The Amazing Spider-Man Promises

roni14

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I don’t post on here frequently. In fact, I don’t think I’ve posted on here in over a year, but after seeing The Amazing Spider-Man, I felt the need to say something, and, while it's been touched on in "ASM: Stuff You Didn't Like", I think this is something that deserves it’s own thread.

I’d also like to preface this by saying that I enjoyed the majority of this film. In many ways I prefer this telling of the origin to the 2002 original. I find Andrew Garfield’s modern take on Peter much more relatable than Tobey Maguire’s more golden or silver age approach. Andrew manages to capture the anger of a child who goes through these experiences, while attempting to confront his anger through both logic and respect for his loved ones. I recognize and empathize with his frequent reconciliation and diffusion of anger, and I thought that the scene with Captain Stacy calling Spider-Man’s quest a “personal vendetta” was genius. I could really see it click in Peter’s head that Captain Stacy was right. After that, and the scene saving the child from the burning car, Peter is much more focused on being a more altruistic hero and role model. At the end of the film, he promises a dying Captain George Stacy that he’ll “Keep Gwen out of it”. While he didn’t outright say “I promise”, you can definitely tell he nodded. Peter struggles with this before eventually telling Gwen that the promises you can’t keep are the best kind.

And Peter’s characterization broke.

I'm 20 years old, and I can honestly say that Spider-Man taught me about responsibility, honor, compassion, and, despite his dual identity, he also taught me about honesty. I grew up with the 90’s TV show, the old comics from the 60’s and 70’s reprinted in big black and white paperbacks, and then Ultimate Spider-Man. While I started with the original Spidey tales, I consider Brian Michael Bendis to be one of the people who had the greatest effect on my development because of how he wrote Peter Parker. Ultimate Peter was, like Garfield, a modern take on a troubled youth learning to cope with his anger at the universe (and these new powers he suddenly had obtained).

Peter Parker is a character who, despite whatever issues he is going through, has the most altruistic core a person can have. Even though he was more relatable in this film, I found this particular scene showed us that this core doesn’t exist, and that Peter is a kid who does right by himself as opposed to the world. Any other Peter Parker, even at this early stage in the game, would have respected a promise made made, not just to a dying man, but a man who sacrificed their life to save his. The sole purpose for the drama seems to be a way of avoiding writing a scene in which Peter and Gwen confront Captain Stacy’s death with their inside knowledge of the situation, and it comes at the cost of Spider-Man’s integrity.

Breaking that promise is NOT the Peter Parker I grew up with, and it severely disappoints me to see that this is the Peter Parker many children will see as a role model in the same way I did when I was a child.
 
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They should have just made Captain Stacy tell Peter to promise he would take care for her.
 
Captain Stacy asking Peter to promise that he'd keep gwen out of it is sort of foreshadowing the Fact that peter will break the promise and it will lead to the Death Of Gwen Stacy. I look at it more as a learning experience for peter honestly.
 
I don’t post on here frequently. In fact, I don’t think I’ve posted on here in over a year, but after seeing The Amazing Spider-Man, I felt the need to say something, and, while it's been touched on in "ASM: Stuff You Didn't Like", I think this is something that deserves it’s own thread.

I’d also like to preface this by saying that I enjoyed the majority of this film. In many ways I prefer this telling of the origin to the 2002 original. I find Andrew Garfield’s modern take on Peter much more relatable than Tobey Maguire’s more golden or silver age approach. Andrew manages to capture the anger of a child who goes through these experiences, while attempting to confront his anger through both logic and respect for his loved ones. I recognize and empathize with his frequent reconciliation and diffusion of anger, and I thought that the scene with Captain Stacy calling Spider-Man’s quest a “personal vendetta” was genius. I could really see it click in Peter’s head that Captain Stacy was right. After that, and the scene saving the child from the burning car, Peter is much more focused on being a more altruistic hero and role model. At the end of the film, he promises a dying Captain George Stacy that he’ll “Keep Gwen out of it”. While he didn’t outright say “I promise”, you can definitely tell he nodded. Peter struggles with this before eventually telling Gwen that the promises you can’t keep are the best kind.

And Peter’s characterization broke.

I'm 20 years old, and I can honestly say that Spider-Man taught me about responsibility, honor, compassion, and, despite his dual identity, he also taught me about honesty. I grew up with the 90’s TV show, the old comics from the 60’s and 70’s reprinted in big black and white paperbacks, and then Ultimate Spider-Man. While I started with the original Spidey tales, I consider Brian Michael Bendis to be one of the people who had the greatest effect on my development because of how he wrote Peter Parker. Ultimate Peter was, like Garfield, a modern take on a troubled youth learning to cope with his anger at the universe (and these new powers he suddenly had obtained).

