I was reading Entertainment Weekly’s article on the upcoming Amazing Spider-Man movie. In the story, Andrew Garfield (who is playing Peter Parker/Spidey) goes through great pains to say this is not a reboot, but simply nother chapter. He is not the first to say this, and people involved in the film have shunned the term reboot.
The fact is? A reboot is not a bad thing. It can be, of course. But it can also be a good thing. Certainly, amny comics have done reboots simply because they decided they were painted into a corner. But in the case of movies, sometimes, giving the franchise a fresh start can work.
See: Batman. The Batman movies, in spite of being money makers, were campy excursions (including the Burton films) that were mired in product placement. The series was given to Christopher Nolan who, along with his brother, have crafted two excellent Batfilms. They started over-and it worked. I would actually prefer that, after Noln leaves the franchise, they start fresh with their new director, rather than tie him or her to the Nolan version of Batman.
Superman Returns, on the other hand, skipped the reboot option. And we got a convoluted mess of a nearly unrecognizable character. It did not work. A reboot would have been fine. It would have been a good place to start to redefine the character by affirming who he is. A reboot does not have to be an origin story…it can simply start fresh.
Entertainment Weekly asked how the Hulk reboot worked out. I don’t know…it is part of the Avengers Franchise…so that says something. It made more sense than Ang Lee’s film. And did not have Hulk Poodles.
But back to Spiderman. Why not be a reboot? Rebooting the franchise is not a slap in the face of Raimi and Maguire. It is not saying their films were bad and now “we are going to do it right.” It is simply saying this is a new cast nd grew…a different vision of the character. They are setting the film back in High School, and we have Martin Sheen and Sally Field playing Uncle Ben and Aunt May. We have Peter dating Gwen Stacy, rather than Mary Jane Watson. We have Curt Conners-the Lizard- becoming the Lizard while Peter is in High School. This would be a confusing mess if held to be a new chapter in the existing story that Raimi has told. Afterall, in the Raimi films, Peter met Gwen after high school. She was not part of their high school circle. The Lizard was a college professor of Peter’s… and it was pretty clear that they were setting the character up to be the lizard…but now Peter will have had a run in with Curt Conner as the lizard before events where Peter seems oblivious to this. Aunt May looks significantly younger than her Raimi counterpart (Rosemary Harris was a wonderful Aunt May though).
To the team behind the new Spider-Man: This is clearly a reboot. Embrace it. The one thing I am really gonna miss? J.K. Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson.