It’s Thursday… and you want me to what?… pretty sure my brain is legally dead. Blasted editor and his demands! (Editor’s note: Micah’s excuses for not writing things border on pathetic. Poke a beached jellyfish with a stick, then try and get that jellyfish to write a thousand word post on Captain America and you’ll get an idea of what I spend a majority of my days doing.) For those of you who haven’t watched it yet, you should REALLY check out the trailer for the new Spiderman movie: The Amazing Spiderman. The reason I say this is cause I’m now going to write about it… cause I have to.
I started writing this last week and wasn’t really sure if I would post it at all cause I figured people wouldn’t be that interested. Turns out they are! About ten people have talked to, or texted, or… tabloided me asking what I thought about the upcoming movie. My general response: “I am totally psyched!” And here is why…
1. Andrew Garfield.
Garfield (who’s playing Spiderman this go round) is a brilliant British actor and this will be a break out role for him. I repeat: Will. Be. In fact I’m not even sure I can take credit for predicting that cause it sort of already has been. If you watched the Social Network you may remember Garfield as the one likeable character in the movie. If you don’t know what he looks like just watch the movie with a crowbar! He’ll be the only one you don’t maim forever with it.
If you feel like being manically depressed you can watch Never Let Me Go which is another movie in which Garfield does absolutely brilliantly. Don’t watch it with a crowbar. You’ll start to question the purpose behind your existence and by the end of the movie will probably have developed an emotional attachment to it and will start taking it out on dates.
2. Not Toby Maguire.
I have nothing against Toby Maguire…. I don’t have a lot against Toby Maguire…. Okay fine, so I sort of hate Toby Maguire. Let’s do a quick run through of the difference between Maguire and Garfield.
Magire was big. They tried to make him look small. But the guy is big. He’s a movie star hero in the typical vein. Maguire could easily have turned around and played Thor or He-man or some winy bodybuilder on a soap opera that got beaten into a pulpy mass by… sorry… I don’t like him. Garfield on the other hand is actually a smaller guy. He looks like a teenager who (when he gets super powers) will be believably ripped looking but still not resemble a trucker. The thing with Spiderman is that he’s got to be believably nerdy. You never really believed Maguire was a tiny person who would get picked on at school. Garfield you do. And you can. By Spiderman 3 Maguire was legitimately chunky. You half expected the Spiderman suit to sort of expand in the middle to make room for the extra chicken leg he had for lunch. Garfield looks like Spiderman is supposed to look.
Well, aside from the Spiderman’s Maguire was in…. ummm… Seabiscuit? He was in that right? Yeah, he played a whiny self-entitled jockey who complained a lot…. that’s right… where’s my crowbar? Seriously though outside of Spiderman no one else seems willing to admit that Maguire is good. Or even passable. Or even someone who should be allowed anywhere near a camera.
I already talked a little about Garfield but seriously this guy is good. He’s got a couple BAFTA awards (think British Academy Awards) and even a golden globe nomination for best supporting actor.
3. New story.
I thought Spider-man 1 was really good, and that Spiderman 2 was pretty great as well! In fact, I liked 2 a little bit better than 1. One thing both movies had in common was that they took themselves and their villains fairly seriously. Green Goblin is a great villain cause he’s interesting to watch and you can sort of sympathize with him. Dock Ock was incredible because he was sympathetic. You always hoped he would come back to his senses and turn around. Then he does in the end, and he moves that big burning sun thing into the water and he… (sniff)… (sniff)… sorry… one second… Okay. I’m all right.
Anyway though, Spiderman 3 was a big simpering pile of everything you want a superhero movie not to be. The main character was a whiny, pointless jerk for most of the movie. The main villain (sandman) was about as relatable too as an empty bottle of soda water and then there were two other villains; the Yellow Goblin (stupid) and Venom (who could have been awesome but was NOT).
Let’s talk about Sandman here real fast. He’s a villain who always ends up being indestructible cause he just becomes dirt and escapes. On a side note, he’s utterly unbelievable. As soon as the first trailer for Spiderman 3 showed the big horrible mountain of sand that was going to highlight the new movie I died a little inside. In a comic book world you can believe that a guy would inject himself with some super serum and drive himself insane (Green Goblin) or that a scientist would create technology that would eventually take control of him (Dock Ock). But not even the most comic of comic book fans could really make himself believe that because some fool of a man walks into some kind of sand/windmill science experiment his body will become sand. I mean, go back and read that sentence again. His body is made of SAND!! Yeah, stupid.
