The Amazing Reboot: Hollywood and their definition of superhero movies
So, there I was in the theater watching previews before Captain American comes on. What doth my little eye sees, but a trailer for next year’s “Spider Man” movie. My thoughts were mixed. I wanted another installment on the great web crawler, but a reboot that is following in the footsteps of today’s demand for a serious and realistic portayle has me a bit muddled.
It all first began with the major backlash over “Spider-Man 3” made by Sam Raimi. For what it was in my opinion, it was a good film aside from some flaws that could have been tweaked. In fact, I felt the previous two had a charm that couldn’t be out matched. They stuck to the original source while knowing when to be funny and serious at times. True, they do have some campy moments, but the Spider Man series was made for pure entertainment and to see how the old web crawler would translate to the big screen. To me, the trilogy was like my “Batman,” as I felt they had the same level of execution while “Spider-Man” was lighter with its material.
Then suddenly, Hollywood gets a change of direction with the superhero genre as Christopher Nolan arrives with his take on Batman. Instead of having the caped crusader mull over his dead parents and go against a strange array of villains, we were treated to an analyzation of character and a darker path with the style and story. They had less of a comic book quality to them as they treated Bruce and his vigilante alter ego as real people and ignoring the original source. As you might have guessed, this was the route movie goers were interested in seeing. At least most of them.
By the time “The Dark Knight” came about, loyal viewers of the superhero genre started to think this was the direction comic book adaptations should go in. An ego trip into the superhero and the people who are around him, but only taken more seriously and basically character driven. This caused a basic alternate view on the past superhero movies which I still have a problem with today. Those of the new generation want a straight-up serious story of the man being the mask and not a good movie to have with your popcorn. It’s not like they are meant to have the meaning of life or being a symbolic take on society, but that’s what viewers want and that’s what they got with stuff like Watchmen and Kick Ass that showed how superhero movies can take a serious edge and remain enjoyable.
So, your probably asking at this point where does my argument of the upcoming Spider-Man reboot comes in? Well, for starters there was going to be a fourth Spidy from director Sam Raimi, but dropped out because the script treatments just didn’t seem to work. That I can understand, but the decision to make another set of films unrelated to the previous series seems a little too soon for me. Even I when I first heard about Columbia’s decision I was baffled. The idea of rebooting the franchise felt unfair and too early in my own mind and the question of making another sequel without Raimi’s consent felt mind-boggling.
But this wasn’t like Warner Bros. where they needed someone to make a third Batman. This was a time of depression where the economy was low on its debt and the new generation was unfamiliar with classic films or just didn’t appreciate them for being out of their generation. As one would have guessed, the words “remake” and “reboot” are the biggest Hollywood taboos since the question of censorship. To some viewers, it just seems like a way to connect to the new viewers who never grew up on such nostalgia. Other fans disagree as they feel it’s better to introduce the old than revamp it with new tricks that make it inferior to the original. Notable examples of this negative argument include 1998’s Godzilla and The Pink Panther.
Still, it wasn’t long till a photo of Andrew Garfield in the suit started to appear. While it was just a frontal shot of him without the mask, things began to seem ok on my part. I felt they were taking things in a different direction and it seemed harmless at first and at least they were sticking true to the suit, aside from its rugged appearance which I guess was the point. However, my thoughts would later be questioned when Entertainment Weekley devoted a huge section of its issue to a sneak peek of the upcoming film and this where I felt thing were going wrong. I felt they were promoting this one year too early from the release date and some of the ideas seemed plausible and yet questionable. One example was the suit, where this magazine issue gave a more clear look at. In all honestly, I just laughed at it. It didn’t feel like a Spider-Man suit but a cheesy spandex gear some jogger would wear. And the badly hidden sneakers made me laugh more dead inside than ever. Another was the idea of having him use web blasters as in the comics rather than organically grown, but that was one topic I felt wasn’t too big to ponder over.
So it was just a magazine issue and was teasing about. Pictures were pictures and words was just words. Basic hype to get viewers prompted to see it. But the biggest deciding point for me was the trailer. I was casually looking up film news and stumbled on a trailer for the upcoming Spider-Man reboot. I nearly exploded, but not in a good way. Consider the next section nitpicky if you will, but I see them as basic topics for arguments some should consider before standing in line.
Most films would do teasers and keep the viewer guessing what the movie would be. This was my first problem with the reboot. I felt with how much they were revealing, it was spoiling too much and not leaving much mystery with itself. In my opinion, the less said about the flick, the more hype there is till the final moment where your drooling for a trailer. Thinking back to when Superman was being advertised, little was said about it in the first time it was advertised a year before hand and it drew a lot of hype. Here, I felt they took the Christmas present you were supposed to get and unwrapped it too soon and too early.
And based on what I saw in the trailer, I wasn’t impressed. Even with my mind shut off and trying to accept what was there didn’t help any. It just felt un-Spider Man. Not to sound biased, but there were some ideas I felt that were unsettling to me and just didn’t feel right for a movie like this. One was Peter Parker having parents; a thought I felt was unnecessary as it makes the character more weaker to his life and not his uncle. While I do respect that Gwen Stacy is supposed to be the true love interest of this film, as in the comics, the way he gets bitten seems weird to me. Judging from what I saw, he walks into a room of genetically tested spiders without any cages protecting them. How dumb do you have to be to do that? And on that note, the set of the spider room reminded me of the dino embryo lab from Jurassic Park for some reason. Don’t know why.
But the biggest head turner in my opinion was a shot of Peter pulling a web out of the back of his neck. That I felt was the final nail in the coffin for me as it goes against the purpose of having mechanical web shooters if a strand of web comes you. So, as I sat through the preview a second time in the theater, it did little to revive my interest in this project. While I do respect those that feel I’m viewing it negatively too soon, may I also add the fact I feel this trailer came out too early in my opinion. Something I can’t even stress enough.
If this trailer was released in the off-season like December, maybe it would have been wiser. But to have some hype be generated one whole year before release really put me off. It just makes the anticipation die down as the release date approaches as everyone knows what is to take place. But what grinds my gears the most is the style and direction this new web is going in. I also heard that “The Amazing Spider Man” is really getting its source from “Ultimate Spider Man,” a modern retelling of the classic comic that was made in the early 2000s and proved to be very popular. My question is why have your Spider Man reboot be titled after the original series when your source material is provide from the new series?
As I said before, people are trying to stray away from the campy comic book tone and want something more realistic. In opinion, you can’t make something like this realistic. That’s like saying Pee Wee Herman should be seen as a 10-year-old kid that everyone hates but has to please. Comics book flicks stick to the source they are meant to be told and seen in. I think what puts me off even more about Hollywood and the superhero genre today is how they think there is a certain path they have to take to get an audience. With the “Dark Knight” proving that costumed vigilantes fighting crime can be taken seriously, it’s a sign to studios that this how comic book adaptations should be seen.
Or perhaps the blame should be placed on the audience and of our own greed of seeing original stories and things by how we want to see them? Everyone has a different taste bud to a certain type of definition of entertainment in films. At this point, viewers care less and just want something to spend 5 bucks on as a time killer. In a world that is soon to be dominated by sequels, adaptations, reboots, remakes, and franchises by the score, all I have to ask is there at least someone out that can help me stop this planet so I can get off this mad, mad, mad, mad world?