Friday, July 02, 2010

Here Comes the Spider-Man

From the time early this year when the bottom fell out of the Sam Raimi-Tobey Maguire version of Spider-Man 4, the rumors flew fast and furious about the future for Sony's billion-dollar franchise.  Once director Marc Webb signed on for a back-to-basics reboot, the casting rumors started to hit.  Earlier this week, much of the web was alight with rumors that Josh Hutcherson (aka "That Kid From Journey to the Center of the Earth") had snagged the part, but I held off on posting anything here in the absence of something concrete from the studio.  And lo and behold, it isn't that guy who I've barely heard of.  Instead, it's this guy who I've never heard of.

Brit thesp Andrew Garfield (who, at 26, is about the same age Maguire was for the first film in '02) has landed the (coveted?) role of Marvel's webspinner, toplining the next installment with an option for two more.  Setting aside the fact that I have no idea who Garfield is (though, based on the testimonials, he certainly comes highly recommended), I'm just finding it hard to muster much enthusiasm for this movie.  I'm struck by two (admittedly contradictory) reactions.  First, a reboot (or, given the filmmakers' stated intent, "deboot" might be more appropriate) just strikes me as unnecessary, but second, I feel like the zeitgeist has mostly moved on and left Spidey in its rearview mirror.

I remember quite clearly the audience's excitement when the first teaser for the first flick hit theaters during summer of '01 (and was subsequently pulled after 9/11 -- for obvious reasons).  I remember the record opening weekend (the first time a movie cracked 100 mil in three days) and the critical and audience hosannas that greeted both the first and second parts.  I also remember the anticipation for the third one (manifested in another record opening).  But now, three summers removed from the Raimi iteration's final curtain, nothing.  No excitement, no clamor.  Just like that, a series that started so strongly burned out and went from dynamic to dispensable inside of five years.

And I don't think it's just the lackluster Spider-Man 3 that did it (at least not entirely, because let's face it, it was pretty bad).  In the interim, the genre moved on, and so has the public.  Since Spider-Man 3, Iron Man happened.  The Dark Knight happened.  And by the time this next one comes out, Thor and Captain America will have happened.  Marvel's Avengers will have happened.  Suddenly, Spider-Man isn't the Rolls-Royce of superhero sagas anymore.  Instead, there's a "been there, done that" vibe hanging over the whole thing that the Webb-Garfield Spider-Man has to combat, and it'll be an uphill climb considering the other genre fare that are competing for mental real estate during the summer 2012 release cycle.  Let's see what happens.

1 comment:

Parvez said...

It looks like we'll be seeing Garfield soon enough in The Social Network, Fincher's take on Facebook's origins.