As to the other two: the Yellow Goblin (Spiderman’s best friend in disguise) and Venom (a very cool villain idea) could have been great but neither was able to get enough screen time cause Spiderman was crying into flowery handkerchiefs and Sandman was busily forming his legs into castles. It was a dumb, dumb movie.
But now we can finally shed all that extra weight and get back to what makes Spiderman interesting: Spiderman. See, the thing that separates the Spider from most other comic books is that he acts like a teenager still. Batman doesn’t deliver quick comic relief lines while he’s in the middle of a fight. He’s dark and growly and eats people. Most super heroes are what they are because they have to be and spend at least some part of their days wishing they weren’t a super hero. Spiderman seems to legitimately enjoy his powers and that’s what makes him so different from most of the other heroes today. When the makers of Spiderman 3 decided to turn the main character into an utter jerk who was either running around brazenly cheating on his girlfriend or running around crying cause his girlfriend might have been cheating on him, someone should have realized that they were taking a sharp left at Failure junction. Rampant nerdism aside, I’m very excited to see the slate wiped clean and watch what can happen with a brand new story.
4. Revamp required:
As you may have noticed Spiderman 3 ruined the series for me. I can’t watch Spiderman 1 or 2 without thinking bad things about Toby Maguire or knowing the Kirsten Dunst (MJ) would essentially mail in her performance in the next movie. James Franco is the one actor from that series I still enjoy watching and that’s mostly because he was the one semi-rational character in 3, and because he died in it. But let’s shovel out the weary, black lump of putrid coal that my Spiderman heart has become and forget 3. Let’s just focus on Spiderman 1 and 2 which were both great movies. Obviously there are still so many places Spiderman can go in this film franchise. We’ve still got some great villains to delve into, especially the headline villain for the upcoming movie, the Lizard. I know I know he sounds dumb but the back story here is actually awesome.
At this point I think we can all agree that Toby Maguire cannot play Spiderman. I don’t care if you loved him in the first two movies, have his face tattooed on your wrists, and named your first child after him: he cannot play Spiderman. So that’s your lead character right there: gone. What now? Do you try and get someone new to play Spiderman but bring back the rest of the cast? Do you try and somehow make it look like Kirsten Dunst hasn’t aged in the last decade? Do you try and ignore the fact that she hasn’t been in anything remotely good since Spiderman? No. Obviously if you get a new Spiderman you have to have a new Mary Jane. So in the last five sentences I’ve already eliminated the main characters from the first trilogy. The only other consistent character throughout the first trilogy was Harry Osborne who was played brilliantly by James Franco, but who (as was mentioned afore) died in the third movie.
So where does that leave us? Do we try and get a whole new cast but also try and maintain continuity with the first three movies? In which case are we casting a thirty something year old Spiderman? Ew no stop. Obviously then, if we want a new Spiderman (and we need a new Spiderman. Ending on Spiderman 3 would be like eating all the white stale cereal out of a Lucky Charms box and leaving the marshmallows) we have to go back to the beginning.
But just cause we’re going back to the beginning doesn’t necessarily mean this is a remake. A re-make would be if we were using the same characters and story line as they did before. The green goblin will not be featured in this movie, Harry Osborne won’t be getting significant screen time, and MJ will also be nowhere to be found. Thus, not a remake.
What this is: is another chance for the Spiderman series! A fresh start. We’re not throwing the old stories out the window and just pretending they never happened. We’re restarting! Telling new stories, looking at new characters, which is (after all) what movies are all about!
5. In the last ten years…
When The Amazing Spiderman is released in theaters next summer it will have been a little over 10 years since the first movie hit theaters. Despite all the flaws I pointed out above I have a ton of respect for the original Spiderman. It was a groundbreaking film that paved the way for all of the other great comic book movies that came behind it. In the last ten years we’ve had great movies about Batman, Iron-man and, more recently, Thor and Captain America. We learned how not to make comic book movies with the Fantastic Four and the original Hulk movie then turned around and learned that you don’t have to have a huge cast of “A” listers if you just let the story breathe in the remake of that The Incredible Hulk.
In the last ten years we’ve had Harry Potter movies that showed us how intimately connected an audience can get with characters if those characters are simply allowed to be characters. Allowed to have flaws and grow up with us rather than just telling us how they think we should grow up. We’ve had movies that wowed us with complexity like Avatar and Inception, or movies that stunned us with their simplicity like No Country for Old Men or The Kings Speech. What I’m saying isn’t that we have to throw out all the memories and moments of the old Spiderman series. I’m just saying that after ten years of incredible changes to cinema and, far more importantly, to us: why not let our friendly neighborhood Spiderman have another go at stealing our hearts?