By Alan Scherstuhl
By Amy Nicholson
By Charles Taylor
By Stephanie Zacharek
By Brian Feinzimer
By CAROLINA DEL BUSTO
By AMY NICHOLSON
By Amy Nicholson
According to the movies, the greatest triumph that Spider-Man ever achieves is finding it within himself to arachnid up every day. Has any other hero ever moped so much about being gifted with superstrength, -agility and -love interests? This from a guy who can swing on his wrists' magic ejaculate (Spider-Mans one through three), invent web-shooters using his super-brain (The Amazing Spider-Man), and design and tailor so adroitly that his sticky-finger powers somehow work through the gloves of his homemade luge suit (all Spider-Mans ever, including The Electric Co.)?
Here's how the new Spider-Man compares in whininess to his predecessor.
Whininess Level: elevated
"No matter what I do, no matter how hard I try, the ones I love will always be the ones who pay," Spider-Man moans just before spurning a proclamation of love from the woman he has pined for his entire life.
Spidey Would Prefer to Be: a professional wrestler
Worth Noting: Stan Lee and Bruce Campbell cameos would become a series hallmark, but after this, the producers forgot Macy Gray.
SPIDER-MAN 2 (2004)
Whininess Level: peak human
Inexplicably clumsy, Spider-Man loses a fight with a broom closet in the opening reel. Later, he spurns another loved one—this time, a handshake with his dead uncle in a car in heaven. Then, after not bothering to save a civilian being beaten by thugs, Peter woos the now-engaged love interest he rejected last time by announcing, "Punch me, I bleed."
Spidey Would Prefer to Be: a pizza boy
Worth Noting: Even when he deigns to be Spider-Man, his mask comes off with the frequency of Paz de la Huerta's top.
SPIDER-MAN 3 (2007)
Whininess Level: could create new, superpowered villains upon exposure
Spidey Would Prefer to Be: in Swing Kids
Worth Noting: Nothing. This film does not exist.
THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (2012)
Whininess Level: moderate
Other than one emo howl, the lithe new Spider-Man understands that with great power comes the chance to pull off badass skateboard tricks. At one point, he's so happy he skips.
Spidey Would Prefer to Be: Spidey! Good for him.
Worth Noting: For the first time, the construction workers in a Spider-Man movie do not appear to be borrowed from a dinner-theater musical. Also, this series might be propagandistic advocacy for a Manhattan-wide ban on experiments with human test subjects.
This essay did not appear in print.
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