Sunday, January 31, 2010

Less Grammy, More Spidey

I could post something about the Grammys tonight, but let's be honest: there were no surprises, and no one cares. (Cheers to Beyonce's six awards, though, including a well deserved Song of the Year for "Single Ladies.")

Nope, I'd rather talk about Spider-Man. Days after Tobey Maguire and director Sam Raimi officially parted ways with the franchise, Sony and Columbia recently announced that (500) Days of Summer/music video director Marc Webb (pictured above) has signed on as helmer of the next Spider-Man entry, which would put the characters back in high school. James Vanderbilt, who penned David Fincher's brilliant Zodiac, is reportedly serving as screenwriter.

My reaction's a bit mixed on this one: Raimi's first two Spidey pics are among the handful of best comic book films ever made, while Spider-Man 3 was roundly criticized as a bloated, schmaltzy, train wreck of a movie. Reports that the Spider-Man 4 script was stalled due to Raimi's desire to avoid another SM3 left me heartened; if he could pull it off so well earlier, surely he could do it again?

On the other hand, you've got to commend Sony for deciding to go with a new approach. Peter Parker was always a teenage character, his conflicts stemming from the difficulties of adolescence; with the Spider-Man cast pushing their mid-thirties, perhaps it was time to let that particular narrative come to an end. I'm also impressed with the studio taking a risk, much like they did by originally hiring Raimi, in bringing on relative newcomers with invigorating, edgy styles.

The great thing about comic book movies is that series reboots are perfectly normal in the world of comics - it's always fun to see a different artist's perspective on a character. Who knows how the thing'll turn out (the latest rumors - and I emphasize rumors - have Zac Efron attached as Spidey), but for now, I'm cautiously optimistic.

Oh, and speaking of James Cameron, the Toronto Star has an interesting look at what might have been, had the King of the World ended up making a Spider-Man movie, as he was planning to do in the early '90s. Weird.

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