Saturday, 23 January 2010

Spider-Man Reboot

Yes, it's true. Raimi and Maguire have left the building, and Sony is rebooting the franchise under the direction of Marc Webb (500 Days of Summer). How do we feel about that? What do we want from the reboot?

Aside from despair at the lack of originality (Spidey 1 isn't even a decade old yet, do we really need a reboot so soon?), I'm not that fussed by this. Raimi did a decent job on the first two films, but number 3 was a mess; while I concede that this was due in part to studio interference, his personal plot thread was poor as well. Retconning the death of Uncle Ben is a bold move, but it didn't really work, to my mind. It was a shame, as the scenes with Sandman were some of the best of the film, but c'est la vie. And the less said about 'evil' Peter the better.

So, a change in direction isn't necessarily a bad thing. Webb is best known for romantic comedies, and Sony want to take the franchise back to high school, so we're probably going to get a lighter, more humourous film. Nothing wrong with that - one of the major flaws of the series so far is that Spider-Man hasn't been cracking jokes left right and centre. It's part of the character, and in the right hands, can be done well. The fact that it's been given a budget of $85million will cut back on the spectacular action as well.

So, less action, probably more humour/character scenes. Fair enough. There are other questions though. Will this be an origin story? It's been done well, and not long ago. I think an 'Incredible Hulk' style approach to this would work - a quick montage over the opening credits, before straight into the meat of the film. Most of the audience would know what was happening anyway, if not all of them. What about villain? Green Goblin is the obvious one, as Spidey's nemisis, but we've had three films with Goblins of one sort or another in, so something different would be nice. Venom? He was handled badly in the last film, but there's potential there. He'd probably work better in a sequel though. Seeing Eddie Brock and having some rivalry in the first film would work though. Doctor Octopus has been done, and recently, same for Sandman. There's potential in the Lizard; good for brawls, and he's got the brains to create a serious threat to the city as a whole, if I remember rightly. Plot scenario: an altered version of the Ultimate plot thread. The Lizard starts causing chaos, Norman Osborn tries to track him down to experiment with the serum he used for the super-soldier scheme. Not too complex, not too expensive.

My main request for a reboot would be Brian Michael Bendis doing the script. His Ultimate Spider-Man is probably my favourite Marvel series, full stop, and it would fit Sony's requirements rather well. That aside... Less relationship angst. I know Spidey isn't always the most cheerful of characters, and has a lot of baggage, but would it kill the film to not have him constantly moping over MJ? There are other aspects to his life. I'd like to see Black Cat, for a whole host of reasons. Finally, don't copy things like The Dark Knight. It's a fine film, but that approach won't work for Spider-Man. There isn't much more room for Nolan to make the Batman universe realistic, never mind the Spider-Man universe.

Huh. The more I think about this, the more excited I get. Shame that it probably won't live up to my dreams, but no matter.

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