Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Joker Rises, Batman Falls

When we last left Batman in the "Nolan-verse", he was praised as a noble guardian after defeating both the maniacal Scarecrow and the stealthy Ra's Al Ghul. He left behind a symbol for the GPD to use to summon him whenever trouble "treacherizes" the streets of Gotham once more. Everyone in Gotham came to respect Batman and accept him as a great hero and figure of hope. Batman has risen above all things and he is there to keep crime in maintenance . But all of that was about to be flushed down the hopper as a deadly tyrant emerges from a set of playing cards. Armed with a knife and a wrath of unparalleled terror, this goon has little backstory, little aptly name, little sanity behind the muffled white face paint and red lipstick. His history is so convoluted that he talks about his abusive father giving him a permanent smile one moment then talks about giving himself a permanent smile the next. He has little apathy, little wisdom of straightened life. All he knows is the erratics, the chaos, the madness. That's all the things that lie on his mind, and he wants to bring it all to the surface of Gotham like it's a fun circus.

He's the Joker. He's not very nice. He's the Ted Bundy Jack the Ripper kind of insane brain. But he's got a grand plan all set up and like many villains in modern literature, he has many gruesome things in store all leading up to the grand plan. He leaves a calling card, like the Zodiac, because even though he wants to be mysterious, he also wants to be well known.

Batman's popularity begins to plummet with the arrival of the Joker in Gotham. As he and Lt. Gordan's forces work together to try and thwart his devilish deeds, he proves to be an invincible antagonist not even Scooby Doo and the gang can track down. Once the clown prince of crime sets his green hairs in Gotham, strange and deleterious things begin to occur. Banks are robbed. Commissioners are killed. Bombs are set off. Service men are gagged. And District Attorneys go from beloved politicians to crazed TWO FACED mad maniacs. Not only does Batman fall in Nolan's second Batman installment, so does District Attorney Harvey Dent, who is known throughout Gotham as the white knight. Like Batman, he is a symbol of supreme hope and security and he even foiled his own assassination attempt in a courtroom. Batman and Dent are counted on for keeping Gotham at high levels, but the Joker tears them to smithereens with countless deaths and massacres. And when these terrible deeds unfold, the people wonder why Batman was not there to save the day. When Lt. Gordan "died", his wife screamed in agony at Batman for bringing this upon her and her family.

And Dent isn't much better. At every micro second, he struggles with his relationship with Rachel Dawes, his relationship with Gordan and the GPD, his relationship with Bruce Wayne, and his relationship with himself, something that plays in tremendously much later in The Dark Knight's story. So the Joker "plays many games" with the people of Gotham, lives are lost, and Batman and Dent are at the tippity top trying to make ends meet and restore order. But the Joker's relationship with Batman and Dent goes from plain sick to much more personal. As anyone who has seen The Dark Knight knows, the Joker kills on the streets of Gotham because he wants Batman to reveal his secret identity, feeling that Batman isn't making Gotham a better place. As Bruce Wayne tries to deal with the conundrum, his butler Alfred tells him to just endure the conundrum, for Batman may have to make the choice that no one else has to make. Bruce decides to reveal his secret identity to the public, just as Harvey Dent takes the rap for Batman's identity and is arrested. The gears shift as the Joker tries to kill Dent, and the real Batman arrives to aid in his arrest. Gordan, who faked his death to make the Joker's capture possible, helps Batman sweep the Joker away and he is put away in Arkam Asylum, the mad house to many of Batman's greatest foes.

Gordan's death is very symbolic to me, because it harkens back to old Christian tales of resurrection and sacrifice. It somewhat reminds me of Star Trek 3: The Search For Spock. In the film, the crew of the USS Enterprise embarks on a quest to resurrect their Vulcan friend, they run into a bunch of troubles, but in the end, Spock is alive and well to fight alongside of them once more. In The Dark Knight, Gordan is alive and well to fight alongside Batman once more, and to celebrate his victory and capture of the Joker, he is ranked to the big man's job of Commissioner.

But things are not quite fine and dandy yet....

