I was six years old when Spider-Man (2002), directed by Sam Raim came out. It was not until I was about the age of 16-17 that I re-watched it and began to fully grasp the concept of the responsibility that comes with being a superhero. I also went through the same exact thought process with The Dark Knight (2008), directed by Christopher Nolan. First I will discuss the acceptance or rejection from the audience on the casting choices for the movies. Casting choices are crucial and met with heavy criticism especially when it comes to Marvel and DC Comics based movies. The critique comes from die-hard fans to average fans who pay to see their favorite characters come to life on the big screen. So, it is important that the big roles have great suitors that embody the characteristics, personalities, and sometimes physical features of superheroes, so the audience can leave the movie theatre with their imaginations and expectations having been met. If expectations are not met, the movie will flop and fans most likely will not invest in another production with the same actors/actresses or production team.Both movies have incredible scenes where the villain sends profound and deep messages to the hero. I will later discuss two scenes from each movie and demonstrate why those scenes should be considered probably some of the best scenes of those films, that without them, the movies would not be what they are today.
As an adult, I can understand the importance of criticism from the audience, surrounding the films and the casting choices. Obviously, I was too young to know that a lot of people back in 2002 had negative feelings about Tobey Maguire, but to me, Tobey was just Spider-man because I had no preconceptions about him nor did I analyze his performance at that age. So, it is a bit difficult to accept the fact that some people did not like him. But now that I am 20 years old, I can finally fully comprehend where the criticism comes from, as I, do not think Andrew Garfield was fit to play the awkward and nerdy Peter Parker. It is just something about him did not reek nerd and Spider-Man. The glasses did little to help him become Peter Parker. The awkwardness that I saw in the first Spider-Man movie was missing. I also I did not want to see anyone else take Tobey Maguire’s place, because he played Spider-Man down to a science and was the O.G! Therefore, before Tobey became Spider-Man, there was no one to compare him to, which is probably why I can look past the negative opinions adults had about him in 2002. Another point to add is that Andrew Garfield was not cast to continue playing Spider-Man in the upcoming summer 2017 movie, which can be due to the audience’s poor reception of him. Batman has been played by many actors such as Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, George Clooney, Christian Bale, and Ben Affleck. The most memorable and outstanding Batman from that list is Christian Bale. According to an article titled, “The 9 Actors Who’ve Played Batman” by James Aquilone and Rob Leane this claim is supported. The authors go down the list of all the actors who have played Batman and had this to say about Christian Bale’s portrayal, “Regardless, Bale’s Batman is fondly remembered, and always pops up during discussions of ‘who’s the best?’…” Whereas the other 8 actors were not met with such kindness except maybe Ben Affleck, however, I believe Affleck did a poor job at acting as Bruce Wayne and the dark crusader. A lot of people thought he did a good job at acting as a tired and dark Batman, but to me it felt like watching another performance of the Daredevil. It is important to note that this was Affleck’s first film as the Batman so there is room for improvement but until then Bale’s rich portrayal will reign best.
Actors and actresses can make or break a movie. That is why fans and audiences raise their hands up high in question of some casting choices. Without Tobey Maguire and Willem Dafoe’s electrifying chemistry the rooftop scene of Spiderman (2002) would not have been so iconic. This event on the roof is significant because Spiderman is at his weakest and most vulnerable. Green Goblin could have easily killed him, but he decided to spare him in order to give him a proposition to either join him or continue their battle that will result in the deaths of many innocent New Yorkers. And what made this scene so iconic is the smooth delivery of Green Goblin’s dialogue and the message he was sending Spiderman.
“And they found you amusing for a while the people of this city. But the one thing they love more than a hero is to see a hero fail, fall, die trying.”
The words in the picture above are repeated during the next shot to add emphasis and to demonstrate to the audience the great weight that has been put on Spider-Man’s shoulders. What Green Goblin is trying to show Spider-Man, is that he can save people from danger as many as a thousand times but the moment he makes a mistake, all his good deeds will get overshadowed. Spider-Man knows that Green Goblin is not lying; his truth holds a lot of depth. But Spider-Man also knows Goblin is trying to convince him to join him in becoming forces of evil and that humankind is not worth any sacrifices because ultimately, they will see him as a villain. Spider-Man goes through an internal struggle wondering whether it will be worth it to endure the hate of the people while he tries to defeat the Goblin, since he knows that no matter what he chooses there will be consequences to his actions whether they are right or wrong. To him, the right choice will always be the people, even when the people do not truly understand his actions or the outcomes.
The Joker says something very similar to the Batman in The Dark Knight.
“They need you right now, but when don’t they’ll cast you out like a leper. See their morals, their code it’s a bad joke. Dropped at the first sign of trouble. They’re only as good as the world allows them to be. I’ll show you, when the chips are down these uh these civilized people, they’ll eat each other. See I’m not a monster, I’m just ahead of the curve.”
