Monday, January 17, 2011

Spider-Man has web-shooters

Now more-or-less confirmed via MTV, the new Spider-Man will have mechanical webshooters as opposed to biological webbing.

It's an incredibly minor detail, the definition of fan-only concern (see also: Captain America's wings, Hulk's purple pants) - theoretically important to the storytelling and characterization i.e. increased-tension and Peter Parker: Science Whiz concept but not exactly make-or-break stuff.

Still, make a note of it: This is the first thing the reboot has - potentially - done "better" than the originals. So, that's something of a landmark.


Dave Kraft said...

Explain to me how this choice is "better" than the organic webs of the Raimi movies. As far as I see, it's just more accurate to how they originally were in the comics. That's a creative decision, which is by no means "better" or "worse" than the organic webbing. It's just different. "Better," be it "potentially" or otherwise, is a value judgment that'd be best to reserve for when one sees the manner in which it is implemented within the narrative mechanics.

The original Spider-Man derived the compounds for the web solution from saltines - which happen to be at every diner in Queens and are easily obtainable. Nevertheless - if you think about it for a second - the way in which the comics try to argue that as the basis for how he invents this technology is so paper-thin that, should it be implemented in a live-action film, suspension of disbelief would fly right out the window and people would wish they were still watching Spidey with organic webs.

In other words, when you write something like "this is the first thing the reboot has - potentially - done "better" than the originals" and go as far as to call that "something of a landmark," the objective, thoughtful MovieBob gets replaced by the subjective FanboyBob and it makes it difficult for me to not only respect such remarks but also regard such statements as having any real worth or potency other than the usual, stereotypical fanboy bitching.

It's your blog and you can bitch all you want, but I just want you to know this: it was the insightful content of your past videos and posts which made you popular amongst those of us who frequent your blogs. However, judging by the comments on your other videos, I'm apparently not the only one disappointed when you forgo all that so you may profess your fanboy love for all things Marvel Comics.

Just sayin'. Take that for what you will.

Blue Highwind said...

That just sounds silly. If Spiderman's web powers - his signature superpower - are manufactured why doesn't he just patent the damn things and go home with his millions? He's not Batman.

John Berry said...

I loves me some mechanical web shooters. 1) They're some "show, don't tell" devices that explain how smart Peter Parker is when he can design such a device and 2) adds to the tension that he could run out of webbing at an inopportune time.

Dave Kraft said...

@Blue Highwind:

"With great power, there must also be....... great prices!"

Sounds like a marketing line. I approve of your assessment :)

Adam said...

I don't much care either way on this. I always thought it was kind of funny that Spider-Man had no natural webs, but I suppose it was intended to emphasize his intelligence so there you go.

@Blue Highwind

I think the way they justified him not making money off of his web-shooter invention (which is essentially a really strong glue) is that the webs were so supposed to dissolve and disappear after a couple hours or something, making them not much of a business idea.

Daniel said...

Never really cared for mechanical webshooters, I get that its supposed to emphasize how smart Peter is and I appreciate that but frankly it wouldn't be much of a deal-breaker if he didn't have them this time either.

I remember back when the original one came out I was still very young, all I remember thinking was "Hey didn't he have some kinda machine thing to shoot webs in the cartoon?"
Oh hahaahahahahaha- GOD I feel old

jameshayes said...

God, Bob, looks like you just can't win - say that the SpideReboot is set to be worse than the originals, you get flamed, say that it's done something better, you get flamed.

That being said, I agree with you, I like the mechanical shooters more than the organic webs. As far as suspension of disbelief goes...does no one remember the costume-creation montage of the Raimi films? "Movie Science" at it's best. And it worked.

jameshayes said...

God, Bob, looks like you just can't win - say that the SpideReboot is set to be worse than the originals, you get flamed, say that it's done something better, you get flamed.

That being said, I agree with you, I like the mechanical shooters more than the organic webs. As far as suspension of disbelief goes...does no one remember the costume-creation montage of the Raimi films? "Movie Science" at it's best. And it worked.

