Ask 411 Movies for 04.28.14: The Ultimate Guide to Spider-Man
Posted by Chad Webb on 04.28.2014
How many versions of Spider-Man have there been in films and on TV? When is it okay to spoil details about shows and movies? What are Jamie Foxx's best roles? All that and more covered this week in Ask 411 Movies!
An "Ask 411 Movies" column would be nothing without questions, so please toss them my way. Why should you ask me instead of using Google? Well, perhaps I'll tell you something you can't find there, or maybe you just like my conversation and soothing words. You can post any questions or thoughts below in the comments section, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or send me a tweet using the links below:
I haven't been to the movies a lot lately. For starters, there isn't much I'm aching to see. Secondly, I have been juggling multiple shows: 24, Orphan Black, tons on my DVR, and now I plan to check out Vikings. I did just buy this killer Commando shirt, though not in this color.
If want to know more about my movie tastes, check out my page on Letterboxd by clicking right here. Also, make sure to look at all the great articles and writers at 411, particularly in the Movie-zone because that's where I predominantly am, but all of the zones.
In case I forgot to mention a notable death this week, you can always peruse the list yourself by clicking here.
What is the proper length of time where it's okay to give a spoiler for TV shows and movies? I hate it when people spoil stuff from shows on twitter and Facebook right after the show ended when I live on the west coast and the show hasn't aired yet there. I was watching agents of the shield and they gave away a major spoiler for the Captain America movie the Tuesday after the movie came out. Thanks,
Well, David, I hate it too. I feel your pain sir, though I live on the east coast so I can only imagine how this can be frustrating with the time difference. Unfortunately I don't think there is a specific answer to your question. I can only tell you how I go about it.
I've been writing here at 411mania since 2005 and I have always aimed to praise or criticize a film/show without using spoilers. There are exceptions to every rule of course, and when I use spoilers, I always try to let the readers know that in bold at the top of the article. The reason I bring that up is because this philosophy quickly translated into all aspects of movie/TV discussion in my life. When I talk about movies or shows, or someone asks me my opinion, I speak without giving away spoilers. If I talk to someone who enjoys the same show I do, but they haven't seen the most recent episode, I take that into account before speaking.
This day and age, many people don't care about that and it gets under my skin. Coincidentally, I've had conversations about this with numerous people, including a former 411 colleague recently, so certain aspects of our chat are fresh in my mind. As he said, we live in an era of too much information, hence shows and movies are talked about all over the place on social media, the internet in general, and obviously face-to-face. We also live in an era of narcissism, and as a result, we all want attention as well. What's one way people go about it? They are quick to give their thoughts on the episode of a show, or the ending of a movie via Twitter or Facebook and don't care if it's spoiled for others. They want their two cents to be heard. I truly believe the majority of people who do this simply don't give a shit what anyone thinks. If someone is bitching about their tweet or post, that still gives them attention.
But since many people in my own family tend to spoil things, I can also tell you that there are folks out there who can't help themselves. No amount of complaining or me putting them in their place has been able to alter their approach to casual conversation. I tend to avoid talking to them about movies or TV for this reason. For example, I hadn't seen the season premiere of Suits yet, but my father had and I told him "Don't tell me anything I haven't seen it yet." He replied, "Ok, but what Louis does is…" And then I had to get irritated, cut him off and yell, "I told you I haven't seen it!" This happens to me all the time. So, these types of people do exist, but in terms of social media, most people are careless douchebags.
This clip contains actual spoilers by the way, but it is hilarious and authentic.
When it concerns television shows, I avoid spoilers entirely until the series has at least ended. After that, depending on the situation and who I'm talking to, if a few years (say 2-5) have elapses since it totally finished, I have been known to let loose thoughts about significant scenes and finales in front of people without thinking of anyone in the room who might have been interest in checking it out. The way I see it, if a show has been done for years, and something has been spoiled for you, it's just bad luck. You need to do your best to avoid these circumstances. For example, a key death in The Wire was revealed to me before I started watching the show. That didn't hurt my opinion of it, but them's the breaks. You never know how a story point could be inadvertently spoiled. It could happen in many forms.
