December 19, 2012
G1's fanedit of Spiderman Hero Within has all of the promisings of a great endeavor, and all of the faults that come with lackluster source material.
Speaking first to technical side, G1's Hero Within is exceptionally well done. With rare exception, all cuts, fades and transitions are done seemlessly with the original. Unless one is already familiar with the Spiderman movies, I doubt more than two or three cuts would be discovered. Considering the dozens and dozens of edits and splicing between the three movies, this is quite an accomplishment.
Unfortunately, as a stand alone movie, Hero Within carries with it some heavy problems. The primary being that, throughout the three movies made for Spidey, none have a really compelling villian. G1 chooses to focus the story's second act against Doc Oct. While he is the most interesting of the lot, it isn't saying much. Doc Oct is a character that stretches credulity beyond reproach. This is easier to swallow in the original as Doc Oct is featured in a movie outside of the already near-proposterous origins narrative.
Specifically what G1 has done here is taken the Spidey origins story from the first movie and used the second and third act of the second film to finish it up. However, while the story takes off at a pretty good pace leading up to the donning of the costume, when the film then starts heavily using footage from the second movie, a lot of jarring predicaments occur. For example, Spiderman goes from being a typical highschool student to a peerless collegiate-level physicist after a short span of fighting crime.
Although I could be misrembering, I thought that the primary reason Parker doesn't act on MJ's advances is that he's worried that, as Spiderman, those closest to him could be endangered. However, since that isn't established here, his denying of her flirtatious behavior makes him look weak and pathetic, not noble.
Also, G1 makes the decision here to follow Spiderman's arc in which he gives up being Spiderman. This is much more effective in the second movie as there's more time to establish for Parker that living a normal life and being Spiderman are incompatible. Here, though, after a long succesful string of fighting crime, Peter gives up the costume almost inexplicably. It's not very convincing.
There was one moment of this edit that really got my attention. After the first act is complete, G1 then has a series of "Spiderman helps NYC" scenes. He first cuts to the amazing sequence in the third Spiderman movie where an uncontrollable crane demolishes a section of a skyscraper. This is the first time G1 uses footage from the third and I was anxiously excited in the hopes that he would introduce Gwen Stacy into the mix. There was a moment in which I thought this edit would really develop the relationship foils between MJ/Spidey/Parker/Gwen/Harry. However, this is never idealized as Gwen is only used here as a set peice.
I'm not sure what would make this approach to retooling Spiderman better. Adding more scenes could make the film more "epic" specifically in following Spiderman's character arc. However, more scenes means needing more conflict, which means adding Goblin, Venom and/or Sandman which is sure to hurt more than it would help.
I think G1 did a marvelous job towards his main objective. However, I'm left feeling that this edit doesn't necessarily improve upon the lackluster source material from which it derives.