If you’ve read my review of The Amazing Spider-Man, you’ll have noticed that I decried the film’s retelling of exactly the same old origin story we’d already seen in Sam Raimi’s trilogy, when every bit of promo material for the movie had promised an “untold story”.
But it looks like there actually was an untold story, one with a dramatically different origin for Spider-Man than what we saw, and which we actually see/hear snippets of in the early trailers and promo images. It just never got told.
And since this article will be dealing quite extensively with most of the major plot points of the film, there is a huge SPOILER warning for those of you that haven’t seen the film yet. Bookmark this link, and come back here once you’ve watched the film. For the rest of us…
DOES WHATEVER A SPOILER CAN!
SPOILING PLOT POINTS, ANY SIZE.
LEAVES YOU WITH NO SURPRISE.
LOOK OUT! HERE COMES THE SPOILER-MAN!
Devin over at BadAssDigest actually did all the legwork for this, compiling a very compelling argument that indicates that the movie we saw on-screen was a severely re-cut version of what was originally filmed. It also looks like the film was changed last minute, as cut elements he refers to were still being used in the promo materials less than 2 months ago. And those elements tell a hugely different story.
Firstly, remember Dr Connors telling Peter that no subjects had ever survived cross-species DNA merging…. and then Peter goes and does just that? Well, what if Peter’s survival was not some fluke occurrence but actually due to his rather particular genetic makeup? Think about it. Whereas everybody else had died, Peter gains amazing abilities from a spider his father genetically engineered. A spider that shows up on his dad’s chalkboard. A spider that was present in his father’s lab, back when Peter was just a little kid.
What if Peter didn’t get his abilities from a spider bite? What if the combination of his and that spider’s DNA merely just unlocked whatever abilities his father had already programmed him with?
These are actually the very same rumours that were circulating among industry insiders for weeks before being shot down by Marc Webb. But this was after an initial test screening for Sony execs had apparently not gone too well. Maybe this new origin was just far too “Ang Lee’s Hulk” for their liking, prompting a quick reworking.
And the evidence to support this rather bold claim is there, and actually ties into another issue raised by Devin, namely the fact that after being attacked on the bridge by the Lizard, Mr Ratha, Connor’s boss, completely disappears out of the film with no explanation given at all as to why. In fact when we next see Connors, he’s back at Oscorp, strutting around like he owns the place, despite the fact that Ratha had previously told him to clear out. So where was Ratha?
Well, as this image released so recently as May shows us, he clearly was supposed to have another scene, one in which things would come to a head between the two men.
As to where that scene would fit in, well you could assume that after just being attacked by a giant mutated lizard, that he’d be clever enough to remember that he’d just pissed off a genetics expert working on splicing together human and lizard DNA and would then go confront Connors. And judging by this image compiled by a Superhero Hype poster from screen captures from the various trailers and clips released, it looks like not only did that happen and probably resulted in Ratha’s dying moments, but that a certain red and blue pyjama wearing superhero would have been there as well.
Earlier in the film, Ratha indicates that he had quite an extensive knowledge of Richard Parker’s work, knowledge that he never got to share with anybody before he exited stage left so mysteriously. But what if, in this cut scene, Ratha and Connors actually went all expository (something those images certainly suggest) and filled Peter in to exactly what it was that his father did at Oscorp, and more importantly, did to Peter?
In the film’s second trailer, a voice clearly identified as Ratha’s whispers, as if on dying breath, “Do you think what happened to you, Peter, was an accident? Do you have any idea what you really are?” And in the latest trailer, in another scene that wasn’t in the film, Connors can be seen mid-transformation, screaming at Peter, “If you want the truth about your parents, Peter, come and get it!”
All together, this evidence is just far too overwhelming to ignore. There really was a totally different origin story. The question is whether or not this new origin was dropped completely due to not being received well, or whether, bouyed by early box office estimates and the promise of a trilogy, it was intentionally left out now to be explored later in the subsequent sequels.
Devin also covers a couple of other puzzling aspects, which I’ll just mention here, but you can read in full in his article, such as: Why Peter just outright stops looking for Uncle Ben’s killer for no reason at all, or why all Peter’s dialogue and what we see on screen tells us that Peter’s folks are just missing, yet during Peter’s internet search about his father it clearly shows an article saying that they had died in a car accident.
The one other puzzling omission that bugged me the most though, was the almost complete non-existence of the first person swinging scenes in the film, the very same scenes that were praised by critics and fans who saw it at last year’s Comic-Con and early press screenings for Webb’s incredible use of 3D. It was this exact praise that prompted me to fork out the extra cash to see this in the third dimension, only to get the barest glimmer of it on screen.
All in all, this raises some very interesting questions about exactly what was happening behind the scenes in the last few months of the film’s development. It was either very troubled, or Sony suddenly decided to play the long game with certain story elements. Hopefully we’ll get our answers to all of this in 2014, when the next Spidery installment arrives.