Soon after, the Joker starts playing "games" again, this time, hard core heartless games. He implants bombs in people's stomachs and in some way or another, he captures Harvey Dent and Rachel Dawes and imprisons them in two different buildings rigged to explode. He forces Batman to choose between his good friend or his life long love and I can't help but feel this scene is familiar to the scene in the first Spider-Man film where Spidey has to choose to save Mary Jane or save the small children from the Green Goblin. It's the classic way a villain internally tortures the main protagonist, and in many ways, it defines who the main character really is. Never before (at least in the Nolan-verse) has Batman ever had to make a choice like this, and if he goes to save someone, it will totally cost the life of another. Never before has the Joker ever done something like this in the Batman storyline, and just think, if he went on to torment Batman some more in the Nolan-verse, he probably would have done this many more times down the road. This is more than just an average run of the mill scheme, this is something that strikes the hero's very soul. It's the pivotal decision that all great ones must make and little does Batman know that things are going to get very ugly no matter what decision he makes.

Batman goes after Harvey while Gordan and his team go after Rachel. Unfortunately, Gordan and his team are too late and one of the buildings explodes, killing Rachel in the way of a great superhero tragedy. Everyone who is into comics knows of the tragic death of Gwen Stacy in the Spider-Man universe or the death of Jean Grey in the X-Men tales. This is somewhat similar to those deaths because it shows the downfall of a beloved heroine who was powerful in the story's folding out and development. She is Bruce Wayne's life long love and this all takes a stab to Batman as the deaths of Gwen Stacy and Jean Grey stabbed Spider-Man and the X-Men. And Batman soon realizes what must be done as Harvey Dent goes terribly disfigured after the building he was in explodes on his gasoline coded face. Harvey undergoes extreme drama and sadness after the death of Rachel just like Batman does, but as Batman comes through and continues his hunt to stop the Joker, Harvey, now under the name Two-Face, rises and becomes Gotham's next big criminal. The problem is that no one in Gotham would know that he is a criminal.

So the Joker blows up a hospital, threatens to take out two boats and Batman totally comes to take him out once and for all. As a small tribute to the 1989 film, the Joker falls feet below but instead of dying, Batman spares him with a small rope, leaving him for the GPD to pick up. Around the same time, Harvey Dent falls from what he once was as he goes on a rampage, taking out people who were involved in Rachel's death. This is a crucial moment in his character development as he looses his ability to make his own decisions, relying on his father's lucky coin to do all the decision making. Remember how I said that he had a terrible relationship with himself, well, I think this fits in perfectly with this concept. Harvey can't accept himself, so he instead opts to making something entirely knew of himself, a terrifying TWO-FACED psychopath with a loaded gun by his side. Harvey Dent has fallen tremendously since the beginning of the film. Like Batman, he rose to the throne as a great king but now, after the death of the woman he loved, he has made a great smash in the ground and intends to keep making more. Dent doesn't care about people anymore, he only cares about himself. He wants revenge, and as Rachel Dawes once put it....

Justice is about making the world a better place, revenge is only about making yourself feel better

So the wily Dent tracks down Gordan's family and threatens to kill them. Batman shows up and it's at this moment that Batman is about to fall from what he once was. After being a well respected vigilante for some time, he's about to become the most hated fugitive in all of Gotham. Similar to Greek heroes and masked crusaders of old time, Batman makes the ultimate decision, the life changing decision, the decision no one else will have to make. As Dent threatens to kill Gordan's youngest son, Batman hurls at Dent, saving Gordan's son and causing Dent to plummet to his demise below. It's also interesting to point out that Dent indeed shoots Batman before his death, showing that he know longer trusts him, just like Anakin never again trusted Obi-Wan in the Star Wars universe. But one thing Obi-Wan never had to do is take the blame for Anakin's atrocities. Batman, to cover up Dent's madness and keep his legacy smooth, takes the wrap for his deaths and tells Gordan to hunt him. It's a sad, yet bittersweet moment that goes to show what kind of guts Batman has, and it shows that corruption can lead to the demise of such beloved figures.

A perfect example of this is the recent Penn State child abuse sex scandal. As in The Dark Knight, cover ups were made, and men who were originally thought to be grand heroes turn out to be flawed beings who are punished for what they did. It also connects to the Harry Potter series in which Sirius Black must take the blame for what another flawed being did. The point I'm trying to establish here is that many of these tales, whether they be Batman, or Spider-Man, or Star Wars, or Harry Potter, are all related and similar in many fashions and they can relate to real life situations (like the Penn State scandal) and show how corruption can eat it's way up. Like I always say, look from a certain point of view and you can see many new glorious things.

