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Critical Analysis of The Modern Adaptation of Spiderman Comics

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Spiderman, one of the most popular and influential superheroes ever created, the one who came from a small-town company, the one who started off in a little-known comic called Amazing Fantasy has certainly come a long way since it was first created. The company had gone through many different phases of many different names, until it eventually ended up with Marvel in 1961, a year before Amazing Fantasy #15, Spiderman’s Debut comic was released. Back in 1962, Amazing Fantasy cost a mere 12c but nowadays it is worth up to thousands, the price rising like the popularity of the spandex wearing hero.

The original story has many great elements that unfortunately did not carry over to the modern version, Spiderman: Homecoming, such as the wrestling match and uncle Ben’s death. This essay will analyze whether this improves the new version or makes it worse.

Origins of Spiderman

Back in 1962, two comics by the name of Stan Lee and Steve Ditko designed and developed a new hero. This hero’s alter ego, a teenager named Peter Parker, was extremely smart and in love with science.

During this time, the first man had reached space, and the space race had begun. This showed many young children and teenagers the wonders and power of science, hence one of the likely inspirations behind Peter Parker and his love of science was the current event of the Space race. Spiderman was originally being designed by Jack Kirby, but the project was taken over by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, who both didn’t approve of the way he was taking the story.

After being released, the comic blew up and Spiderman became a common name for young superhero lovers, as this comic was one intended for young children. Spiderman is truly an original concept with a great story behind it, inspiring many young children. This continues even to this day. The legacy of Spiderman has carried on for 57 years and is still going strong. Steve Ditko and Stan Lee really did create something special back in 1962!

Plot and characters of the original

The original plot of Spiderman is one that is known by many, even much younger generations than those from 1962. The story has been carried on through many versions of Spiderman up until the most modern adaptations of it. In the original, Peter is a quiet bookworm in love with science. He lives with his Aunt May and Uncle Ben who think the world of him, and he is used to getting treated badly by school bully Flash Thompson. One day he visits a science demonstration on radioactivity during which he is bitten by a radioactive spider, who comes down from the ceiling, landing on his neck. At first, Peter thinks nothing of it. He leaves the demonstration feeling light headed, only to almost be killed by a car. He leaps out of the way just in time, only to find himself to have jumped much further than intended and clinging onto the side of a wall by his fingertips. He climbs to the top of the roof and accidently crushes a metal pipe in his hands. He starts to ponder the possibility that he has gained the strength of a spider. Shortly after, he sees a wrestling ring with a sign saying $100 to the man who can stay in the ring 3 minutes with ‘Crusher Hogan!’

Peter goes home, puts on a hood and then returns to the ring. Hogan mocks him and calls him the masked marvel. Peter retaliates by picking up Crusher Hogan and climbing up a pole with him using his new found super strength, defeating him easily. A producer from the crowd notices his power and skill, so he asks Peter if he would like to enter the business of TV and Peter accepts. He goes home and creates himself a costume, some web fluid and wrist contraptions that shoot the webbing out. While on the set of a TV show, Peter sees a guard chasing a thief, but can’t be bothered to help, so the thief escapes. A few days later, the police inform Peter that Uncle Ben has been shot and killed by a burglar.

Peter finds out the criminal has been cornered in a warehouse and swings to the scene in his suit, catching the thief only to realise he is the one that Peter let go backstage. He then learns that with great power comes great responsibility. He realises that if he hadn’t been lazy, his Uncle Ben would still be alive. He ties up the criminal, leaving him for the police to apprehend.

I personally believe this is a great plot and an awesome story. Spiderman is a relatable character for young people and even some adults alike. It teaches a great lesson for many people to follow. The story and concept was original and way ahead of its time, as back then there was no super hero story like this, and the same character and similar story is still very popular all these years later.

Analysis of adaptation

After the success of Amazing Fantasy #15, it’s no surprise that the Spiderman franchise has been continued and developed. After Amazing Fantasy, Stan Lee and Steve Ditko released a new comic series called The Amazing Spiderman. More recent versions such as the 2002 trilogy Spiderman and the 2012 Amazing Spiderman movie duo have also been created and found great popularity at the time of release. After the success of these movies, a new series set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe was started in 2017, kicking off with Spiderman: Homecoming, which is the adaptation under discussion today.

Spiderman: Homecoming has become an extremely popular title with all ages, fitting in with the story of the also popular Avengers movies and rising to the #6 top grossing movie of 2017.

Spiderman Homecoming kicks off with Peter vlogging his experience with Tony Stark, who has recruiting him to help battle fellow avenger Captain America due to his opposing ideology. Peter is extremely excited about his recruitment as he has only been helping his neighbourhood using his Spider powers and doing other small good deeds. How he attained the spider powers remains a mystery.

Teamed with Tony’s assistant, Happy, he puts on his homemade hoodie suit and prepares to go, but Happy gives him a new hi-tech suit from Tony instead. Peter does a good job and then returns to his normal life in New York. As time passes, he gets annoyed that he is not being given any difficult assignments. This however changes, when one night he sees some explosions and flashing lights in the distance when attending a party. He investigates and finds some people selling hi-tech weaponry that the Vulture (who is the story’s main villain) had sourced.

