Friday, June 29, 2012

Who's afraid of the reboot?

Next week comes the new Spider-Man movie, which is a reboot of the franchise and pretty much ignores the past three movies.  I don't want to get too much into this, but basically the reason why they're rebooting is because Sony owns the rights to make Spider-Man movies, and if they don't make a picture within a certain amount of time, the rights revert to Marvel, which now has its own studio but did not at the time that the first Spider-Man film came out.  They were going to try and do a fourth with Raimi and Maguire, but those two asked for too much money, which probably was deliberate on their part.  So, that's why they're rebooting it.

A lot of folks are wondering/criticizing how a film series can be rebooted so quickly, and that's all a fair point, but I'm going to look at this from a different angle.  From a comic book fan's perspective, I'm actually really interested in seeing another actor/director's take on the character.  After all, it's not like the original creative team of the comics, Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, still work on the comic.  There have been countless creative teams over the years, and this is basically the same thing.  Not only that, but we've seen the origin told several times by now (although I do agree that this new movie could just gloss over the origin and get on with things - from what I understand, the basic idea is still the same).

I say do a few movies with this creative team, and then move on to another director and vision, either ignoring or including things that happened before as you see fit.  After all, it worked for the James Bond franchise for decades.

This leads me to what they're going to do with Batman after the next film.  Christopher Nolan has explained that he plans on ending his particular series after this third film.  After that will come the inevitable reboot.  From what I understand, the producers have said that they want to follow the old James Bond formula and just keep going without necessarily retelling Batman's origin.  (And why do so when he has one of the best origin story movies ever made?)  I think that's the right idea.  At the same time, I don't want to see them being too slavish to Nolan's series.

I love what the man has done with the character (hopefully he didn't blow it for part III) but as a fan of the comics, I know that there's a whole side to the character and his world that can still be explored.  While Nolan's Batman operated in a world that's as close to the real world as a superhero film can get, the comic book character lives in a world populated by superheroes, science fiction, and the supernatural.  I'd like to see them introduce this back into the hero's film mythology.

Of course, they would have to be careful about it.  One of the more off-putting things about Batman Returns was the inexplicable supernatural rebirth of Selina Kyle.  The last film didn't have any supernatural in it, but then BOOM, there it is with no explanation.

However, we know that these sorts of genre mashups CAN be done effectively.  How do I know that?  Well, a little film called The Avengers essentially proved it.  The Iron Man films also operated in a "real" world environment as well, and yet the team-up film managed to seamlessly blend him in with the supernatural elements of Thor and the sci-fi elements of The Incredible Hulk.  (Not that Iron Man isn't sci-fi, but it's a different kind than the type that The Hulk represents.)

Anyway, I'll probably post a blog about my thoughts regarding The Amazing Spider-Man after I see it.  The good news is that the early buzz is pretty positive.  Here's hoping that they don't let an old Spidey fan like myself down.

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