Batman, The Dark Knight, The Dark Savior, The One Who Was Loved By All Gotham, FALLS far from what he started as. His symbol is destroyed (just like Joe Paterno's statue was taken down), for people now fear and hate him, and the GPD hunts for him like a wild beast. The Batman is now a wanted "murderer" and it will take them years until they see Batman RISE AGAIN to become Gotham's savior once more. For now, he must live in exile, awaiting the moment when he is needed and wanted again and it would take him 8 years before he could don the bat mask once more, for a new threat, the gas breather Bane, is planning on turning Gotham into a pile of ashes. It is inevitable that Batman will fly from what he is now, but at the moment, he is not a superhero, he is a mad man, and the people are out to get this mad man and lock him up just as they did with the Joker. In a turning point, in an instant, the superhero is made out to be the villain. In a classic comic book tale, the villain himself would directly frame the hero of being the ultimate villain, but it's not the case here. Batman, out of his own decision, decided to frame himself for Harvey Dent's crimes and that, in the Gotham people's eyes, is just as equal as any of the Joker's crimes.

Batman is the hero Gotham deserves but not the one it needs right now. Batman has FALLEN, but like our Lord and Savior, he will RISE to make things much much better.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Batman Rises and Falls and Rises Again

I am currently conjuring up ideas which I plan to incept into a novel at the moment, so I will be adding to my log whenever I can, whenever I get the chance, whenever I get thirsty for more online mind spewing. But for the moment, let's dip ourselves into a little "bat goo" in honor of the recently released bat flick, The Dark Knight Rises.

And like before, the rise and fall and rise again concept comes to mind.

Like the Star Wars saga, Christopher Nolan's Batman films are all part of one solid shell, one solid story arc that takes the main character and his comrades on many escapades and adventurous debacles. There are catchy themes and values, quotes and morals, and who could forget those classy, yet eminent villains? Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, and the newest offspring, The Dark Knight Rises tell the tale of a man who takes tragedy and turns it into an ultimate victory, becoming a black caped vigilante of the night and helping people so they don't face the same horrors he faced as a child. The Batman saga embodies a story of many grand elements. There is tragedy, revenge, justice, courage, corruption, deception, and most importantly, avenging nature. Like many films of today's movie going generation, the Christopher Nolan Batman films take an already existing creation and turn it into something entirely contemporary, realistic, and relatable. In other words, the films take real world situations and realities and mix it in with the Batman we have all come to love and adore.

He's my favorite DC character, not because he does what's right for himself, because he does what he can to dignify and purify his character, touching lives and striking fear into the hearts of the retched in the process. He proves that you don't need to be Kryptonian to make a phenomenal difference and change the world, a world full of insanity and crime causers. He's just a regular, ordinary businessman, still trying to find who he is and what he was put on the Earth to accomplish.

It's not who he is underneath, but what he does that defines him. 

Now, you probably question yourself as to how Batman fits on the pegs of the rise and fall and rise again concept I developed in my Phantom to Jedi essay. Well, I suggest pondering on the matter, and you may understand and see things never before seen. Look from a different perspective and you can set eyes on different things just as I do.

It's all how you look at it. It's all on the hands of your point of view.

And when I looked at it from a certain point of view, it came quite clear to my brain. Batman is just like the heroes of the Star Wars saga. He carries a bit of the tragic greek hero, the Shakespearean outcast, the common folk hero who seems haunting, but ultimately proves beneficially in the story's grand scheme of things. And like Anakin Skywalker, he withstands horrifying events throughout his life. However, unlike Anakin Skywalker, he uses what happens to him as a sword, a sword to bring the retched to their knees so they don't inflict pain on others. He basically uses tragedy to motivate himself to save the day, as all superheroes do at some point. He doesn't believe in revenge and won't kill, because that will make him the same as the guy who murdered his parents. It's like in Return of the Jedi, when Luke is tempted to strike down Darth Vader, only realizing that it will make him as equal as Vader himself.

Batman is the great Greek hero, like Hercules, but in order to take on the "retched pinheads of Gotham" as the Penguin calls them, he must transform himself into his lifelong fear. By taking on the form of a bat, Bruce Wayne becomes that great intimidating hero he wants to be, the great intimidating hero that will send the crooks back to their holes. Like Anakin Skywalker, Batman uses the darkness to not only conceal himself, but to strike terror on his enemies. However, unlike Anakin Skywalker, Batman uses the darkness to drive the wretchedness away, not to promote it. Batman uses the darkness to do good, while Anakin, who has been consumed by the Vader persona, uses the darkness to spread his hatred and disgust for the galaxy all over...well..the galaxy. In a documentary I fluently observed one day, it stated that Bruce Wayne is a lot like Theodore Roosevelt. Like Batman, Roosevelt lost his cherished loved ones and was on the verge of doing evil deeds, however, like Bruce Wayne in the first act of Batman Begins, he pulls himself out of the thick mud and ultimately goes down as a glorified legend, a legend who made a substantial difference in the lives of the many.

