For fellow “true believers” as Stan Lee once said, Spider-Man is one of the greatest comic creations of last century. He was the archetypal nerd-done-good. He wasn’t really the best at any one thing but it was the amount he had going on that allowed audiences everywhere to connect with him. He struggled at parties, couldn’t hold down a job and worked for a boss who hated him, fears I think we can all relate to.
The films that have been made were, for the most part, very good. The first was arguably what has led to the popularity of super-hero films as it was among one of the first of many comic book adaptations. Still one of the best origin stories (personally, Iron Man is my favourite) it sets up Peter Parker nicely and gives him his first real victory. That was then followed by the near perfect Spider-Man 2, one of the greatest stories of conflicted men overcoming their inner demons that I know. I simply love Peter’s story of rejecting the mask before subsequently taking it back and Otto is a fantastic villain who you can believe in. The scene where the commuters promise not to tell of Spider-Man’s identity is worth the entry price alone.
Then came Spider-Man 3. Some say it’s not that bad, but I disagree. Peter in emo dance mode, a Venom that is too lame for words, an awful end to Harry’s story, changing the origin story for another unnecessary bad guy and the worthless inclusion of Gwen Stacey in an already over packed story was all too much. It therefore came as no surprise to me that the series was finished. I would possibly blame the studio more than the director, as I imagine they pushed for Venom (Raimi never liked the character) but either way, Tobey Maguire has lost out on a franchise.
The current news on the fourth one, rebranded “the Amazing Spider-Man”, does not fill me with any hope. They aim to go back and do the origin when Peter was in college, with Andrew Garfield playing the lead. The main villain this time is going to be the Lizard, a character that was hinted at in all three other films, but never revealed. Only ten years after the original was out, they are going to tell the same story again. Why?! There are so many origin stories coming out these days, why would we want to watch one that we’ve already seen? To be fair, I can’t see where else Sony can take it and I imagine they want to hold onto the rights for as long as they can.
To try and sell it this time round, they are stressing its darker (never heard that before!) and much more teen friendly too. The first official still looks like they wanted Robert Pattinson playing Spidey. I know they have a long time to persuade me, as it is not due out until July 2012, but right now I’d rather see Green Lantern than this. And that trailer had so much poor CGI I can’t even bear watching it again.
It’s possible that it’s too early to say. They have yet to finish filming, so there is still time for it to improve, but it’s clear that the story won’t change. And by that I mean we will be watching the same origin seen ten years ago. Well, if you go see it you will, I’m pretty sure I won’t be.