Monday, 5 July 2010

Spider-Man: A Brand New Day

Is Spider-Man actually in any sort of danger?

Andrew Garfield was just selected to play Peter Parker and his alter-ego, The Amazing Spider-Man. The future movie will feature Parker still in high school and will be directed by (500) Days of Summer's Marc Webb. I have been surprised how much the whole of internet has been s opposed to this whole project. One reason must be that beloved director of the previous three, Sam Raimi, was so suddenly given the sack while developing Part 4.

As I am a huge nerd, I have spent way too much time thinking about the next Spider-Man movie. It's the one franchise I know through and through (although I have tried to catch up with the Marvel universe - I refuse to go to the 90's). Although I have planned out pretty good sequels in my head (Harry Osborn helps create The Scorpion in 3, Kraven hunts the Lizard in 4), I have been pretty easy to please with Sam Raimi's films. Yes, even the treequel. I recognize however, that none of them are perfect Spider-Man movies.

First, Tobey Maguire wasn't probably the best possible actor to play Spider-Man. He's just too serious and part of Spidey's charm is that he hides his nervousness with constant insulting and joking. And while Kirsten Dunst was okay as MJ, the girl next door, she was a far cry (gettit?) from the strong bombshell of the comics. She would've been better as Gwen Stacy, Spidey's great love who was killed by the Green Goblin. But we never got to see that tragic turning point on the big screen because Gobby was disposed in the first movie already.

I recognize the reason Marvel has suddenly decided to reboot the franchise not even 10 years old. Raimi was moving too fast with Spidey's life story. Rumours had been circling around that the fourth movie would've circled around Parker's wedding to Mary Jane Watson . As most people who love Spider-Man are either teenagers or can relate to him as a teenager, this makes him a bit too old for our tastes. Marriage drama isn't as interesting to the focus group as teenage love woes. Marvel recently rebooted the character in comic books from a married teacher to a college student via him having to make a deal with the devil. Let's be glad in the land of movies we can just start fresh without having to resort to that sort of plot gimmicks.

What I especially liked in Raimi's films is his knack for creating symphatetic villains. Although the Vulture isn't one of my favorite villains I would've loved to see what he and John Malkovich would've gotten out of the character. In fact, as a huge fan of Con Air, I would love to still see Malkovich as Webb's film's villain.

There has been some fear over the choosing of Webb as the film's director as he hasn't showed his action chops. Brother, I got news for you. In a production this big in Hollywood it has no importance whatsoever how good a director can direct action. They will hire the best fight choreographers, CGI artists, cinematographers etc. anyway. What is needed is an understanding of the characters, the skill to create believable romances, and a sense of humour. And Webb proved he has all of these in (500) Days of Summer. I also approve the casting decision of Garfield. I liked him in The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, although he didn't actually get much to work with there.

However, there are a couple of worrying things, too. I don't know where the "gritty" reboot rumour originates but I hope it is just a rumour. Darkness doesn't fit to a movie about a guy in tights who shoots webbing at people made of sand and mad scientists. The other worrying part about the film is that James Cameron is a consultant in the film. I hope that only means him giving tips to Webb of how to use the 3D film camera. He obviously doesn't know anything about believable romances and the Spider-Man script he wrote in the 90's is reportedly laughably bad. His script has Spider-Man shouting to Electro "I'm gonna kill you, you motherfucker!" Hardly kid's movie stuff.

Finally, I won't believe we will be given anything that has already been made good. So I'm guessing no origins or Uncle Ben in the next one. They didn't go all the way to the start in the other Marvel reboot, the Incredible Hulk either, remember. So here's putting my hope to Webb. You will do whatever a spider can.

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