The first trailer for the new Spider-Man reboot movie is out. This seems to be following (I think) the Ultimates version of Spider-Man, with Peter’s deceased parents apparently having a secret that resulted in their deaths. The trailer looks fine, and making Peter more anti-social and withdrawn isn’t unworkable. But really, WHY DO HIS ORIGIN AGAIN? Iron Man aside, these are usually the deadest parts of these films, and really, Spider-Man has been done enough that everyone basically ‘gets’ his origin; bitten by a radioactive spider.

Admittedly, this complaint is partly Old Man’s Disease. Although the first Spider-Man movie came out not too long ago in 2002, the fact remains that for the teen audience the studio might be relying on, it was before their time. And since this does seem a complete revamp of who Peter is and his life story, maybe it’s necessary.

To tell you the truth, I really didn’t care about this film to start with. I like Spider-Man, but he’s never been my favorite, and I think he’s been covered adequately for me already. However, I just can’t get past that idea that going through the whole story again just ten years after the last time just ain’t a great idea.


Good news for Joss Wheden and horror fans in general. Wheden’s looong finished horror flick The Cabin in the Woods has finally been acquired by somebody who actually plans to release it, in this case Lionsgate, which is a pretty good fit. It’s due out on April 12, 2012. Why not a Halloween 2011 release? I don’t know, maybe they’re hoping some of the hype for Whedon’s Avengers film will rub off on them? And it does star Chris Hemsdaleworth, who is Thor and thus in the Avengers movie. Anyway, this film’s been sitting around forever (I think it was originally supposed to be out around Halloween of 2009), it seems, so it will be nice to finally get it on screens.


New Line has dropped it’s proposed remake of Escape from New York. I’m sure we’re all crushed. Why not just re-release the old one to theaters. I’d go see it.


Finally some movement on Legendary’s Godzilla movie, which I feared was moribund. David Goyer has been hired to write the script. Goyer has been involved with films both good and bad, but I expect the director to have a lot of say in shaping the script, so we’ll see. In any case, it’s good to hear this project isn’t flat-out dormant, although I still don’t see how they’d get this up and running for a 2012 release. Indeed, should del Toro’s giant monster vs. mecha film Pacific Rim (for the same company!) bomb, there’s still a good chance the Godzilla film could get quietly shuttered.

  • Marsden

    Any word if this Spider Man has webshooters or is he “built in” like the Rami/McGuire series?

  • Toby Clark

    “And it does star Chris Hemsdale, who is Thor and thus in the Avengers movie.”

    Chris Hemsworth. (Though not as bad as when one of my local papers got him mixed up with his brother Liam – in their Thor review).

    While I’ll probably never be satisfied with anyone other than Tobey Maguire as Spider-Man, I’d be a lot more optimistic if they were willing to continue from roughly where the Raimi movies left off continuity-wise, which Andrew Garfield is easily old enough for.

    I will say though that the Gwen Stacey character will probably be handled a lot better than she was in Spider-Man 3.

    For Godzilla, what gets me excited about David Goyer’s involvement is how certain elements of the original Gojira seem well-suited to him – mainly the complexity of the Serizawa-Emiko-Ogata love triangle and the moral dilemma over the Oxygen Destroyer, both of which bring to mind The Dark Knight. Of course, whether such a straight rehash would be a good thing is debatable – nevertheless I think he could make it work.

  • Reed

    A big reason that the studios love doing origin stories is that they involve a lot less expensive special effects shots than you need once the hero is all suped up and ready to go. Also, I think that they really believe that people won’t understand what’s going on unless it is explained to them in exhausting detail.

    I’m OK with this if the origin is part of the continuing plot (X-Men First Class and Iron Man, for example), but if all they are doing is explaining how a character got their power, well, I’m not sure anyone in a theater is really asking that question. What part did Green Lantern’s origin really play in the recent Green Lantern movie? Basically none as far as I’m concerned. I liked that movie, but the character goes from pussy to the greatest Green Lantern in about 30 minutes. Not really a great dramatic arc. They could have told his origin in a 5 minute flashback and just gotten on with business.

  • monoceros4

    I think every hack screenwriter these days thinks that the Hero’s Journey is the be-all and end-all of storytelling, especially in the fantasy or sci-fi genres. So we get nothing but origin stories because they afford the easiest way to retread all the Campbellian cliches.

  • Ericb

    “I think every hack screenwriter these days thinks that the Hero’s Journey is the be-all and end-all of storytelling”

    Plus any auteur worth their pretentions wounldn’t be satified playiing with someone else’s sloppy seconds.

  • This gets back to one of my longtime bugabooos, those screenwriting classes eveyrone takes these days. The scripts are further homogenized by the studios, largely to the same effect, so that standardization can get brutal.

    Goyer has been involved with scripts both good and bad. Frankly, I’m giving credit to the Dark Knight movies to Nolan, not Goyer. I’m not saying he’s a bad choice, but I again think he’ll probably be working under the director’s orders on this.

  • The Rev.

    Marsden: I’ve heard from pretty reliable sources that he’s got the webshooters back.

