The biggest news of the year so far in Hollywood was the sudden departure of Sam Raimi from the Spider-Man franchise earlier this week, which prompted Sony to drop the entire existing cast and reboot the franchise with an entirely new set of principles. The new version, which has already been scripted by James Vanderbilt, is expected to be another origins story, this one dark and gritty, which will take place in high school. My best guess: A dimly lit movie with Jay Baruchel as Peter Parker and a Fall Out Boy soundtrack.
Neither a director or talent has been officially attached to the project yet, though there are certainly quite a few names already being considered, including Michael Bay, Marc Webb ((500) Days of Summer) and Gary Ross (Seabiscuit), though I’m partial to some of the suggestions that The Playlist offered, including especially Edgar Wright and Greg Mottola.
However, after careful consideration, I’ve come up with the five iterations of the Spider-Man reboot that I think we can safely assume will never happen.
Title: Spider-Man and The Mystery of the Nagging Itch
Director: Lynn Shelton (Humpday). Principals: Mark Duplass (Peter Parker); Catherine Keener (Mary Jane); Chris Messina (Harry Osborn). Major Villain: Peter’s sexual identity crisis.
Logline: Tortured by dark and unwanted thoughts, Peter begins to realize that the reason he can’t commit to Mary Jane is because he harbors secret and unresolved feelings for Harry, which come to a head when he’s put in a position where he can save only the life of Mary Jane or Harry. Who he chooses may surprise everyone! Filmed in the apartments of the director’s closest friends with digital cameras on a shoe-string budget.
Title: Spider-Man and His Suburban Angst
Director: Sam Mendes (American Beauty, Revolutionary Road). Principals: Leonardo DiCaprio (Peter Parker); Kate Winslet (Mary Jane). Major Villain: Ennui.
Logline: After cleaning up most of the sinister crime in Manhattan, Peter Parker retires his costume and moves back out to Forest Hills with his wife, Mary Jane, and begins to work a 9-5 shift for the local newspaper. Mary Jane, left at home to take care of their children, begins to resent her choice to settle down so quickly and give up her musical career. Beleaguered and suffocating under the humdrum weight of his suburban life, Peter, meanwhile, has resorted to sneaking out at night — against Mary Jane’s wishes — to hassle loiterers at the local convenience mart, where he meets a young nurse (Amanda Seyfried) and begins a torrid affair, unraveling the well-constructed fabric of his marriage.
Title: Spiderman and His Existential Crisis
Director: David O. Russell. Principals: Mark Wahlberg (Peter Parker); Elizabeth Banks (Mary Jane). Major Villain: Corporate Development
Logline: With Manhattan being encroached upon by developers hellbent on planting a Wal-Mart Supercenter and a Home Depot in the heart of Times Square, a neurotic Spider-Man — fearing that his way of life will be endangered — teams up with his oversexed girlfriend, Mary Jane, to stymie the efforts of Corporate Execs who are trying to drive up crime and drive down land prices in central Manhattan. However, while he’s making a successful bid to drive out the corporate greed, Peter has an existential crisis and is crippled by a feeling that all of his endeavors are ultimately fruitless; he can only postpone the inevitable. A dejected Peter falls into an abyss of despair, finding only solace in drink, until Mary Jane helps him to find enlightenment, to understand the cosmic truth of everything, which returns Peter back to the crime-ridden streets with a new sense of purpose.
Title: Spider-Man and the Ear of Plenty:
Director: David Lynch. Principals: David Bowie and Nic Cage (Peter Parker); Sheryl Lee and Heather Graham (Mary Jane); Major Villain: Midget Cowboy
Logline: It’s completely nonsensical, but the narrative has a random chronology, there’s lot of sex, and the critics love it! Cage gives the performance of a lifetime, though in all of his scenes, he’s inside a giant festering wound, and only his reflection on a mirror is caught on camera.
Title: Spider-Man and the Missing Bong
Director: Judd Apatow. Principals: Zack Galifianakis (Peter Parker); Rachel Bilson (Mary Jane). Major Villain: Apathy
Logline: After becoming the victim of another round of corporate downsizing at the New York Daily Bugle, Peter ends up spending all his time chilling on his couch with Mary Jane, smoking bud and watching “Saved by the Bell” reruns. A year later, Peter has packed on 70 pounds and essentially resigned himself to a life feeding off the teat of government benefits and earning pot money at the local spank bank. That is, until some asshole steals his bong, which prompts Peter to get off his lazy ass, get back in shape, and find the motherfucker who was messing with his stash, an adventure that leads him to Kingpin (Danny McBride) and a realization that he’s not very functional when he’s high. Thug Life!