By David Katz
The upcoming rebooted Spider-Man film, titled The Amazing Spider-Man in a nod to the comic book series, has a lot to prove to people. There’s evidence that the moviegoing public are starting to become sick of the superhero genre, if disappointing box office takings of Green Lantern (2011) and X-Men: First Class (2011) are anything to go by. And Sam Raimi’s original interpretation of the character was only released ten years ago, surely not enough time to excise Tobey Maguire’s likable Spidey and J.K. Simmons’ J. Jonah Jamieson from our minds? That first Spider-Man film, released in 2002, was one of the integral films that paved the way for this decade’s lucrative superhero film boom. There is, consequently, a faint whiff of desperation in Columbia’s return to one of their hottest properties.
Even if Raimi’s original Spider-Man series weren’t exactly all-time classics, at least they had the visual invention of the man behind the Evil Dead trilogy. The director of this film, Marc Webb, was responsible for 500 Days of Summer (2009) and a few iconic My Chemical Romance videos, but he’s arguably less of an auteurist selection by the producers. In a time when studios’ revenue is decreasing and original ideas seem ever scarce, we can’t be surprised by this more conservative approach. Sadly enough with these types of films, establishing a sustainable franchise comes first, and the drive to create something truly great is always left flagging behind.
All this said, this surprisingly meaty teaser trailer shows some promising signs. One of the most encouraging signals from the production thus far is the presence of screenwriter James Vanderbilt, who also wrote one of the last decade’s best films, Zodiac (2007). Some of the footage from this trailer seems to show some of that film’s imprint with its dark colour palette and brooding images of the cityscape. Also noticeable is the influence of Batman Begins (2005): the universe of this film already seems more grounded and realistic than what we’ve seen from Spider-Man before, with less room for wacky hijinks and unreal special effects (the original trilogy’s reliance on these dates the films badly).
What’s more troubling is a bizarre POV web-swinging sequence, which stops the trailer’s momentum dead in its tracks. This seems to have only been included as a showcase for the film’s 3D cinematography or worse to remind kids that they should probably nag their parents to go and see this film because, you know, the effects look cool and it’s Spiderman. This sequence undoubtedly undermines the drama created by the mysterious disappearing of Peter’s parents and the icky opening strains of his spider-metamorphosis. It’s also something of a surprise to see the talented Andrew Garfield as Parker; decamping so swiftly to a big-money franchise. One can only hope that the effect could be more similar to Christian Bale than Tobey Maguire, catapulting him to even greater plaudits.
Take a look at the trailer below and be sure to leave a comment to tell us what you think.