Sean O’Connell over at Cinema Blend wrote up his thoughts on why the new Spider-Man film necessitated a reboot (as well as his review*). While I don’t agree with him on everything he states, he makes some pretty good points, ones that have actually changed my outlook on the whole reboot situation and has lessened the frustration I have towards rebooting the franchise. Up until this point, I saw The Amazing Spider-Man as a potentially wasted opportunity for another Spider-Man adventure. His origin has been told, we all know it by now, so I was not that happy about having to sit through another origin film for a character I already knew and loved. It felt like treading water as opposed to furthering the franchise, plus, I love Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man so much that it felt weird to be reworking what he’d done already.
O’Connell says, “(Marc) Webb, his screenwriters (led by James Vanderbilt’s initial plot structure) and Sony as a whole have a new universe in mind, a different Spider-Man “sandbox” in which fans are asked to play, and in order to make this new story work, the origin had to be retold … with subtle differences.” He also states that Raimi made it difficult for anyone to further the storyline from which he left it as he played out storylines that didn’t really have anywhere else to go in a fourth film.
I do see Raimi’s trilogy as a complete story, with an admittedly uneven final film. Peter Parker went from a high school boy to an adult man and his relationship with Mary Jane felt complete. I don’t think it would have been very easy to continue on from the third film directly, however, I do see a way in which you could go back to Peter’s high school years and create a new story within the framework of Raimi’s origin, but then you have to worry about how it fits into the original trilogy. So the decision to start at the beginning anew now makes more sense if Sony’s plan is to create new Spider-man storylines that can go on beyond a second trilogy of films. If Marc Webb decided to stay on (and Sony wanted him), he could make his own trilogy of Spider-Man films that could act as a completed arc in a longer story. Think of it like a television series, Marc Webb’s trilogy could be season one and then someone new could come aboard and make another trilogy (or “season two”). Raimi’s trilogy wouldn’t work in this line of approach to the franchise. It sucks that Sony didn’t have the forethought to bring Raimi on to create something more open but then again comic book movies hadn’t really reached the level of possibilities that they are now with potential crossovers and franchises that are able to sustain themselves beyond the standard “trilogy” way of thinking.
As much as I prefer not to have to sit through another Spider-Man origin story, I understand the desire and need to re-establish the character with some subtle changes that could support different storylines for future films. I just hope that Sony is thinking ahead with what they may do for a new trilogy so that if after a sixth film, there isn’t a need to retell Spider-Man’s origin once again in a seventh film. All of this though has definitely allowed me to let go of my frustration towards the new film and will allow me to watch it without feeling like I have to compare it to Raimi’s films. That’s the great thing, Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy gets to stand on its own as his vision of the Spider-man story (though it’s a shame the studio forced Venom into the final film’s storyline, a character that Raimi was never a fan of). I know that all of these thoughts are still predicated on something I have yet to see, and after seeing the film I may find myself in disagreement over the new film’s execution, but I now feel more willing to approach The Amazing Spider-man with less reservations, to let it be its own new thing and to judge it as such and that, honestly, feels like a relief.
* I did not read the review portion of his article, so read at your own risk if you don’t want to be spoiled.
by Ben McBride