This summer, the wall-crawling hero Spider-Man celebrates his 50th anniversary, so in more ways than one, the Marvel Comics creation is a pop-culture icon that sticks. That should be nothing but good news for the filmmaking team behind The Amazing Spider-Man, but instead it views that history as part of its challenge — just like the towering shadow cast by the previous Spider-Man films and their $3.5-billion box office success.
“Our movie — with this hero, at this time — has to be great, and we know we have to show people that we know what we’re doing,” said producer Matt Tolmach, who — like director Marc Webb and stars Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone — is making his first Spider-Man film. “But we’re excited about that because we know what we’ve got.”
It wasn’t that long ago that director Sam Raimi and stars Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst were spinning the tales of the hero on the silver screen — the May 2007 opening weekend of Spider-Man 3 set box-office records with a massive $381.7 million worldwide — and Dunst herself is among those who wonder if it’s too soon to hit the restart button.
“They have a lot to live up to,” Dunst told The Times in late 2010. “They’re going to tell the story, I guess, from the beginning again but in a different way. But it wasn’t that long ago that we told that story.”
The new film retells the tale of Peter Parker (Garfield), who, bitten by fate (and a lab-altered spider), gets superpowers. But this version adds a back story about his dead parents, turns the romantic emphasis to Gwen Stacy (Stone) and introduces the Lizard (Rhys Ifans) as the bad guy. The film also goes for a darker palette, fewer CG effects and more street-level grit — all of which served to keep the budget lower than the $258 million Sony spent on Spider-Man 3.
The character broke box-office records on Broadway — after the troubled musical finally opened — and the show yielded a Spidey tie-in album by U2’s Bono and the Edge.
In April, the hero started another chapter in his long television animation history with the premiere of the Ultimate Spider-Man series on Disney XD.
In June, the hero is back on video-game shelves with the Amazing Spider-Man, a free-roaming video game from Activision and studio Beenox. There’s also the comics, of course, from Marvel (both print and digital versions) that likely will get a boost from the Sony film — if the team behind The Amazing Spider-Man succeeds in winning over moviegoers to a new version of an old hero.
“He’s the most relatable character in comics history because everyone’s been a 17-year-old,” Stone said. “Even before you’re 17, you’re reading Spider-Man so you know what it will be like when you get there — what it’s like to be the underdog, to be bullied or pushed around and in a situation that’s beyond your control — but then also have the kind of heroism that will push those barriers. Spider-Man is inspiring, and I think that’s why he’s probably the most talked-about character in comics too.”
(Los Angeles Times)
Why will you/won’t you watch The Amazing Spider-Man? Tell email@example.com