Saturday, October 8, 2011

The (Somewhat) Amazing Spider-Man: DARK AND GRITTY!!!

Swinging into theaters in 2012.

For the updated version of this preview (due to the different feelings the author now has for this movie) click here.
Don't get sold out! Buy advance tickets to The Amazing Spider-Man.

Okay, to be perfectly honest, I am not too keen of creating a whole new Spider-Man franchise so soon after Sam Raimi stepped down from making more Spidey films. However, the more news I get on Marc Webb’s (ironic name...) new, gritty Spider-Man world, the more excited I get. Raimi’s universe was fun, over-the-top, and in the end, disappointing. Props to that Spidey Trilogy for creating the whole superhero movies craze, but in the end, I am glad Raimi didn’t sign on to make a fourth installment in a franchise that peaked at the second film. 

If I was him, I would be sad too, after Spidey 3.
When Raimi stepped down, Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, and others pretty much disappeared from casting rumors for any future Spider-Man films. 

The mildly-pathetically titled, The Amazing Spider-Man, will swing into theaters July 3 of 2012, putting it in the thick of what should be a dynamic summer of superhero blockbusters. Hopes are high for the summer of 2012, and Spidey 4 is no exception, regardless if the origin was seen in the last ten-ish years.

But, how will Webb’s Spidey franchise differentiate itself from Raimi’s series? How “gritty” is “gritty?” And who exactly is playing who, in the new saga? 

First official photo!
Well, for starters, Andrew Garfield (The Social Network and Never Let Me Go) plays the titular character. His lean, lanky frame greatly differs from Maguire’s thicker, more muscular body take on the Web Slinger. How will this Spider-Man differ from Raimi’s world? Well, for starters, Garfield’s Spider-Man won’t have organic web-slinging abilities; he’ll need a mechanical gauntlet-type thing to conjure up the sticky goo. It’s not certain if the whole radioactive spider will bite him (of this, I’m sure fellow blogger, Ben, is thrilled); although, this would be an obvious inclusion, as it’s, well... kinda necessary for Spidey to get his “spider powers.” However, many web-heads are thrilled by the use of the mechanical gadget, as this is true to the comics.

Garfield’s Spidey’s love interest is not Mary Jane Watson, as in Raimi’s universe, but rather, Gwen Stacy, seen briefly (and used poorly) in the third installment in Sam’s franchise. Emma Stone (Easy A) will play the love interest in Webb’s reboot. I am very excited about seeing Stone playing Stacy, as Stone is a phenomenal, young actress. Most likely, a Mary Jane sighting will not be featured in the reboot. This is also pretty true to the comics because Peter Parker/Spider-Man doesn’t start off dating MJ as seen in Raimi’s trilogy, but Parker dates Stacy first. Spoilers: It will be interesting how quickly they choose to kill off Stacey, if they do it at all. In the comics, Gwen Stacy’s death was controversial and pivotal in the Spider-Man franchise. As this reboot by Webb will be the first of who knows how many installments... it will be interesting if the producers will include her death or choose to leave it out. This would definitely add a dark and gritty tone to the new series. Not to mention a segue to the introduction of Mary Jane would be probable in a Stacy dying story arc. 

The whole new story line/origin story is attempting to differentiate itself from Raimi’s mainly by including the mystery of Peter Parker’s parents. In some canonical (or non... depending on who you talk to) comics, Spidey’s parents, Richard and Mary, are agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. This is a rather curious add-on, as this would create an excellent tie-in to the new Marvel films and perhaps a future, future Avengers film, once Columbia Pictures (a subsidiary of Sony) runs out their contract with Spidey. This would allow Marvel Studios to independently produce its own Spider-Man movies. If you’re hoping for a Spider-Man in an Avengers 2 or S.H.I.E.L.D. film, think again. Sony has the rights for at least two more Spidey films, with The Amazing Spider-Man sequel already staked its claim on the summer of 2014. 

Another way this story is different from Raimi’s trilogy is that there are now mechanical web-shooters. Gone are the organic web-spitting of Tobey’s Spidey, Garfields’s Spider-Man attempts to give the Webb Universe a more realistic touch, well... as realistic as a teenager with spider-like abilities who swings around fighting crime in New York City. Y’know, a touch of realism goes a long way, apparently. 

The screenwriter and primary storyboardist (a word? I doubt it...), James Vanderbilt has likened The Amazing Spider-Man to Chris Nolan’s Batman Begins. Huh. While that seems like a lofty comparison, the gritty, hard-nosed realism from the latest superhero films that is being slammed down viewers’ throats is somewhat expected. While Raimi’s trilogy opened the door for comic book movies in the 21st Century, Nolan’s soon-to-be trilogy redefined superhero films. It’s beginning to seem as though every superhero franchise is trying to be the next Nolan franchise. To that I say, “Good luck.” 
Adorable. TEEN ANGST!!!
I have a hard time figuring out how the film will be grounded in reality, seeing as Dr. Curt Connors (played by Rhys Ifans) turns into the villain, The Lizard. A giant reptile terrorizing New York... yep, sounds just about as realistic as a teenager swinging around New York in a costume, or perhaps just as realistic as a multi-billionaire dressing as a bat and beating bad guys to a pulp. So... yeah. 
Yep. Way more realistic with the mechanical shooters.
While I will remain skeptical of the latest reboot, after all it is in THREE DIMENSIONS!!!, it will definitely be a film of interest come the summer of 2012. If the film flops, that future project (The Amazing Spider-Man 2) looks pretty much doomed. You never want to have to reboot a new franchise right after the origin story took place (see The Green Lantern and the in limbo, but apparently still a go, The Green Lantern 2). However, a flop would probably allow Marvel Studios to get Spider-Man back in their fold, as it would seem pointless for Sony to hang onto a dying franchise. That being said, if the film is a hit, it will be interesting to see in what direction the franchise will head. 

In this trailer, the POV shot of Spider-Man is a rather intriguing, albeit somewhat dizzying, addition. If that sequence is in 3D... I may throw up if it used extensively... Another curious thing that was brought up in the trailer is how dark the film looks. Not dark as in tone (which, in my humble opinion... it tries just a little bit too hard...), but dark as in I CAN HARDLY SEE WHAT’S GOING ON! If it’s dark in the 2D version, it’ll be nigh impossible to see it in 3D, as once a film is converted into 3D, the image becomes darkened. (Yet another reason I hate 3D...)

After viewing the trailer, the brooding, inward battles of Parker definitely take front-and-center. This would allow the whole Lizard story arc to be in the background, thank goodness, a la the first Iron Man. Character pieces and bildungsroman are quite good fun (see Batman Begins and Iron Man). Overall, The Amazing Spider-Man will be a curious film come the summer of 2012. But hey, even if it sucks, at least it won’t be as bad as the Broadway “musical” Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark (Because Our Stuntmen are Falling). Well. At least... I hope.



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