Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Five reasons why people should quit whining about the Spider-Man reboot

I feel like I'm on a hot streak right now with my two blogs. For the first time in a while, I have a lot of ideas flowing at the same time.

Today, I have a thought that might annoy quite a few people: There are critics of The Amazing Spider-Man film need to shut up.

I'm not talking about the ones who simply didn't like the movie. Everyone has different tastes.

The ones I'm referring to are the ones who have been criticizing the film simply because it's not the Sam Raimi trilogy.

There has been a lot of trolling about how there should have been a Spider-Man 4 instead of a reboot, that it's too soon and that the cast was too iconic.

As such I want to address five reasons why the reboot was worthwhile. Before I do, though, I will address a common complaint: The rehashing of the origin.

A lot of people didn't like that, once again, the first third of a Spidey film dealt with the spider bite and Uncle Ben. I heard someone talk about how Tim Burton's Batman film and "The Dark Knight" are considered better than things like "Batman Begins" because the origin isn't necessary - that it works better when the hero has been around for a while and is able to jump right into a story.

I won't say it's a stupid argument because it's not, but I will disagree to an extent. First off, Tim Burton did use the origin - it just happened to only last for the opening scene. But the origin of a hero, while obvious to much of the viewers, can be good for a story when done right. I'd say Batman Begins did it very well, and that film holds up incredibly well against other Batman films. (By the way, leading up to "The Dark Knight Rises," keep an eye out for my thoughts on each Batman film.)

Besides, Superman's first film is considered better than its sequels and half the film was his origin, so that argument isn't iron-clad.

Additionally, I'd argue the origin was needed in this case to help the reboot become established. Peter was back in high school, which means that his powers couldn't have been around long, if at all. The movie sensed this, and redid the story. This is not the same series, and it's not a sequel, which leads me to No. 5:

5. This set up a new universe for sequels

This rebooted film did a great job making me want more, and it's good because the staff has committed to a trilogy.

The Lizard in the original universe would have been hard to do because of how little he was set up to look like he could be a threat. This is a similar problem the original Two-Face had in Batman Forever - he wasn't given much characterization in the original film, so everything was rushed in to set up his transformation.

However, here it was much more believable. Connors didn't seem as OK with not having an arm and he appeared far more willing to be desperate.

More importantly, though, his work at Oscorp sets up the Green Goblin again and one more villain (I vote Hobgoblin or Scorpion) to be seen at some point. Heck, if later on they decide to do Venom I'd be thrilled. The character can be fun if done right, which leads to No. 4.

4. Spider-Man 3 damaged the original storyline to the point that a reboot made more sense

I honestly do wish Spider-Man 3 wasn't the last of the original storyline. I wouldn't mind a fourth installment, and people are upset that no writer could come up with something.

But let's be honest here: There is nothing to set up.

Harry Osborn dies, Sandman was sent away and Venom was killed off. No villain was immediately set up, whereas the first and second film were building for Harry's turn.

Venom was wasted in a throwaway role when he should have been set up to be the fourth movie's villain. The origin story was revisited and bastardized. And so many plot points - Peter and the secretary, Harry having amnesia to take him out for a while, Harry's turn happening quickly because of a butler, etc. - went nowhere and in some cases killed chances to build the universe further.

The only storyline not resolved was the romance, but it was so botched that I didn't walk away wanting another film to resolve the freaking thing.

The Peter-MJ romance had come to a great point of growth after the second film, but it regressed back to poor communication and indecisiveness. It reached the point where I was fine if they just let Peter switch for Gwen. And that's No. 3

3. Gwen will be done properly

Gwen Stacy had no business being in the first set of films. She was nothing like the original character and had no way of going through her tragic arc. Heck, had the film called her Felicia Hardy instead, there might have actually been a REALLY good storyline for the fourth film.

Here, Gwen appears to be a useful character and is far stronger as a love interest than Mary Jane was for Peter in the originals.

I'm not sure if she will be taken out in the second or third film, but I'd guess third since there don't seem to be plans past a trilogy and setting up MJ in even movie 2 would be hard to bring to a decent conclusion in a two-film time frame with Gwen still around.

This is one instance where a mulligan was needed immediately from Raimi's version, which leads to No. 2.

2. Five years is plenty of time to reboot

I hate that people say it's too soon to reset the universe. Batman Begins was seven years after Batman and Robin and got critical acclaim.

Two years fewer is not that big a difference, especially when the tone of the film has changed so much. I could understand if the film wasn't comparably good, but that's point No. 1.


This is not to say that Spider-Man 1 was bad. I enjoy it a lot. I'd even say that Norman Osborn in that film was played better than Dr. Connors in this film (and their developments into their villain forms are nearly identical), but there are big differences here.

The Lizard actually looked tough compared to the Green Goblin, whose suit looked goofy like it was from a Silver Age Spider-Man adapation.
For some reason this reminds me of Lord Zedd.

While Goblin had no real plan after Norman's job was safe other than to hurt Spidey, it was cool seeing the Lizard have a plan and to even call it a gift.

Where Mary Jane's looks were at their best in the first film, her acting wasn't at the form it was in the sequel, and I never felt emotionally invested in her.

Gwen Stacy is an inherently better love interest when starting from the origin because you know what will happen to her. This is coupled with how John Stacy dies and reminds the audience of what will happen by warning Peter to stay away from her.

Mary Jane never felt like she was in danger of being killed off whereas with Gwen it's expected. The challenge is making people forget that during the film and actually become tied into a doomed character. And like jerks, these writers have perfectly tied us to her, making us root for her survival when the odds are slim-to-none.

While the job as Peter is about even, but Andrew Garfield reflects the superhero alter ego far better than Tobey Maguire did. He's not whiny and appears to have the tough-guy mentality that would create a wise-cracking Spider-Man. And he's actually competent at being proactive and trying to find a villain's next attack while Maguire reacted more than he acted.

As I said, Willem Dafoe is the only real thing about the original that beats the remake, so I say that this trilogy is off to a far better start. I'd go as far to say that the film is comparable to The Avengers and between the two, I'm more interested for Spidey's sequel.

Of course, we all have different views, so I may be considered wrong. However, that won't mean much to me while I'm enjoying the new films. If you haven't seen it, check it out!

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