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The Amazing Spider-Man – The Gauntlet: The Lizard – Shed (Review)

This April, to celebrate the release of The Amazing Spider-Man 2, we are taking a look at some classic and modern comics featuring Spider-Man (and friends). Check back daily for the latest review.

Shed is the climax of The Gauntlet. It is The Gauntlet pushed to its logical extreme – just about as dark and grim as you could possibly make a story in The Amazing Spider-Man. In many respects, Zeb Wells and Chris Bachalo’s Shed starts out as a typical Spider-Man story. Curt Connors has relapsed, as he tends to do. Connors has transformed into the bestial Lizard, and the Lizard has decided to target Connors’ family in order to assert his dominance.

The basic plot is familiar. It is standard Spider-Man fare. Our hero will react to this crisis and fight the Lizard to save the Connors family from the monster that their husband has become. Indeed, Spider-Man may even use Curt Connors’ love his family to help vanquish the Lizard, thus offering readers a “happily ever after” ending to what was an emotional ordeal for all involved. It’s one of the most basic and archetypal of superhero stories, one so compelling because it’s about humanity winning out over basic instinct.

Here there be monsters...

Here there be monsters…

That isn’t what happens in Shed.

What makes Shed so brutally effective is the way that it manages to completely subvert expectations. Thanks to the meddling of outside forces, Peter Parker isn’t able to protect the Connors family; he can’t save the life of Billy Connors; he can’t redeem Curt Connors. The Lizard wins. The Lizard dominates. However, what makes the story so clever is the way that Wells layers another twist on top of this, suggesting that although the mosnter has vanquished the man, the monster may not be unchanged.

Balancing the scales...

Balancing the scales…

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Non-Review Review: The Amazing Spider-Man

The Amazing Spider-Man is a jumble of clever ingredients thrown into a pot, stirred for two hours and yet never managing to produce that ideal flavour. There are moments in Marc Webb’s adaptation that are fantastic, as good as anything Raimi brought to the best of his films in the series, Spider-Man II. However, there’s also simply too much going on here for its own good. Running for two-hours-and-a-quarter, the film feels like one-part origin to two-part stand-alone adventure, unsure whether it should it is trying to rush through the motions of one of the most iconic origin stories ever told or if it’s trying to bring something a bit deeper to the table. When it gets going, it’s a solidly entertaining piece of film that does try to do something just a little new with the superhero formula, but it suffers from the same identity crisis as its lead and struggles to really find its own voice.

Peter’s not quite on top on the world…

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Leapin’ Lizards: Spider-Man’s Next Opponent Revealed…

It was recently revealed that the villain of the Spider-Man reboot would be The Lizard as played by Rhys Ifans. While the presence of Andrew Garfield and Rhys Ifans in the film run the risk of turning the movie into a British invasion, I’m actually relatively impressed by the way that this film is coming together – the casting of Emma Stone and the hiring of director Marc Webb have helped greatly. However, I remain somewhat skeptical of the film – given the nature of its production, the fact that it’s a reboot and unfortunate departure of Sam Raimi. So it comes as something of a bittersweet pill that the villain is named as Spider-Man’s long-term reptile opponent. Apparently Raimi had a long and on-going argument with the studio about the character, him wanting to use the man-sized reptile adversary, but the studio balking over it.

It's not easy being green

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The Vulture(s) Circle Spider-Man 4…

It’s been a while since I looked at the possible villains lined up for Spider-Man 4. With the shooting date drawing dangerously close, I’ve bowed out of all the rumours we’ve been hearing about the film – mainly about whether The Lizard would be appearing or who would be playing the Black Cat. But, as far as rumours go, this one is too juicy – and too close to the deadline – to avoid discussing. Basically two Oscar-nominated actors – John Malkovich and Anne Hathaway – are playing a pair of villains. Malkovich will be playing Adrian Toomes, and Anne Hathaway will be playing Felicia Hardy – but the character apparently won’t be sharing her comic book counterpart’s secret identity (the Black Cat), instead getting an entirely new secret identity (something called ‘the Vulturess’).

Somebody finally figured out that the only way to make John Malkovich more badass was to strap wings on him...

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Spiderman 4 – We Know Who the Good Guys Are…

… but who are the bad guys? With Kirsten Dunst confirmed as returning last week, the ‘big three’ (and four, if you count Bruce Campbell’s inevitable cameo) are back on board for the third sequel in what looks to be a very long-lived franchise. Sure, we (along with a lot of people) weren’t too impressed with the third film, but everybody makes mistakes. If only Sam Raimi were willing to admit that, it’d be the first step on the road to recovery. Picking kick-ass villains is widely regarded as the second step. So, we thought we’d give you guys a little cheat-sheet when it comes to the Spidey villains you are likely (and unlikely) to see in the webslinger’s next big screen adventure.

The Sinister Six. Does Exactly What it Says on the Tin.

The Sinister Six. Does Exactly What it Says on the Tin.

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