Peter intervenes and the sellers flee, with Spiderman giving chase. As he does so however, the Vulture picks him up and drops him in a lake, where he is saved by one of Tony’s remotely controlled suits.

On his way home, he finds a purple stone, which was a power source for one of the weapons although he doesn’t know. Peter then attends a school trip in Washington and finds out that the stone is explosive, but his friend Ned has it, who is competing in a decathlon and does not have his phone with him. The gem blows up when his friends are at the top of a tower, but he pulls on his suit and swings to the rescue, saving them all.

After returning to New York, Peter tries to stop another illegal deal aboard a ferry which he learns about by interrogating one of the people he finds from the first deal he (kind of) stopped. His attempt at stopping the deal doesn’t go to plan. In the process, the boat is cut in half when one of the untrained sellers misuses one of the extremely dangerous weapon, and all the passengers seem set to perish. Luckily, Ironman can fly to the scene in time and use a set of rocket boosters to hold the ship together. Ironman is disappointed at the close call and doubts Peter’s maturity and superhero abilities. Much to Peter’s horror, Tony takes his suit off him.

When attending his Homecoming sometime later, Peter realises the vulture’s identity. It’s his Date’s father! The Vulture in turn also figures out that Peter is the person who has been messing with his deals. He threatens to kill Peter and those he loves if he continues to thwart his evil plans.

Regardless, Peter sneakily follows him, putting on his old makeshift suit. It doesn’t take long for the Vulture to realise that Peter is following him and promptly tries to stop him in his tracks with a falling building. Peter manages to escape the rubble, chasing down the villain and stopping his plot to rob one of the Avenger’s shipments onboard on of their planes. After a lengthy fight, the plane goes down and peter saves the vulture from the wreckage. As is his style, Peter webs up the Vulture, leaving him for the police to deal with.

Because of his bravery and success in keeping those highly dangerous weapons from the Vulture, Tony offers for him to join the Avengers. Surprisingly, Peter declines, but returns home to find his superhero suit is waiting for him, no doubt returned by Tony.

Overall, when this movie was released two years ago it was a massive success, as people of all ages and interests could enjoy it. The movie has a healthy mix of action, science, romance and excitement, and it of course was about Spiderman! Now tell me, what type of kid does not like Spiderman and want to watch him and his escapades?

This adaptation contains some major differences to the original, but also retains some classic similarities. The current version has added many new aspects, which keep the story fresh and exciting. The new elements include Peter’s Homecoming Date, how he got his suit from Tony, the Vulture plot point and the alien gem.

On the other hand, the new version has unfortunately removed some great parts that everyone loved from the original movie. Most notable of these is the exclusion of Uncle Ben and his death. It was also disappointing that the wrestling scene was removed. As mentioned before, the creators of the new version completely removed Uncle Ben from the story. This was especially disappointing as he was a pivotal character in the original and as such, I considered this to be a big mistake. The message Peter gets from his uncle’s death is an important one that has been a symbol of the Spiderman franchise. As such, taking that away is not something that ever should have even been considered by the writers. It’s as though a large part of Peter’s motivation and driving source has been taken away.

Thankfully, some of the best character features have been continued into this new adaptation is the personalities of some of the main characters. Peter’s original quiet personally and his transition into becoming a confident hero has been portrayed brilliantly. Similarly, Flash’s rude and cocky demeanour and Aunt May’s caring and loving ways were wonderfully portrayed.

I believe these changes were made to better appeal to the audience of children who would watch the movie today, and to bring in an adult audience at the same time. Decades have passed since the original incarnation of Spiderman, so as such, storylines and characters needed to be adapted to suit current times. If you showed most children the original Amazing Fantasy comic nowadays, they would probably not be drawn into it as much as if you were to show them a Spiderman: Homecoming DVD. Over the years, tastes and expectations have changed and the excitement delivered by action-packed modern movies far outweighs the effect of a humble action comic.

Effectiveness and success of adaptation

Overall, I personally think that the adaption was more interesting and an improvement, but the only reason for this is that times change. The modern adaptation is of course a better fit for the tastes and the culture of today’s world. If you consider the range of the audience it has successfully targeted, including anyone from young children to middle aged parents, Jon Watts definitely hit the mark. Whilst increasing the appeal of Spiderman to a wider audience, Jon Watts has also successfully added some great new aspects and plot points.

All in all, I would have only made one single change to the adaptation, that of keeping Uncle Ben and his death as part of the story. The message with great power comes great responsibility is one of the pivotal messages in the original adaptation and one which is just as important today. Giving an impressionable audience, an important message adds to the quality and value of what is undoubtedly a great franchise. 

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Critical Analysis Of The Modern Adaptation Of Spiderman Comics. (2021, August 06). GradesFixer. Retrieved October 20, 2021, from
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