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Amazing Spider-Man
by yo go re

Captain America: Civil War opens this week, but Hasbro's really dragging their feet on getting the toys into stores (or more likely, stores are dragging their feet on putting them out). So instead, in honor of the new Marvel-controlled Spidey debuting in the movie, let's go back and review the one that's being swept under the rug.

One bite from a radioactive spider changed Peter Parker's life forever. Once a mild-mannered college student, he now amazes as the wall-crawling hero The Amazing Spider-Man!

You have to feel a bit sorry for The Amazing Spider-Man: the only reason Sony ousted Sam Raimi from Spider-Man 4 was that he was taking too long to get ready to work on it, trying to settle on a script he liked; if he didn't start on time, the movie would miss its already-announced release date, and the rights would be in danger of reverting to Marvel. So the reboot came out, it (unsurprisingly) felt rushed, and despite getting a sequel, it was still so poorly received that Marvel is back in control of the franchise anyway. So really, other than introducing the worst live-action superhero costume, what was the point?

Yes, you read that right, the worst live-action superhero costume. Even in cases where the movie sucked, the costume is often a saving grace. But The Amazing Spider-Man opted to change it because... reasons? Presumably to set it apart from the first three movies' suit, but then why go out of their way to design it in such a way that all those differences could be easily hidden? Spider-Man has one of the two best costumes in the history of comics - you're not going to be able to improve upon it.

This keeps the basics - blue base with red elements on top - but makes a lot of stupid choices along the way. The gloves have a weird blue swirl cutting down through them and onto the hands, and the fingers are all blue as well. The suit loses the "belt" on the front of the waist, leaving him with just a downward-facing dong against his chest, but keeps it on the back of the waist. Does it just stop at his sides? No, it suddenly turns into thin, wavy stripes that trail down the outside of his legs and join his boots. Boots which have thick silver soles, because if there's one thing we all know about Spider-Man, it's that he wears super-thick shoes since he never needs to use the soles of his feet for anything, right? That's as integral a part of his character as Batman's prophetic dreams. Great choice, costume designers! Real professional work. Oh, and the silver paint is a mess, spilling all over his foot.

The design may have been crap, but the sculpt of the toy is good. The red section has etched-in lines, while the blue has a fine pattern of dimples. They probably make him aerodynamic, like a golfball. He's got tiny, Ditko-style eyes that are, for some reason, done in gold rather than white, but otherwise the head looks very classic.

Spidey may look stupid, but the toy at least moves well. It moves at the ankles, knees, thighs, hips, wrists, elbows, biceps, shoulders, torso and neck. That's a decent amount, but we've seen better both before and after this figure came out. Plus, by putting the swivel in the wrist rather than the forearm, it kind of ruins a piece of the character: see, ASM brought back the mechanical webshooters, which is all right, but they're a visible part of the sculpt; however, since you have to turn his wrist to get the proper webshooting pose, the actual device no longer lines up with the hand the right way.

The package identifies this Spidey as coming with a "whipping web line," but he actually comes with three. All the same mold. It's a pearly white plastic with a little bit of sculpting to make it look like webbing, and is flexible enough to tie around another figure. There's a curl at one end, and a handle at the other. It's not the best way of creating a web for a toy to use, but it sure beats some attempts.

Since this figure came out in the same line as Lizard and jacked Miles Morales, it includes one of those Heroscape bases. It's a shame the budget didn't allow that to continue - yes, BAFs are better, but those bases were nice in their own way.

Amazing Spider-Man's costume was amazing garbage - if you want evidence of that, all you have to do is look at the sequel, where they scrapped the redesign entirely and just went back to the original. This is an interesting artifact, though, like when DC made a toy from Beware the Batman, or when NECA made Grayson Hunt: something destined to be 100% forgotten, if not for the fact that it was lucky enough to be turned into plastic.

-- 05/02/16

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