When it was first announced that the Spider-man franchise was going to be rebooted I thought it was ridiculous given that Spider-man 3 only came out in 2007. Sure, a new Spider-man film will rake in hundreds of millions no matter how good it is, but come on, give the public some time to breath and establish some new super hero franchises.
I would have readily accepted a reboot if the rights to Spider-man had been sold to a different production company who was now trying to cash in as soon as possible. But no, the franchise is still with Columbia Pictures. I guess it still makes sense for Columbia to milk Spider-man for all he's worth. They would have gladly made Spider-man 4, 5, 6, 7, to infinity, but Tobey Maguire's contract allowed him to leave after the third film and he did so. So then Columbia was left with an all-star franchise but no star. Rather than pick up where they left off with a new Peter Parker, they chose to go back to the beginning, which was a smart choice.
Now that I've spent two paragraphs talking about how bad this could be I should say that I am REALLY jazzed about this movie. As I learned more about it and casting news was released, I got more and more excited. The two main things I am overjoyed about are the cast and the writers.
Andrew Garfield (Peter Parker/ Spider-man)
Andrew Garfield has just burst onto the scene, and what an entrance he has made. For starters, the fangirl inside of me loves him for how adorable and charming he is, but the film critic side of me loves his talent. Before being cast as Peter, Garfield only had two main-stream roles on his resume. The first was that of Tommy in Never Let Me Go. Never Let Me Go is a beautiful film based on an even more beautiful book. I would highly recommend both, although I would suggest you read the book first. There are some incredibly amazing acting moments in that film. I have seen the movie SO many times and there is a scene towards the end that never ceases to break my heart. If you've seen the film, you'll know what I'm talking about, but I will not spoil it for people who haven't seen it. His second big role was that of Eduardo Saverin, Mark Zuckerberg's best friend, in The Social Network. Again, he has some incredible acting moments. Peter Parker is my favorite super hero because he is so normal. He's bullied in high school, he has a terrible job, he has difficulty getting the girl, and so on. I think Andrew Garfield will be able to bring the nerdy, shy aspects of Peter and the intense, determined aspects of Spider-man.
Emma Stone (Gwen Stacy)
Emma Stone is another fresh, young face to recently make it big in Hollywood. Her role as Olive in Easy A last year showed how she can reach both sides of the spectrum: She has incredible comedic timing, but she can also play the softer, more genuine moments too. In the previous Spiderman movies Peter's love interest was Mary-Jane Watson. In those films MJ was a combination of both Mary-Jane and Gwen from the comic books. In the comic books, Mary-Jane is the fun-loving party girl and Gwen is a bit more reserved and bookish and very intelligent, so the role Kirsten Dunst was playing was a combo of both women. Now we all know that Spider-man 3 was a complete mess because there were too many villians, Peter was unlikeable, the story was not well thought out, and there were too many explosions and not enough realistic dialogue. Despite all that, the thing that annoyed me the most was that Gwen Stacy was in the film. According to the timeline set out by the comic books, Gwen Stacy should not have been alive because she is killed by the Green Goblin. If Peter fights and kills the Green Goblin in the first film why is Gwen Stacy alive in the third film? Anyway, my knit-picking aside, I think Emma Stone will be a great Gwen Stacy.
Martin Sheen (Ben Parker)
I basically worship Martin Sheen. Everything he touches turns to gold in my eyes: Apocalypse Now, The Departed, The West Wing. I was probably most excited when I heard that he was cast as Uncle Ben. Uncle Ben needs to be strong, avuncular, and loving. Peter adores his uncle and at this point in his career, there is nothing Martin Sheen plays better that a loving father-figure. I'm sure he'll only have a few scenes in the film given that it's his death that is the starting point for Peter's choice to become Spider-man, but I have no doubt that Sheen will make the most of it.
(As a side-note, illegal on-set footage of the filming of Uncle Ben's death appeared on Youtube a few months ago and it was pretty impressive to see Andrew Garfield's and Martin Sheen's acting.)
The cast also includes Sally Field as Aunt May, Denis Leary as George Stacy, and Rhys Ifans as The Lizard/Dr. Conners. Of that list, I am most excited about Ifans. He has the most incredible range as an actor. You've probably seen some of his films without recognizing that it's the same actor. The most common example of that is that he plays Spike, the crazy roommate, in Notting Hill and he plays Xenophilius Lovegood in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I.
The screenplay for the film is written by Alvin Sargent and Steve Kloves. Sargent wrote the original trilogy, so we know he knows Spiderman well. And Kloves wrote all but one of the Harry Potter screenplays. Anyone who has seen the Potter films, especially the most recent one, knows that Kloves is a master at balancing action and emotion. He has an ear for witty dialogue and knows when to pack on the intensity. Could there be a more perfect union??
The film is set to come out on July 3, 2012. (Hence the name of this post.)
And now we wait....