Marvel Comics haven't made the best transitions to the big screen over the years. The lackluster Captain America and The Punisher didn't do much to help that image, but a combination of top filmmakers and stars in recent years has turned the tide. Blade and X-Men proved that Marvel characters could succeed and now there are a variety of movies planned over the next few years including The Hulk, Daredevil, Iron Fist, a sequel to X-Men and Marvel's corporate symbol Spider-Man.
Spider-Man will hit theatres in the summer of 2002 with a cast of accomplished actors like Tobey Maguire in the lead and Kirsten Dunst as his love interest Mary Jane Watson. To go against Spider-Man (and Peter Parker) are Willem Dafoe as Norman Osborn (the Green Goblin) and J.K Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson (the Daily Bugle's Editor-In-Chief and the head of the Spider-Man Fan Club). Sam Raimi directed the picture, and he may be best known for his work on the Evil Dead films though they are far from his only accomplishments.
The trailers for this film want you to get ready for the ultimate spin this summer, and Toy Biz has created perhaps the ultimate Spider-man figure in the line of action figures that have recently hit store shelves. The first series is available at major retailers for around $7-9 each and it includes two Spider-Man figures - a standard Spidey and a battle-ravaged version, two Norman Osborn figures - Norman in his normal identity and his alter-ego as the Green Goblin, and J. Jonah Jameson. (Series Two includes two more Spider-Man figures, another Green Goblin, Peter Parker, and Mary Jane Watson.)
Aiding and abetting the fine sculptors at Toy Biz are Gentle Giant Studios who made computer scans of the actors in the film to create ultra-realistic likenesses. Gentle Giant worked in a similar role on the Lord of the Rings figures for Toy Biz, and the results have been impressive.
Spider-Man, The Green Goblin and J. Jonah Jameson were created by Steve Ditko and Stan Lee for Marvel Comics.
Click on a picture below to see more pictures of that action figure.
J. Jonah Jameson has been a constant thorn in Spider-Man's side over the years as the voice of the Daily Bugle. Ironically, Spider-man works for him as Peter Parker selling pictures of himself in action! J.K. Simmons plays the role in the film, and he may be best known for his role as Vernon Schillinger on HBO's prison drama series 'Oz'. This isn't the first film that he has starred in with Tobey Maguire, as they both played roles in The Cider House Rules.
The figure comes with a desk, chair and J.J.J. figure with the appropriate 'desk pounding action'. The likeness of the actor is outstanding, and the figure has a ball-jointed left shoulder and a twisting right one, bending knees and elbows, and twisting wrists, thighs, waist and neck. The neck is sort of a ball joint in that it allows the twisting and some up and down movement to the head. The right arm's elbow can be bent, but is geared as part of the mechanical engineering for the toy's action feature. There is an obvious lever on the figure's back, but the chair is designed to accommodate it while the figure is sitting. The pointed finger on the right hand can allow JJJ a pretty good John Travolta pose from 'Saturday Night Fever'. All the items on the desk are attached but are 'loose' so they can shake when the desk is pounded.
Norman Osborn is the father of one of Peter's friends Harry and is secretly Spider-Man's arch-nemesis the Green Goblin. Willem Dafoe, who has a long and distinguished career playing a variety of characters, portrays him.
The figure is of Norman in casual wear along with is favorite easy chair. A Green Goblin Mask comes with the set that attaches to the chair (and cannot be worn by the figure due to the connector) and enables the voice and light action features of the set. After plugging in the mask if the seat is press it will say one of three phrases from the movie ('Can Spider-Man come out to play?', 'The world will be yours and mine.' and laughter) and the eyes light up. The voice quality is good and the eyes actually blink as it talks. The figure has lower articulation than any of the others with bending knees and elbows, twisting shoulders, wrists and thighs and the same ball-jointed neck as JJJ. The likeness on this figure is also very well done.
The Green Goblin is Spider-Man's greatest foe and is also Norman Osborn. The Goblin has a variety of high-tech weaponry that he uses to battle Spider-man, including his battle armor and a Goblin Glider.
It's very clear that Toy Biz went all out on this figure, as he has outstanding articulation, a cool accessory and a removable mask. The mask slides off to reveal Willem Dafoe as Norman Osborn with his hair slicked back, and it's every bit as good as the head for the Norman Osborn figure. The mask itself has no back, but it still looks good attached to the head of the Goblin. The glider comes with a clear stand to display it on and it has pegs to allow the Goblin to ride it and has a very high-tech look to it.
The glider is cool, but the figure is even better, with more articulation that you can throw a pumpkin bomb at! In order to be able to fight Spidey he's been equipped with almost the same amount of poseability, with the following articulation- ball-jointed thighs and shoulders, double-jointed knees and elbows, a twisting neck and waist, bicep and forearm twists, mid-thigh and mid-calf twists, bending ankles and a bending mid-foot joint, bending wrists and fingers (the four fingers bend as one piece) and an upper torso joint. A tremendous amount of articulation for a 6" figure, but it allows loads of poses to be easily made.
Spider-Man is secretly Peter Parker, and he gained his powers from a genetically-altered spider (which is perhaps more believable today than the radioactive spider that bit him in the original story). In the film Tobey Maguire plays the role, and he is one of the rising young stars in Hollywood with his breakout role in Pleasantville and also a wonderful performance in The Cider House Rules.
Spider-Man has recently had the very successful Spider-Man Classics line to define his look, but the movie version took what was already a near perfect figure and made it better. It seems Toy Biz took lessons from what made that line successful (great articulation and the cool stands) and translated it over for the movie line. The Super-poseable Spider-Man figure improved significantly on the already mind-boggling articulation of the Spidey Classic figure.
He matches the classic Ditko Spidey in most cases, with the same waist and neck twists, double-jointed elbows and knees, ball-jointed shoulders and thighs, the bending 'web-shooter' fingers, the upper torso joint, mid-thigh and mid-calf twists and the bicep twists (which weren't on all the Ditko Spideys). They have the same basic neck joint, but it has been improved to allow more movement. The other new articulation is on the ankles, which now have a sort of sliding joint that allows the ankles to move from side-to-side.
The Spider-Man figure is different in that he has bulked-up and is more muscular than the Classics figures. Spidey also has a pattern to his suit that looks like some sort of mail armor added, The webs are silver now and they are raised rather than embedded like the classics versions. Spidey comes with a stand that can either be mounted to the wall (with a nail hole in the back) or attached to a desk by a vise. The gargoyle (which looks a little more like something Batman would hang around) had a string that extends down and can draw up a figure when the button on top is pushed. The spring in it must be very tight because it pulls the string up very fast, and the attachment doesn't fit easily around the wrist of the figure.
Well, if Spider-Man is going to get into fights, he's going to be battle ravaged. And since he doesn't own his own company like Norman Osborn to buy a fully metal suit, he has to make due with his suit getting ripped. And since he's the main character, there will have to be some variations on him, this being one.
The figure has the same articulation as the super-poseable Spider-Man, and is identical except that his costume has been ripped up at various spots throughout. He has a new head, which may or may not be Tobey Maguire (it's very hard to tell based on the sculpt). It is different that the head that was included with the battle-ravaged Spider-man in the Spider-Man Classics line. The figure comes with a base that can also be wall-mounted and it has five pegs to allows a variety of poses depending on how you choose to display it.
J. Jonah Jameson Pictures
Norman Osborn Pictures
Green Goblin Pictures
Battle-Ravaged Spider-Man Pictures