The Not-So-Amazing Spider-Man
The web has been buzzing recently with news that America's favorite web slinger is coming back to the big screen in May 2011. It seems as though the usual cast will be back on the set filming the fourth and fifth installments of the Spider-Man franchise fairly soon (with the possible exception being Kirsten Dunst who has not yet signed her contract). So while the fan boys excitedly type away about potential villains rumored to make appearances in the next installments (my vote: the Lizard), I have decided to write a different post. I will not write about how much I hated the last Spider-Man movie. This will not be a manifesto about the director's fumble in inserting a character for which he didn't care at the cost of a beloved villain, a role which was regarded as a mediocre side note.
I will not go that route, however, but instead come hither and give heed as I send out my warning: unless the next Spider-Man films gets a Nolan-esque reboot, it is destined to go down the route of the earlier Batman franchise.
POW! Cue the Spidey-Nipples!
Before I begin, let's just have a super fast Batman history lesson. Batman was first a comic book character. The comic was very dark similar to the current Batman films. Next came along the Batman TV series, starring none other than the Mayor of Cohogue, Adam West. pan>The silly campy TV Batman came to be when it was decided that Batman was too dark for children and they decided to reinvent him. The Batman films started off strong--a dark brooding character envisioned by the genius of Tim Burton. Gotham City was under siege by a deranged clown, dark and gritty. It seemed as if they went back to their comic book roots. As the studios continued, the franchise roped in bigger-named actors to play Gotham's dark knight. The plot lines got sillier as they developed movies for younger and younger audiences. The bat mobile looked like something out of a cartoon. Batman had more gadgets then James Bond and more crappy one-liners to boot. It was a joke, that is, until Nolan took the idea and put a new spin on the franchise.
That said, I am not saying that Spider-Man has to be a dark and mysterious character. I just believe that we deserve a better movie with less camp and more substance. And I don't believe that Spider-Man should have a serious tone like his darker counterpart; he's always been the wise cracking super hero we always loved. I just feel that it can be done in a proper way. But, just as we don't expect or want Batman to suddenly do the bat-tousie, and a Peter Parker dance sequence in Spider-Man 3 was uncalled for and inappropriate. The wrong turn they took with Batman was that they were trying to make him something he wasn't.
Just as the Post-Burton series, they attempted to change the world in which the character lived. They took a complex character and dumbed him down so it would be more child and family friendly. To do the same with our neighborhood spider, would be to leave us with nothing more than a paltry pile of pixie sticks and play dough--sugary, substanceless play things. Removing complexities (even unanswered questions) underestimates our ability to sympatheize--empathize even--the plights of these protagonists, these tortured heroes. There is also no need for us to revisit the same plot ideas,themes, and character struggles for the fourth movie in a row.
Doesn't anyone else see it?? I feel like I am taking crazy pills!
The studios need to have staff that works on the movie because they love the content, that they're fan boys and girls. The studio is creating the two movies together because it is cheaper and more efficient to do so. The consequence being that the fans will lash out and, lo, the wrath of the fan scorned. Yes, yes, it is a big budget summer block buster that will make them tons of money, but somewhere along the line if they do not revitalize the series is will be nothing more than a joke, a travesty.
Please, step away from the script. Don't rush into making a movie for the sake of it. We have all seen the standard that has been set by Nolan & Co.; you can create a brilliant film, about a comic book superhero that isn't generic and childish. Don't be afraid, take chances and always remember who the real audience is.
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