In Batman Begins, young Bruce Wayne witnesses something ghastly, something a child should never have to witness. After the death of his parents, Bruce embarks on a revenge mission, a mission to get back at Joe Chill, his parent's murderer. It works very differently than the origin told in Tim Burton's first Batman film from 1989 in which Jack Napier, who eventually becomes the Joker, kills Wayne's parents. In that film, Batman inadvertently drops Napier into a pool of green chemicals which transforms him into the Joker, but Bruce later realizes that it's the same man that murdered his parents. The Joker creates Batman and Batman creates the Joker and they both embark on a quest to get back at one another for what they did to each other. In the end, Batman realizes that revenge is not the answer and although he would go on to stop other villains in the Burton/Schumacher universe (THE ICEMAN COMETH!), he doesn't want to kill anyone, just bring them to their knees so they leave Gotham alone. It's similar to what Chris O'Donnell's Dick Grayson aka Robin suffers from in Batman Forever. But let's get back to Begins, because the Burton and Schumacher Batmans are very diverse from the Nolan Batman.

After the death of his parents, Bruce Wayne is continuously haunted by his horrid past days and when his parents' murderer is finally put on trial, Bruce debates on killing him and getting back at Chill for what he put him through. As Bruce goes to shoot Chill, someone else pulls the trigger and kills him instead. Angered by his failure to stop the man who terrorized his childhood, Bruce embarks on another revenge mission, to hunt down the man who hired the woman to kill Joe Chill. Bruce eventually finds the man, Carmine Falcone, and while talking with him, Falcone taunts him on his parents' murder, saying his father "begged for mercy like a dog". Bruce is beaten by Falcone's men, thrown into the streets, and it's at that moment that he realizes the treachery and chaos he could ensure if he embarks on a revenge mission. If he embarks on a revenge mission against society, then he could become equal to Chill and Falcone instead of defending the innocent against people like them. He realizes what evil he could do and throws his gun into the water, like he's throwing away his inner demon. He later struggles to find his way into society's importance and at one point, he is arrested and thrown into jail. And when he is in jail, he realizes that he could spend the rest of his life behind bars if he follows in the steps of revenge, in the steps of Joe Chill's murderous ways.

He is soon after summoned by Henry Ducard, a warrior under allegiance to Ra's Al Ghul, and Ducard trains him, taunting him and tormenting him just like the criminals he would later face would. Bruce learns many things, learns many arts and defense strategies, but also learns to never take a life for his own satisfaction. As Rachel Dawes once told him, justice is about making society a better place, revenge is only about making yourself feel better. It once again harkens back to the Star Wars saga, as Luke is given the choice to defeat Vader (what Obi-Wan and Yoda want) or join Vader. In Batman Begins, Bruce is given the choice to kill Ra's Al Ghul's prisoner (what Ducard and Al Ghul want) or leave the criminal be, for he has learned his lesson already and death will not make matters better. So Bruce creates another alternative, just as Luke does, to go back to Gotham and fight criminals like Al Ghul's prisoner, and he defies all the things Ducard and Al Ghul want, making a swift escape and burning Al Ghul's home to the ground. As Bruce leaves the unconscious Ducard with a local villager, he sets his coordinates back to Gotham City, establishing the Batcave, building a vast array of weaponry and gadgets, and starting his journeys as Batman, the Caped Crusader.

Batman's early days as Batman don't start out so pleasant. As he is constantly torn to bits by Gotham's adversaries such as the Scarecrow and his reign of "fear gas, Batman once again faces great haunts and perils he wished he'd never have to endure again. In my eyes, Batman Begins has a recurring theme of fear and how to take on that fear, even when that fear is molded into a person who uses it for his or her advantage. The Scarecrow is a villain who feeds on fear, and in the beginning of Batman's story, he uses Batman's fear to push him to his downfall, but Batman uses his experience to guide him in the right directions, just as he did when he decided to become Batman in the first place.