If the show is still running in any form, I feel everyone should do their best to give their opinions without spoiling. It's not that difficult. You didn't like the season finale of The Walking Dead? Instead of going into specifics about what transpired, how about just posting this: "The Walking Dead finale was terrible. I'm disappointed." Followers and friends will see that and get the idea. People who haven't seen it might come across your tweet but will not be worse off because you didn't go into detail. This is not rocket science, but hey, it's just my nature. On a side note, the worst shows with regards to other spoiling are The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones, easily.
I use the same mindset when discussing movies. But to be honest, I probably avoid spoilers about movies for a lot longer. The only films in which I will mention spoilers are when I know the people in the room have seen that particular title. Otherwise it has to be something everyone has seen, like The Sixth Sense or Citizen Kane. Spoilers with movies tend to occur when a big twist is involved. If many years have gone by and you happen to see a tweet, post, or are in the room when someone spoils a film you wanted to see, it's just as much about bad luck as it is that person being impolite or a prick. So for me, it would be 5 years before letting spoilers fly. That might sound like an enormous period of time to some, but I can talk about such subjects in a vague manner and let them know if I like/dislike it without much hassle. If only everyone was like that.
Having said all this, I have a friend who usually doesn't care about spoilers and told me that if a part in a film is revealed to him, it only makes him want to see it more. His stance is that the movie hasn't been ruined for him. I can't think this way. I prefer to avoid as much as possible because of trailers and people commenting. If I go into a movie knowing nothing, that is fine by me.
As far as the Captain America: The Winter Soldier spoiler in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. goes, that is a tough call, almost a catch-22. On one hand, it was a risk for them to reveal crucial parts of the film's storyline so quickly. It forces people who watch both to have seen the film before the episode airs, which is somewhat unfair. Could they have incorporated the events from Captain America 2 without giving away plot points? I think so. However, seeing as the Marvel Cinematic Universe is constantly evolving, perhaps the crossover references should have been expected to a degree. It also resulted in one of the better episodes of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., so I'm torn. I sympathize with you there, but at the same time I understand why they did what they did. I forget how specific they got with the post-Thor: The Dark World episode, but I guess these sort of situations will happen with how they lay out their universe.
So, some of you might argue, "I can say what I want when I want and screw whoever doesn't like it." Well, yeah, you're right. There are no rules, which is why we have a huge problem of people talking in theaters and spoiling story points of shows and movies. Why should you refrain from spoiling and tarnishing something for others? It's called courtesy. Courtesy is a quality that is sorely lacking when it comes to spoilers and it's a shame. With older movies and shows, understandably you will come across magazines and websites that reference titles in lists or columns. What you have to do is distance yourself from spoilers when you can. Even in casual conversation, it might require something silly like holding your ears or walking away if spoilers mean that much. It's almost like a job now. We all have to be cognizant of when spoilers will become a factor because they are more prevalent as social media has become ingrained in our culture.
But I should reiterate that it is difficult to put an exact number to the question. It might be different for everyone. I was seriously thinking of writing an article on this topic anyway, so my answer to you is a bit long-winded.
The Ultimate Guide to Spider-Man
Back in 2008 when I was writing The Big Screen Bulletin I started doing a segment called "The Ultimate Guide to…" I would pick a comic book character and place each and every one of their incarnations on the small and big screens in the article as a timeline of sorts. I would also rate certain entries. I eventually stopped doing the Bulletin and thus did not complete more than 2 of these, but I decided to revisit this in my current column, Ask 411 Movies! To peruse The Ultimate Guide to Batman and The Ultimate Guide to Daredevil, click accordingly. Obviously they haven't been updated since then, but it gives the general idea of what to expect.
For this "Ultimate Guide" I'm tackling Spider-Man. As a child I didn't read comic books. I do now, but early on I was either outside causing trouble or planted in front of the TV watching cartoons and wrestling. At that time though, I loved Spider-Man. He was one of my favorite superheroes. As I got older that changed. I was drawn more to Batman and as Sam Raimi's films were released, I cared less and less about Spider-Man. That's not say I have disliked every live-action effort, but I've always thought Peter Parker/Spider-Man hasn't reached his full potential on the big screen.
So without further ado, here we have the history of Spider-Man. Obviously the titles with ratings at the end are ones I have seen. By the way, for the television shows, I base my rating on the fact that I have seen 5 or more episodes. Enjoy!
