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#21 Ryan H.

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Posted 20 January 2010 - 02:22 PM

I know nothing about this past decade's comics, but, um, wow -- only $80 million for a Spider-Man movie? No doubt SOME superhero movies have gotten by with budgets in that range, but the flagship Marvel superhero? The character who, as I think SDG once put it, deserved to be in the Citizen Kane of superhero movies?

Well, personally, I find the idea that Spider-Man is deserving of the CITIZEN KANE of superhero movies a bit off. But I've always been a DC guy rather than a Marvel guy, and while I think there's potential for a really good Spider-Man flick, all three of Raimi's efforts failed to win me over (in fact, I'd argue that all three of them are terrible).

Anyway, the small budget, in concept, doesn't phase me. For a while, I've been saying that the comic book films need to downsize. They're so obsessed with epic scale when smaller-scale stories can be just as effective and more profitable for the studio, while furthermore allowing for greater artistic freedom since the risk margin isn't so severe. The studios should be cranking out plenty of $50-80 million features. I'd love to see the Batman films turn to a more intimate focus, or see a one-off film all from Lex Luthor's perspective (based on the LEX LUTHOR: MAN OF STEEL miniseries, no less). And for the next Superman film, I'd love to see them adapt the best Superman story of them all--SUPERMAN: FOR ALL SEASONS--which is more grounded in Norman Rockwell Americana than epic displays of heroism and nods towards Greek mythology.

But with Spidey, I fear this means that we'll get Spider-Man meets TWILIGHT, driven and about displays of teen angst near high school lockers. Teen/young adult angst was something I was hoping the Spidey franchise was finally going to move beyond. Ah well.

#22 SDG

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Posted 20 January 2010 - 02:58 PM

I know nothing about this past decade's comics, but, um, wow -- only $80 million for a Spider-Man movie? No doubt SOME superhero movies have gotten by with budgets in that range, but the flagship Marvel superhero? The character who, as I think SDG once put it, deserved to be in the Citizen Kane of superhero movies?

Well, personally, I find the idea that Spider-Man is deserving of the CITIZEN KANE of superhero movies a bit off. But I've always been a DC guy rather than a Marvel guy, and while I think there's potential for a really good Spider-Man flick, all three of Raimi's efforts failed to win me over (in fact, I'd argue that all three of them are terrible).

FWIW, Peter is misremembering somewhat. :)

The phrase "Citizen Kane of super hero movies" is associated in my film writing not with Spider-Man, but with Batman, and specifically with Batman Begins (though without entirely committing to the identification; my exact words were "It's tempting to call Batman Begins the Citizen Kane of super-hero movies; at any rate, it’s the closest thing so far").

With regard to Spider-Man, I cited a different cinematic touchstone, Raiders of the Lost Ark. Specifically, I wrote:

I felt that Spidey deserved the quintessential comic-book movie, not just a better-than-average one. I wanted Spider-Man to be the Raiders of the Lost Ark of super-hero movies, but what I got was more like the Pirates of the Caribbean — still good, but not good enough.

Incidentally, on Marvel vs. DC, I wrote in the same review:

Full disclosure: I’ve been a Spider-Man nut since my earliest youth. Other boys at school would debate who was the greatest, Superman or Batman; I always knew it was Spider-Man. From the sheer ordinariness of the real person behind the mask, to his wisecracking, almost playful combat style, to his doting relationship with his Aunt May, Peter Parker has always been to me both the most human and the most colorful of classic comic-book heroes — the quintessential comic-book hero.

So there. :)

On Raimi's films, I am just all right with the first one, LOVE the second one, and really, really enjoy the third, faults notwithstanding and even to an extent because of them.

However, I readily acknowledge that a totally new interpretation of the character could easily be a good thing. One that gives more credit to Peter's science smarts, for one thing, one that is more self-aware and . The filmmakers should check out the Spectacular Spider-Man series on Disney -- it's the best screen adaptation of the character to date (though as a film Raimi's second film is awesome).

