Update: Spider-Man, Spider-Man, Does Whatever a Reboot Can
Last night, a pumpkin bomb of massive proportions was dropped on us all. Sony officially announced that Sam Raimi's Spider-Man franchise was no more. This spawned a huge debate between fans and non-fans alike both on our own comment board and, most especially, on Twitter. I was even compelled to share -- and defend -- my own jubilance as a fan of comics more than the movies. (Check out my thoughts in comment #71 of the above article.) But when the night was all said and done, the only thing that we could all agree on was that there weren't a whole lot of things we could all agree on. Read on for more new reboot updates!
Now that some more facts about the Spider-Man reboot have surfaced, let's explore this prospect with a bit of objectivity. (Before, you know, we let our hearts and guts fuck it up all over again.) To start, if you've read any of my articles even tangentially related to Spider-Man, you should know I'm not a huge fan of Raimi's movies. I'm also not a fan of Tobey Maguire's portrayal of Peter Parker. So, and this is but an assumption, I'm approaching this news from a different angle than a lot of you. I know my thoughts are quite different than Alex's. But even we could agree that Spider-Man 3 is atrocious. How they treated such a monumentally important character like Gwen Stacy is indefensible. How they used Venom was just plain poor. And how they ret-conned Ben Parker's death–by shoe-horning in Sandman's history is simply bollocks.
That's just the beginning. But this isn't about what's come before, it's about what's ahead. Strange enough, what's ahead is, unfortunately, what's come before. Entertainment Weekly says that Sony's Spider-Man reboot will be born of a script from Zodiac-scribe James Vanderbilt, and it will indeed be an origin story. It's widely know that Vanderbilt had been hired to write Spider-Man 5 and 6, and that those films were being developed (as a reboot) right along side Raimi's fourth film. Well, it seems that Vanderbilt's reboot timetable will simply be moved up and we'll see the next Spider-Man story come 2012, instead of 2011.
But, as I said, unfortunately this story is of the origin variety. It's being described with my least favorite Hollywood buzzword: "gritty." Peter Parker will be sent back to high school in a more contemporary setting battling today's teenagers's issues. As for everything else, not a lot else is known. There are a few names floating around who may or may not be in the running to helm this new Spider-Man incarnation. Among them are 500 Days of Summer director Marc Webb, Seabiscuit director Gary Ross, and the BOOM! himself, Michael Bay. This is all just conjecture and hearsay, based purely on who's hot and who's expressed interest in the franchise in the past. Though, if anyone's suggesting James Cameron out there, based on that treatment of his, they've probably been bounced around by The Rhino one too many times.
So, those are the facts and rumors. If you'd like to read Sony's press release in full, Nikki Finke's got it for you. Other than that, I've only got my own opinions to offer from now on.
While I'm very excited that Spider-Man will be sticking around for a while longer and that it's going to have its web-shooters reloaded, the fact that Vanderbilt's already-written script is an origin tale is worrisome. Just because it's a reboot doesn't mean it has to be an origin tale. As I was breathlessly telling Alex tonight, my ideal reboot would have been to return to Peter Parker's high school days, with him established as the wall-crawler, and simply tell a great Spider-Man story from that point forward. But as long as the origin isn't too reminiscent, and Parker's shown building some web-shooters this go-round, there's potential, if for no other reason than because it allows for Gwen Stacy -- the love of my comic book life -- to appear as she always should have: as Peter's one, true love. If there's a love-triangle between MJ, Gwen, and Pete, even better. But now I'm just waxing idealistic.
Basically, Sony is now left with a gaping hole in its 2011 summer release schedule. Will it be worth it? Will this reboot prove to be a cash grab directed at the Twilight-crowd, as some are predicting, or will it be akin to Marvel's introduction of Ultimate Spider-Man a decade ago. I'm excited -- and hoping against hope -- for the latter. As long as we can look forward to what might be, quelling our knee-jerk reaction to dismiss this new venture, instead of lamenting what might have been, it'll at least be interesting to watch this whole thing unfurl. I just hope J.K. Simmons and Elizabeth Banks survive the regime change. Your thoughts?