‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ isn’t due to be released until July but that hasn’t stopped fans around the world from speculating whether director Marc Webb’s version will hold up to the trilogy of Sam Raimi’s. In interviews with MTV and Yahoo, Webb reveals how he wanted his contribution to the Spidey franchise to be more relatable and separate from what we’ve already seen.
The basic premise of the Spider-Man saga is still intact: shy angst driven teenage boy living with his aunt and uncle gets bit by a radioactive spider and gains spider-like abilities. What has changed is that the story now focuses on a more grounded and realistic Peter finding out what happened to his parents.
Webb reached into his childhood love of the comic book character and worked hard to retain what made Spider-Man/Peter Parker so appealing:
“… what stayed with me and haunted me was the idea that this character is so intensely relatable: He’s a superhero who’s just a kid. He’s not a billionaire, not an alien. His normal identity is so ordinary in so many ways, and so relatable, and that’s something about Marvel that I always liked. They made the teenagers the superheroes: the X-Men and Spider-Man, whereas [teens] were just the sidekicks in DC Comics. I think it was at a time in your life when you’re starting to access these stories and mythologies that make the wish-fulfillment component much more intense.”
“There’s an adolescent quality to a lot of the “Spider-Man” [comics] that I liked… He’s like an imperfect guy. You know what I’m mean? He is a kid, and he’s always kind of making mistakes, and he is not so sure about himself all the time.”
Webb does acknowledge that Raimi’s film versions with Toby McGuire is a tough act to follow but does state that he wanted his version to be separated apart from what audiences have already seen and are accustomed to:
“We wanted to do our own thing. We wanted a different villain and a different tone. There wasn’t anything I wanted to recapture from those movies, beyond their respect for the character. I thought that was a really wonderful thing. We’re doing something different and new and risky, and I understand that. But it’s something that I’ve found very appealing. I couldn’t let the opportunity go. I have deep and abiding respect for Sam and Tobey and all those movies that were made, but we are trying to achieve something different. It’s a unique set of circumstances when you talk about Spider-Man, because he’s been around for 50 years. People talk about rebooting characters… There’s so much material in Spider-Man that there are so many stories to tell and so many characters. It’s more like James Bond or something like that.”
“… I just wanted the movie to function on its own, in its own right. You don’t have to have seen those other movies. It’s very different. We just wanted to create a universe that functions on its own. It doesn’t have too much to do with the other one.”
One main difference in Webb’s version of Spider-Man is that he is a little more gritty and slightly on the cruel side. This was seen in the trailer where he was taunting a criminal he webbing up. He’s seemingly more snarkier than McGuire’s version and according to Webb, this slight change in qualities was done on purpose:
“I felt it was important to start to define the parts of Peter Parker that were new and different. I mean, I think Peter Parker emerges from this orphan environment. He’s abandoned by his parents at a very young age and that has an emotional consequence that tracks for the rest of his life. I felt like that was an important thing to hit on, and that emerges — it manifests itself, I think, in a surly, sometimes punk-rock attitude, and that quippy, really trickster-y behavior the Spider-Man takes on. Once he puts on that mask, he can act out that wish, that fantasy, and that’s something that was important to do.”
“… We just wanted to keep things real. I think it comes down to everything having to emerge from a real place. The reason why Spider-Man is being so playful in that moment is that as a character, he’s feeling drunk on his power. He’s having a really good time. He’s becoming a bit of a bully there. He’s not being deeply altruistic, and that’s something you’ll learn more about when you see the movie. It’s a reflection of his attitude: He puts that mask on and the shy kid is gone. He’s now this really empowered superhero. That means having fun, sometimes at other people’s expense.”
The reimaging of Peter Parker/Spider-Man is very apparent in the two new movie posters Fox released. Gone are the bright colors of McGuire’s reign as they’ve been replaced by a darker and more sinister looking superhero.
What I’ve seen so far about ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ already has me excited in seeing this movie and is why it was on my top 5 list of films to see in 2012. For the complete interviews, you can head over to MTV and Yahoo and read more about what convinced Webb to hire Andrew Garfield for the lead role and the onscreen chemistry between him and Emma Stone.
So what do you think of Webb’s re-imaging of Parker and his alter ego?