FWIW, at the end of my third review I wrote:

What remains to be seen, if there are more films to come, is whether the filmmakers can finally take Peter past his extended adolescence, and let him finally become Spider-Man in fact as well as in name.

Ironically, the next film looks to go backwards in that sense, which may be a good thing too.

#23 Thom Wade

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Posted 20 January 2010 - 03:06 PM

One thing that stands out to me in recent years with both fans and creators in regards to Spider-Man is a fear of him growing up. I think I may need to work on this some more and then blog about it...but to put it in a short statement...

He can't be married! We want Parker to have love troubles with many options. He can't be a high school science teacher! That's a grown up job. It is ironic to me that a hero whose mantra is "with great power comes great responsibility" has a creator and fanbase who want to see him pretty responsibility free.

#24 SDG

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Posted 20 January 2010 - 03:23 PM

One thing that stands out to me in recent years with both fans and creators in regards to Spider-Man is a fear of him growing up. I think I may need to work on this some more and then blog about it...but to put it in a short statement...

He can't be married! We want Parker to have love troubles with many options. He can't be a high school science teacher! That's a grown up job. It is ironic to me that a hero whose mantra is "with great power comes great responsibility" has a creator and fanbase who want to see him pretty responsibility free.

But, see, I think I'm as hardcore a Spider-Man fan as they come, and I'm just the opposite. One of the things I enjoyed about JMS's stint on Spider-Man was that Peter was a grown-up married guy with responsibilities -- and JMS portrayed that in a way that was interesting to me as a grown-up married guy with responsibilities. (I also appreciated JMS's portrayal of Peter's somewhat Job-like relationship with God, particularly given JMS's own atheism.)

When JMS's final issue ended with the mystical unraveling of Peter and MJ's marriage, while I appreciated the artistic and dramatic reasons for those choices, and the way JMS handled them (understanding that they weren't entirely JMS's own choices), I had less than no interest in going back to reading about bachelor Peter. I looked at the next issue or two but stopped collecting pretty much immediately. I, for one, want Peter's life to go forward.

Edited by SDG, 20 January 2010 - 03:23 PM.


#25 Overstreet

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Posted 20 January 2010 - 03:57 PM

It's an experiment waiting to happen: Pick a comic-book hero and have a completely original movie about him or her made once a year. Line up the directors. Turn it into an ongoing course in filmmaking theory. Each participating director would have a chance to draw attention to different elements of style and storytelling invention. Why not Spider-man? What superhero is more deserving?

#26 Thom Wade

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Posted 20 January 2010 - 03:57 PM

When JMS's final issue ended with the mystical unraveling of Peter and MJ's marriage, while I appreciated the artistic and dramatic reasons for those choices, and the way JMS handled them (understanding that they weren't entirely JMS's own choices), I had less than no interest in going back to reading about bachelor Peter. I looked at the next issue or two but stopped collecting pretty much immediately. I, for one, want Peter's life to go forward.


Oh, I agree. I suspected you did not fall into that group. :) I really liked the things that were done overall during the runs of JMS (taking the marriage from on the rocks to reconciliation) also PeterDavid...both proved there was much to mine from an adult Peter Parker with grown up struggles.

#27 Ryan H.

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Posted 20 January 2010 - 05:29 PM

It's an experiment waiting to happen: Pick a comic-book hero and have a completely original movie about him or her made once a year. Line up the directors. Turn it into an ongoing course in filmmaking theory. Each participating director would have a chance to draw attention to different elements of style and storytelling invention. Why not Spider-man? What superhero is more deserving?

Well, Batman would certainly fit better with such a project. Of all the major superheroes, he's the one with the most varied and fractured past (a clear continuity is practically nonexistent as far as Batman is concerned, given the ever-changing nature of his world), and the one most compatible with directors coming in to give life to their their different visions of the character and his world. There's simply more to draw on, and more room to experiment. And after Nolan's done with Batman, that might just be the best route to go with the character.

#28 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 10 February 2010 - 04:14 PM

Surprise, surprise, this movie, like so many others nowadays, will be in 3D.

#29 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 10 April 2010 - 11:21 PM

Exclusive: 'Percy Jackson' star Logan Lerman frontrunner to be the new 'Spider-Man'
The search for the new "Spider-Man" appears to be over.
HitFix has exclusively learned that Logan Lerman is first choice for Sony Pictures and the clear frontrunner to replace Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker in the reboot of the blockbuster franchise. A source close to the production tells HitFix Lerman is "almost 100% locked" but not in contract negotiations for the role yet.
Marc Webb ("500 Days of Summer") is directing the new untitled "Spider-Man" which is being written by James Vanderbilt ("Zodiac," "The Losers") and is meant to be a more teen-friendly incarnation, taking Peter Parker back to his early days of balancing girl trouble, homework, and crimefighting. The new film is expected to begin production later this year for a July 3, 2012 release. . . .
The 18-year-old Los Angeles native is best known for his role as Percy in February's hit "Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief." His other credits include "Gamer," "My One and Only," "Bill," "3:10 to Yuma," "The Number 23" and the TV series "Jack & Bobby" where he played Bobby. Lerman got his start in two Mel Gibson films "What Women Want" and "The Patriot" at the young age of 8. . . .
HitFix.com, April 10

#30 SDG

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Posted 11 April 2010 - 07:13 AM

Logan Lerman

Nice. Works for me.

#31 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 11 April 2010 - 09:34 PM

FWIW, Mike Fleming says Sony insiders are adamantly denying that Lerman is a serious candidate for this role, but Fleming also acknowledges that Drew McWeeney @ HitFix is often right about this stuff (for example, McWeeney was the first person to report -- accurately, as it turned out -- that Fox was considering other directors to take Bryan Singer's place on X-Men: First Class). So Fleming's taking a wait-and-see stance on this one.

#32 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 14 April 2010 - 06:06 PM

IESB Exclusive: Another Candidate Has Emerged For Spider-Man
IESB has exclusively heard another candidate is on the short list for Pete Parker and his web-slinging alter-ego – Josh Hutcherson.
If his name doesn't sound familiar (which technically it shouldn't – being an unknown), you have seen him in stuff. He played Brendan Fraser's nephew in Journey to the Center of the Earth, the older brother (before growing up to be Dax Shepard – scary!) in Jon Favreau's underrated Zathura and recently appeared in Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant. . . .
IESB.net, April 13

#33 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 05 June 2010 - 11:23 AM

There's a meme going around about getting a black actor -- and a very specific black actor, at that (someone I'd never heard of before) -- to play Peter Parker. So we might as well discuss it here. Here's what I just posted on a friend's Facebook wall:

I didn't care much when Tim Burton's Batman cast Billy Dee Williams as Harvey Dent, and I'm fine with Samuel L. Jackson playing Nick Fury if that change has already been made in the comics (hey, if the precedent is there, why not?). And of course the Green Lantern Corps features members of every race, nation and species.

But I'm not so sure it's a good idea to change the race of a major iconic character, i.e. of a character that "everybody knows". If "everybody knows" what Superman or Spider-Man look like, and if they've known this for generations, then changing a fundamental aspect of their appearance just comes across as needlessly provocative.

And of course, it wouldn't be just Peter Parker who gets changed. You'd have to change his relatives (Aunt May and Uncle Ben... not that we haven't seen an iconic black Uncle Ben before!), and you might have to change Mary-Jane as well, depending on how commercial you thought an inter-racial romance would be. (Remember all the careful calibrations when Will Smith starred with Eva Mendes in Hitch? He had to find a leading lady who wasn't black, so as not to trap his movie in the "urban" genre ghetto, but also not (too) white, so as not to offend certain contingents in the African-American audience. See also Salma Hayek in Wild Wild West, or Alice Braga in I Am Legend, or Rosario Dawson in Men in Black 2 and Seven Pounds, though those films are not romantic comedies per se and thus the movies do not hinge so much on Smith's choice of partner.)

