The Big Picture: The Amazing Spider-Man - The Gwen Stacy Paradox

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The Amazing Spider-Man - The Gwen Stacy Paradox

MovieBob takes a look at one of Spider-Man's iconic characters - and her unfortunate destiny throughout the series.

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Fabulous Illumination of Really Strikingly Timely and interesting content, bob.

I never really "got" Spiderman and I can't see how killing his girlfriend would really elevate the story in any way for me. The villains don't look great, Spiderman still looks whiny and the whole affair seems muddled and confused.

It's actually pretty interesting that an event in the canon of the character can be so old that it's basically established background information at this point.

JAR JAR BINKS YOU TRAITOR!!!!!

Why is the image at 3:36 so small?

Ah 70s and 80s marvel, when time actually moved. Now its been 25 years of condensed storytelling in a vacuum of time (yet that still connects to real life events in the world). I actually feel quite saddened by the fact history has stopped for Marvel in the comics.

OT: I think the thing which interests me the most about the movie is the fact that the trailers have a red herring of a scene which isn't even in the movie. Not something I'd like to start seeing happen.

Yup...well said as always Bob.

Very good episode, Bob. I think what the movie does kind of ruins it for me.

What I want to know is how comics were able to get away with Gwen's death. Like you said, Bob, most of us thought of Gwen as another origin death. But, given this character's significance for her death, if comics were to kill a love interest nowadays, or even a character, you'd almost bet your bottom dollar that character would get revived or there'd be a huge protest about it. (Remember #Bringbrianback?) So, how were comics, back then, able to kill off Gwen without some sort of retcon trying to bring her back, and if they were to kill a character now, how do they make sure that character stays dead without an online petition/protest popping up?

I watched the first one and Gwen left zero mark on me. With the second movie (not watched it) they are going to have to do some serious work with her and her relationship to make me give a shit about her if she does die.

Zontar:
Ah 70s and 80s marvel, when time actually moved. Now its been 25 years of condensed storytelling in a vacuum of time (yet that still connects to real life events in the world). I actually feel quite saddened by the fact history has stopped for Marvel in the comics.

OT: I think the thing which interests me the most about the movie is the fact that the trailers have a red herring of a scene which isn't even in the movie. Not something I'd like to start seeing happen.

Agreed, but all of the Marvel Studios films trailers have scenes that are slightly different in the actual film, eg Pepper kissing the Iron Man helmet for the Iron Man 2 trailer, and Cap throwing his shield down a corridor for The First Avenger... I like how trailers aren't just spoilers from the films anymore. I try to watch the initial trailer, and keep it at that.

Where the hell can they go with these spin off movies without giving Marvel reason to revoke there licence?

My understanding of Gwen Stacy is that her clone is more interesting and complex of a character than the real person ever was.

Yes, she has a clone going back to the original Clone Saga, one that had all of Gwen's memories, but more personality. She decided that she could not be around Parker because he would live a lie. So she went to live in France, a place the real Gwen wanted to visit, but never got around to at the time.

Zontar:
OT: I think the thing which interests me the most about the movie is the fact that the trailers have a red herring of a scene which isn't even in the movie. Not something I'd like to start seeing happen.

It's already pretty common. The marketing companies that cut trailers aren't necessarily working from the final cut of the film. They sometimes end up incorporating footage that doesn't get used in the final cut. One of the most infamous examples was the "helmet kiss" from the Iron Man 2 trailer that didn't make it into the theatrical release.

Your still wrong about the first Amazing spider man movie Bob. It was good. Not great but it had some truly amazing moments and competent cinematography.

Verlander:

Agreed, but all of the Marvel Studios films trailers have scenes that are slightly different in the actual film, eg Pepper kissing the Iron Man helmet for the Iron Man 2 trailer, and Cap throwing his shield down a corridor for The First Avenger... I like how trailers aren't just spoilers from the films anymore. I try to watch the initial trailer, and keep it at that.

Falseprophet:

It's already pretty common. The marketing companies that cut trailers aren't necessarily working from the final cut of the film. They sometimes end up incorporating footage that doesn't get used in the final cut. One of the most infamous examples was the "helmet kiss" from the Iron Man 2 trailer that didn't make it into the theatrical release.

You two make a good point, but those scenes where also added into the dvd and Blu-ray release of both movies, where as I doubt the "you're being watched" scene will be for ASM2 given how it would distract from the real plot too much.

MatParker116:
Where the hell can they go with these spin off movies without giving Marvel reason to revoke there licence?

Disney wanted to make a Spider-Man cartoon. Sony was the obstacle preventing that because the license at the time gave Sony control of every Spider-Man appearance outside the comic books. So, Sony and Disney renegotiated the license that allowed Sony to keep the movie license in exchange for the television portion of it.

Basically, Sony has the Spider-Man movie license as long as they keep using the characters. They could keep making "bad" movies from here on out, but as long as they use the franchise, it remains in Sony's hands. Sony will not give up on it until a string of movies are not profitable, which will never happen. As long as production costs are down to about 100 million dollars, it will be profitable worldwide.

I am sorry, but you are going to have to get used to the idea that Spider-Man is not going to appear in the current popular vision of a Cinematic Universe anytime soon.

I think the problem stems from basing billion dollar 21st Century movies on forty year old crap.

As someone whose only experience with the Spider-Man franchise are some of the movies and some episodes of the cartoons, I'd definitely love to see more elaboration on what makes Mary Jane so compelling. She never struck me as that special from the things I've seen her in.

Andrew Siribohdi:
Very good episode, Bob. I think what the movie does kind of ruins it for me.

What I want to know is how comics were able to get away with Gwen's death. Like you said, Bob, most of us thought of Gwen as another origin death. But, given this character's significance for her death, if comics were to kill a love interest nowadays, or even a character, you'd almost bet your bottom dollar that character would get revived or there'd be a huge protest about it. (Remember #Bringbrianback?) So, how were comics, back then, able to kill off Gwen without some sort of retcon trying to bring her back, and if they were to kill a character now, how do they make sure that character stays dead without an online petition/protest popping up?

To put it simply, being female and not having powers are, individually, good signs your death is permanent... put them together, and its almost guaranteed, especially if its going to be a big motivational point for a male hero (look up 'women in refrigerators' for lots of examples).

Windknight:

To put it simply, being female and not having powers are, individually, good signs your death is permanent... put them together, and its almost guaranteed, especially if its going to be a big motivational point for a male hero (look up 'women in refrigerators' for lots of examples).

...Except even now, civilian deaths can be retconned to never have happened. Remember Aunt May and the whole Mephisto and One More Day stuff?

That's the thing; how can ANY major character death stay permanent?

Just one thing that bothered me

I will put in spoilers just incase.

(Just slightly off topic , I would be interested on Movie Bobs take on the role of canon lore and how movie such as the recent Star wars Movie info simple does away with decades of story. Or how origin stories and plots get mashed up and reworked to make them more trendy)

I think the real paradox is that Peter Parker, comic's first nerd superhero seems to have had more girlfriends (attractive popular ones, at that) in high school and college than most men have had in their entire lives.

Small sidenote here. The Spectacular Spider-Man television series featured Gwen Stacy as a major character throughout it's run. Not only did it manage to make Gwen an interesting character in her own right, but it also played a bit of a subtextual cat and mouse with it's comic reading fans regarding the fact that all Gwen is known for in every other incarnation is dying. That's saying nothing about how well written the rest of the show is, or how many storylines they manage to keep moving at any given time. It's a plate spinning act that is truly a wonder to behold. Seriously, if you want a Spider-Man fix that is actually genuinely good, that show is where you need to look.

I don't know about this one Bob. Do you really think general audiences care about Spider-man lore?

I think if she dies, her death will resonate a lot more, not because they give a web-swinging fuck about "Gwen Stacey", but because they worship celebrities, and they love Emma Stone. Seriously, in these movies they could have called Peter Edward and Gwen Bella and it wouldn't have mattered at all.

Don't even read this.

Andrew Siribohdi:
What I want to know is how comics were able to get away with Gwen's death. Like you said, Bob, most of us thought of Gwen as another origin death. But, given this character's significance for her death, if comics were to kill a love interest nowadays, or even a character, you'd almost bet your bottom dollar that character would get revived or there'd be a huge protest about it. (Remember #Bringbrianback?) So, how were comics, back then, able to kill off Gwen without some sort of retcon trying to bring her back, and if they were to kill a character now, how do they make sure that character stays dead without an online petition/protest popping up?

Well in 1973 it was more difficult to organise a campaign to bring a character back due to the lack of the Internet and other social media. Unless Marvel got a lot of letters asking to bring Gwen back they would have assumed that no one objected to Gwen dying. Also in the comics Gwen did get a clone when a writer thought bringing a dead character back would make a good plot.

Another reason may be that the writers didn't consider Gwen important to the overall story. If they viewed Spider-man stories as being about Spider-man fighting villains, rather than Peter Parker's love life, then Gwen being killed by a villain would be more important than her remaining Parker's girlfriend. The writers may also have found Gwen boring and wanted a chance to bring in a new girlfriend (such as Felicia Hardy AKA Black Cat).

Wait, Bucky is dead? I mean Gwen Stacy is dead?