Striking terror in good people like Sergeant Jim Gordon to gain their allegiance, he teams up with them on several occasions to hunt down the twisted mad men who wish to make Gotham City an unpleasant place. In the end, the people of Gotham come to admire Batman as a great "night savior" as he goes onto defeat Ducard, who is revealed to be the real Ra's Al Ghul. Ghul plans to destroy Gotham and poison it's water supply, but Batman, being as cunning and wise as he is, spoils his plans and makes sure all the grotesque things he has in mind go to the waste bin. As he and Ra's fight in the train, Batman, vowing never to kill or take revenge, says that he will not kill Ra's, but he doesn't have to save him. As Batman glides away from the upcoming wreckage, Ra's is killed when the train falls from the broken tracks. Gotham is saved, the baddies are locked up in prison, Gordon is promoted to Lieutenant, and the people of Gotham's feeling towards Batman suddenly shift from suspicions to trust.

Batman becomes a well respected vigilante who is summoned when even the most deadly of clowns rises to spread havoc. And he leaves behind a symbol, a symbol once thought to be terrifying in the eyes of another. He leaves behind the symbol of a bat, and when it is lit up in the night sky, it gives the citizens of Gotham a feeling of hope, a feeling of relief, a feeling of safety. Batman is guaranteed to be there when evil seeps through the cracks once more, and along with Gordon and the other Gotham police officers, he will do everything in his ability to lock up the gnarly enemies that stand in his way. To put it sweet and simple, Batman RISES for the first time, but little does he know that he will fall, fall far from the respect and glory the Gotham people hold for him. The Joker is coming to town, and terrible, monstrous things are about to hit the fan.


Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Video Game In My Memories

When I don't feel like indulging myself in stories told through literature, a surge of graphics across the television usually does the trick

Because in my opinion, video games are as great of storytellers as paperbacks and parchment

But there was one game, an oddball game that loomed in obscurity for eons and eons following

I remembered the game vaguely, and struggled to find it for a time and time again 

I vaguely remembered the graphics and the characters, the atmospheres and the surroundings

The defenses and mechanisms, the meanings and morals

It was all fuzzy, all blurry

All I could interpret was the music, the high pitched, jingly tune of happy go lucky serendipity 

The music stuck in my convoluted brain like a shard of nostalgia or fascination 

And I tried to use the music to guide me to the mysterious game 

It was like a flashlight, pulling me through dark, cloudy areas I couldn't see through 

It was a heck of a journey, it took my months and years, decades perhaps

And I grew jittery, I grew hungry to know what the game was, what it stood for

I felt like ripping my clothes off and turning green, pulling every ounce of hair out of my scalp

There was something about the game that brought on merry memories of past time

There was something about the game that brought on merry memories of childhood ambitions, hobbies, and explorations

There was something about the game that brought on merry memories of what I once was

I was a bouncy child, a child who got into everything and was blown to the ceiling by even the simplest of occurrences

I was a child obsessed with purple dinosaurs, mystery solving Great Danes, mice with red shorts, annoying rabbits and flabbergasted ducks, clowns who ate too many hamburgers, and yellow cartoon people who drooled over donuts 

I was a child who loved stories and pixelated stories only you could maneuver 

I loved every ounce of that matter, I still do

I love it as much as a Dr. Pepper rainstorm 

But I was destine, destine in one form or another to come across this game, the glory game of fond past days

Then, I discovered it, like an archaeologist  finding an ancient relic of an ancient tribe

You see, I was a big fanatic of the Adventure Island series of games. Just the title alone made me feel like I was stranded on a desert island, fighting snails with a hammer and decapitated island demons and I attempted to rescue my girlfriend

I was first introduced to the game series through Super Adventure Island for the SNES, but that game was in the possession of my relatives

And as I sat playing the pixelated adventure, I said to my erratic noggin

There is something familiar about this game series, something, something remarkable reminiscent 

I had to figure it out somehow, you wouldn't believe that that was a heck of a journey as well

I researched the Adventure Island games on the web and I was stunted to learn that the first game, the game that kicked things off, was a mock of another game, an arcade game to be exact

The game was Wonder Boy, the brain bells starting ringing! 

I rushed to another location of the web and saw footage of the game....but

Darnit! It was the WRONG version. It wasn't the version I recalled in my memory strands. It wasn't the one that made me think of how much childhood meant in my spirit. The music wasn't even the same cheerful harmony I whistled as I slept at evening 

 It was a console version of the game. What a sundae with poop topping on top! 

