In this special edition of The Q, we asked a handful of comic book creators, most of whom have worked on Spider-Man comics for Marvel, the following:
Q: What do you think of the choice to “reboot" the highly successful big-screen Spider-Man franchise , and what do you hope to see in future films?
It has to be a good idea. The previous franchise had become a bit like a political party that's been in power too long. Overblown, impersonal, and out of touch.
Maybe they can reconnect with the humanity of the comic book. Humanity laced through with some surreal elements.
I think everyone acted in what they felt was the best interests of the final product. In the end, audiences don't care about back stage drama, about production time, about creative differences, about whether it cost $150 million or a $150,000. All they want to know is that they're getting their money's worth when they put down the price of admission. If the current creative team and producers didn't feel they were going to be able to accomplish that, be it too tight deadlines or script disagreements or what have you, then this is probably the best move for all concerned.
What do I hope to see from the movie franchise? A movie that's entertaining. I don't tend to ask for more of movies than that. If a film is thought provoking, if it's haunting, if it prompts you to question everything from your own place in society to man's place in the universe, so much the better. But this far in advance, before anything's been set? It's ridiculous to speculate. Engage my interest in the beginning and keep me there through the end, and I'm good with it. Oh, and if they want to set it back in high school which obviously means going with younger actors, fine. But please, please, PLEASE keep J.K. Simmons around as Jonah Jameson. And have me write the novelization. I did the first three; I'd like to keep my record intact.
What do I think of this choice? Well, if its not going to get done right, then it's a good idea to at least shelve the process for a while before it gets in too deep. I think we saw some of that with the last one -- in Spider-Man 3 there were too many villains. And it seemed as if they had a hard time trying to figure out how to blend them all into a premise that made any kind of sense, while at the same time retaining the flavor of the characters, in lieu of having a big blockbuster that the kiddies would flock to see. The same thing happened to the Batman franchise. By the time they got to Val Kilmer and George Clooney, the whole thing was a ridiculous mess. The only thing I think they shouldn't do is rush into a reboot too soon. That could equally be disastrous. Tobey Maguire is still too fresh and imprinted on our minds as Peter.
So what I would like to see with a reboot? Just approach the character with patience and taste. Use a villain that's a counterbalance to Spider-Man that offers meaning and insight to what the viewer will identify in themselves and in Peter Parker. Spider Man 1 and 2 had it right. (And I would love to see the Lizard :))
I have to assume the reboot makes sense from a sheer dollars-and-cents standpoint. Sony gets to dump an expensive cast and director for presumably younger, cheaper ones. They get to replace Tobey Maguire with someone younger, who can conceivably play Peter Parker for the next decade. A reboot was inevitable, I suppose. I think what seems curious is the timing. Everything seemed in place for a fourth Raimi film, even up to Monday's supposed casting of Malkovich as the Vulture. Now that project will always be a 'what if...?' to ponder."
At this point, with no cast and no director attached, it's impossible to really form any opinion about where the franchise is headed. The one thing I hope we don't see is an extended re-telling of Spider-Man's origin. Everybody knows Peter was bitten by a radioactive spider. Everybody. Reference it briefly and move on to something we haven't seen before. There's a difference between a reboot and a remake. We don't need a remake.
I have a lot of conflicting reactions. First off, as a fan of the first 2 movies, I'm less than thrilled that the franchise is going backward after only 10 years. I enjoy watching the characters grow and evolve and gain confidence from film to film. I was hoping to forget Spider-Man 3, (not a fan), and catch up with a more mature web slinger, I know Raimi wanted to go out with a bang... And now we are starting over in high school???
From a business stand point, skewing younger always makes sense to the studios, kids are just more reliable as a renewable base than older audiences. So I get the whole going younger again, the 'tween sensation has happened post Spider-Man 1, that's the demographic everyone chases. I just hope they go with a bold, risky choice as far as director... just as risky as Raimi was before Spider-Man 1 made him "Sam Raimi." People forget he was much more fringe, indie-ish, but his vision shaped 10 years of superhero films before Iron Man changed it all again. The Bond, Potter, and Batman films have reaped huge rewards from changing up directors, taking risks, so here's hoping we get a cool new visual of Spider-Man that we haven't seen before.
If you're going to put Spider-Man back in high school and re-visit the early Lee/Ditko high school flavor, which remains the best work of both men and endlessly imitated, then have fun with it!!! Hopefully there's tons of high school humor, Super-Bad-style, as well as more time exploiting just what a high it would be to have superpowers as a teenager. At some point, being as powerful as Spider-Man as a teenager would be downright addictive and hard to hold back. Sounds like the script is in the can already, so we will have to wait and see what happens.
The Green Goblin could stand to get a serious face-lift. For my money, the only two villains that they got right visually were Doc Ock and Sandman.
I think if the script isn't in a place where he is happy, he is smart to bail. Why spend a year on something you don't like. That said, they have done two Hulk movies, three Punisher movies, will do a new Daredevil...and now Spider-Man will get a reboot. honest, its like James Bond... it's always interesting to see what some fresh blood will bring to a project. This is normal in Hollywood. My personal experience with "Painkiller Jane" taught me that a good character never dies...it always comes back for another try.
I hope it retains what makes the characters charming, and I hope it's aimed more for adults to enjoy. I really am not invested in the outcome as much as others seem to be, mainly because I am waiting for a Daughters of the Dragon or Killraven movie myself.
The truth is Tobey Maguire is in his mid-thirties: it's time for another Peter Parker. I think the idea of a high school age Peter is a good one, but in the end, it all depends on who's writing and directing the next one. Until we know that, how can anyone begin to make a judgment?
As for Raimi, Maguire and company: They did a fantastic job on those movies, pushing Spider-Man deeper into the global consciousness and pushing the super hero movie to new places. They should be very proud of what they've done.
Well, of course, I hope this time they kill Gwen Stacy.
About the third movie. Never really got behind Tobey Maguire as Spider-Man -- he's a great actor, did a great job with the part, but didn't have the internal energy that I've always associated with Peter Parker. He just didn't impress me as someone who'd wisecrack in the face of death.
I also was never fond of Kirsten Dunst as Mary Jane. Again, a terrific actor, but she didn't strike me as the right casting for MJ -- MJ, in my view, is a woman who's cursed by the expectations others have for her based on her appearance. She should appear to be a vaguely slutty babe, and whatever one might say about Dunst, wonderful actress that she may be, a babe she's not.
Both Dunst and Maguire are actors who bring a great deal of internal intelligence to their performances, but not a lot of charisma. I'm not in favor of casting this like a CW show, but it seems to me Peter Parker should be a charismatic character underneath his shy, homebody exterior -- that's the internal energy that bursts out when he's Spider-Man, that's what becomes liberated when he puts on t he mask, but it should be apparent, as a potential, even when he's not in superhero mode.
As for MJ, she should present as a Bad Girl, as misunderstood and underestimated by the world as Peter is. Recasting these actors can only improve the impact of the franchise.
And by all means, they should kill Gwen.
That's what some comic book pros thing - what do YOU think? Vote in our poll and weign in with your opinion.