The new Spider-Man film, The Amazing Spider-Man, which finally uses the full title of the comic book that began in 1963, opens in theaters on July 3. In the Spidey movie reboot Tobey Maguire is replaced with Andrew Garfield to play Peter Parker; and the original series director Sam Raimi is replaced by Marc Webb. From viewing the trailers for the new flick, other changes appear imminent as well – like a reworked origin that resembles the Brian Michael Bendis ‘Ultimate Spider-Man’ comics more than the original Stan Lee/Steve Ditko classic.
There doesn’t quite seem to be the buzz surrounding The Amazing Spider-Man as there has been for some of the other summer superhero fare like The Avengers or the even the upcoming The Dark Knight Rises. Maybe it’s too early for a remake, or maybe people are still a little sour after the Spider-Man 3 fiasco of 2007, but putting the previous films aside, ASM still looks to be a spectacular outing for ol’ webhead. Here’s a shortlist of the things I’m most excited about seeing in this new film (in no particular order).
#5 Emma Stone – The Valley’s own Emma Stone plays Peter Parker’s first true love, Gwen Stacy, in this new film. Ms. Stone was born right here in Scottsdale and was a member of the Valley Youth Theatre. She’s gone on to Hollywood stardom with films like Superbad, Zombieland and The Help, and it’s great to see someone from Arizona make it good and show the world that we’re not just about heat and crazy politicians.
#4 The Lizard – Dr. Curt Connors (AKA the Lizard) has been an A-list Spider-Man villain since Amazing Spider-Man #6 (1963) and he played small roles in the first three Spider-Man movies (played by Dylan Baker). A lot of us thought he would be the logical villain for the third Spider-Man film, but studio decision makers killed that in preference of Venom and the Sandman; and we all know how that turned out.
Dr. Curt Connors lost an arm while serving in the military and has since devoted his life researching a way to regenerate limbs (like a lizard can generate its tail when it is lost). He develops a serum based on the reptile’s regenerative powers and drinks it in hopes of re-growing his missing arm – he instead turns into a man-sized lizard and one of Spider-Man’s coolest and most tragic foes. The new ASM movie looks like it has done an incredible job bringing this monster to life.
#3 Spidey’s sense of humor – The original Spider-Man flicks had some great laughs and Spidey’s humor was certainly felt in those films, but Spider-Man has always been a New York wiseass, mocking his foes, whether they were just a lowly mugger or Dr. Doom himself. The older films didn’t seem to have that edge, but the trailer for ASM appears to capture a little of the annoying arrogance that Spidey exudes in his comics; and Andrew Garfield seems to be capable of a decent New York accent as well, something that Toby Maguire never really attempted.
#2 Casting – There are some interesting casting choices in ASM and I’m very curious to see how they play out. Denis Leary in particular seems an odd choice to play Captain Stacy, a character who was a pseudo father to Peter (at least for a short time) in the comics. The fast talking, chain-smoking Leary does not strike me as the fatherly type, but I’m hoping to be pleasantly surprised.
Sally Field is playing Aunt May and although she is getting up there in years, she still looks like Gidget from the 1960s TV series, which is nothing like Aunt May. She does somewhat resemble the more modern May from the Ultimate Spider-Man books, but we’ll see if Forrest Gump’s mom can shine in this iconic part.
I’m very excited to see Martin Sheen playing Peter’s Uncle Ben. Even though this actor’s own kid (Charlie Sheen) is about as far from the classic “With great power comes great responsibility” line as you can get, I think Mr. Sheen will do a much better job teaching Peter that same lesson.
#1 Mechanical Web-Shooters – For me, the biggest gaffe in the previous Spider-Man films was the ‘organic’ web that Peter shoots from his wrists. It was like taking away Superman’s cape — sure he can still fly, but that feat is nowhere near as cool without the cape.
Taking away Spidey’s web-shooters also eliminated the fact that Peter Parker is a helluva smart guy and capable of creating such a device, not to mention the missed opportunities for dramatic suspense when his shooters run out of web-fluid (which he also designed.) Can’t wait to see these babies in action! Read more on the mechanical web-shooters here.