With a wild season of blockbusters this summer has been, one franchise has been under the radar. I’m talking about Spider-Man… wait… sorry, I meant “The Amazing Spider-Man.” And with a name like that it has some to live up to.
Yes, I’ve heard it all before. “It’s too early for a reboot.” “Haven’t we seen this all before?” “Why are they making this so soon?” True, the first modern Spider-Man spawned on the screen with Toby Maguire and Kirsten Dunst in 2002 and left us high and dry in 2007 with a let down of a third-part. Me, I appreciated the original franchise. The VFX were astounding, the storyline made sense, the villains were intriguing and the drama was believable. So why a reboot. My best answer is: go see the movie and find out for yourself. But I wouldn’t be doing my job if I did.
Firstly, the original Maguire trilogy lost its footing. Even though I didn’t mind Spider-Man 3, I can’t deny that the silliness of the scenes tainted the whole movie for me. Venom deserved more time on screen and there were too many villains crowding the time. “The Amazing Spider-Man” had the plot points to make a fourth; it was hinted in 2 and 3 that Dr. Connor would be coming up in the next round of villains… eventually. I think Spider-Man 4 would have revitalized the franchise and set Spider-Man in a good position to join the Avengers in their sequel. But! What “The Amazing Spider-Man” has the the original doesn’t is a fleshed out backstory. It is an origin story that takes up about half of the running time. This function might be off-putting for viewers as they want to see action and comedy (don’t deny it, that’s what sells.) Right now the money is going to these huge comic book franchises, it’s a gold mine, but to build upon a sandy foundation (which is a story without a backbone) wouldn’t be an ideal move for Marvel Studios.
From what I’ve heard since I’m not a comic book enthusiast, the original didn’t align with comics. Even since Marvel Studios took the reigns of their characters it has been faithful to the comics more or less. That’s right, Mary Jane wasn’t Peter Parker’s first squeeze. Also, the Easter Bunny isn’t real. Sorry. To stay true to the source material is what is important to the studio now, it has worked so far.
Another reason is the production. Toby Maguire and Kirsten Dunst have moved on, they demand too much for their work and, frankly, it wouldn’t be worth the price. Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone are rising actors with enough past to justify having them on board because they’ll have a future in the franchise. Can you imagine Maguire and Dunst coming back 5 years after? I think that would have caused more stir than a reboot did. And! Garfield and Stone do miraculously in this film; their chemistry and humor reflect the high school awkwardness that we might remember.
Lastly, the director Marc Webb. He has a minimal portfolio in film, only directing (500) Days of Summer previous but has a strong reputation in the music video department. Webb has directed over 100 music video for musicians like Green Day, My Chemical Romance, Maroon 5 and Weezer. Marc Webb is no stranger to style and telling a story in a clear way. That’s what this movie needed; it needed a look, proper direction and enough character to establish a workable universe. The conflicts are tight, the dialogue is perfect and the action is polished. With all due respect to Sam Raimi (the franchise former director), Webb takes the hero to the next level leaving behind the unnecessary feel-good moments that lighten the story up.
Yes, it is rehashed, it is familiar, it is something that we’ve seen already. But at the same time is isn’t! Give this film a chance and don’t excuse yourself from the theater because you have the originals in a boxed blu-ray on your shelf… like I have.