It looks all too obvious that the comic book world is grasping for more business when they kill off an iconic character such as Peter Parker. But let's still consider it astounding that the comic book industry managed to make killing off their superheroes and human alter egos a cottage industry without repercussions. The movies simply haven't even considered going in such a direction out of fear of being too controversial or not knowing how to work around it.
Studio execs still have much to learn from comic books as they go full-tilt green light on adapting every comic book superhero drawn on paper. Part of that lesson is in how to creatively handle death of major characters without coming to a complete standstill. In the case of Peter Parker dying in this month's 700th issue of the comic book Spider-Man, we see a twist of Doctor Octopus taking over the mind of Parker as a first-time exploration of mind transferal in an iconic character.
That's a creative road movies seldom want to explore out of fear of thinking audiences will be confused. And for iconic characters, studios want fans to identify with the characters as remembered rather than the superhero being possessed by someone else. Regardless, imagine the acting showcase for Andrew Garfield if allowed to have Doctor Octopus inside the mind of his new interpretation of Peter Parker.
No matter what you think of the rebooted "The Amazing Spider-Man" movie franchise, the fact that it's stuck in a new high school age niche makes for a slightly stifling universe. The only exception may be if the new series goes brave and follows the early 1970s comic book path of killing off Gwen Stacy. Even then, the comic book couldn't quite kill her off completely when you include the resurrections and alternate universe editions of Parker's first serious girlfriend.
Whether "The Amazing Spider-Man" franchise will go that direction in an upcoming sequel is still unknown. It's clear, though, that superhero movies are gradually throwing the superhero into ever-increasing, life-threatening situations to test their mental fortitude. Someday, we'll get to the point where we'll see Batman, Spider-Man, or Superman finally die in a way that's interesting and not with finality.
If studios latch onto the death scenario, screenwriters will finally be able to use a part of their hippocampus not typically utilized. Managing to create a narrative that shows what's going on inside of the head of Peter Parker/Spider-Man is by far and large an interesting challenge that a Tobey Maguire arguably couldn't have done. With a more expressive face, Andrew Garfield would be forced to change his visage from the real Peter Parker to one who's dead and controlled by Otto Octavius.
The only true creative way around it all on the big screen is to hear what Doctor Octopus is thinking while his actions are instigated through the shell of Parker. Narrative inside someone's head hasn't been done much lately in any movie, let alone a big-screen superhero epic. Any mistake would be in a studio suit thinking narrative in a character's head would slow down action when both can easily be done at the same time.
Of course, we know the Spider-Man comics will eventually resurrect Peter Parker somehow. When the movies get to that, they'll be able to explore death in a way that crosses over into the real-life complexities of what we feel when we die, or when possibly coming back from that mysterious realm.
- Arts & Entertainment
- Visual Arts
- Peter Parker
- comic books
- Andrew Garfield