The new full-length trailer for The Amazing Spider-Man is now online on YouTube.
At first glance, I am not as excited by this as I thought I would be. The first and obvious reason is why go back to Peter Parker’s origin as Spidey? Sam Raimi did that brilliantly in his Spider-Man (2002).
I know, I know. Marc Webb (no, really, that’s the director’s name) has said he is not copying Raimi’s original. This is the “untold story”. In the comics, Peter’s parents were secret agents (hey, Wikipedia says so) so we might be going down that road.
Plus, Peter is less the geek and more the loner in this story, it seems.
But do we need this change?
What makes Spider-Man such an enduring character and Raimi’s first two movies (we’ll ignore Spider-Man 3) so successful are (1) a sense of fun and (2) they’re not about Spider-Man. Like what Christopher Nolan is doing with Batman, the stories are about the man under the mask. Peter was always struggling with school, girls, a job, his ailing Aunt May and more. All the while, he felt compelled to be Spider-Man to protect the innocent. Not for revenge like Batman, but because he could. And because he could, he had to. The death of Uncle Ben propels him, but Peter never sits around brooding like Bruce Wayne. It is Uncle Ben’s lessons, not his death, that had the biggest impact on Peter.
Raimi and Tobey MaGuire’s interpretation was spot on for every nerd who ever craved to be strong. Not for strength’s sake, but to make a difference. Where bullies use their size for their own selfish gains, inside every nerd is someone who wants to make a difference. (Joe Johnston’s Captain America echoes this.)
Is that this Peter Parker?
He might be. But is seems while the nerd is an old stereotype, here we have the slightly-emo loner & outcast. This is a new stereotype, played most often in vampire fiction. But like the original nerd Peter, this trailer suggests that the loner Peter Parker becomes the familiar wise-cracking wallcrawler. And while the famous “With great power…” line is never spoken, it is certainly suggested: “I have to stop him because I created him.”
But what’s lacking here is a sense of fun. Watch Raimi’s first two Spider-Man movies. Even the scene in the hospital where Doc Ock kills the surgical team trying to remove his tentacles is both shocking and hilarious (and one of the greatest Evil Dead throwbacks ever). There seems to be a lot of big action scenes in this trailer (what would you expect, right?) without too much humor. (Yes, the line about would a cop wear a red and blue suit is funny.)
I hope Webb delivers a new take on the Webhead that still respects everything that makes the iconic character great. I’m not feeling it in this trailer, but there’s plenty of time to go.