Before triumphantly swinging onto the big screen for the first time in 2002, Spider-man lingered in development hell for some time, being passed between the likes of directors such as James Cameron and Roland Emmerich throughout the 90's before eventually landing at Sam Rami's feet. The truth is that a Spider-Man movie just couldn't have been made any sooner than it was as the technology was waiting to catch up with the imagination of creators Stan Lee and Steve Ditko! The end result is a movie that perfectly captures the spirit of those early comic books and yet manages to exceed the expectations of what modern movie goers want from their summer pop corn movies! The bar was set exceedingly high by the first instalment with all other proceeding comic book movies being measured against it including its own sequel Spider-Man 2, which quickly succeeded its predecessor in almost every way and is still considered to this day as one of the finest superhero movies of all time, taking its place next to the likes of 1978's Superman and 1989's Batman! The final instalment in the trilogy however was not so well received by critics and fans alike often being cited as the weakest of the three movies but despite the lambasting Spider-Man 3 also happens to be the most finically successful movie of all time!
Spider-man has always been one of the most enduring and popular of the Marvel characters and so it is no surprise that with each new instalment comes much fanfare, excitement and merchandise galore! Toy Biz put out some of the best action figures they have ever produced to co-inside with the release of the first two instalments (but that's for another day!) before Hasbro took over the licence in time to promote Spider-Man 3 but with very mixed results! Each Movie was also very well represented on the fast food front with multiple promotions for each movie across several different regions, here we will be looking at some of the toy's primarily released in the UK and Europe from KFC and Burger King in detail:
Spider-Man: Awkward high school nerd Peter Parker's life is dramatically changed when he is bitten by an genetically enhanced spider during a field trip, the next morning the once weedy and short sighted Parker is now muscle bound and has perfect eyesight but that is nothing compared to his other newly acquired gifts; the ability to climb walls and shoot webs from his wrists! spurred on by his uncle's sudden murder and with the old man's words of advice ringing loud in Peter's ears: "with great power comes great responsibility" he takes on the mantle of the masked hero known as Spider-Man where he will face his ultimate nemesis The Green Goblin!
This marvellous looking Spider-man figurine comes complete with webbed effect suction cups placed on both hands so that Spidey can stick to any flat surface! The figure is quite basic in its design and function but has a fair amount of detailing going on which is all quite accurate to the movie version avoiding looking like a generic Spider-Man. The few paint applications it has helps to enhance the "movie look" getting the right shade of blue and the silver of his eyes just right, it even has some articulation which is something of a surprise as they could have easily gone with a simple one piece solid sculpted PVC figurine but instead opted to make him slightly poseable by supplying him with a rotatable head, waist and arms!
Green Goblin: Businessman "stormin' Norman" Osborne is on the verge of loosing one of the biggest military contracts in Oscorp history but he isn't about to loose face with his investors so he volunteers to test his experimental super solider formula on himself, with disastrous consequences! Norman develops a split personality and as a result steals two of Oscorp's new military inventions; an Exoskeleton armoured suit and a jet Glider reinventing himself as the vengeful Green Goblin!
Tentacle Trap Doc Ock: Brilliant scientist Doctor Otto Octavius is about to make a major break through with his fusion based energy source but his experiment becomes unstable and despite Spider-Man's intervention Otto looses his wife as a result! With his tentacle like "smart arms" now able to effect the Doctor's mind after the inhibitor chip is accidently destroyed he goes on a crime spree to fund a second attempt at his experiment but will he be foiled by Spider-Man for a second time?
If there is one toy that really stands out in this entire set then it is without doubt this one as the detailing here is just incredible, They have really managed to capture actor Alfred Molina's likeness perfectly with everything from his stern expression to his hair and shades are just so impressive looking especially in this small scale but it isn't just the head that looks fantastic the detailing is just as fine on the other portions of this toy such as the coat and the brace around his waist and even the tentacles are very nicely rendered! This superb toy isn't let down by the action feature which is basic but works very well, you simply squeeze on Ock's left leg and the Tentacles on either side enclose around the figure to capture his prey!
Web Rescue Spider-Man: As with any hero, Spider-man's first priority is to those innocent civilians who are often caught in the middle of a battle between Spidey and any one of his many villainous adversaries! Sometimes a master criminal may even use these unsuspecting bystanders to his or her advantage, as was the case with Doc Ock who decided the best way to slow the web head down was to throw a passenger or two from the R train!
Lastly for the Spider-man 2 set is this Spidey here with this section of the toy houses the mechanism that retracts the string or "web" and is sculpted in the shape of what appears to be a clock tower with spider-man crouching on the ledge and seemingly about to pull up a young lady from plummeting to certain doom, luckily everyone's favourite web slinger was there to save the day! It is all very nicely detailed however the only paint work applied is on Spider-man himself who also seems somewhat oversized compared to the building he is perching on and yet is smaller than the female figure that accompanies him!
This unnamed damsel in distress is a nicely designed little PVC figurine, posed to look as thought she is free falling before Spidey came to the rescue! You might assume it to be Mary Jane at first glance but you'd be wrong as this figure is clearly a brunette instead of having the iconic red locks M.J sports! It's shame really as this could have easily passed for the main female character in the franchise by just giving her hair a quick colour change, it does seems really odd that they opted to include a random girl in place of the major love interest but that might just be a personal preference! Overall this isn't a bad little toy however with some minor adjustments (scale is an issue for certain) and a couple of paint changes (Brunette to red head) and this would be much improved!
Spider-Man: When a mysterious Ooze falls from the sky and bonds itself with peter Parker it brings out the dark side of Peter's nature! He becomes brutal and unrelenting in his search for the Sandman (the true Murderer of Uncle Ben) and shows no mercy in his battle with Harry Osborne, scarring his former best friend in the process before finally coming to his senses!
This is one of two Venom figures released in this set with this version being the superior of the two. The figure is nicely detailed and looking seriously menacing with his "chopping" action feature but for some reason he is depicted here as being purple (as was the case with the Hasbro action figures) when he is clearly Black in the movie itself!
The Spider-man movie trilogy can be quickly summed up as being two thirds brilliant and one third disappointing, though the same can easily be said for the original X-Men trilogy and even the Dark Knight Trilogy with all three of these franchises having a solid start, a thrilling middle and an unsatisfying end! Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2 are still the definitive big screen adaptations of the most popular Marvel character of all time and it isn't hard to see why, perfectly cast, fast paced, thrilling and dramatic with superb special effects and performances whereas Spider-man 3 is bloated and oddly paced and somehow a lot less thrilling despite some top notch action sequences and special effects.
Fast food toys are very rarely an indicator of how good or bad the film they are based on is and the various Spider-Man premiums were no exception as all three films were given lots of love on that front! With excellent toy sets from the likes of KFC, Burger king, Hardees, Jollibee's and Hungry Jacks to choose from though finding them all is another matter!