And then there's the question of whether the filmmakers could resist using a lot of "urban" stereotypes -- or going out of their way to poke fun at same, e.g. by giving the black superhero a sassy white sidekick, or whatever.

In short: it would be a political minefield. And for what?

I trust it goes without saying that my basic point here -- i.e. the point I make in the second paragraph -- would apply if the meme in question were all about a Native or Asian or Latino actor, or whatever. No matter which way you slice it, changing an iconic character's racial identity would bring with it a whole lot of political baggage.

Oh, yeah, and then there's gender. See the Christopher Robin debate.

#34 Bobbin Threadbare

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Posted 06 June 2010 - 11:17 AM

.

But I'm not so sure it's a good idea to change the race of a major iconic character, i.e. of a character that "everybody knows". If "everybody knows" what Superman or Spider-Man look like, and if they've known this for generations, then changing a fundamental aspect of their appearance just comes across as needlessly provocative.

I trust it goes without saying that my basic point here -- i.e. the point I make in the second paragraph -- would apply if the meme in question were all about a Native or Asian or Latino actor, or whatever. No matter which way you slice it, changing an iconic character's racial identity would bring with it a whole lot of political baggage.

Oh, yeah, and then there's gender. See the Christopher Robin debate.

To be fair, in the comics there have been female & hispanic versions of Spider Man(Spider Girl & Spider Man 2099).

I think a dramatic change is really necessary to establish a new franchise. Besides, it's the mask that everyone knows, not the face under it.

#35 Ryan H.

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Posted 06 June 2010 - 11:39 AM

I'm all for a black Peter Parker.

#36 SDG

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Posted 06 June 2010 - 01:20 PM

I think a dramatic change is really necessary to establish a new franchise.

No. Creativity is necessary to establish a new franchise. Look at Batman Begins. Somehow they pulled it off without an Asian Bruce Wayne.

Besides, it's the mask that everyone knows, not the face under it.

No no no. This super-hero is all about who he is under the mask. Spider-Man fans have a relationship with Peter Parker. He is someone we know and love, like we know and love Elizabeth Bennett or Tom Sawyer. There can be different interpretations of the character, but we must believe that it is the same character we know and love, not somebody else.

I'm all for a black Peter Parker.

I'm all for a black super hero. Something creative and original. Even, in principle, a black Spider-Man spin-off character. Peter Parker in blackface, or a black actor calling himself Peter Parker, is not a good idea.

#37 Bobbin Threadbare

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Posted 06 June 2010 - 01:36 PM

I'm all for a black Peter Parker.

I'm all for a black super hero. Something creative and original. Even, in principle, a black Spider-Man spin-off character. Peter Parker in blackface, or a black actor calling himself Peter Parker, is not a good idea.


But what is it about Peter Parker that precludes him being non-white? He's almost literally intended to be an Everyman, defined by his deeds and not his heritage.

It seems that the most important thing a new spider-man movie has to do is establish that is is absolutely not a sequel to Spider-Man 3. Batman had a much longer break, and did about as dramatic reinvention as possible in terms of stoytelling and tone. And no one seemed to mind the change of Ra's al Ghul from Arab to Japanese.

#38 MrZoom

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Posted 06 June 2010 - 01:52 PM


.

But I'm not so sure it's a good idea to change the race of a major iconic character, i.e. of a character that "everybody knows". If "everybody knows" what Superman or Spider-Man look like, and if they've known this for generations, then changing a fundamental aspect of their appearance just comes across as needlessly provocative.

I trust it goes without saying that my basic point here -- i.e. the point I make in the second paragraph -- would apply if the meme in question were all about a Native or Asian or Latino actor, or whatever. No matter which way you slice it, changing an iconic character's racial identity would bring with it a whole lot of political baggage.

Oh, yeah, and then there's gender. See the Christopher Robin debate.

To be fair, in the comics there have been female & hispanic versions of Spider Man(Spider Girl & Spider Man 2099).

I think a dramatic change is really necessary to establish a new franchise. Besides, it's the mask that everyone knows, not the face under it.


