The last 24 hours have been rough for fans of Spider-Man. Not necessarily because of yesterday’s news that Sam Raimi and Tobey Maguire have abandoned the ship called Spider-Man 4, but because every blog has been filling its feed since the announcement with one Spidey-related post after another. I’m guilty of it, elsewhere and now here, where I’d like to roundup the best ideas for the future of the franchise, which Sony plans to reboot for a grittier, The Dark Knight-esque series, to begin in 2012.
Earlier today, Steven requested that the next Spidey movie not retell the character’s beginning. “There are monks who have lived in silent seclusion for most of post-pubescence who can recite the Spider-Man origin story better than their Psalms,” he wrote.
So if the studio is going to continue the franchise with the assumption all moviegoers are familiar with the origin, what direction should it go in? Let’s look at some of the suggestions coming out of the blogosphere:
Can’t we at least let Raimi direct a five-minute intro to the new film that ends with Tobey Maguire rubbing his chin saying, “I was just remembering some other things I did when I was Spider-Man in high school…”? That way, if this reboot doesn’t work out, at least we could start back in the fifth film with Peter Parker coming back from his remembered daydream, and we’ll pretend Spider-Man 4 was just a stupid Family Guy-style aside.
Director Sam Raimi and actor Tobey Maguire will no longer be attached to the project, and cast into a burning lake of fire for all eterntity. John Malkovich, who claimed to be playing the Vulture in Spider-Man 4 just this past weekend, will have his eyes pecked out by real vultures for his lies, only to have them grow back again… and then eaten by vultures again, repeating for eternity. Sony executives must also sacrifice five infants to Mephisto by 2011, the tentative date for the new Spider-Man movie reboot.
In related news, Aunt May is fine and cooking wheatcakes, whatever the fuck they are.
My ideal reboot would have been to return to Peter Parker’s high school days, with him established as the wall-crawler, and simply tell a great Spider-Man story from that point forward. But as long as the origin isn’t too reminiscent, and Parker’s shown building some web-shooters this go-round, there’s potential, if for no other reason than because it allows for Gwen Stacy — the love of my comic book life — to appear as she always should have: as Peter’s one, true love.
Considering the way Morbius was tossed around as a potential Spider-Man 4 villain makes me wonder if angst is the way Sony will go, and you’ll have a Twilight-style Spider-Man in 2012. You could have a hero brooding on his failures to save his girlfriend, and a villain who is lamenting his thirst for blood. Their final battle could be one of sad wills, each understanding some element of the other. Set the stage for Venom and Carnage (the villains Raimi loathed and refused), and you can have the sad Spider-Man battling the psychopathic Carnage and his / its allies. After the Joker, we all know that chaos reigns supreme with supervillains and Sony has no interest in classy villains such as Vulture or Lizard when you could have Shriek (an ex drug dealer), the hellfire of Demogoblin, and the living corpse, Carrion. You might forget it’s 2012. It’ll feel like 1994 and you’re seeing The Crow (remember, that reboot is coming too) all over again.
Let’s have anything but a gritty Spider-Man, please. Anyone with a shred of understanding of the character knows that, while the stories can be heavy, ‘gritty’ isn’t what makes Spider-Man universally appealing. […] The character has always been about heart and impetuous, impulsive energy. Those are the things that Sony is poised to kill by making this into pure business.
The Clone Saga is a notorious chapter in the history of Spider-Man. It took two years to sort through and screwed an entire fanbase over when it made them question whether the Peter Parker they knew and loved was nothing more than a clone. It got worse when a “new” Spider-Man appeared, took the name “The Scarlet Spider” and was nothing more than Peter Parker with blonde hair. Worse, it even has a dead baby, reveals Norman Osborn is behind the entire thing-despite being “dead”-and it changes nothing.
It is widely considered one of the worst ideas ever. Therefore, it’s perfect to reboot a franchise.
I guess you could shoot it in 3D, but barring that the original Spider-Man movie is still cutting edge, the second and third ones even more so. You’re not rebooting it because the original movie looks dated, because it doesn’t. So… what do you have to gain here? You’ve already told this story and you can’t really do much to top the first film’s special effects. What’s the point?