Psyckid008 said...

Hey Bob, I was just wondering how you felt about how badly my Jets raped the Pats last night?

James said...


The reason Bob can't win is because his opinions on this movie, good or bad, aren't rational, they come from fanboy-land. That's why he can't stop bashing Halo, or why he had to "defend" Metroid: Other M, and the small amount of other things he can't talk intelligently about. It's the most common form of nerd autism, perhaps you have it too, since you can't disagree with Bob.

Arturo said...

I dunno
To me, bio-web shooters are just cooler for the simple fact that they are biological. Mechanical web-shooters sound just impractical. I mean, Spider-Man running out of web in the middle of a fight kinda sounds like it breaks the flow a bit. It's like your average gunman stopping the fight to reload his gun.

Chris said...

Mechanical web shooters makes sense from a creative standpoint. Its a simple way to differentiate from Raimi's film while still remaining faithful to the comics.

Truth be told I feel the same way about Garfield's costume, which strikes me as different, but still with enough familiar elements to fans.

jameshayes said...

@ James

I just happen to agree with most of what he has to say. I've disagreed with him in the past, (I actually think this reboot has potential) but one of the reasons I follow this blog and comment regularly is because I just like the guy, I enjoy what he has to say, and I enjoy how he says it. I don't want to or need to sit here and defend why I don't have "nerd autism".

To be honest, I'm somewhat embarrassed that most of the other commenters on this blog enjoy bashing a lot of what Bob posts here. I don't think he needs to be defended, but I don't see the point in following a blog you completely disagree with.

Dave Kraft said...

@James: Well said. In fact, go read my comment on Bob's Wonder Woman video, where I point out not only that Bob's recount of Wonder Woman's origin story is wholly incorrect, conflating the Marston run with a post-crisis reboot drawn by George Perez 40 years later (and after Marston died), but how he does make that little bit up that he said he wasn't, and how he rants on about how much DC sucks without bothering to check his source material and yet praises everything Marvel.....

Look, Bob, I've said it before and I'll say it again; we're pissed because we're your fans and we know you can do better than this. *vigorously points to all the old MovieBob and TGO episodes that were thoughtful and insightful* But as of late, objectivity has taken a leave of absence as FanboyBob's subjectivity has taken over, and your fans are taking issue with it.

You want a thorough "Big Picture" of DC? here it is:

I won't deny that it's hurting for a whole host of reasons. But hey, did you bother to cover that under their new EiC (Bob Harras, the EiC of Marvel when it went bankrupt), Wildstorm was nixed, some of the best editors from DC and Vertigo were fired and, in latest news, DC is nixing two pages of storytelling for letter columns?

Aside from the article "12 Reasons Why Bringing Back Letter Columns Is Not The Best Idea," (seen here ), what about the "big picture" that cutting two pages out of the book shafts artists by effectively nixing over 1 grand out of their monthly pay? How about some talk about how creative choices are reflections of a business model (or are business decisions in disguise) or about how the comic book industry is a business first, and how choices like this put DC in a financial hot spot? How about, instead of bitching so much about why they don't know how to market any franchise that isn't Batman, talking about how Geoff Johns' decision NOT to make a film continuity negatively impacts this further by throwing away a possible blue-print for getting DC film franchises off the ground, and how - what with everything else going on - DC is being very pressured to make fast money for Warner Bros?

How about some talk about the difference in business models between Marvel and DC, and how DC is stuck in a weird position during its restructuring in which it's more concentrated on selling the names of its creators than storytelling content?

Daniel said...

@Dave Kraft
I'm gonna have to defend Bob on a few things.

Wonder Woman in regards to film isn't 'owned' by DC, she's owned by Warner Bros. They're the ones with the problem marketing anyone other than Batman not DC, Bob said this don't try to pretend he didn't.

In my opinion DC deserves every complaint said by Bob especially the ones regarding its confusing continuity, I myself am just recently trying out Comics and I can tell you that Marvel comics are a hell of a lot easier to "get into" than DC comics. It took me a week to adapt and get into various series by Marvel, it took me a month, a copy of the DC universe encyclopedia, and a bookmark on the DC database to start to read various DC books without asking "who/what is that?"

Also; Could everyone stop using the word "we" when they so obviously refer to only themselves, in case everyone hadn't realized it yet, Bob's fans are not a hive mind.

Then again thats just my opinion I- oh I'm sorry- WE could be wrong

Smashmatt202 said...

Well, it's nice to see they threw the fans at least one bone.

Bob said...


Y'know, on the unpleasantly lengthy list of things that are REALLY starting to get me "down" on the whole blogging/fan-interaction thing over the last couple months, right near the top of the list is this bizzare notion of a kind of geek version of the "fairness doctrine" - i.e. apparently one can't say anything about something without ALSO finding an equal critique of whatever it's percieved rival is unless one wants the "fanboy bias" label to get thrown around.

Guess what: Not every goof at the expense of DC is an implicit "boost" of Marvel, or the other way around. Not every compliment given to the various Avengers-connected movies is an implicit "attack" on the Spider-Man reboot. If I say I enjoy an XBox360 game, it doesn't mean I "hate" whatever it's PS3 or Wii equivalent is that month. If I say I don't feel like Burger King tonight, it doesn't mean I'm a McDonalds Fanboy. If I mention enjoying some chocolate ice cream, that doesn't make me "biased" against vanilla.

If I hadn't committed to seeing this story-arc gag through on the other blog, I'd probably be mentioning on there that I really liked "Donkey Kong Country Returns." If I did, how long do you think it'd be before I had a DELUGE of troll-posts insisting that praise of DKCR is in and of itself a kind of "coded" attack on some other game that came out around the same time?

O.T said...


I've gotten so tired of this lately.
Every damn week I go into the the comments section of something you've written for whatever, and every week there's always this posse of people really trying to dump on you. It gets so exhausting because the amount of hatred seems so unwarrented. They make these comments that are some vitrolic mix of blanket accusations and fanboy bitching, and it is irritating to read.

There is such a thing as respectively disagreeing and debating, and most people dont seem to be aware of it. So little counts as criticism either since, as I said, blanket accusations about crap all.

I know this is a common thing everywhere in the internet, but your stuff seems to have seen an increase in this as of late, and its taking the fun out of participating in the comments.

Seriously internet?, what the hell is with this nerd rage over people you dont know "failing" to meet your "expectations?"

James said...


Now see, this kind of response is what I'm talking about. Great stuff. That might be an interesting subject for a show, too.


Yeah, I admit I was being snippy with that personal attack. Consider it retracted. And who says I don't like Bob? Why the hell would I read someone's blog if I hate it?

In general though, if I disagree with something it's because I have my own (strong) opinion on it. I do think Bob is being selectively blind in some areas where it's annoying, so I bring it up. My only interest in this blog is a good conversation, which isn't helped by people trolling up the place.

Dave Kraft said...

@Bob: While that's absolutely true, you miss my point. You have an overwhelming tendency to bash DC, and with regard to your other videos, often without knowing what you are talking about. It's like you purposely put in less effort to say anything substantial whenever you do a segment about DC because you have a fanboy bias. It does come across in your videos.

If it sickens you so much, then stop making yourself such a target for it.

Dave Kraft said...

@Bob: Allow me to rephrase.

As James said, you are selectively blind. I think everything should be taken on its own merit, independent of these binaries you are talking about. I like both Marvel and DC. I don't see one as "better" than the other; I don't engage in fanboy behavior like that.

Also, I'm not sure what your DKCR has anything to do with anything. It's not my cup of tea, but if you like it, that's fine I guess.....