Peter Parker is a character who, despite whatever issues he is going through, has the most altruistic core a person can have. Even though he was more relatable in this film, I found this particular scene showed us that this core doesn’t exist, and that Peter is a kid who does right by himself as opposed to the world. Any other Peter Parker, even at this early stage in the game, would have respected a promise made made, not just to a dying man, but a man who sacrificed their life to save his. The sole purpose for the drama seems to be a way of avoiding writing a scene in which Peter and Gwen confront Captain Stacy’s death with their inside knowledge of the situation, and it comes at the cost of Spider-Man’s integrity.

Breaking that promise is NOT the Peter Parker I grew up with, and it severely disappoints me to see that this is the Peter Parker many children will see as a role model in the same way I did when I was a child.

very good post. and I totally agree.

TASM Peter doesn't seem to have a sense of honor. and it seems to be a pattern, not just with the promise at the end.

after all, this Peter sneaks into Oscorp under false pretense (even if that was not his original intent) by taking another kid's id badge ( and getting that kid thrown out.......for laughs ). He disobeys Gwen's explicit request to not wander off ( she doesn't want to get fired ). He then sneaks into the spider lab room, which is trespassing, and disrupts the spiders by touching the webs ( not respecting other people's property ).

so, TASM Peter seems to have a pattern of basically following his own interests, even if it means disobeying a request or breaking rules.
 
A sense of honor doesn't mean much characterwise if it's easy to keep.

The kid becomes a vigilante with a secret identity, who engages in violence to protect others. Gray areas are part of the territory, and hasn't Peter always had them?
 
yeah.....but making a promise to a dying man......then casually hinting that you're going to break it not very long after.......that's pushing it......imo.
 
I like that he wasn't a goody two shoes because they aren't interesting. He's a kid, learning everything the hard way.
 
Just brought this up in another thread, but:

In Amazing Spider-Man #121, Peter still isn't the incredibly responsible hero everyone seems to think he should be. When he catches Gwen, he immediately begins patting himself on the back.

"Spider-powers, I love you! Not only am I the most dashing hero on two legs-- I'm easily the most versatile. Who else could save a falling girl from certain dea-- Hey, kid-- What's wrong? Don't you understand? I saved you--"

It's Peter's cockiness that gets Gwen killed, and that's what he's showing by breaking his promise to Captain Stacy. He thinks that now that he has these powers, he's strong enough to protect Gwen. He's dead wrong, and he'll pay dearly for his arrogance.
 
I agree with those who say that was deliberately in there to set up the consequences of breaking that promise. Peter still has some learning and growing up to do, after all.
 
Yup pretty much agree it's there only so he can (possibly) regret breaking it in a sequel. I guess just to add a whole new layer of guilt for Peter to deal with.
 
Captain Stacy asking Peter to promise that he'd keep gwen out of it is sort of foreshadowing the Fact that peter will break the promise and it will lead to the Death Of Gwen Stacy. I look at it more as a learning experience for peter honestly.

Just brought this up in another thread, but:

In Amazing Spider-Man #121, Peter still isn't the incredibly responsible hero everyone seems to think he should be. When he catches Gwen, he immediately begins patting himself on the back.



It's Peter's cockiness that gets Gwen killed, and that's what he's showing by breaking his promise to Captain Stacy. He thinks that now that he has these powers, he's strong enough to protect Gwen. He's dead wrong, and he'll pay dearly for his arrogance.
These posts. Y'all should read them :D
 
"Yeah, but those are the best ones." - Best line of the entire movie. IMO. It's that, "Awwww yeaaaaa" moment of the movie for anyone familiar with the comics. He can't stay away from Gwen, and that's what causes her inevitable death. If done correctly, this will be an emotional sequel.
 
I was actually going to post something like this this morning as I listened to Now Playing's take on this movie while doing chores. They raise a really interesting question:

Does Peter learn about responsibility or is he just as selfish by the end?

His Uncle Ben dies and instead of feeling guilty over it, he seeks vengeance. Instead of doting on Aunt May and protecting her, he keeps running off and abandoning her while simply shrugging off her pleas of what he is doing or why he isn't there. Sure, Captain Stacy shames Peter into being altruistic and he realizes he can do more than be a vigilante after the dinner and bridge scenes. But does he? Once again he is forced to make a promise by a father figure, Stacy, to stay away from his daughter because "people will get hurt." Peter listens for one day (a terrible day to do it too). But then the next he's back in school and says essentially, 'Screw it,' and ignores his promise of staying away from Gwen....which we all know seals her fate to be killed by the Green Goblin in one of the inevitable sequels.

Thus, Peter is kind of a selfish dick in this movie....At least, that's what Jakob and Stuart took away ASM. :oldrazz:

I think after Gwen dies, if you look at this Peter over the course of two movies, it may not look the best.
 
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I agree with those who say that was deliberately in there to set up the consequences of breaking that promise. Peter still has some learning and growing up to do, after all.