For some reason I've come to enjoy Bob's ongoing nerd-rage over the Amazing Spider-Man movies. Not because I think he's right; the first movie was a notable improvement on Raimi's disastrous Spider-Man 3, and for as many points as ASM missed, Raimi's series missed just as many and had horrifically bad casting on top of that.

Mostly I think it's just an entertaining window into someone's personal blind spots.

Andrew Siribohdi:

Windknight:

To put it simply, being female and not having powers are, individually, good signs your death is permanent... put them together, and its almost guaranteed, especially if its going to be a big motivational point for a male hero (look up 'women in refrigerators' for lots of examples).

...Except even now, civilian deaths can be retconned to never have happened. Remember Aunt May and the whole Mephisto and One More Day stuff?

That's the thing; how can ANY major character death stay permanent?

If the creative staff don't want to bring them back/don't care enough to bring them back. And again, being female, and having no powers are two pretty good indicators your not coming back.

As for ret-conning... lets look at Lian Harper, the four year old daughter of DC supehero Arsenal, who's death for pure shock value was widely derided, and with the news of the New 52 making the story that killed her having not happened in the New 52 gave hope that her death would be retconned... instead her whole existence was retconned.

The only story I have about Gwen Stacy relates back to when the first Sam Raimi movie was in theaters, I was working at a movie store at the time, and a kid about seven, I think, came in and started talking about how big of a Spider Man nerd he was, so I just blurted, "Okay, who was Spider Man's first girlfriend?" 'Mary Jane!' "Nope." 'Yup!' "Mary is Peter's Current girlfriend, but she wasn't his first. His first was Gwen Stacy," which I'm only now aware is also wrong. Whee!

"In case of sequel, break Gwen." Nice one, Bob.

Raesvelg:
For some reason I've come to enjoy Bob's ongoing nerd-rage over the Amazing Spider-Man movies. Not because I think he's right; the first movie was a notable improvement on Raimi's disastrous Spider-Man 3, and for as many points as ASM missed, Raimi's series missed just as many and had horrifically bad casting on top of that.

Mostly I think it's just an entertaining window into someone's personal blind spots.

You mean like his massive blind spot for Nintendo? Nintendo is increasingly irrelevant apart from the fact that it owns the nostalgia glands of thousands infantilized adults of a certain age just like Bob.

Personally i haven't loved any of the Spider man movies. I've not even seen the newest ones because i knew i just wouldn't like them for all their promotional material.

I'm just going to say one word that will be meaningless to just about everyone that knows only the movies.

in Ultimate Spider-Man Gwen Stacy dies, gets cloned and then she becames Carnage... Bob are you sooo sure they are going to use only the traditional Spidey lore? many aspects of TAMS 1 and 2 are more related to the Ultimate Universe althought if that doesn't make a good history/movie that's a different issue

Windknight:

Andrew Siribohdi:

Windknight:

To put it simply, being female and not having powers are, individually, good signs your death is permanent... put them together, and its almost guaranteed, especially if its going to be a big motivational point for a male hero (look up 'women in refrigerators' for lots of examples).

...Except even now, civilian deaths can be retconned to never have happened. Remember Aunt May and the whole Mephisto and One More Day stuff?

That's the thing; how can ANY major character death stay permanent?

If the creative staff don't want to bring them back/don't care enough to bring them back. And again, being female, and having no powers are two pretty good indicators your not coming back.

As for ret-conning... lets look at Lian Harper, the four year old daughter of DC supehero Arsenal, who's death for pure shock value was widely derided, and with the news of the New 52 making the story that killed her having not happened in the New 52 gave hope that her death would be retconned... instead her whole existence was retconned.

Ah, yes, the "New 52", the series that retconned Starfire into a, for lack of a better description, slut.

image

For fucks sake, DC...

But on to permadeath; it's really a problem that stems from the fact that when you try and kill off a major character permanently, fans will riot. So that means that people like Batman, Captain America, Superman, Jean Grey; they're all off the table. Can't be touched.

That leaves supporting characters. But here, we have the problem of Running the Asylum, when the fans of characters that were killed off get creative power, and decide to "correct" the "mistake" of killing them. This process has repeated so many times that the entire community surrounding comics in general have become jaded.

"Oh, no, DudeBro got shot, stabbed, burned, drowned in acid, nuked 15 times and then thrown into the sun by Doctor D-Bag. This will set back his engagement to ChickGirl by a whole week it'll take for him to recover from those injuries. *yawn*"

Character deaths mean nothing these days because they get retconned so often. It's kind of sad when I'm more invested in this *story:


than in wheter or not Peter Parker will save his, by this point, antediluvian aunt from dying.

*I will keep linking this video until everyone has seen it, because it is the most epic Vlog I've seen in years!

Well...

But, who am I kidding? Bob will hate it, no doubt.

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