But Spider-Girl was Peter and Mary Jane's daughter, so it's less of a female re-imagining of the original Spider-Man, and more of "what if Spidey became a father and his kid inherited his powers".

#39 Ryan H.

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Posted 06 June 2010 - 02:46 PM

I don't really think there is anything wrong with someone desiring for a character to maintain the same racial identity that character has always had. Contrary to what the "it doesn't matter" crowd says, it does change the character.

Even so, though, I think Don Glover--the actor in question here--could do very well in the part of Peter Parker, and I don't really mind if the character gets a racial makeover if it means getting him in the part. Would it require the character to change? Well, sure. But if the Joker can be a dude with a scarred mouth and make-up rather than a guy that got a chemical bath and was conveniently bleached like a clown and still work perfectly well, then I'm fine with Peter Parker being black.

Edited by Ryan H., 06 June 2010 - 03:09 PM.


#40 SDG

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Posted 06 June 2010 - 02:50 PM

But what is it about Peter Parker that precludes him being non-white? He's almost literally intended to be an Everyman, defined by his deeds and not his heritage.

What precludes Peter from being non-white is the same thing that precludes me from being non-white: I am white. It's the same thing that precludes Luke Cage from being non-black, or a non-black actor from playing him: Luke Cage is black.

Granted, I exist, and Peter and Luke don't. As I said, though, Spider-Man fans have a long-established relationship with our hero. Look. Imagine that you show up at school one day and sitting at your best friend's desk is this kid you've never seen who totally looks nothing like your friend, and he says "Hi Bobbin, it's me, your best friend." Um. No. No you're not. I know my best friend, my best friend is a friend of mine, etc.

Some kids were traumatized when Darren on "Bewitched" was suddenly Dick Sargent instead of Dick York, but at least they had similar hair (heck, they were even both named Dick). I can accept that Dick Sargent is playing the same character as Dick York. If they had cast Sidney Poitier, it would be a whole different character, wouldn't it? Unless, like, Endora turned one of the Dicks into Sidney Poitier. I hope that Peter Parker isn't going to undergo a race change operation before his fateful date with the spider.

Consider this: If Peter Parker is defined by his deeds and not his heritage, then why would the filmmakers want the name Peter Parker? They want it because of its heritage.

Peter Parker has a heritage. That heritage includes Stan Lee, Steve Ditko, Jack Kirby, Forest Hills, Empire State University, Grantray-Lawrence Animation, Nicholas Hammond, John Romita Sr., various Marvel Productions series, various computer game series, Todd MacFarlane, Sam Raimi and Tobey Maguire, that Universal Studios ride, the late, great "Spectacular Spider-Man" on Kids WB and Disney XD, and a Broadway musical that may or may not make it to the stage.

By and large, throughout most of this heritage I am able to accept that it is one character in all of these incarnations. A black actor might easily create a much more interesting character than Tobey Maguire (it wouldn't be hard); it would not be the same character. At all. If it were a character I cared less about, I might not mind. I do care and I do mind.

It's not just race. Peter can't be blond, because he isn't a blond. I know that the Peter Parker clone Ben Reilly bleached his hair; I could accept a storyline in which Peter bleaches his hair. But Peter has dark hair, because he does. I'm blond, and I identify with Peter, but I don't want Peter to look like me.

When you say Peter Parker to me, I know what he looks like. Countless panels drawn by Jack Kirby, Romita Sr. and Jr. and others have shaped my picture of Peter Parker. Nicholas Hammond and the 1967 "Spider-Man" series shaped it from before I was ten. Todd MacFarlane, Tobey Maguire and "Spectacular Spider-Man" didn't exactly shape my picture -- it was already set by then -- but they basically conformed to the right picture. No black actor could ask me to accept him as Peter Parker, any more than a white actor could ask me to accept him as Luke Cage.

Separate but equal, then? ;)

I'm so not laughing. I have no idea how you meant that, but it strikes me as neither funny nor appropriate, and a smiley doesn't really help.

Edited by SDG, 06 June 2010 - 03:00 PM.