I see both sides of this argument. But to counter this argument, if it's just about him learning Captain Stacy's lesson the hard way (i.e., by doing this you're going to endanger your loved ones into getting hurt), how will it look when he starts dating MJ after Gwen dies? In the comics, the takeaway of Gwen's death wasn't spelled out so ominously as a foregone conclusion like what Stacy said. It was a risk, one that MJ was willing to take as she knew Peter was Spidey (and the only other major girlfriend after Gwen was fellow crimefighter, risk-taker Black Cat).

In this film's series, we see him ignore Uncle Ben's lessons and Ben dies. We see him then still ignore Ben's lessons after Ben dies and go for vengeance until Captain Stacy sets him straight. He then is given an emphatic warning of the future by Stacy and promises to keep Gwen out of it, and then five minutes later in the movie breaks that promise with a smile. If Gwen inevitably dies as a result in the sequel, will Peter learn that lesson if he willingly puts Mary Jane in the exact same danger that killed Gwen after Captain Stacy warned him this is exactly what's going to happen?

I'm not attacking this film, I'm just saying they have inadvertently set the stage for Peter to look really selfish in later movies. I could see this nagging inclusion playing over time like Dunst's MJ: a little off track in the first movie from the comic counterpart and she just started straying further and further as the series went along.

Just speculating.
 
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I see both sides of this argument. But to counter this argument, if it's just about him learning Captain Stacy's lesson the hard way (i.e., by doing this you're going to endanger your loved ones into getting hurt), how will it look when he starts dating MJ after Gwen dies? In the comics, the takeaway of Gwen's death wasn't spelled out so ominously as a foregone conclusion like what Stacy said. It was a risk, one that MJ was willing to take as she knew Peter was Spidey (and the only other major girlfriend after Gwen was fellow crimefighter, risk-taker Black Cat).

In this film's series, we see him ignore Uncle Ben's lessons and Ben dies. We see him then still ignore Ben's lessons after Ben dies and go for vengeance until Captain Stacy sets him straight. He then is given an emphatic warning of the future by Stacy and promises to keep Gwen out of it, and then five minutes later in the movie breaks that promise with a smile. If Gwen inevitably dies as a result in the sequel, will Peter learn that lesson if he willingly puts Mary Jane in the exact same danger that killed Gwen after Captain Stacy warned him this is exactly what's going to happen?

I'm not attacking this film, I'm just saying they have inadvertently set the stage for Peter to look really selfish in later movies. I could see this nagging inclusion playing over time like Dunst's MJ: a little off track in the first movie from the comic counterpart and she just started straying further and further as the series went along.

Just speculating.
You gotta remember he's still a teenager, though. And he's been Spider-Man for, what, a week? Two? Just because this was the "origin" movie doesn't mean he's done growing as a character.
 
You gotta remember he's still a teenager, though. And he's been Spider-Man for, what, a week? Two? Just because this was the "origin" movie doesn't mean he's done growing as a character.

OMG! Finally someone understands!
 
In most Spidey incarnations he at least has the "with great power" thing down by the time Uncle Ben dies. ;) :oldrazz:

Even so, my point is if in this film series Stacy is basically saying, "Anyone who gets close to you will die, don't let it be my daughter," and he ignores that and...she dies....what does that say about Peter if he starts dating MJ after that in which Stacy's words would still imply to her?

I really think they should have just had Stacy say, "Make sure Gwen is safe" and leave it ambiguous. When you create this sort of dynamic that we know Peter is going to break not just with Gwen, but again after Gwen dies, it does not make Peter look great.
 
Peter breaking his promise shows that he hasn't learned yet. That is fine. It is obvious that he didn't grow up into the hero by the end of this movie and that they are going to do that over two or even three movies as opposed to SM1. That's all fine.

What I don't get is Gwen being so excited that Peter is going to break that promise after dating the guy for a week or two. How stupid is she and what a terrible daughter...
 
I like the idea that not respecting that promise leads to Gwen's death. Just like how after Ben's death he goes on a streak of beating criminals for revenge. It all ties into being, wait for it, responsible.
 
OMG! Finally someone understands!
tumblr_lgmba2Mxx21qagu30.gif
 
Plus it IS possible to be good/heroic/etc. and still have issues of selfishness. It's called being human and being subject to human weaknesses(in this case the need for companionship). That's why even though Gwen dies and it's Peter's fault(partly at least) he will still eventually get back into the same thing with MJ. It doesn't mean he's a jerk for doing it. Foolish, sure. But that's the lot of a human being.
 
Just because he doesn't learn responsibility over night doesn't mean the movie was bad or poorly written, I prefer it being like this. You see him develop as a person as well as a superhero
 
Just because he doesn't learn responsibility over night doesn't mean the movie was bad or poorly written, I prefer it being like this. You see him develop as a person as well as a superhero
Exactly, character doesnt build in a week folks... I'ld like to see that the entire trilogy is him learning responsibility culminating perhaps in Gwen's death
 

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