This Pretentious Filmmaker just saw The Amazing Spiderman on Saturday night. At that point, Sony’s latest addition to the franchise had been out for five whole days. It’s a tremendous oddity for me to wait that long to see a film about Marvel’s most beloved hero. So, why wasn't I lined up for the midnight show?
After watching the ups and downs of this picture's preproduction I became disillusioned and stopped caring about it. Why did we need a reboot of this series only five years after Spiderman 3? Sony wasn’t obligated to bring Sam Raimi, Toby Maguire or Kirsten Dunst back. And because the third installment was so bad I believe audience would have welcomed a new director and different actors. So why didn't they pursue the route MGM takes with the James Bond films by placing new faces into an ongoing saga?
The answer is twofold. First off, Sony Pictures is under contract with Marvel to make a Spiderman movie every few years. If they don’t, Spidey swings back to Marvel and Sony will forever be left out of the billions of dollars this franchise is worth. Secondly, the planning phase for Spiderman 4 was under way when a little film called The Dark Knight exploded onto the screen and changed the way movie studios look at the comic book genre. Sony began to believe that audiences wanted gritty, deeper, more realistic comic book movies.
This meant that Raimi was out as the new film’s director. He’s a gifted auteur but every picture he’s made has a heavy dose of camp injected into its DNA. And placing Maguire and Dunst into a new movie with different goals would have made them stick out in a retooled story. So they were dumped as well.
(In the midst of this makeover, another batch of superhero films once again changed the recipe for success). The Avenger films proved that outlandish comic book movies were still very profitable. The only reason why The Dark Knight is so dark and gritty is because its protagonist embodies these qualities. Trying to infuse these values into Spiderman would’ve betrayed the core of his character. So Sony reversed course again by deciding to go the traditional route and make an origin film--one we’ve already seen.
The Amazing Spiderman isn’t even a reboot. Its a shot for shot beat for beat remake of Raimi's first foray into the world of Spiderman. It’s an old Christmas gift rewrapped with much shinier paper (cast and superior special effects). Although the film tries to take its self more seriously everything results in a movie that is never sure of what it is or what it is trying to say. It's unbalanced and lacked a heart. And that’s no surprise considering that being original and giving the audience something new was never the motivation behind making this film. Every decision Sony made was dictated by how much money they'd pull in with another picture.
Of course that's why every film is made! But when all the other reasons for making a movie are treated with such disdain, viewing The Amazing Spiderman must be akin to watching how a meat packing plant makes your favorite hotdog. I don’t ever want to see that. Do you?
One last thing! The Avengers has essentially ruined all future Spiderman and X-Men films made by Sony and 20th Century Fox. Due to the conflicting film rights it would take a not-so-small miracle to bring Spidey, Wolverine and Magneto into the larger world created by Marvel’s behemoth. We’ll most likely never see them fighting along side Tony Stark and the rest of the gang. Knowing that leaves me feeling that these characters will never achieve their full Silver Screen potential, and that just won't do.
Until next time I’ll be getting in line for The Dark Knight Rises!
The Pretentious Filmmaker