Hollywood is known for many things, but originality is not one of them. That’s why, year after year, we are treated to hordes of sequels, reboots (especially ‘gritty’ ones), remakes, ‘re-imaginings’, prequels, and spin-offs.
It’s only been four years since the last movie in the Spider-Man franchise came out, and already, a reboot is in the works. Spider-Man is coming back to the big screen ,this time sans Tobey McGuire and Kirsten Dunst. In a way, it’s almost shameless. Hollywood no longer has to even try to produce quality blockbusters anymore. They have the ability to produce sequels year after year, carrying on until all they have sucked all the creative juice from their franchise (like sucking all the flavoring out of your snow cone, if you will), and then, when audiences start to grumble, they wait a few years and then reboot the series and start all over. Now, it seems they’ve decided to stop even bothering to wait. It’s been less than four years since the last Spider-Man movie, and already a new one is slated for release next year. Ironically enough, it wasn’t originally going to be a reboot. It was going to be another sequel, but the director of the first three Spider-Man films, Sam Raimi, backed out of the project because he felt he couldn’t make a sequel in the time frame given to him without sacrificing creative integrity.
So now we have Spider-Man version 2.0 (in 3D, of course). On the bright side, actor Andrew Garfield, notable for his performance as Mark Zuckerberg’s friend-turned-enemy Eduardo Saverin in the Social Network, will be portraying the titular character. Though he is hardly an imposing figure, he seems to have a few acting chops, and the fact that he was chosen over more well-known (and well-lusted-after) names like Robert Pattinson or Taylor Lautner may indicate that the filmmakers are actually interested in storytelling. Or maybe they just figure Spider-Man in 3D will make big bucks regardless of who the star is.
It’s too early to tell if the movie will be good or bad, but I have to wonder if it was really necessary at all. Spider-Man 3 wasn’t exactly a stellar achievement of filmmaking, but was the old series really so bad that it needed to be re-made after only four years? Is this the future of summer blockbusters? Will we be reduced to watching the same franchises endlessly, year-after-year, like hamsters running through a wheel? I hope the answer is no, but things aren’t looking good.
It’s not that all the sequels and so-on or bad, but who wouldn’t like to see more blockbusters like Inception or Kick-Ass? Someone ought to tell the studios that it’s better to make one great franchise than ten mediocre ones.