Posts Tagged ‘ Lizard (comics) ’

Why 2012 Was The Wrong Year for The Amazing Spider-Man

(This is not a review)

Amazing Spider-man Int. Poster

Amazing Spider-man Int. Poster (Photo credit: marvelousRoland)

The official reviews for The Amazing Spider-Man are in. While the film itself isn’t released here in the UK for another week, the general consensus is the Marc Webb directed Amazing Spider-Man is a good film that diminishes itself by rehashing an origin no one really wanted to see. With Marvel’s The Avengers managing to easily pass the $1 billion mark already this year and The Dark Knight Rises expected to do better, was 2012 really the best year for the return of the high school Peter Parker?

Despite popular opinion, Spider-Man 3 (2007) was not the huge disaster it’s often made out to be. Emo-Spidey and underdeveloped villains aside, Spider-Man 3 still managed to be the highest-grossing film of Sam Raimi’s trilogy. It should have been easy to follow suit with a fourth movie. If Internet rumour was correct, Sony would now be the one’s having Anne Hathaway as their anti-hero in their franchise, not Warner Bros. With Hathaway’s Hollywood stock at an all-time high, Sony would have been guaranteed success with Hathaway and Jon Malkovich. Instead, studio interference led to director Raimi dropping out, leaving the project without a director and crew. Sony insisted they had no choice but to reboot with Andrew Garfield replacing Tobey Maguire as the lead hero.

A new Spider-Man film should have been easy to sell to anyone. Spider-Man is one of the most relatable and popular superheroes of all time, and is Marvel’s highest-grossing franchise to date. How could it go wrong? Perhaps taking the focus away from the action, and focusing on the relationship between Peter and Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone), Sony has risked alienating their biggest audience. Children. Children that wear the Spider-Man pyjamas, the Spider-Man face paint and buy the Spider-Man toys. The Avengers catered for everyone and as a result it’s managed to become the third highest-grossing film of all time. Will The Amazing Spider-Man reach similar heights? I doubt it.

I credit The Amazing Spider-Man for deliberately trying not to cater for the superhero action extravaganza audiences. After all, they’ve already been catered for this year with The Avengers, so why bother trying to outdo a group of superheroes when you can tell a more personal and intimate story? That’s where I admire The Amazing Spider-Man’s ambition. It’s trying to be different from your usual superhero flick, or is it? There are some very direct parallels between Webb’s reboot and the Raimi movies. The Lizard for one treads the same water Alfred Molina already crossed with the tortured scientist trying to make the world a better place as the brilliant Doc Ock in Spider-Man 2, while Denis Leary’s Captain Stacey fills the void left by J. Jonah Jameson played by J. K. Simmons.

If The Amazing Spider-Man was never going to be the cinematic revolution many hoped it would be, you would think Sony would know better than to put their reboot between two franchise juggernauts. Providing a film to match Spider-Man’s 50th anniversary in 2012 is a nice sentiment, but it looks as if Sony has paid the price for re-visiting Spider-Man’s origin. Looking at next year’s comic book movie schedule, there’s Iron Man 3 hitting cinemas May 3rd Man of Steel on 14th June and Thor 2 on the 8th of November. That’s a pretty crammed schedule, and adding a fourth superhero film to 2013 risks over-saturating the comic book movie industry, so The Amazing Spider-Man probably wouldn’t have faired much better there either.  Will The Amazing Spider-Man find itself as the first major casualty of an over-saturated market? That’s something that’s long been on the horizon but until now with the exception of Warner Bro’s Green Lantern, we’ve never really noticed it. When was it going to get to a point where people started tiring of comic book movies?

I may be wrong, and The Amazing Spider-Man may go on to hit the $1 billion mark, however it was never going to meet my people’s expectations. If I want dark and gritty, I can wait to see The Dark Knight Rises. If I want a romance film embedded in fantasy, the Twilight finale hits at the end of the year. Raimi nailed with the character in my opinion. Spider-Man is so compelling because he’s a character surrounded by tragedy, by uses it to drive him to achieve good in the world.

When Sony booked the 2012 slot, they should have considered that rehashing a worn- down gritty origin was never going to satisfy fans that have just seen The Avengers. From the moment the first trailer was released, The Amazing Spider-Man has always felt dwarfed. If the plan was to deliver Twilight in spandex, they should have perhaps waited for the vampire franchise to actually finish.


Deconstructing: The Amazing Spider-Man Teaser Trailer


Image by Daniel Semper via Flickr

It’s been a crazy week for comic book fans and that’s largely due to the release of the teaser trailers for next year’s three big comic book movies. We’ve had The Dark Knight Rises teaser, and a leaked trailer for The Avengers, both of which I looked at here. Next up is next year’s The Amazing Spider-Man, directed by Marc Webb, starring Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker Spider-Man, Emma Stone as Gwen Stacey and Rhys Ifans as Dr Curt Conners, aka The Lizard. If you haven’t seen the trailer yet, you can check it out here.

So what did I think? Well firstly I am a huge fan of the change of tone this series seems to be taking. I personally found the Sam Raimi trilogy guilty of skipping pass the important issues that really define who Peter Parker is. Some fans are sceptical of the writers choosing to revisit Parker’s origin, but the trailer shows just how dramatic and serious his origin is actually meant to be, and that going back to basics give them a chance to pull off a origin story similar to that of Batman Begins. Spider-Man should not be dark, but I wouldn’t call losing your parents at a young age, losing your uncle during your teenage years, then becoming a superhero which the public and the press are constantly sceptical of a light story nevertheless. What makes Peter Parker such a relatable character is how he picks himself up and fights through these issues whilst remaining as upbeat as possible. The Amazing Spider-Man looks to have captured that tone perfectly.

One of the main criticisms of Tony Maguire’s Spider-Man was that he didn’t look a skinny nerd. This is where Garfield looks to best his predecessor, as he seems to pull off both the Peter Parker look and The Spider-Man look with ease. I was worried they were cutting out some of Parker’s humour, but early reports from Comic-Con footage suggests the film finds a perfect balance between drama and humour which is essential to the Spider-Man mythos. We haven’t really had much of wise cracking Spidey film, so I can’t wait to see what Garfield brings to the table next year.

We saw a glimpse of Emma Stone as Gwen Stacey, and whilst it’s too early to judge her performance, from the brief moments we say her and Peter together, they seemed to have good chemistry. If Garfield and Stone can keep the chemistry going, this could easily been the definitive Spider-Man film yet. We got a glimpse of Rhys Ifans as Dr Curt Conners, and it’s a safe bet he will act like a father figure to Parker before becoming the monstrous Lizard.

Towards the end of the trailer we see some first person footage of Spider-Man swinging through the streets of New York. Whilst for now it looks a bit too similar to the videogame Mirrors Edge, it at least gives us something different. I can’t wait to see how Webb and crew have handled the practical effects, as seeing a real life Spidey swinging over the streets gives us a much more realistic viewing experience.

All and all I have been completely one over by the Spider-Man reboot. The teaser trailer was great, and now the film’s already in pre-production with over a year until the film’s release to go, there’s lots of time for Webb and crew to get the film as polished as possible. Maybe reboots aren’t such a bad thing; The Amazing Spider-Man truly does look amazing.