4. Marc Webb Seems to Specialize in Characters that Never Learn Anything
I had a major issue with The Amazing Spider-Man
. By the time the credits rolled, Peter Parker had a great character arc...up until he decides to abandon literally everything he's learned up to that point by breaking the promise he made to Captain Stacy. Now, I get it that it's supposed to make Gwen's death more substantial in the future installments. But it's the cheap way of doing it. It's compromising the character and the story for the sake of making the audience pull out the tissue box when they return for the sequel. And Marc Webb is no stranger to this character arc. In this awesome article
, author Daniel O'Brien explains the biggest problem with (500) Days of Summer
in a much more clairvoyant way than I could. If you haven't or aren't going to check that out, I'll sum it up in the fact that it features a protagonist who, by every right and reason, should develop over the time we spend with him in the movie. But he doesn't. He falls right back into the trap he's in by the film's opening. It's annoying. Some people say that it's wonderfully tragic. To each their own. I feel like I wasted my time. Spider-Man is the epitome of relatability when it comes to superheroes. He's the nerdy outcast with greatness and responsibility thrust upon him. He deals with a strained social life, school life, and holding down a meager job. He's the classic everyman. But he deserves not to be a character that never learns his lessons. That's one thing that Raimi's original Spider-Man
did very, very well. By the time the movie ends, Peter has a chance to get the girl. A girl who wants him for him. And just him. She doesn't know he's Spider-Man, he's just proven that he's worthwhile and better for her as a partner than anyone else. And she makes this decision after making out with the likes of Spider-Man
. What's better? Peter walks away. He understands his responsibility. He understands he can't have a normal life. He accepts it. That's what makes the second film so powerful. He realizes that the greatest power of all is the power of choosing to have and use your power. Peter has a full arc in the first film. It doesn't stop Mary Jane from getting in harm's way and it doesn't stop Aunt May from becoming a target in Spider-Man 2
; it just compliments what we've seen throughout the movie. Like I stated before, I know that it's a set-up for Gwen Stacy's demise. But it's certainly the lazy way of doing it.