Everyone's got their own idea of the ideal Spider-Man villain. Some like the classic matchup of Doctor Octopus, while others prefer the more modern savagery of someone like Carnage. But whether you're happy with Amazing Spider-Man's choice of the Lizard as its villain or not, producer Matt Tolmach says the character is "inextricably tied" to the story.
For Tolmach, picking the villain this time around was about much more than finding a worthy opponent for Spidey. This was about choosing a villain that would both reflect and amplify the struggles Peter Parker is going through, and Tolmach believes the Lizard fit the bill.
"We made a real concerted effort to tell a different story," Tolmach said. "And this is a villain that serves the story we're telling about 'Who am I? Where did I come from?' There are thematic reasons why Curt Connors (the Lizard's alter ego) is the right villain for this movie. Sometimes a movie is made or broken by its villain, and a great villain is somebody who is as inextricably tied into the story as the lead. They are often the personification of the thing that the lead is trying to overcome. And that's what this is."
And to drive that point home, Tolmach says the film's story will tie not only Spider-Man and the Lizard together, but also Parker and Connors. As you might have noticed in the trailers, Parker goes looking for Dr. Connors to seek out some new information about his parents' past, and actually ends up having a hand in creating the monster Connors becomes. According to Tolmach, that's just the beginning.
"The cool thing about Spider-Man villains is that they're not just villains—they usually play a bigger dramatic role," Tolmach said. "In this case Peter has a very powerful relationship with Connors. There's a connection between Connors and Peter's past. There's something there that you've never seen before, and there's also a sense in which there are two paths you can go down—the path of the hero or the path of the weaker man."
And by the way, Tolmach says he's heard you comic book purists complaining about the lack of a shredded white lab coat on the Lizard's back, and he's got a rebuttal for you.
"Look, this is the big-screen interpretation of it," he said. "You have to think about it—on the one hand we're making a decision to tell a story that lives very much in the real world. That was a big part of the conversation—to ground it in our world, a world where there's gravity, where the laws of physics apply. There's a tangible explanation for how things are done."
"And in that world there has to be a Lizard. So how do you do that? You have to make the Lizard something that could come from this world. And that's where you depart—literally—from the pages of the comic book. That said, I think purists will be very very happy about how we depict the Lizard."
So, even if he's not your preferred villain choice, how are you feeling about the Lizard taking on Spidey this summer?