Geek Couples: Andrew Garfield's Spider-Man & Gwen Stacy - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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Geek Couples: Andrew Garfield's Spider-Man & Gwen Stacy

Chris Morley spins a web...
After starting our look at the love lives of the Spider-Men with Tom Holland's take on Spidey last time out, we move both backwards & forwards with Andrew Garfield's spin on Peter Parker & his alter ego.

From the outset it becomes clear that The Amazing Spider-Man films are very much more faithful to the original comic source material than Homecoming & Far From Home, though that isn't to say that artistic licence isn't in play – their very naming is an obvious nod to the standalone comic series which introduced the friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man in the first place!

Where they do differ from the source material is their choice of love interest - Gwen Stacy front & centre & Mary-Jane Watson seemingly nowhere to be seen.

What this decision does is achieve a clean sweep, in line with plans to reboot the Spider-Man film series itself following the collapse of the intended Spider-Man 4, in perhaps the most explicit fashion possible. As producer Avi Arad later said...
"We were working on what we called Spider-Man 4 and it was the same team [as with the first three films]. The problem was we didn't have a story that was strong enough and warranted ... another movie. And Sam Raimi ... realized we [didn't] have a good reason to make another one. And between [him] and Tobey and obviously the studio, we all went into it not feeling good about the next story."
And so, the now seventeen-year-old Peter has to go to the trouble of getting bitten by the infamous radioactive spider all over again in preparation for the biggest romantic rejection of his screen life & indeed the death of the woman who delivers it- almost straight from the pages of The Amazing Spider-Man issues 121 & 122 & their story arc The Night Gwen Stacy Died......

“Easy there bugboy.”
Though it's anything but easy to maintain a relationship when your dad's old scientific colleague has gone & tested a reptilian DNA serum of his own design on himself & begun his transformation into the Lizard - who in a sense is a victim of love of another sort, his dedication to science & desire to protect innocent people from possible side effects in the face of growing pressure from his supervisor driving him to test it on himself before it can be administered to the masses in the guise of a simple flu shot - any parallels with current affairs entirely coincidental!
“Your father and I were going to change the lives of billions, including mine...”
In one line, Rhys Ifans managing to give possibly the most sympathetic take on Curt Connors yet, giving him some humanity in spirit even when we know his will be taken from him as a result of his concern for others.
“All these souls, lost and alone. I can save them; I can cure them! There's no reason to stop me, Peter!“
All this even after his most basic primary motivation to turn away from animalistic villainy never made the cut - his wife, Martha, & son Billy rumoured to make an appearance but Annie Parisse & Miles Elliot, their apparent portrayers, not called upon & staying firmly within the pages of the comics (The Amazing Spider-Man issue 6 telling the tale of how Connors originally went all green & scaly). It would seem that the role given to Richard Parker, Peter's father, in the film as his colleague was given over to an old army buddy, Ted Sallis, in his first origin story - Curt having served as a US Army medic. Spider-Man then in a sense acting as a recurring voice of conscience trying to restore the Lizard to humanity, much of which is lost in transition from page to cinema screen here, despite the telling admission by Peter that he believes himself to have created him after giving Connors exactly what he needed to complete his work.

But in the end, even after he's thrown in prison, we see him begging a mysterious man sharing his cell to leave the boy alone - a boy who evidently does a lot of growing up by his second & to date final outing.

“I'll tell you what it says I love you...because I love you...and no offence but you're wrong...“
Oh, the complications of making a vow to your girlfriend's dying policeman father! But it's not one Peter can bring himself to keep, even after promising to protect her by seemingly rejecting her.
“We're not on different're my path...and you're always going to be my path...and I know there are a million reasons why we shouldn't be together...but I'm tired of them...I'm tired of every single one of them...we all got to make a choice...right? well, I choose you...”
Parker isn't to know, of course, that that choice will have massive ramifications for them both. Even Gwen's death is the product of the end result of a sort of warped love - the dying Norman Osborn, aka the original Green Goblin, passing on everything his son Harry will need to take on the mantle. The Goblin suit then actually restoring Osborn junior's own health after Harry had been on the brink of death from the same genetic disease that kills his father. All after the peer he thought was his friend refuses to go through with a blood transfusion which could have saved him. Several bonds broken in one climactic ending as a friendship breaks, love quite literally dies & Peter casts off his identity as Spider-Man.

“I know that we all think we're immortal, we're supposed to feel that way, we're graduating. The future is and should be bright, but, like our brief four years in high school, what makes life valuable is that it doesn't last forever, what makes it precious is that it ends.

I know that now more than ever. And I say it today of all days to remind us that time is luck. So, don't waste it living somebody else's life, make yours count for something. Fight for what matters to you, no matter what. Because even if you fall short or even if we fail... what better way is there to live?“
The memory of that one high school graduation speech by Gwen enough to shake Peter out of his fugue & inspire him to put on the suit once more. Proof positive that perhaps love never truly dies after all?

For our next swing, we'll take a look at Tobey Maguire's Spider-Man & his return into Mary-Jane's arms before a diversion into a Spider-bond of a very different nature....

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