Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Spider-man, Caught In His Own Web

I don't know what to think about the future of the Spider-man film franchise. It all started 2 1/2 years ago when Spider-man 3 hit theaters and was quite possibly the greatest disappointment I've ever had upon viewing a film, and I wasn't alone in this thought, many fans were outraged at how horribly handled the characters and the situations were.

The first two Spider-man films were fantastic, I even thought the 2nd one in particular was one of the best movies of this past decade, but alas certain things happen, such as unwanted studio interference and the desire to always try going bigger, even if that doesn't mean better. What us fans were stuck with was a film that we wished they would remove the wallcrawler's name from the title so that the shutterbug could avoid humiliation. Regardless, the cast and crew moved on and decided they'd like to give it another shot to rectify all the things they did wrong with the third outing.

Stars Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst, alongside director of the first three films, Sam Raimi, all signed on to do a Spider-man 4. I was skeptical, but I remembered that these were the same guys that delivered the first two, so I shouldn't condemn them for their lackluster "three-quel" as it was so annoyingly called. Though, word got out recently that Spider-man 4 was in trouble, many concerns were being flagged about the script and it was like a revolving door of writers coming in to do rewrite after rewrite, but then again, I thought, how is that any different than any other big budget movie made in Hollywood?

But, perhaps the troubles were deeper than I thought, because this past Monday afternoon, it was officially announced by Variety that Spider-man 4 was no longer happening, but rather Columbia Pictures and Sony were going to reboot the franchise with an entirely new cast and crew. They plan to release this new Spider-man film in the summer of 2012. The studios claim to be basing this new direction off of a spec script they received from Pulitzer-winning playwright, James Vanderbilt, who actually did a draft of the now dead Spider-man 4 script.

So now you're caught up, and can understand where I am with my skepticism for the future of this franchise, and this is all assuming that this Spider-man reboot can come together and get made at all. The goal this time around, according to the studios, is to make Spider-man more hip, or in other words, in keeping with the times. Their plan is to return the character back to high school and have him "battle today's issues" as a teenager. Their claim is to make it more gritty and contemporary.

Am I the only one that finds this all a bunch of crock!?! Weren't the first three Spider-man films all modern day films? And for that matter, why do we need to see Peter Parker have to battle with drugs or alcohol?

Personally, I don't. That isn't the reason as to why I adore this character, or for that matter, the reason as to why I go to see these films. I go to see these kind of films to see my childhood dreams realized on the big screen. To see the likes of Spider-man fighting Doc Ock or the Green Goblin, that is what I want, an emotionally resonant story about the challenges Spidey faces in saving the day, I'm not paying ten bucks to go see Peter Parker become an irresponsible teenager. Plus, if I want to see a gritty superhero film, I'll watch Batman, grittiness doesn't have a place in the pop art world of Spider-man. Not to mention, are they planning on retelling the origin, when it was already told to near perfection in the original Raimi outing?

Even still, I'm trying to remain level headed on this whole shindig. Currently, the rumor mill is trying to come up with a director, and the word has been everywhere from longtime Spider-man fan, Gary Ross (who directed Seabiscuit), to Michael Bay (Transformers). I'll go ahead and say it now, if Michael Bay directs a Spider-man film, I will boycott and try to rally as many nerds behind me to do the same, I will not sit and watch the travesty that was Spider-man 3 all over again.

Though, there is one suggestion I was actually kind of satisfied with. The word is the studio has been looking at director Marc Webb, who directed the fantastic film, (500) Days of Summer. The more I think about it, the more I realize that Webb's sensibilities are perfect for the character, granted that the only film he has ever made is (500) Days, but if that is any indication of what he could bring to Spider-man, I'd actually calm down a bit and get excited like my inner fanboy wants me to about this.

I'll just wrap this impassioned rant up here and just bring it back to how I started, I'm very skeptical as to where Spider-man on film is going at the moment, so Spidey, you'd better prove me wrong.

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