Spider-Man’s super-powers are fairly self-explanatory. He can sense when danger is coming. He can scale walls. He can swing around from rooftop to rooftop thanks to those homemade web-shooters. But there’s more to the story than all that.
“He obviously has great strength,” director Marc Webb told us in part two of “MTV’s Secrets Revealed: The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” our series of in-depth interviews with the superhero sequel’s cast and crew. “But what’s really great about Spider-Man are a few things that make him different from other superheroes.”
What are those different things, you ask? Watch and read on:
The Empathetic Spider-Man
One of Parker’s most important gifts is his ability to empathize with his enemies. Trailers and clips for “Amazing Spider-Man 2″ have featured the masked hero trying to talk down Electro before resorting to violence. To hear Webb tell it, compassion is one of Spider-Man’s greatest traits.
“There’s an emotional component to the superhero,” said Webb. “It’s not even super-heroism. It’s something we all can have, something we all have the capacity to have.”
The Rescuing Spider-Man
Last summer’s “Man of Steel” came under fire for the way the film depicted Metropolis’ violent destruction, without allowing Superman to actually stop down and save the city’s imperiled civilians. That’s not a criticism that can be leveled at “The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” according to Webb.
“Superman and Thor have great strength and they use that to great effect,” he said. “But Spider-Man saves people.”
The Helpful Spider-Man
Peter Parker doesn’t just save lives. He’s helpful in other, every day, lower-stakes ways.
“If he has the time during a car chase, he’ll help an old lady across the street,” said Andrew Garfield, the man underneath the Spider-Man mask. “He’ll tell someone to stop texting and driving, if he has a moment. He’ll give a donut to a homeless guy.”
The Wise-Cracking Spider-Man
Of course, there’s an edgier side to Spider-Man, too. Humor is a big part of why people have connected with Spider-Man for decades upon decades. “He’s not just saving people. He messes with the villains,” said Garfield. “He’s enjoying himself.”
Even Emma Stone, the actress who plays Parker’s girlfriend Gwen Stacy, loves Parker’s sense of humor. “They really pump it up in this movie, too,” she said.
The Inspirational Spider-Man
Beyond his quick quips, there’s something more basic about Spider-Man that empowers the character’s fans. There’s an inherent relatability to the idea of a flawed youth channeling his inner conflict by going out and saving the day with a bright, beaming attitude.
“He’s a teenage boy and he’s so flawed,” said Stone. “He’s been through so much in his life that he kind of instantly becomes the most relatable superhero I can think of. So many people, men and women, have been inspired by him, because they can understand his pain and his wit.”
The Conflicted Spider-Man
Even the most powerful superhero has weaknesses. Superman has Kryptonite. Iron Man has his ego. And Spider-Man has his scatterbrained, tormented personal life at constant odds with his superhero identity.
“There are unresolved issues with Gwen, with his dad, with how to be Spider-Man and how to be Peter,” said Garfield. “Can you be both? And being left with a single mother, really, in Aunt May. He’s under a lot of pressure. And he always will be — otherwise we wouldn’t tune in anymore.”
“MTV’s Secrets Revealed: The Amazing Spider-Man 2″ will continue in the coming weeks featuring interviews with more of the stars, exclusive art, behind the scenes footage and massive reveals about the upcoming movie — and beyond.
Keep tuned to MTV News, as we’ll be launching the following episodes soon:
Episode 3: Electro
Episode 4: The Sinister Six
Episode 5: Peter And Gwen: The Promise
“The Amazing Spider-Man 2″ hits theaters on May 2.