1967-1970Spider-Man: This was the first animated series and was produced initially by Grantray-Lawrence Animation, but it soon went bankrupt and Ralph Bakashi took over. His episodes suffered from low budgets and even recycled background aspects and characters once. They were also very dark. This show was probably best known for its theme song. Spider-Man was voiced by Paul Soles. This series probably hasn't aged well, but it does have that cornball charm. I used to watch it all the time when I was a youngster. 7.0/10.0
1974-1977The Electric Company – Spidey Super Stories - This was a recurring skit in The Electric Company educational program where Spider-Man battle petty criminals. Tales were presented using a combination of animation and live-action. Spider-Man spoke using speech balloons.
1977-1979The Amazing Spider-Man - This live-action series starred Nicholas Hammond in the title role. It received good ratings, but fans complained because it did not follow the spirit of the comics, nor did it incorporate adventures suitable for the character. CBS aired it and what didn't help its fate was a sporadic broadcast schedule. The network would cancel it and Wonder Woman to avoid being called "The Superhero Network." Many episodes were combined and released as movies overseas. This show is legitimately atrocious. No, it's not "so bad it's good." This is pure shite. Ugh. 2.0/10.0
1978-1979Spider-Man (Toei TV series) - This series, very loosely based on the Marvel character, was produced for Japanese television by the Toei company. This was not a faithful adaptation. Instead of Peter Parker, Spider-Man is named Takuya Yamashiro. He also battles giant robots, which was requested by Bandai. Never saw this, but holy bananas does it look awful.
1981-1982Spider-Man - Marvel Productions Ltd. was created in 1981 and with that they aimed to adapt more of their comics to television. Subsequently, a new syndicated cartoon sprouted partially based on the 1960's series. Spider-Man was voiced byTed Schwartz. This is another Spider-Man show I'm familiar with. The quality of the animation was better here, but this series was perhaps overshadowed by the next one on my list. I'm honestly unsure as to how many episodes I've seen in relation to the next one and which ones belong to which series, but I'll rate it anyway. 7.5/10.0
1981-1983Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends- Near the end of the aforementioned 1981 series, this was launched to feature Spider-Man (this time voiced by Dan Gilvezan), Iceman of the X-Men, and a new character, Firestar. Other Marvel characters appeared from time to time as well. The trio was referred to as the Spider-Friends. Again, these early 80's incarnations blend together, but I remember them both being good fun. 7.5/10.0
1994-1998Spider-Man - This series was made for the Fox Network to accompany their X-Men series. Developed by John Semper, this had a bigger budget and used season long arcs where the episodes were called "chapters." The 90's series also followed the comics closely and conveyed the conflict Peter Parker felt as Spider-Man instead of focusing on action. This was the longest series, with 65 episodes and Christopher Daniel Barnes voicing the webslinger. It ran on Fox Kids and the instrumental theme was composed by Joe Perry of Aerosmith. For my money, this is to date, the best version of Spider-Man in any form. I watched these episodes every day after school. 9.0/10.0
1999-2001Spider-Man Unlimited - This animated series was also developed by Fox and was intended to be an expanded universe from the 1994 show where Spider-Man in transported to a Counter-Earth. It was cancelled after one season and Spider-Man was voiced by Rino Romano. This is where I signed off from Spidey cartoons. If any of you readers have any thoughts, feel free to comment!
2002Spider-Man - Plans to make a live-action Spider-Man film began in the 1980's with Cannon Films, then in the 90's went to Carolco Films and eventually James Cameron. They never materialized, but finally in the late90's and early 00's MGM and Columbia Pictures made a deal where the latter would create a feature film after decades. This starred Tobey Maguire as the titular character, Kirsten Dunst as Mary-Jane Watson, and James Franco as Harry Osborn. Willem Dafoe portrayed the Green Goblin villain. This was the first installment of the trilogy/franchise directed by Sam Raimi. Ok, I might lose some of you at this point, but I'm not overly enthused with the Raimi movies. I remember enjoying this one ok, but in retrospect I do not think they have aged well for various reasons. 7.5/10.0
2003Spider-Man: The New Animated Series - This animated series was a loose continuation of the 2002 Raimi film, using characters from that, as well as Kingpin from the 2003 Daredevil picture. This show used computer technology and was produced by Mainframe Entertainment for Sony Pictures Television and broadcast on MTV. It lasted for 13 episodes. The webslinger was voiced by Neil Patrick Harris. Never caught this one.