The point is, your bias is clear. You're quick to praise something the more closely things align with the comics you like, regardless of knowing how a film would implement them. In previous posts, you suggested blue and yellow X-Men suits would look more favorable in live-action film than the updated black "scuba suits" (that's quoting you). I'm not entirely sure you'd agree if you actually saw that happen. In this post, you gave praise for mechanical web shooters without actually seeing or knowing how they'd be implemented within the actual film. For all you know they can be used in a really dumb way with regard to narrative devices.

The point is you don't know, and you're placing a value judgment on it anyway because the mere thought of it tickles your fanboy fancy, and when there's something you don't know but don't really care too much about, you don't seem to mind if you spread misninformation or don't seem to care about your source material.

That's a journalistic integrity issue and your segment on Wonder Woman wreaked of it. Knowing how much of that video was just factually incorrect made me feel like that was the most intellectually offensive Big Picture segment to date. You also did similar things with your other video on DC Comics. On average, you give more attention to checking your sources and being objective with Marvel than you do DC.

And I'm talking about your writing on a case-by-case basis, not how this one time you wrote about Marvel it instantly put down something about DC.

Dave Kraft said...

@James: I'm not a fan of trolling, but I think people do need to call Bob out on misinformation and intellectually-offensive material. In the past I've been rather easy-going on saying that the Big Picture segments aren't my cup of tea, but lately they've been getting progressively worse, riddled with passive-aggressive fanboy bitching and misinformation.

On top of that, my beef with that segment is simple: they don't actually talk about a "big picture". They talk about a narrow slice of something, but there's so much information that Bob cherry picks things and conflates them for the purposes of making them fit into the videos.

It's one thing to condense information or leave the juicy bits out for the sake of keeping the videos short. It's another to conflate information such that you're saying someone said or did something when it never actually happened, or it was actually said or done by someone else *points to the WW video*. Honor dictated Bob correct his stance on an ideological perspective with regard to RE5; one would think that honor also dictates that when Bob writes something that is factually incorrect and someone calls him out on it, Bob would admit fault and make sure to try and be a bit more careful in future posts.

But that hasn't happened, and I'm starting to take issue with that.

I don't really think it's all too much to ask. I'm not asking for the Taj Mahal here, just that he respects that, and the statements many of us have made about the return of insightful material without the recent rise of the fanboy getting in the way.

Would you disagree?

Jonnyp555 said...

I never read the comics or anything so feel free to call me a cretin but mechanical web-shooters seem a little silly.

I mean if he's just been given a super power, doesn't it seem a little too ikea-like to have to add the rest of his powers on himself?

I am genuinely interested to know. Can anyone tell me in a nutshell? How did he go from Peter Parker to "web-shooter spiderman"?

Dave Kraft said...

@Jonnyp555: I really like how you called it "ikea-like". You bring up a really good point there. :)

To answer:

In the comics, he was bitten by a radioactive spider, but apparently all that did is gave him his sense, super-strength ("the proportionate strength of a spider," as the comics called it) and made him an acrobat.

To further the whole Spider-motif - and to gain an ability to get around Manhattan really quickly without having to take the Subway - he designed these gauntlets that shot webbing, which he made because he's a whiz kid and is good at chemistry and physics. The key ingredient to the webbing came from chemically-decomposing saltine crackers. The webbing was designed to dissolve after a few hours (which is an important piece of evidence used to exonerate Spidey when framed of some crime at one point in the comics/cartoon, when the webbing was still around, and otherwise is a meaningless detail that serves no purpose).

Since the web-shooter gauntlets required a constant supply of fluid in order to work, Peter made cartridges that he would fill with the stuff. That whole lame "belt" look on the costume Bob mentioned in his earlier post about the new costume is actually the bottom of the "shirt" portion of the outfit, which he would lift up to reveal a utility belt with additional cartridges should he run out.

One of the big fears Spidey had was running low on web fluid and plummeting to his death. That concept was taken further with him sporadically losing his powers as he continued to mutate. In Spidey 2, both kind of became one when his webbing was organic, but the lame thing was that instead of it being an issue of genetic mutation (which would've been a great way to lead into Dr. Connors becoming The Lizard in future films, IMO) it was because his powers are reliant on his level of self-esteem (or lack thereof).

