When “The Amazing Spider-Man” drops in a few weeks, Marc Webb will be announced as one of this generation’s premier mainstream directors. That said, he’s got a long way to go if he ever wants to become as iconic as Stan Lee, whose credentials of course need no introduction.
In an interview for a video series called “Cocktails with Stan,” the Spidey storytellers from past and present came together to discuss the new film, and just what’s made Spider-Man so appealing over the years.
First off, Lee started with something we all know -- that Spider-Man is the most down-to-earth of all the heroes. “The beautiful thing about Peter Parker, aside from having spider abilities, is that he’s a regular guy!” he said. “He could get ingrown toenails or warts.”
Webb followed up by expanding on how he approached the movie with that in mind. “I think the thing I love most about Spider-Man is Peter Parker, and how infinitely relatable he is,” he said. “Out of all the superheroes he’s the guy you understand, and after one of the first meetings with Stan he said, ‘You’ve just got to put yourself in his shoes and do what you do.’”
Stan being Stan, he immediately launched into praise for the director. “Just the idea of having a director who thinks of the character that way, and not ‘Okay, I’ve got my character, now how many fight scenes can I get, now who can he smash in the head and how many webs.’
“That stuff is a given -- you know there’s going to be great special effects. But the most important thing in a movie is to understand the characters and within the framework of the fact that there are some things are bigger than life, to believe it’s still realistic, and it could happen, and it could be a real person that you know, and Marc is so great at doing that , and has done that in this movie.”
From there, they talked about a bunch of other things: The humor in the movies (Lee: “To me, the humor was always an important part of the Spider-Man series. There had to be funny insolence, or if not funny insolence, at least funny quips that Spidey would make.”), the romance between Peter and Gwen (Webb: “There’s a romantic element to Spider-Man that you just don’t see in the other movies.”) and why it’s important that Peter is a superhero who lives at home (Webb: “There’s these tiny little domestic dramas set against the backdrop of massive peril and danger, and it’s really great that he still has to get the eggs.”). There’s also an anecdote about Lee’s favorite Spider-Man moment -- hint, it’s one that longtime fans will recognize -- and a little information about his cameo in the movie.
“I did it magnificently,” he says with typical humility. But if you expected anything else, clearly you don't know Stan.
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