I think it is important to note that Batman is a product of DC Comics and Spider-Man is from Marvel, yet they both have the same reoccurring theme: the villain will always try to corrupt the hero by showing him the pointlessness of his heroic actions. What the Joker says and the way he says it, made it such a memorable scene. Here you have the villain and the hero sitting together talking and looking each other in the eye without fighting. Which is what made this scene stand out. In Chrisitan Bale’s performance of Bruce Wayne his demeanor says, “I have the money therefore I call the shots”, without being super explicit about it, but when he does mention the power that his billionaire status grants him, we see the rich playboy persona come out. The role of the Batman has been played by quite a few actors, but many would agree that Bale nailed the part making him stand out as one of the best actors to take on the role. Throughout the movie, the audience sees a quiet, serious, observant, and intelligent Batman. They also see Bale’s portrayal of the hero who has all the resources needed such as money, weapons, and great detective skills, struggle to understand the Joker and how to play his games. Bale effortlessly plays the role of Bruce Wayne the best while also mastering both the charming businessman by day and the playboy by night, as well as the crime fighting vigilante, without letting the personas overlap each other. But, what should be noted is that the voice of the Batman threw a lot of people off. Many fans did not like it because it sounds too forced and not at all what they imagined Batman sounding like. Other than that, Bale set the bar high for the next cape crusader, who will have to take over the mantle as the next Batman. Bale and Ledger gave the audience an amazing performance, one not seen between villain and hero in quite some time.
The Joker seems completely vulnerable because he has been stripped from all his weapons, but we forget that his best weapon are his mind games. And that’s exactly it, we see an exposed and real joker, the one who likes to play psychological games. We watch the Joker try to convince Batman that the people of Gotham are not worth saving because eventually their true colors will come out. He claims them to be hypocritical. And the Joker could be right about the people’s hypocrisy because Batman does not argue with him, but they prove him wrong when he puts them in a situation in which their morals are put to the test. They do not blow each other up on the big ships because no one has the heart to. The citizens of Gotham know that the prisoners on the other boat chose to do wrong, yet they decided not to pull the detonator on the criminals, which they could have possibly been the victims of. But eventually, the Batman ends up getting hated by the people of Gotham and by the end of the movie, the police and dogs are chasing after him, though that does not stop him from doing what is right. Batman sacrifices his image as a hero for that of a vigilante so the people don’t discover that their white knight Harvey Dent lived long enough to see himself become the villain.
Both villains fail at corrupting the heroes so they try to go through with killing them.
In this scene Spider-Man asks why Mr. Osborn tried to kill so many people and he replies by saying, “the goblin killed them I had nothing to do with it! Don’t let him take me again I beg you protect me!” Spiderman replies, “You tried to kill aunt May you tried to kill Mary Jane.” Goblin quickly responds with “But not you…I would never hurt you. I knew from the beginning if anything ever happened to me, it was you that I could count on, you Peter Parker would save me and so you have, thank god for you.” Mr. Osborn tries to deceive Peter Parker by trying to be “emotionally” vulnerable with him and at the same time trying to strike a chord in Peter. That chord being the missing male figure in Peter’s life. Mr. Osborn’s plea is almost believable. His words, and facial expressions show a desperate helpless man. He claims that he never tried to take Peter’s life with a look of pain in his eyes that Peter almost believed to be true. Luckily for him he knew it was just Goblin playing his last card. Goblin’s devious plan fails with his death.
Batman asks the Joker why he wants to kill him and the Joker replies with laughing and saying, “I don’t want to kill you, what would I do without you? Go back to rippin off mob dealers? No. no. No, you complete me.” When he says this, he says it with a lot of emotion you can hear it in his voice and see it with his hand gestures. The Joker convinces Batman that he doesn’t want to kill him because without him there’s no purpose to him. But like always, he was playing games. Because in the scene where the boats are supposed to explode, The Joker is ready to cut open Batman’s mouth, but Batman makes his move first to defend himself. He throws the Joker off the building but then shoots his grappling gun so the Joker doesn’t fall to his death because it would be against his one rule, never kill. “You truly are incorruptible aren’t you huh? You won’t kill me out of some misplaced sense of self-righteousness and I won’t kill you because you’re just too much fun. I think you and I are destined to do this forever.”
Without Christian Bale’s and Heath Ledger’s electrifying portrayals of the Batman and the Joker, the interrogation scene could possibly not have captivated and entranced the audience and fans the same way they did. Spider-Man and Green Goblin have definitely given the most captivating hero-villain fights in the whole Spider-Man franchise, my thirteen-year-old cousin who is a huge Spider-Man fan would agree. Lastly, DC Comics should really consider Willem Dafoe for the next Joker.
By Lucylibeth Gomez