'Spider-Man' story lines diverse enough to support multiple movie franchises
“The Amazing Spider-Man,” currently in theaters, is a reboot of the Sam Raimi-directed Spider-Man trilogy that ended with the release of “Spider-Man 3” just five years ago. For moviegoers who aren’t comic book fans, it might be hard to understand exactly how another Spider-Man movie can possibly tell the same origin story without repeating the plot of the original Spider-Man that came out in 2002.
But the original comic series has been around so long that it has already created multiple different scenarios and plot lines that could easily be turned into many more movies. Plus, additional Spider-Man series have been created in alternate universes that restart and re-imagine the original Spider-Man story.
Spider-Man first appeared in the comic book “Amazing Fantasy #15” in 1962. In 1963, he got his very own comic book series, “The Amazing Spider-Man.” The plot of the Raimi trilogy and most of the plot of “The Amazing Spider-Man” reboot are taken from the original story line within this series of comics, with a few alterations, of course.
Within this particular universe, Parker is an orphaned teen who lives with his Aunt May and Uncle Ben. He develops spider-like abilities after a radioactive spider bites his hand. To test his newfound abilities, he defeats wrestler Crusher Hogan and earns some money. He originally intends only to use his powers to help himself and his aunt and uncle, but after he neglects to stop a robber from escaping and murdering his uncle, Spider-Man realizes he must use his powers to protect people like his uncle.
This is the story that everyone knows, but after this simple origin story, there are 50 more years' worth of issues that introduce hundreds of new characters and villains. The previous Spider-Man movies, as well as the new one, take their stories from these 50 years of issues.
However, there are other universes with alternate Spider-Man story lines. The new Spider-Man film takes some inspiration from one of the more popular alternate Spider-Man universes, “Ultimate Spider-Man.”
“Ultimate Spider-Man” started in 2000. It was created to make Spider-Man more accessible to a younger generation of comic book readers because the original series had nearly 40 years of back-story keeping new readers from understanding or becoming interested in the series.
In the new Spider-Man film, Parker attempts to find out why his parents disappeared when he was a young boy. This is a major plot line within the “Ultimate Spider-Man” universe. The previous films never explored this possible story line.
Both of the films, however, tell similar origin stories. The origin story in “Ultimate Spider-Man” is very similar to the original story created in 1962 with one exception.
In the original comic book series, Parker built a machine to wear on his wrists that shot out a web-like substance. In the original movies, after being bit by the spider, he developed organic web shooters in his wrist like a real spider. The new movie shows Parker developing his own mechanical web-shooters like in the original comic book series.
And there are still many other universes that could provide possible inspiration for movies. In the “Ultimate Spider-Man” series, Parker eventually dies and Miles Morales, a half-black, half-Hispanic teenage boy, takes over the superhero role.
There also is an alternate time line in which Peter Parker has a daughter with Mary Jane named Mayday Parker, who develops powers genetically passed on to her from her father. She eventually becomes Spider-Girl.
Spider-Man has been around for ages, and his story has been re-imagined and retold successfully so many times that it is not surprising that another movie was released so soon after the last trilogy ended. There are so many opportunities to create excellent movies from the stories in the comics that “The Amazing Spider-Man” will surely not be the last.