Saturday, October 9, 2010

FILM: Rebooting Spider-Man (Commentary)

This December filming starts on the next film of the Spider-Man franchise. Gone is Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst and the Sam Raimi-inspired emo-dancing. Coming in is Marc Webb ("500 Days of Summer") to direct and a new cast of actors to play the characters of a Spider-Man universe that is being rebooted back to high school.

When it comes to playing a role in a franchise that is looking to make three to four films in the span of a decade, it takes casting a youthful actor that will stay at a believable age during the run of movies. That became a noticeable problem in Spider-Man 3 where Tobey Maguire was 32 at its release and it showed, making the idea of Peter Parker being just out of college harder to pull off.

That was why I was surprised when of all the young teen and early twenty-something actors that were rumored to be cast as Spider-Man that actor Andrew Garfield ("The Social Network") was chosen for the role. He has the boyish good looks to pull off a late teen version of Peter Parker right now, but at the age of twenty-seven he is already two years older than Tobey Maguire was in the first Spider-Man and production has not even started on the new movie yet. I fear that it will be inevitable that Garfield will start to look older than the part calls for as the eventual sequels come to be.

While I might be worried about that casting decision, news on another role being filled broke in the last week with Emma Stone ("Easy A") being cast as Peter Parker's high school sweetheart, Gwen Stacy and I could not be more thrilled with the decision. She will be just twenty-two once filming starts and has a smile that can light up the room. Webb has even said Emma is a natural blonde which should help quell some of the questions the public had since many thought she would be perfect for the role of Mary Jane Watson, a character that is rumored to also be in the new reboot.

If MJ is in the first movie - she definitely will be in sequels I am sure - then the casting of that role should be one of the next news stories to come out of the films, along with the casting of Peter Parker's best friend, Harry Osborn. Some might question the rushing of another set of Spider-Man films so close to the last three and while some of the reasoning might have to do with Sony wanting to keep the movie rights away from the now up and running Marvel film studio that didn't exist when the first Spider-Man trilogy was started but in the end the success of this reboot will come down to the quality of the story and the ability of the cast and director to sell it to an audience.

And sometimes just a brand - like Marvel or Spider-Man - will bring people in. Spider-Man 3 was not the most critically acclaimed movie but it still made a successful box office take in its run. We will just have to wait and see.

The new Spider-Man movie swings into theaters on July 3, 2012.

Check out Geek Plate's Tumblr for today's Spider-Man themed picspam.

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