Talk about a devilish disappointment

But even that devilish disappointment didn't stop me from continuing my research


 I typed in WONDER BOY ARCADE VERSION, pressed ENTER, let the screen load, and without a single drop of hesitation, I set my fingers to a small video clip

I pushed the ENTER button, like I was opening a portal to the past

Could this be the game I fancied for thousands of days and nights? 

Could this be the game that plays that legendary theme as the protagonist rides skateboards to victory? 

The music still played in my memory strands, the brain bells were about the ring off the hook 

It all was about to climb back to the surface

It did, at last! 

The arcade version was the game, the game I doodled with as a curious todd, the game I admired as one of the first I ever set eye sockets too 

It was the game of all games, the game that played that joyful, jolly tune like an ice cream truck

I finally found that idol from the ancient tribe 

And the ancient tribe was my childhood, waving it's hands and saying a quick hello

It all returned for a brief reunion, and I savored it like sweet honey

I finally found the electronic piece of gold, Wonder Boy

How wondrous it was when I found the wondrous Wonder Boy

The journey was over, and I can go to the grass knowing I found the game

The eminent, the exciting video game in my memories 

What a treat 

Moves Like Chaplin

There is something about that black mustache and derby that sends me in a frenzy.

His moves are as legendary as the moves of a penguin

And as I recall, I did my sixth grade language arts project on him

And his uncanny legacy

But who is that man, I had once asked myself

Who is that "scary" fellow with the rugged attire and mannerisms 

He's the Chap, He's The Tramp, He's The Son of a Gun

He's The Great Dictator, in many countless ways

He's the great warrior of the silent black and white days 

He's Charlie, not Mccarthy nor Sheen


He's the guy who made dinner rolls bounce off the walls

He's the guy who turned a cane into a "holy grail" of weaponry

He's the guy who made Hitler look like a Carebear

He's the guy who ran like a frog who had one too many cocktails

He's the guy who smiled like he had stealthy things up his sleeve 

He's the guy who raised children in ways an ordinary dad wouldn't 

He's the guy whose face gleams like a cow's fur

And he's the guy who moves like he has legs made of decayed wood...or something of the sort

Though, at times, I can't help but feel he has inspired many Hollywood boomers

They move a lot like he did 

The great Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd move a lot like Chaplin

They sure know how to run from boulders and hang from clock towers! 

Mario moves a lot like Chaplin

Though he's got a pocket full of growth mushrooms and fire flowers

Simon Belmont moves a lot like Chaplin

Though he carries a heavy whip and gallons of holy water

Igor moves a lot like Chaplin

But I suggest you try carrying a heavy hump on your back! 

Now Jar Jar Binks, Jar Jar Binks certainly moves like Chaplin

He's the spitting image, in Gungan form of course 

He is "cawazy' and bumbling, just like Chaplin was

And he sure knows how to stumble and trip over everything in existence

His eyes bug, just like Chaplin's 

And his smile is enough to send the rats back to their holes in the wall 

He's fun loving, just like Chaplin

He's existence is a powerful nod to Chaplin's impact

And Chaplin's impact is prudent

And although the characters I just spoke of move like Chaplin

NO ONE, CERTAINLY NO ONE, moves better than Chaplin than Chaplin

Don't mess with the Chap

He's got legs paves in gold

It's like they're made of rubber or something 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Amazing Spider-Man: A Retrospective

Today, I want to do a movie review in my original style, and what better way to do it than to talk about the recent web slinger rehash.

Spider-Man. Whenever you hear the term, a lean guy in red and blue spandex appears, swinging webs and conjuring up psychotic, brightly colored adversaries. Spider-Man, like the muscular Kryptonian Superman and the dark caped Batman, has gone down as a critical icon in American pop culture and has become a hero we can not only relate too, but a hero we can look up to and admire with great passion. He's my favorite hero, and I often find myself comparing my image to his because he deals with a lot of perils all young adults go through at some point, and he has to learn that with all the power in the world comes great responsibility on his hands. He was destine to do something great like a lot of us, in one form or another. He sets out on a quest to find who he is and what he was placed upon the Earth to do. That's what a lot of young adults try to accomplish, find their zing and zang, for it's not the easiest nut to crack.

