I am not looking forward to The Amazing Spider-Man. I will see it, and I will try to judge it on its own merits in a review after. Today however, I shall judge this book by its cover!
When Sony announced that they were going to reboot the Spider-Man franchise, I was not surprised in the least. 2002’s Spider-Man was one of the first truly successful attempts to re-tackle the superhero genre; and its sequel Spider-Man 2 surpassed that. Spider-Man 3 however, was an example of the superhero machine reaching critical mass and self-destructing. So yeah, after you have Tobey Macguire being an emo-Spidey, there’s no way you’re NOT going to reboot.
So here we are in the present. Spider-Man is being played by the very likeable Andrew Garfield and hey, we’re even seeing his original comic book gal-pal Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone), implying that this is a very different series than the first one. Add to that The Lizard, Sally Field as Aunt May, Martin Sheen as Uncle Ben and a high school-aged Peter Parker and you should have a pretty good movie. But I’m still not sold.
I want to be thrilled about the movie, I really do. But the trailers lack the inspiration that I got from the first two films; I can’t put my finger on it, but its missing something. It doesn’t help that half of the film has been released clip by clip online. I don’t know why Sony is using that rather desperate marketing strategy; one of the reasons movie studios reboot or remake popular movies or TV shows is because the name sells itself. The other issue I have is with what is being advertised as a central plot point: Peter Parker’s parents, and what happened to them. Ok, there is a slight mystery there, and they have touched upon his parents in the comic books, I’ll give you that. But like the curious case of the online clips, I don’t know why Sony is pushing so hard on this parent thing, at least advertising-wise. You’re Sony. You’re rebooting Spider-Man, which guarantees an audience of fans who want to see it succeed and fans who want to see it fail. Good, fine. But you still want to hook the rest of the population who might not care that much about our webhead. What was the pitch for that? “You know what the average movie-goer wants to see more of in a Spider-Man movie? Convoluted back story! They don’t want high-flying action and villains; they want to know about good ol’ Mom and Dad!” I don’t really have a problem with exploring the Parkers; I just don’t want it to drive the plot. Does anyone really want to spend an exorbitant amount of time on the hero’s life before he was a hero? Well, I guess ten seasons of Smallville would disagree with me.
So there is my rant, and I leave it on this side of my movie-viewing experience. I hope the movie surprises me; I want it to be good. As long as they stay true to the character, great power and great responsibility, they should do just fine. But I fear that The Amazing Spider-Man might end up as the spiritual sequel to Spider-Man’s foray into musical theatre…