On the Other Hand...

Posted by Mister Mets 17 January 2010

While my initial reaction to the news that the Spider-Man franchise would be rebooted was mostly negative, there are some legitimate arguments in Sony’s favor. A younger cast is much cheaper, and they can also be more prolific. The second Twilight film came out within an year of the first, and it looks like Warner Brothers will be able to distribute eight Harry Potter films within a decade. With an adult cast, you’re lucky to have a new film every three years. See the gap between Spider-Man 2 and Spider-Man 3, along with the Nolan Batman films, Daniel Craig James Bond or the Bourne saga.

And if anyone at Sony has a specific cast in mind, especially for the high school parts, it makes sense to reboot as quickly as possible. Otherwise, the ideal cast will all quickly become too old for three or so films within a four to five year period. Delaying the reboot also has additional risks, as another studio might beat the Spider-Man series to the punch with a well-received series focusing on high-school superheroes.

I doubt the next Director wants to be accused of following in the footsteps of Invincible, Nova or Blue Beetle, when this was Spider-Man’s territory first. So even though a twenty-something actor (Joseph Gordon Levitt has been mentioned a lot) could be a good twenty-something Peter Parker, continuing the story with a new cast just delays the inevitable.

Continuing the series would also have limited the ability of the upcoming creative team (whoever they are) to use the best rogues gallery in comics. If Spider-Man 4 had the Vulture, or the combination of Kraven and Lizard which consistently topped polls, a relaunch three years later probably would not have included those villains, even if it worked the best for the script the narrative. You could have a brilliant plot with the Vulture as the world's first supervillain, but you'll have to scrap it if the Vulture just appeared in Spider-Man 4. Currently, with an eight-year gap between Spider-Man 2 and the relaunch, you could even use Doctor Octopus for the relaunch (if he fits the narrative best.)

Considering the unexplored territory from the Raimi films, it also shouldn’t be difficult to distinguish between the franchises. For example, you could keep Norman Osborn and Mary Jane out of the first film, and focus on that small period when superheroes were new. And you could have a supporting cast that includes Betty Brant, Flash Thompson and Liz Allen in significant roles.

It can also be argued that Raimi broke the franchise. Dr Octopus, Eddie Brock and Harry Osborn were dead (considering screen-time, Venom was probably the most disappointing.) There wasn’t much of a supporting cast for Peter to hang out with, considering the minimal roles for Betty Brant and Flash Thompson. And the leaked details about Spider-Man 4 suggest it would have featured Peter and Mary Jane as happily married parents, which has some serious flaws. It’s difficult to convince the viewers of the relaunch of the staying power of a budding romance, if the first films ended with Peter married with a kid to someone else. Kids seem to be staples in this regard, outside of maybe the X-Men universe where they can go to the future and return as middle-aged adults, after the mother is revealed to be a clone.

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