Your Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man will be returning to theaters next year, with a new look and different actor (Andrew Garfield). So it comes as a bit of a surprise to hear that The Amazing Spider-Man might not be the complete overhaul of the franchise that we’ve come to expect.
Executive producer Avi Arad is saying that director Marc Webb’s upcoming take on Spidey won’t go the route of previous comic book reboots like Batman Begins and (to a lesser degree) The Incredible Hulk by essentially ignoring the existence of its predecessors.
Arad spoke to EW recently and informed the magazine that Amazing Spider-Man “won’t erase what came before, but will try to weave a narrative that could take place within the framework of the earlier films.” To quote the producer directly:
“It’s not a comeback. You have to look at it this way: Do you want to know more about Spider-Man? This movie is going to tell stories that you didn’t see in movies 1, 2, and 3.”
It’s known that classic Spider-Man universe players like Daily Bugle head J. Jonah Jameson and Mary Jane Watson simply won’t be featured at all in The Amazing Spider-Man, and Webb’s film is expected, in part, to return to Peter Parker’s days as an awkward high schooler who’s just beginning his struggle to get the whole superhero act down pat.
There’s also the matter of Uncle Ben being alive again (for now), the artificial webshooters, and Peter looking to have met Gwen Stacy long before his university days (a la Spider-Man 3) – so it’s difficult to immediately see how the movie won’t simply be pushing the restart button on the series.
The most straightforward explanation for Arad’s comments is that Amazing Spider-Man won’t do anything that completely violates the canon of Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy. Essentially that would mean that Ben’s life is still forfeit, Gwen won’t suffer any sort of horrific death at the hands of Spidey’s adversaries (Emma Stone already confirmed that), and although Peter’s parents are in the movie, they will appear via flashback, having died long before his days of being a costumed defender of justice.
Contrast that with how Christopher Nolan reworked the history of Batman in his films versus those directed by Tim Burton and Joel Schumacher – the identity of the man who murdered Bruce Wayne’s parents, the origin of The Joker, Harvey Dent’s transformation into Two-Face, etc. Events that transpire in both Batman Begins and The Dark Knight not only re-envision plot points from previous films, they often flat out change them.
Think Mcfly Think has proposed that Amazing Spider-Man could imitate the “Untold Tales of Spider-Man” comic book series in the way they resembled Stan Lee’s original comics, by essentially paying homage to the style of Raimi’s trilogy and taking place within its continuity. While that idea doesn’t entirely gel with the claims that Webb’s movie will be much grittier in tone than Spider-Man 1-3, it’s possible that the reboot will not be as drastic a departure in overall style (dialogue, action, character development, and all that jazz) as some might have originally anticipated.
Fans by and large were highly receptive to Raimi’s Spider-Man movies, and even the much-maligned Spider-Man 3 isn’t as widely despised as, to use an appropriate example, Batman & Robin. That further differentiates the current state of the webslinger’s franchise versus that of the Caped Crusader’s before Nolan arrived on the scene. Perhaps Amazing Spider-Man won’t feel like it should have been titled Spider-Man Begins and will, instead, feel more like a refreshing new spin on the character’s history. We’ll see.
The Amazing Spider-Man swings into 2D and 3D theaters on July 3rd, 2012.