2004Spider-Man 2 - This is the second installment of Sam Raimi's live-action film franchise. Once again we have Tobey Maguire as Spidey, Kirsten Dunst as Mary-Jane Watson, and James Franco as Harry Osborn. Alfred Molina was cast as Doctor Octopus. If I didn't get on your nerves with my opinion of the first film, I'll really piss you off now. I am one of the few people who do not like this sequel. I will say that it is considered one of the best comic book films of all-time and was hugely successful. I am in the minority and that's ok with me. And no, it isn't "trolling" for those of you who like to overuse & misuse that dumb term. I felt this movie had numerous problems, though I did love Molina as Otto Octavius. If you don't care for my rating, go have a piece of chocolate cake. It cures all woes. 6.5/10.0
2007Spider-Man 3 - This picks up months after the events in Spider-Man 2 where Peter is trying to find the balance between being Spider-Man and being with Mary-Jane. You then have Harry Osborn as the New Goblin, Eddie Brock as Venom, Flint Marko as Sandman, and Peter Parker doing the dance thing. This sequel had too much happening. I feel bad for Sam Raimi, as it was rumored that the studio forced Venom into the fray. The flaws go beyond just that character though. Topher Grace was miscast and I was just annoyed with Maguire, Franco, and Dunst at this point. Even Aunt Mae's monotonous speeches bothered me. Obviously the film was a huge success, and Spider-Man 4 was planned, but disagreements between Sony and Raimi forced the director to depart the property. 4.5/10.0
2008-2009The Spectacular Spider-Man - This animated series was a mixture of the first few years of The Amazing Spider-Man comic series and Brian Michael Bendis' Ultimate Spider-Man. Peter Parker is a teenager in NYC, but dating Gwen Stacy, while Mary-Jane is not interest in dating him. They are just friends. Like Marvel's Ultimate line, the supporting cast introduces more diversity. Ned Lee is Korean, Liz Allen is Latina, Nick Fury is black, Colossus is homosexual, etc. This series was successful, but it ended when Sony Pictures relinquished its rights, which it had licensed from Marvel, to produce animated works using Spider-Man and associated characters. Spider-Man was voiced by Josh Keaton.
2012-PresentUltimate Spider-Man -This animated show started airing on April 1, 2012 and is shown on Disney XD. Spider-Man/Peter Parker is voiced by Drake Bell. It is based on the Ultimate Spider-Man comics and is written by Brian Michael Bendis. Apparently is has a controversial change in that Spider-Man breaks the fourth wall. As the series begins, Peter Parker has been Spider-Man for one year.
2012The Amazing Spider-Man - So approximately 5 years after the Raimi franchise concluded, Columbia, Marvel, and Sony decided to reboot the Spider-Man franchise. Here are my thoughts from when I originally saw it: "The 1st goal director Marc Webb had was justifying the existence of this reboot so soon after the original series. He failed. The acting is fine, especially from Sally Field, Dennis Leary, Martin Sheen, Andrew Garfield, and Emma Stone. But this resembles Sam Raimi's universe too closely. Aside from the cast (and maybe a few wisecracks), what has changed? Rhys Ifans is the villain, and he ranks alongside the foes in Batman & Robin as the worst in cinematic history. These flaws don't even count the amount of times Parker revealed his identity, the obvious 3D scenes, mediocre score, and so on." Since the sequel is on the horizon, I don't have to tell you if this was a box office hit or not. 6.0/10.0
*Spider-Man appeared in the episode "Along Came a Spider" from the show The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes, not to mention Phineas & Ferb: Mission Marvel, and Lego Marvel Super Heroes: Maximum Overload. He was also in 2 episodes of the Spider-Woman series from 1979-80. I'm sure there are other cameos, but those are the big ‘uns.
Quick Shot: Jamie Foxx
This week we see the arrival of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 in theaters, starring Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, and the celebrity in our spotlight, Jamie Foxx. And so here are 5 Foxx performances that you absolutely must familiarize yourself with before checking out the upcoming film.