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Amazing Spider-Man

Spider-Man: No Way Home
by yo go re

Hey, ya wanna hear a conspiracy theory?

No matter what evil rises, the Amazing Spider-Man will summon the courage to defeat it; for with great power comes great responsibility.

There are six figures in this belated No Way Home line, and while all six of them are sold on big "Retro Collection" style cards, only five of them have No Way Home branding: black and yellow cards with pictures of all three Spider-Men. But this figure is the sixth. This one's packaging is blue rather than yellow, has the Amazing Spider-Man 2 logo, and a picture of only this Spider-Man, by himself. There is no mention of No Way Home anywhere on the packaging. It's not like Tobey-Man gets packaging specific to his movie, it's just this one. Why? Well, we don't know, but we can make a guess.

The appeal of this release, over that three-pack (which we've been assured did come out at some point; okay, if you say so, chief), is that it includes an unmasked Peter Parker head, with a real Andrew Garfield likeness. It's tons better than that amazingly rare figure from the first ASM movie, so it's great to get that. Tick, Tick... Boom! Jonathan Larson custom figure here we come! But Andrew's got the same face in No Way Home that he had in Amazing Spider-Man 2, so that's not a reason to "need" to claim this is from an older movie. However...

The only time Hasbro made Raimi Spider-Man toys was right when they first got the Marvel license, 2007. The Amazing Spider-Man films were in 2012 and 2014. Presumably the actors' likenesses were included in their film contracts, as is standard these days, which leaves us with a couple options: either Hasbro still had access to ASM2 rights in a way they didn't have access to SM3 anymore, and thus didn't have to pay again now, or Andrew Garfield's fee was significantly higher for the No Way Home appearance than it had been for his own series (he likely would have been contracted for multiple films from the start back then, while now he was free to negotiate knowing he was kind of indispensable) and so they just licensed the old movie instead. No matter the specific reason, it ultimately comes down to "doing it this way was cheaper for some reason"; we're just left to imagine what that reason is.

The first Amazing Spider-Movie costume was one the dumbest, ugliest things ever designed for the character, and whatever concept artist created it should be nearly as ashamed as the director who approved it. [And yet, amazingly, it's not the worst thing that was suggested for the movie - apparently they were so desperate to distance themselves from the Raimi films they were willing to go to some horrible extremes --ed.] Fortunately, the sequel basically just want back to the comic design, giving us something infinitely superior. You're never going to top Ditko's design, people, stop trying.

Amazing Spider-Man 2 gave us one of the best Spidey action figures ever, so this new version has a lot to live up to. Spoiler: it doesn't quite make it. But it's close. The 2014 toy could almost double as a comic figure, other than the style of logos on the chest and back, but this new one is more specifically "movie" - the colors are darker, like Spider-Man fell in the river and hasn't dried off yet. One thing missing from this figure that was also missing from the one a decade ago are the soles of his boots; I know they don't make sense with his powers (he wears thin cloth so his ability to stick to surfaces isn't impeded), but we see a lot of the bottoms of his feet in the movie, and they're not flat like this. Or even red.

Both the figure's hands are molded into thwips, but the extended fingers are perfectly straight rather than having a natural curl to them. We get two alternates: a right fist, and an open/gesturing left hand. Is there any reason (other than cheapness) this price-inflated figure with no BAF couldn't come with a pair of each style, instead of just one of each?

The big appeal of the previous ASM2 toy was the articulation, and that's where this one falls (minorly) short. Like Tobey-Man, this figure has a barbell head, pec hinges, swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel biceps, double-hinged elbows, swivel/hinge wrists, a balljointed chest, hinged waist, balljointed hips mounted on a hinge, swivel thighs, double-hinged knees, and swivel/hinge ankles. If it had any sort of shin swivels, that would be entirely on par with the older toy, but if (as before) we're judging the toy by its ability to get into the Amazing Spider-Man #301 pose, this one can't do it as well. Still a bunch of fun, though, and even if the range of motion isn't as wild as was in the past, the joints definitely look better than they did then.

This is a great Spider-Man toy, movie or no - but it's not amazing. Brighter colors, some small tweaks to the articulation, not cheating us on the amount of hands, not cheating the studio on the licensing fees... there are definitely things that could have made the toy better than it is, but it's still exciting to get him in the modern style.

-- 01/20/24

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