    How have I not heard about this del Toro movie until now?? I must know more!

  • Reed

    NPR had a fun, extremely quick little article on Ben and Tom, the guys who created Reno 911 and wrote Night at the Museum and some other movies that I can’t remember the titles of. They have apparently written a book entitled something to the effect of “How we made a billion dollars in Hollywood and you can too.” They made the point that standardization is an absolute requirement for success as a screenwriter in Hollywood, and drew a page by page parallel between Night at the Museum and Die Hard.

    So, yes. There you have it.

  • Foywonder

    Ken, you missed one major point about the new Spider-Man flick. This is no secret as the director even said so much in an interview. They’re trying to remake Spider-Man to be more like Twilight. That’s who they’re really targeting this time around. Part of the reason the rug got pulled out from under Sam Raimi’s feet on the franchise is because Sony decided the movies cost too much and didn’t like the direction he was taking things (word is the fourth Spider-Man Raimi had in mind would have seen John Malkovich as The Vulture and Mary Jane pregnant). When that fell apart the whole idea become to start over from scratch, shoot it for half the cost of the previous three films, and put a much heavier emphasis on Twilight-esque angst-ridden romance to more greatly appeal to tweeners and females. Anyone going to see this better expect a lot more romance and a lot less web-slinging. I’ve been joking for months that they should just call it Spiderlight. Heck, just look at how much they’ve tailored Peter Parker’s hairstyle to resemble Edward Cullen’s do.

    As for Escape From New York, wait about a year and I bet we’ll hear about a different studio plotting to remake it. Hollywood seems hellbent to remake every pre-Starman movie John Carpenter ever did. Just look at the trailer for the “prequel” to The Thing opening in October. It’s a prequel yet it looks suspiciously like the exact same movie beat-for-beat. I’ve already dubbed it as the beginning of what I suspect will become a new Hollywood trend: the premake.

  • BeckoningChasm

    The need to re-do the Spider-man origin baffles me. Unlike, say, thirty years ago, the Sam Raimi films are readily available for any interested teen to watch. Heck, they can probably download the blu-ray for free.

  • zombiewhacker

    I really don’t get all this hate over origin stories. Personally, I love watching a “how it all began” movie, whether it’s Batman or William Wallace or, as we saw recently with Casino Royale, James Bond.

    But whatever the studio’s reasons (I think Foywonder got it right) I still think it’s a mistake to reboot Spider-man so soon. If they really want to 2.0 a recent superhero movie, jeez, how about The Fantastic Four?

  • I’m not sure ‘hate’ the is the proper word (indeed, it’s now one of those words we as a culture should probably ban for a while). How about annoyance, or skepticism? Admittedly, there’s almost never a bad idea, it’s all in the execution. You can make a great origin movie.

    On the other hand, origin stories often tell us things we already now, at some length, and in many cases eat up a lot of screen time in the process. Now, I’ll admit that for Spider-Man I’m sort of a worst cases scenario, in that I’ve been reading comics and watching the myriad of Spider-Man adaptations–most various cartoon shows–since the ’60s, and have seen Spidey’s origin trotted out ad naseum. But the fact that the Raimi Spider-Man origin movie is only 10 years old means the vast majority of even norms now get “he was bit by a radioactive spider.”

    This ties into another general problem I have today; my oft stated complaint that films are more often than not too long. I’m really not sure I’d want to sit through another two-hour plus Spider-Man movie, but am more skeptical if forty minutes of that is taken up repeating things I’ve seen a dozen times in the past.

  • Reed

    I would argue that Casino Royale was very explicitly not an origin story. It doesn’t go at length into Bond’s military career, how he was raised by his maiden aunt, his training in the Secret Service, why he only dates married women… It intruduces us to the new Bond, but does not make us whatch a normal British citizen turn into James Bond, super ass kicker. It shows in quick flashback his first two kill assignments, but those take place long after he is actually an agent for the Secret Service. Mostly it just gets on with business. Despite this, it is very easy to understand why Bond is a hard drinking cynic who only dates married women prior to meeting Vesper without having to spell all of those details out.

    Unfortunately, since I have been watching Bond movies and reading Ian Flemming’s (and others) Bond stories for more than 30 years I may be filling in gaps that were not actually fleshed in so well during the movie. It’s nearly impossible to say. I don’t think so, though. I think the script got there on its own.

  • zombiewhacker

    I’m not sure we have to bear witness to every formative event in a character’s life in order for the movie to qualify as an origin film.

    Braveheart told Wallace’s story beginning to end, yet we never see a single scene depicting his adventures abroard after the death of his father, nor do we watch him progress from naive farmboy to cunning warrior under his Uncle Argyle’s tutelage.

    So I would still rate Casino Royale as an origin film, just not a hardcore, kitchen sink origin film, like say, Batman Begins.

    Casino Royale does depict Bond’s first mission as 007, after all, and it fills in all sorts of character details that we movie Bond fans were completely unaware of all these years. (For instance, I had no idea that Bond was an orphan.)