The Spider-Man Films, Why A Reboot Is Necessary

The Spider-Man Films, Why A Reboot Is Necessary

I just want to start this article by saying that I love Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man films. I grew up with them, and it was only after watching his films so much that my obsession with Spider-Man grew to what it is today. If one were to look at my room, they would be shocked at the number of Spider-Man themed posters, comic books, and video games that I have laying around.

The Spider-Man Films, Why A Reboot Is Necessary

I just want to start this article by saying that I love Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man films. I grew up with them, and it was only after watching his films so much that my obsession with Spider-Man grew to what it is today. If one were to look at my room, they would be shocked at the number of Spider-Man themed posters, comic books, and video games that I have laying around.



Sam Raimi made me believe in a hero with faults, one that could perform superhuman feats yet suffer the pangs of adolescence. The Spider-Man films were my first exposure to this character, until I branched out to reading comic books, watching the television shows, and even playing the video games. Except for Spider-Man: Friend or Foe, that video game is an abomination, and doesn’t deserve to exist.

Anyway, this isn’t about video games or television shows, or even comic books. It’s about the movies. The films succeeded in bringing our wallcrawler to the silver screen, this marked the first time Spider-Man had ever been portrayed realistically in a live-action film.

On May 3, 2002, Tobey Maguire, James Franco, Kirsten Dunst, and Sam Raimi swung into our hearts, and evidently, into the audience’s wallets, making over $800 million dollars at the box office. The success lead to a critically acclaimed sequel to be released in 2004, which infinitely improved on the previous film in a multitude of ways. It introduced a much needed action element that culminated in one of the greatest fight scenes in an action/comic-book movie, the clocktower/train fight scene at the end of the movie*, and introduced a wonderfully complex villain that threatened the very structure of Peter Parker’s life.

Spider-Man 2 is one of the best comic book films ever created, and is personally one of my favorites. How could Spider-Man 3 possibly top it? Filmmakers promised a “darker” sequel, where Peter Parker would finally tap into his evil side, and longtime fan-favorite villain, as well as my own, Venom would finally make an appearance. The entire United States (and even Tokyo), held their breath as they waited in line to watch the movie. Plainly stated, the movie wasn’t very good. It suffered from featuring too many storylines, and made the movie too convoluted for its own good.




If you want to know more, please direct yourself to this YouTube video created by user Dukklord: “145 Reasons Why Spider-Man 3 Sucks” (Beware, it’s over 10 minutes long, but it’s worth a watch. It’s quite funny, and exposes this movie’s abundant flaws.)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LVn9d87TlPU

Three years later and it was official, Sam Raimi and Tobey Maguire were gone, and a reboot directed by Marc Webb was to be released in 2012. I’m not going to lie; I was devastated to hear the cast that I grew up with suddenly vanished overnight. I love Tobey Maguire, he is, and always will be my Spider-Man. Nothing will ever change that. However, I believe that Marc Webb has an opportunity to do something really special. There are some things that Sam Raimi got fundamentally wrong about Spider-Man and his story that I wish to address.

1. The Title Of The Movie Is Spider-Man, Not Peter Parker.

In the comics, Peter Parker is a shy, nerdy orphan who is constantly bullied at school. After acquiring his “spider-powers” from a radioactive spider bite, Peter is able to live through his alter-ego Spider-Man, abandoning his quiet adolescent life to fight super villains and protect the people of New York City. Peter becomes a crime-fighting superhero with a sharp tongue while still trying to keep balance with his adolescent life.

In the movies, Peter Parker follows a similar storyline. On a fieldtrip to a genetics laboratory, Peter is bitten by a genetically engineered spider that changes his entire life overnight. He wakes up with perfect vision (he’s a nerd, so he has to have poor eyesight), superfast reflexes, an extremely muscular body, and is able to shoot webs from his wrists. It isn’t long before Spider-Man is born, and Peter begins to fight crime throughout the city.
Here is where the problem begins; Sam Raimi never showed a noticeable difference between the two personas, Spider-Man and Peter Parker. In the comics, Spider-Man is always throwing out humorous lines, making fun of his opponents as he beats the living the hell out of them (and sometimes the other way around). As the films progressed, Spider-Man’s numbers of witty one-liners gradually decreased. And in the last film, it’s hard to recall any of them.
Spider-Man isn’t supposed to be such a serious character; he’s a fun-loving superhero that is able to find the bright side of any situation. Raimi’s Spider-Man rarely talked, and became a creepy, silent figure that came to save New Yorkers in dire situations (it’s actually a little creepy, isn’t it?).

2. The Suit
Yes, how can I find issues with Spider-Man’s suit? It’s one of the most faithful comic-to-film costume adaptations ever. Don’t get me wrong the suit looks beautiful and completely perfect. But this is where the issue lies, the suit is too perfect. It just doesn’t look believable, much less possible that a genius teenager was able to create it within the confines of his bedroom.

3. The Villains
My complaints of the way the villains were handled in these films ties into my next complaint as well, the writing. Most of the villains portrayed by Sam Raimi were written very poorly. I’m going to put it very bluntly for you.

A. They pretty much all died except for Sandman. If there were any future films, they would never be able to return. Sinister Six anybody?

B. They all had some sort of personal connection to Peter Parker. Seriously, why can’t they just be villains looking for some trouble? Why must they all have personal ties to Peter Parker somehow?

Let me briefly recap the villains for you:
a. Green Goblin – Peter’s best friend’s father
b. Doc Ock – Peter’s best friend’s work associate
c. Venom – Peter’s work “rival”
d. New Goblin – Peter’s best friend

The only villain to not fall under these two categories is Sandman. However, I find it necessary to add that the writers got this character completely wrong. Flint Marko, a small time crook in the comic books, was suddenly transformed into a fugitive looking for money to save his daughter from dying of cancer.

What?



4. The Writing

Cheese! I don’t have to dedicate much writing to this, this should already be totally obvious to you if you’ve seen the third film. Every Spider-Man/Peter Parker dancing scene, the reporters, the kids, and pretty much anything that Peter Parker ever said. It just wasn’t written well. The writing never felt particularly realistic, and the films never seemed grounded, as if this could actually happen.

5. Retconning

Retconning, “A retcon is when a later writer changes the history of a comic book to accommodate their own storyline.**”

In Spider-Man 3, Sam Raimi retconned Uncle Ben’s killer. This one decision completely undermines everything that Spider-Man believes in. Let me explain it for you:

Original: Peter lets the robber go. Robber kills Uncle Ben. Peter swears to fight for good after seeking revenge which resulted in the death of his Uncle.

Raimi’d: Peter lets the robber go. Robber is working with Flint Marko (Sandman). Flint Marko kills Uncle Ben while the robber leaves with Uncle Ben’s car.


Seriously?

Yes, these films do have some serious flaws, and I believe that Marc Webb (director of the new film) has the ability to do something really special here. Despite all of my complaints, I do really love these films. I am eagerly anticipating this reboot.

Are you?



*If you haven’t already, please watch Spider-Man 2.1, it adds two or three extra minutes to this fight scene, and it looks absolutely glorious.
**http://comicbooks.about.com/od/glossary/g/retcon.htm
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