Spider-Man has had a lot of adaptations over the eons, and would you believe that this August, the web head will be celebrating his 50th anniversary? Spidey has appeared in Scooby-Doo style cartoons, teamed up with Firestar and Iceman, fought in a giant robot (in the Japan TV show), encountered gangsters with mind controlling contraptions, and even went on a tap dancing spree at a jazz club. Yes, of course I am referring to that exotic scene in Spider-Man 3, but that doesn't mean I completely despise the film. It's not a perfect film by any means (then again, no film is perfect), but there is still a lot to like about it, just like there is a lot to like about the Sam Raimi directed trilogy as a whole. It's got that iconic, inspiring coating just like the classic Tim Burton Batman films and Tobey Maguire embodies Spidey just like Christopher Reeve embodies Superman. The Sam Raimi films certainly made Spidey the legendary figure he is today, and when you hear the term Spider-Man in a conversation, you almost immediately envision Tobey donning the red and blue on the silver screen. It's that darn catchy, HOW COULD ANYONE THAT ISN'T TOBEY DON THE SPIDER PAJAMAS and leave the same breathtaking crater of epicness. Well, I'm about to tell you how.

The Amazing Spider-Man, directed by Marc Webb, is just as appealing and imaginative as it's brothers and sisters, in my eyes at least. It's got that same "glossy" atmosphere and has a lot to offer when it comes to catching your attention and making you feel captivated and sucked in. I did feel the film had a lot in common with Raimi's first film from 2002, but I think that's what I liked best about it. It has the same ingredients that made the first installments a success, but it envisions them in a completely different cover and reinterprets them in a manner a lot of us have never seen before. After all, it is a reboot. If Batman Begins could do it, why not Petey and his stunning wall crawling abilities? I personally savored all the film had to offer, and you could really tell that the people who made the film tried enviously to do something outside the house and make Spidey something entirely unique and refreshing. Spidey is relatable in this flick, and I'm not saying that Tobey's Spidey wasn't relatable, it's just that Andrew Garfield's Spidey is a lot like the kids of today. He struggles to find his place and find acceptance on the Earth, and the strange disappearance of his parents, Richard and Mary Parker, continues to torment him and make him feel isolated. He's also bullied, something teens like myself have gone through at some point in their lives.

Something else the film had heading towards it is that it was able to take legendary points from the Spider-Man mythology and rearrange them, yet they still delivered that emotional or exhilarating punch to the gut. Martin Sheen's Uncle Ben is killed off in a different way than Cliff Robinson's Uncle Ben in the Raimi films, but you still feel emotionally compromised and you can feel a bit of remorse. Spidey's transformation into, well, Spidey is also something that sends shivers up the spinal cord and I must say, they did a phenomenal job turning Peter into Spider-Man in a completely different manner than in the previous films. It was so diverse, but it was still memorable and surely not done before in either film or comic strip. When you think of Spider-Man becoming Spider-Man, you think of a spider crawling onto his hand and biting him that way. It happens entirely different in this motion picture, and I praise them greatly for doing it so differently.

Spidey getting his arachnid powers isn't the only black sheep element this film carries. Spidey's transformation from a selfish, arrogant tyrant into a gallant, responsible hero also progresses uniquely in this flick, and it's interesting to note that there isn't any Bonesaw Mcgraw or Crusher Hogan wrestler for Spidey to go up against. There is however a wrestling arena and we get to see where Spider-Man gets the inspiration for his mask, right before he decides to make his classic jumpsuit to swing around New York with. In the Sam Raimi films, Spidey's web shooting ability is a natural trait spawned from the spider bite. I didn't really mind  this change that much, but I was interested to see that in this film, they gave him the web shooters he was known for in the comics. Spidey also retains his witty and humorous personality from the comics, and I still wet my pants over the scene involving him and the car thief (ANYTHING BUT KNIVES!). In the Sam Raimi films, Spidey did in fact carry a bit of this characteristic, but Tobey was overall a more headstrong, serious web slinger.