Maybe this is good news. The current blockbuster era is showing its age; 3D is being touted as the replacement for actual story and filmmaking, and budgets are getting beyond insane. As people eat up the sheer garbage Hollywood is spewing out it emboldens the studios to make more garbage (especially when people steer clear of movies that are interesting or smart), but eventually audiences lose their taste for the garbage. It happened to the studios in the late 60s and it seems almost inevitable that it will someday happen again. Maybe the Spider-Man reboot is the opening sentence of the last chapter of current Hollywood history. Maybe we’re getting closer to our Cleopatra. Maybe a radical shift in what people want will put Hollywood off-kilter and will change the very concept of what is a mainstream movie.
And here are some names coming out of the multiple “who will direct/star” lists around the web:
Why He Might Do It: OK, bear with us. “Donnie Darko” is, in a way, kind of a superhero movie, and blends teen angst and world-saving pretty well. He knows SFX, and his dark, sly sense of humor could prove fun in the franchise. If he brought his long-absent A-game, Kelly has the potential to be the most interesting, albeit left field, choice of the bunch, particularly if he was directing someone else’s script.
What Might Prevent Him: Nothing in “Southland Tales” or “The Box” has suggested that Kelly should be let near an Etch-a-Sketch ever again, let alone a billion dollar franchise. Considering the way he’s cast his last couple of movies, we’d anticipate a Kelly-helmed “Spider-Man” to star Jon Lovitz as Peter Parker and a cast member from “Jersey Shore” as MJ.
Enter Neill Blomkamp?
If they hire him, the geeks fall in line, the budget falls in line, and the skill set is questioned by no one. Terri Tatchell gets a $750,000 rewrite. Neil gets a $3m check. WETA, home of live-action 3D, gets another production to work on alongside Tintin and The Hobbit. And there is very little downside for Blomkamp. If it doesn’t work, he was working under duress. If it does, he is even further up in The Pantheon.
District 9’s Neill Blomkamp would do a great job with this. Sony would have reason to keep him at the studio. But he would demand creative freedom, and they didn’t even give that to Raimi. Pascal and Marvel will want someone to play ball and agree to their script, villains and action figures. Jonathan Mostow did a good job with Terminator 3. Any ideas? Let’s hope it’s not McG.
Anton Yelchin. He’s been groomed for stardom the last few years, and in 2009, he was in both the “Terminator” and “Star Trek” reboots. He’s the right age, he’s great in a room, he’s a real actor, and he’s got charm to spare.
Suit him up and get shooting, Sony.
Robert Pattinson Age: 23 Why our Spidey sense is tingling: Okay, he’s British, pasty, and he’s got a pretty busy schedule, what with all these Twilight movies you may have heard about. But if I were a Sony bean counter, I’d be stuffing the ballot box for this guy. After all, this could be the ultimate parasite blockbuster. Think about it: First, you cast Kristen Stewart as Mary Jane Watson, then you cast Taylor Lautner as Harry Osborn (i.e., James Franco’s role), then boom!…just sit back and watch the greenbacks pile up. If I ran Sony and wanted to retire to a private island, this would be my choice.
Why It Could Work: Aside from the unavailable Twilight duo of Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner, Efron possibly has the most marquee value of any male actor in his age group. After leaving High School Musical, he’s ready for his next franchise and certainly athletic enough to convince as Spider-Man.
Why It Might Not: Is Efron too big a star for the franchise? Sony might want a relative unknown that the studio can pay peanuts, not an actor who’d command an eight-figure paycheck right off the bat.
It may have been 175 years since Jaleel White said goodbye to Urkel and retired his suspenders and Coke bottle glasses, but he still maintains a very youthful demeanor! And anyone who thinks that a black man can’t play Peter Parker because there is a certain amount of respect that should be paid to the source material is probably a DANGEROUS RACIST.
And here’s one suggestion from me, because Oly at The Playlist seems to have named every young actress suitable to play Mary Jane except one: Lily Cole, of The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus.