Entertainment Weekly has posted a requiem of sorts for the Amazing Spider-Man reboot. Some highlights:
Long live Spider-Man; Spider-Man is dead! For this news almost certainly sounds the Sad Funeral Trombone for The Amazing Spider-Man, a preboot saga that Sony had once envisioned as a megafranchise to rival the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Amazing Spider-Man was supposed to produce spinoffs, sequels; there was a time when Sony boldly announced Amazing Spider-Man 3 and 4 before 2 had even arrived in theaters. But last year’s Amazing Spider-Man 2 underperformed significantly at the box office, proving decisively that people maybe only needed two movies where Spider-Man fights some kind of Green-ish Goblin-type.
We hit upon this in the most recent podcast, covering the Marvel/Sony news. And on this EW is quite correct. Sony played with the Goblin toy until they broke him so hard even glue couldn’t put him back together. Unfortunately, the same can probably said of Electro after the horrific job done with Electro in the Amazing Spider-Man 2. With the savage hatchet job done on these two characters we may not see them more accurately portrayed – ever. At least the first Raimi film gave us a great Norman, even if the Green Goblin costume was laughable.
More from EW:
There are already some reports that Amazing star Andrew Garfield is definitely out as Spider-Man. Sony did not immediately respond to EW’s request for comment, but even if Garfield does keep the job, it’s a fair bet that Spider-Man’s future will pretty much ignore the tone and plot of the Amazing sub-franchise. Best-case-scenario, Sony and Marvel decides to just skip a decade of Peter Parker’s life and let the 31-year-old Garfield act his age. Most likely scenario, Marvel Studios pays about as much attention to The Amazing Spider-Man as it does to any movie with the word “Hulk” in the title.
I disagree strongly with that last part. Not to take anything away from the Hulk but Spider-Man is far more powerful in terms of popularity and especially when speaking of that sweet, cold hard licensing cash.
Continued below the fold…
The first film was an awkward attempt to simultaneously transform the Spider-Man franchise into both The Dark Knight and Twilight. Here was an explicitly darker-realer-grittier Spidey than the Raimi films—Peter Parker wears a hoodie, bro!—but that realness was already approaching sub-Poochie market-tested Xtremity. There is a scene where Peter Parker demonstrates his new powers by doing rad skateboard tricks; the scene is set to Coldplay. Spider-Man, Skateboard, Coldplay; Spider-Man, Skateboard, Coldplay: Repeat it 10 times and it still won’t quite make sense.
In director Marc Webb’s defense, the films looked pretty—especially Amazing 2, which was shot on 35 mm film in some actual New York locations. The locations look great in Amazing 2: Your eyes turn to them, desperate to get away from whatever is happening in the actual movie. The Amazing sequel tried to pack a lot in: Electro, the Green Goblin, the Rhino made appearances; there were ending teases for Doctor Octopus and the Vulture; Felicity Jones played a character who was maybe kinda sorta the Black Cat, which if you’re counting makes two future female Oscar nominees just utterly wasted. Jesus Christ, BJ Novak had a cameo as Alistair Smythe, a B-minus level villain who built anti-Spidey robots!
Very valid point about the second film trying to pack way too much in. It’s also something that Spider-Man 3 suffered from.
Amazing 2 ended with a tease for future films: A mystery man walking through a laboratory filled with evil supervillain hardware. Remarkably, insanely, this was almost precisely where Amazing Spider-Man 1 had ended. The intrinsic message of both movies seemed to be: “Stick with us! We’re almost about to start getting to the good stuff!” In that sense, the Amazings could be Patient Zero for encroaching Origin Fatigue: The sense that people might finally be getting fed up with the story before the story. How many more times do we have to see Uncle Ben get killed? How many more times do we need to watch Peter hanging out with his best pal Harry Osborn, blissfully unaware that anybody named Osborn will probably go Green sooner or later?
This was a big gripe about Amazing Spider-Man 2; that it was a set-up film. One of the doomed reboot’s pitfalls was focusing too much on trying to make Spider-Man into some sort of conspiracy thriller. Especially when you consider the deleted footage of Peter meeting his father, suddenly alive, when visiting Gwen’s grave. Then again another of the second film’s failings was all the time spent wasted rehashing Peter’s parents.
The EW article concludes:
And it will always be interesting to wonder just what, in the end, the Amazing Spider-Man movies amounted to. “The Untold Story Begins” promised the posters for The Amazing Spider-Man. “His Greatest Battle Begins” promised the posters for Amazing 2. The irony is that it feels like the Amazing movies never began at all: They were endless teases, promising something really big on the next horizon. They weren’t good, but they were ours, a snapshot of a movie era borne forward ceaselessly into the next sequel.
Again, quite correct on the “too busy setting things up” point. It’s true, though, that Marvel also seeds future stories in their films. But when Marvel does it they don’t waste half the damn movie doing it. They seed it with a key scene or a teaser and then focus right back on the main story. The Spidey reboot didn’t seem to know what that story really was; it was mainly concerned with selling future movies it hadn’t made yet.
Darren Franich wrote the Spidey reboot requiem, which I know some of you will agree with, semi-agree with or flat out hate. He’s soliciting counterpoints from readers to address in a future EW mailbag article and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.