almost like it’s something one could talk about. Well, do you got a second? Let’s talk about it in this weeks installment of “Joel talks about nostalgia tangentially related to Spider-Man” where I talk about the Raimi Trilogy and what I’ve found on a recent weekend re-watch of the other two films.
I’ll get to that later…
So I’ll have to come clean on something: I’m really bad at actively going back and experiencing anything that wasn’t released in at least the past 5-7 years. It’s like I come across something I’ve heard talked about by friends and “trusted” consumers on one of the many streaming services I subscribe to and I just add it to the list. Ya know, the one that everyone has that seems to grow more each time the zeitgeist has something new to suck on. Yea…my list is where plausibly good shows and movies go to be forgotten about. I’m not proud of it, just like I’m not proud that I’ve been eating around bedtime more. One get’s me in trouble with my friends and internet strangers and the other makes me fat. It’s a rough intersection to be at, but I’ve been getting better with at least trying to experience older media and cleaning up the lists a bit. By cleaning I certainly mean removing some titles due to not remembering what first hooked me into adding them in the first place. As for the older media? Well, I uh…
Gosh, is this what getting older feels like? Not having enough time to get through things and instead just choosing to move on? *sigh* Anyway, what does this have to do the original Spiders-Man films? Well I’m glad I asked a rhetorical because I’m ready to tell you now. As I mentioned in the opening, I’ve recently finished watching the Raimi Spider-Man trilogy and I’ll tell you what, it’s been a steamy minute since I’ve been able to watch these films in succession. Yes, Spider-Man 2 is still the most solid one of the bunch and no Spider-Man 3 does not suck nearly as bad as the first time you watched it. That being said we cannot forget, for even a moment, that this made it into the final cut of the film. Bully Maguire is a fantastic meme format and you cannot convince me otherwise. Anyway, internet memes aside, let’s actually get into what I discovered on my most recent re-watch.
On the shoulders of giants
There’s something real special with being able to watch a series in succession, really just stewing in the world and narrative built. Honestly if I could experience all film series in this manner I would, but who has time for that? Certainly not I says the bear except for this recent weekend where I did just that. When it comes to these films, it’s really just Spider-Man 2 that seems to shine the brightest on its own. It’s even held as one of the greatest superhero films of all time. That’s a lot to put on a film in a trilogy. It’s not to say the first was bad by any means, far from it, it’s just not the realized vision that the films together are. Allow me to elaborate: when you’re first experiencing a story, most of what comprises the first third or so is set up. It allows an audience to settle in and hopefully develop a connection to what they’re being shown. Let’s think of the Raimi trilogy as the full story, essentially Peter Parker learning to be Spider-Man. Spider-Man (2002) introduces us to the origin and mythos of the character, by the end leaving us someone to follow for the sequential films. I would consider the version of Peter Parker in the first film to be Spider-Man by circumstance, not necessarily by choice.
The second film shows us him learning that he has a choice to put on the suit and it’s not one chosen lightly, but still picked nonetheless. He understands by the end of the film that being a hero, being Spider-Man, meant that the good ole’ Parker luck was something to get use to. Ya know, for the greater good and all that jazz. So what happens in the third film? Well, Peter learns humility and the importance of being present. Yes, all the emo Peter scenes were essential to learning said lesson(s). Peter’s narrative journey across the films is a wonderful reminder of the juicy drama that’s embedded into the character’s DNA. Like I said in my last post, Spider-Man stories function as dramas and like all great ones, there’s highs and lows to follow. This is what I feel the new MCU Spider-Man films have been lacking, which is probably why I’ve seen some fans state that the Holland version of the character doesn’t feel recognizable. To add to that, for me, the problem is Peter being carried by the MCU versus being a part of it. I could elaborate on that, but that’s a topic for another time. What Raimi, cast, and crew were able to produce I believe holds true to the comic roots in that regard. For a franchise that started almost twenty years ago (still weird to think about) there’s a lot that is as solid as ever. I think these works stand so much greater alongside each other and for anyone who hasn’t given the films a sequential watch through, do yourself a favor and do that. I think it’s important for the longevity of them to try and do so. You never know what you may find!
End of the line.
Well that’s it for my weekly ramblings this time around. I hope you enjoyed this and my post prior! My hope with these is to get less rambly and more concise as time goes on so I can talk about bigger topics. For now though, my brain soup poured all over a webpage is going to have to do. It became increasingly difficulty to not just divulge all my thoughts on the newest Spider-Man film, No Way Home, and I’m glad because it would honestly be some version of a 5 year old me screaming incoherently with excitement in the form of a blog post. At some point I’ll talk about the film once enough people have seen it. Give it like a month, that should be plenty of time! For now though, enjoy one of my favorite comic panels of Spider-Man:
Take care and until next time please remember to think globally and act locally. Not even as a joke, the holiday season is upon us and there are people in need of a hand or two. Tis the season for giving, right? Speaking of, one of my favorite organizations, The Hero Initiative, is a wonderful way to give back to creators who helped nurture and develop some of the heroes and characters you may hold dear. Let’s not forget those who came before us because it’s their actions that allow us to have an opportunity for our own. Thank you and be well!