Realistically-speaking, having web cartridges would make his wrist and waist seem really bulky, one reason they were omitted from the Raimi movies. Ben Reilly (the clone Spider-man) had the cartridges on the outside and they actually looked kind of cool IMO. Spider-Girl also had the Ben Reilly costume with the web cartridges, but when she was given organic webbing they were instead just made into silver Wonder Woman-style bracelets with a little hole on them for the webbing to come out.

If the mechanical web shooters in this new film are actually what some people suspect - just a mechanism to help him focus his organic web shots - then that's something a little closer to what Spider-Girl had. But right now we don't know.

James said...


You say you're not a fan of trolling, but you respond to everyone's comments with essay length dissertations which are just full of pedantry and tl;dr. Maybe I was too quick with the nerd autism diagnosis, but sheesh dude, let it go. If you disagree, post a snappy comment. Brevity is the soul of wit and all that. I know you're not supposed to feed the trolls, but on the off chance you're not...

siythe said...

Technically the very strong cast was the first thing the movie did right but the mechanical web shooters were also a nice touch. More for the way they differentiate from the last movie than because of how its closer to the comics.

Although having Spiderman build his own web-shooters is a cool shorthand for getting across how smart peter parker is. It does add another complication to the story but it’s worth it if smarts are going to be important in the story.

Dave Kraft said...

@James: Do you think your comment is doing anything to help the situation? Do you think it accomplishes anything other than makes you look like a huge, obnoxious hypocrite who finds reading challenging? If it was too long for you and you didn't read it, then why are you making assumptions about the content being negative?

It's the other way around; people like you antagonize me because of something you didn't even bother to read and put words in my mouth. I'm on the receiving end of the pedantry. If you don't like to read my comments, or didn't bother to read them, then what gives you the right to antagonize me for the length and then point your finger at me for getting defensive? Maybe you're the one who needs to let go.

If an issue I have is with regard to getting facts straight, that's not something up for the "agree/disagree" debate. It's a journalistic integrity issue.

On a side note, Christ, you've been spending way too long on the internet. I even had to go look up "tl;dr". Guess it was too long for you to type out as well. I'd tell you that your time would be more productively spent reading a book than responding to me, but it's probably a bit too much effort for you to read up to half a page (the actual average length of my "essays" and "dissertations").

Speaking of, have you even read one of those before? Oh wait.....

Dave Kraft said...

@Daniel: I agree with you whole-heartedly about DC Comics. I wasn't trying to disagree, and your comment is absolutely right. Bear in mind, though, that Warner Bros. is the parent company of DC (has been that way since the '60s) and one of the challenges they've been facing is with regard to adapting the source material, which has been problematic.

With regard to Bob's video, however, it was riddled with misinformation in which he claimed Marston said and did things which he didn't (in one case a story written by George Perez about 40 years after his death) and the part where he said he wasn't making it up? Well, he was, or his source information must've been pretty damn erroneous.

To quote my previous post, "If an issue I have is with regard to getting facts straight, that's not something up for the "agree/disagree" debate. It's a journalistic integrity issue." Would you honestly take issue with that statement?

I also agree with you about the Marvel comment; I picked up Secret Wars starting with issue 13 and 14, immediately knew who everyone was and what was going on.

DC does have loads of problems right now - mostly on the business end of matters - hence why I've retracted my potential involvement and am currently pursuing other publishers.

I apologize for speaking on the behalf of others. The using of "we" on my end was in poor judgment. It was an attempt to avoid naming people. I believe my stance on the matter was perhaps a bit more tactfully phrased in the first post here in this thread.

Regardless, the point I attempted to make still remains valid, as I am not the only one to express certain concerns. However, I think I've beaten that point to death, and as of right now I don't think I need to repeat it.

As I said before, "just sayin'. Take that for what you will." No harm, no foul.