Thursday, February 3, 2011

Your Friendly, Neighborhood Hipster: The Indie-fication of Peter Parker & Spider-man

Spider-man is getting rebooted, and man, I am freaking ecstatic.

I liked the first two Raimi-Maquire Spider-man films, but — especially with Spider-man 3 — the time to bring in new creators to do a fresh rendition of the Spider-man saga is a long time coming. And the powers that be have assembled one sick crew to take out this latest version.

Hello Marc Webb, yes, you can totally sign on to direct “Untitled Spider-man Reboot”. Name sound familiar? Odds are you’ve probably seen one of the fifty music videos he’s directed over the past ten years. Or maybe you’ve seen (500) Days of Summer? The film that was turned into a hit through the backing and love of a generation. There’s one consistent quality that defines Webb: clever. Clever, over and over; his videos show it, (500) Days especially shows it. I mean just look at this old MCR music video, it’s just goofy fun. And the main aspect that has to be right in a Spider-man film? Spider-man has to be smart-ass. Webb’s got that in the bag no sweat.

And then Andrew Garfield signed on. Some consider him to be the best part of the Social Network (I’m one of those people), most consider him a really hot British import (mostly girls). Either way, he’s talented and attractive. And he clearly has the ability to make little quip-y remarks while bashing people up, and he certainly as the capacity to act like a angst-filled teenager (this Spider-man is going to be set in high school). If you don’t really understand what I’m saying just go see The Social Network — really, again if you’ve seen it before. There’s not really anyone I can think of that be better to play Peter Parker than Garfield.

And then they got Emma Stone to play Gwen Stacy, who’s proven more than once that she can be a witty love interest (Superbad, Zombieland, Easy A). Also, did you know she’s a natural blond? Really, she is. Then they got Martin Sheen to play Ben Parker and Sally Field (Mrs. Gump in Forest Gump, the mom in Steel Magnolias) to play May Parker, Peter’s main parental figures and in pretty much every way the perfect parent figures. This really is the best casting ever. I’m not even pissed that Denis Leary is playing Gwen’s Dad. Mostly because I know he’s the perfect guy to play a New York dad and Police officer, and I don’t think I hate any more than Dennis Leary expect for, like, one other person in the world.

Even the villain — Dr. Curt Conners, the lizard — is perfect based solely on the fact that Spider-man and a man sized lizard can totally just slug it out in an even, fist to fist fight (plus claws, tail, and webbing).

But the main thing I’m curious about Spider-man-teen-version; is Peter Parker going to listen to New Order or The Smiths and longingly look at Gwen? Is the soundtrack going to be a little indie mix-tape, and is there going to be little references to Springsteen and epiphanies resulting from watching The Graduate? Is this going to be Spider-man saturated with a substantial amount of pop-culture references? I sure hope so. As a pop-culture nerd and comic nerd, that’s pretty much my dream. Webb has worked with music pretty much all his career and the soundtrack for (500) Days soundtrack has become synonymous with the film. So, I assume the soundtrack will be at least feature some sort of indie-collection of pretty cool tracks.

Maquire does not get this Smiths reference.
At this time, I just want to say — despite using the word twice in the previous paragraph and in the title — I hate using the word indie as an adjective. Yet, I’m using it here. I’m a hypocrite sometimes.

Anyway, the cast and crew of “Untitled Spider-man Reboot” are doing a very smart thing: they’re keeping the film unconventional. They’re not going with the traditional villains and Mary Jane isn’t around. And by staying away from the norms, they’re freeing themselves from the limitations of the expectations placed by the previous films, which is a smart, smart move. They can carve out their own story and play to their own abilities without the worry of comparison. Oh, those smart people… I’m smiling right now.

And with that, I wait for the film. Just like all of you. I hope you’re excited as I am.

Joel Samson Berntsen (Friendly Ghost - Harlem)   

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