Attention Web-Slingers! The Spider-Man Cheat Sheet (spoiler-free!)

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So you’re off to see The Amazing Spider-Man 2, but you’re not a huge fan of the genre, and the fact that you don’t know what’s going on is bugging you. (Yes, we know, spiders are arachnids, not bugs, but we’ve been holding onto that pun since the last Spider-Man movie).

Fear not, true believer! As always, we at the BookTrib Nerd Squad have got you covered. Everything you need to know to enjoy the film and amaze your geekish friends is right here! (And when they ask you how you know all this stuff, tell them that the movie set off your “spider-sense.” Trust us. That’s really a thing.)

Peter Parker: He may have four limbs and not eight, but he’s the man—the Spider-Man, and in the words of the immortal theme song, he does whatever a spider can. Bitten by an experimental spider (radioactive in the comics, genetically modified in the movies), Parker, a nerdy, angst-ridden teen from Queens, New York, gained all the powers and ability of one of those little creepy-crawly things that scares the bejeesus out of 7-year-olds. But rather than frightening little kids, Peter now possesses extraordinary strength, agility, and, yes, a “spider-sense” that warns him of impending danger (told ya!). A brilliant young scientist, Peter has also created a pair of “web shooters” that he straps on to his wrists, which allow him to swing hyper-gymnastically through the canyons of New York City (they also help him to bind up the bad guys). So how did Peter go from spider-infected freak to wise-cracking superhero? Well, that has to do with…

May and Ben Parker: Peter’s beloved aunt and uncle, who raised Peter since boyhood following the mysterious deaths of his parents (a mystery that begins to unravel in this very movie). Soon after acquiring his spider-powers, Peter fails to stop a robber at a local deli. The robber later shoots and kills Uncle Ben. Wracked with guilt, Peter resolves to use his new-found abilities to fight evil, as he finally, tragically, learns one of comic-dom’s most famous axioms: “With great power comes great responsibility.” When he’s not chasing down bad guys, Peter lives in a modest house in a quiet neighborhood with the widowed Aunt May (played in this series of films by two-time Oscar winner Sally Field). Peter also likes to spend time with…

Harry Osborn: Peter’s buddy and young heir to Oscorp, a massive scientific research corporation with which Peter’s late parents were involved. But even more than Harry, Peter likes to hang out with…

Gwen Stacy: Peter’s girlfriend, and one of the few people who know about his spandex-clad double life. Her father, the late police Captain Stacy, figured out Peter’s secret in the last Spider-Man film, and with his dying breath, charged the web-slinger to keep his daughter safe. That’s going to be particularly difficult in this movie, considering the bad guys Spidey is up against. They include:

Electro: Basically a lab experiment gone wrong, Electo controls—you guessed it—electricity, and can shoot bolts of the stuff from his body. Electro is portrayed by another Academy Award winner, Jamie Foxx.

The Rhino: Take a guy with a really bad attitude, give him a super-powered, Rhino-looking suit of mechanical armor, and you’ve got one huge mess in mid-town. The Rhino is played by yet another thespian heavyweight, Paul Giamatti.

The Green Goblin: Perhaps Spidey’s most infamous foe, the Goblin’s real identity is part of the web of mystery in which Peter Parker finds himself entangled. The Goblin flies around on a jet-powered sled and tosses exploding mini-pumpkins (OK, I grant you, that’s weird, but it made sense when it was originally published in the comics). And years ago, in the pages of The Amazing Spider-Man, the Goblin also handed Spidey his most devastating defeat. That’s all we’re going to say.

Got it? Good! Because knowledge is power, and with great power—well, you know the rest. Buy your tickets, grab your popcorn, and get ready for some fancy web-slinging—‘cause here comes the amazing Spider-Man!

 

The Nerd Squad consists of the stalwart agents known only by their secret code names: Tech Nerd, Word Nerd, Her Awesomeness, the Bald Avenger, Sarcasm Slayer, the Fighting Foodie, the Scarlet Pencil and T.I. Benz. Together they patrol the farthest reaches of the galaxy looking for tempting geeky morsels and making the universe safe for Nerdkind. Thumbnail: Justice League #34 by Dale Eaglesham

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