Commenting on the Critics with Simon Columb…
The internet is all-a-glow with news regarding the re-hiring of Marc Webb and Andrew Garfield for (what is rumoured to be-called) The Spectacular Spider-Man. Huffington Post writer Scott Mendelson says it best on his blog Mendelson’s Memos:
“It’s a telling sign of behind-the-scenes tumult when it’s actually surprising to hear that the director of a franchise-kick off is indeed returning to helm the sequel. But after a summer filled with innuendo and rumors, followed by a final product that was clearly cut to ribbons at the last minute, and I am not a little surprised to see Marc Webb signing up for another go at Spider-Man 2.0.“
Read the full article here.
The argument against Webb’s return was rooted in the unbalanced and mixed reviews regarding The Amazing Spider-Man. My own personal opinion is that, though flawed in too many ways to be completely satisfying, it has now set-up a series which can develop successfully in the future. Rather than a horde of villains killed off in the first three installments (Doc Ock, Venom and both Goblins would have been very difficult to ‘resurrect’ in Sam Raimi’s original series), they have managed to barely get through the origin story without too much damage (though, as a film in the Spider-Man series, it didn’t perform as successfully as any of Raimi’s films). Scott Mendelson writes in his article how studios would be remiss in shelving Webb on the second film – stating how it would normally be the third to save face (X-Men: The Last Stand, Iron-Man 3, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban etc.)
The future of the series is what Sony is gambling here – and by pinning their hopes on a man with a vision, you can only hope that it pays off. Indeed Batman Begins, though its gross income was more than the sequels to Tim Burton’s Batman (but not more than the first original film in 1989), it is interesting to note that when adjusted for inflation, it only superceded Batman and Robin in ticket sales. The crucial factor is how it paved the way for The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises, which together made over $2 billion between 2008 and 2012.
It is the foundations that establish the future of the series and, though not to everyone’s liking, The Amazing Spider-Man has solid foundations. The scope for OsCorp, the friendships of Peter Parker – the fact that we have yet to even meet Mary Jane or Eddie Brock. By starting the series so early in Parker’s life, you can only imagine the time-period we will see covered in a long-running series. In three films, will Parker even finish school? Maybe Marc Webb aims to direct the three films of a teenage Spider-Man before passing the reins on to someone else when Parker begins his photographer career at the Daily Bugle. Indeed, we have not seen J. Jonah Jameson yet! And there is always the hope that Sony and Disney will strike a deal for a cross-over between Spider-Man and The Avengers.
It is early days yet and I’m sure everyone will be watching closely to see whether The Spectacular Spider-Man will manage to shake off the shackles of Raimi’s efforts successfully in 2014. I will give The Amazing Spider-Man a ‘pass’ as it had to carve out the origin story before moving on – but if The Spectacular Spider-Man is as unsatisfying I may lose interest all together.