People Tell Me I Look Like Han Solo.
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
  Sony hires new Spider-Man director
It’s official: Sony has hired Marc Webb to direct the new Spider-Man movie. Webb, who helmed last summer’s indie romantic comedy hit, (500) Days of Summer (which I haven’t seen, but I’ve heard both good and bad things about it), is apparently the hot director in Hollywood right now, and will reboot the franchise, moving the setting back to high school and focusing on the adolescent problems of Peter Parker, complete with a love quadrangle (with bully Flash Thompson, Mary Jane Watson and Gwen Stacy, played by Bryce Dallas Howard in Spider-Man 3).

The new Spider-Man films will be based more on the Ultimate Spider-Man series of comics launched in the 1990s, which similarly revamped the story for a more modern audience, as opposed to previous Spider-Man director Sam Raimi’s movies, which were inspired by the original Spidey books from the 1960s. The Ultimate version focuses more on teen angst than action, and the budget for the new film (around $80 million, which is actually pretty small for a modern superhero movie; Spider-Man 3 is said to have cost anywhere from $200 million to $300 million) seems to reflect that. It’s also assumed that unknown actors will be cast in the main roles.

Now, I hate to be that guy, but I have to be. This sounds like a terrible idea. It sounds like Sony’s chasing the Twilight/teen romance trend. And while I can appreciate the studio wanting to lower the budget in these tougher economic times, it’s hard to take this news as anything other than a step downwards for the Spider-Man cinematic franchise. I’m not even a huge fan of Spider-Man (the movies or the comics), but this is very disappointing news.

None of this is a knock against Webb; even the negative things I’ve heard about (500) Days of Summer acknowledge Webb’s visual talents, so I’m not worried that the movie will look bad. I just feel, as a fan of superheroes and superhero movies, that the genre, in film, is just starting to get to some interesting places, and I think Spider-Man (basically the mascot of Marvel Comics, the way Superman and Batman are at DC) deserves better than to be subjected to the Twilight treatment.

My negativity aside, I’m not going to pretend I won’t be following the development of this project closely. I’m trying to keep an open mind; I don’t want a crappy Spider-Man movie, but right now I’m not sure I can see how this new film will come close to the great, genre-defining movies Raimi crafted.

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