Now let's digress and talk about Spidey's supporting friends and foes. I did like Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy, Spidey's original flame from the early Ditko days who suffers a tragic death at the hands of the Green Goblin. She was more supportive of Peter/Spider-Man than Mary Jane was in the Raimi trilogy, and she even proves helpful in a few scenes when Spidey fights off the villains that stick to his webs. She is also not a damsel in distress like MJ,  and she is more dignified as she struggles through the same rubble Spidey struggles through. Rhys Ifans is certainly something as Dr. Curtis Connors aka The Lizard, juggling aggressive, passive and laid back personalities. I didn't really mind Lizzy that much in this film, for the same things people are complaining about him are the same things they complained about William Dafoe's Green Goblin from the first Raimi film. The look of the Lizard is okay from my viewing, although he would have looked a bit better if he kept the white lab coat on the entire time. Ifans' Connors is just a man who wants to make a difference and change the world, although his choices ultimately lead him down the path of darkness, and before he knows it, he's sprouting tons of green scales and sharp fingernails. He's a poor guy who just wants to regrow his arm, you can't blame the guy for trying! If he regrows his arm, he could help others regrow their lost limbs. I bet Anakin Skywalker would do anything for some of Connors' reptilian regrowth formula.

Amazing Spider-Man Film - Rhys Ifans is Dr Cunnors aka The Lizard, the movie villain in the Amazing Spider-Man.

All the other actors and actresses were also great in their respected roles. Denis Leary's Captain George Stacy is a HUGE departure from his comic book counterpart, but he's still a prominent character who ultimately proves useful in the film's grand scheme of things. Similar to his comic book counterpart is that he suffers a tragic death, a death Spider-Man feels responsible for and a death that makes Gwen Stacy despise Spider-Man in the comics, because unlike in this movie, Gwen doesn't know Peter is Spider-Man and this later proves pivotal when Gwen is killed off in Issue #121. Aunt May and Uncle Ben are nothing more than brilliant, especially in the shoes of Sally Field and Martin Sheen. Sheen's Ben Parker is just as wise, conservative and caring as Cliff Robinson's Ben Parker was, and Sally Field's Aunt May is different than that of Rosemary Harris' Aunt May, but Field's performance still grandmotherly in many grand ways. I couldn't help but feel that Mrs. Doubtfire was going to pop up at any moment! I can't really talk that much about Peter's parents, played by Campbell Scott and Embeth Davidtz, because they weren't really present in the film that much, but there is no doubt that their story will unfold in upcoming Spider-Man reboot sequels. Maybe, however unlikely, they will be revealed to be S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, tying the Spider reboot into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Maybe the Oscorp Building will appear in Iron Man 3 or the Avengers sequel.

The effects and visuals of The Amazing Spider-Man were very comic book like, unlike the effects of Christopher Nolan's Batman films, which were made to be more realistic and life like. There were some scenes where you were in Spidey's body, swinging and spinning in a first person perspective. There were some scenes where Spidey hurled towards and away from the camera. There were some scenes where Spidey moved a lot like an actually eight legged arthropod. But you can't beat the scene where Spidey leaps onto the side of a building and you see his reflection on the building itself. Those who saw the teaser trailer for the reboot will know exactly what I'm talking about. Every time Spidey activated his web shooter devices, you heard a great robotic sound and the devices lit up with a neon red. Every time Spidey took off his mask, he put it back on with a slick, dramatic style. Every time Spider-Man swung a web, he hurled like a light speed bullet. It's all a solid oatmeal, and it further solidifies Spidey's character and makes him diverse than that of Tobey Maguire. The film is also fast paced and slow paced at the proper moments, delivering that great formula of suspense, drama, humor, terror, and climax. I couldn't help but feel that this was horror movie Spider-Man at some moments.

Stan Lee's cameo was the best Stan Lee cameo yet. I didn't know he was such a fanatic of classical music!

Spider-Man is back on the big screen and I enjoyed what he had to offer this time around. It was very similar to the 2002 film, but I like it best that way, for the film reinvented these tools and made them brand new again. The Amazing Spider-Man will no doubt be sandwiched in between the likes of The Avengers and the inevitable masterpiece, The Dark Knight Rises, and it will no doubt be ridiculed for being retooled so soon after the Raimi trilogy ended. But I say, it's a good summer soda flick and it brought back a lot of the golden Spider-Man memories I had when I saw the Raimi films for the first time. It has loads to keep Spidey fans' tummies full and if you like the 60s cartoon, the 80s cartoon, the 90s cartoon, the live action 70s show, or just Spider-Man in general, I say, give it a bottoms up and enjoy. Some might be disappointed that it's not Tobey donning the red and blue pajamas, but what can you do? I loved this film just as much as the previous installments and I would even put it on par with superhero get together smash, The Avengers.

As Maxwell House Coffee puts it, it's good to the last drop, although I don't drink coffee.