A few months back I wrote about all the possibilities that Sam Raimi could bring to the table with a fourth Spider-Man film (you can read it here). Perhaps sadly, with the announcement that both Raimi and Tobery Maguire were leaving the franchise, we won’t see what Raimi would have done fourth time up at bat. No John Malkovitch as the Vulture…no Felicia Hardy/Black Cat. No larger role for Dylan Baker’s Doc Connors or one final appearance in a Spidey flick from Bruce Campbell.
Even with all of those lost possibilities, this Spider-Man fan is actually quite excited about where the franchise will go next. Rather than pick up where the previous three films left off, Sony is going to reboot the series and take Peter Parker back to high school, which is where it all began for the character and where many of his best moments have taken place in the comic books. I love this idea. Sure I enjoyed the previous films, even some of the goofier moments of the third film. But I’m also ready for a new, high school age Spider-Man. No offence to Maguire, who was great in the role, but he’s well into his 30’s now. Spider-Man at his best is a youthful bumbling guy in his teens or early 20’s who is trying to negotiate his life and his newfound powers. The whole “with great power comes great responsibility” are words to live by for all of us. but watching as a young Peter Parker try and live up to them himself has always been a compelling core aspect of the character.
One of the best overall Spider-Man series ever was Brian Michael Bendis’ Ultimate Spider-Man (ably illustrated by Mark Bagley and Stuart Immonen, it must be mentioned). For 9 years and 133 issues Bendis wrote the story of Parker/Spidey as if he was a teenager in the 21st century. It was an amazingly entertaining take on the character, who in the regular Marvel Universe has been married and worked as a teacher at his old high school. Not that there’s anything wrong with an adult Spider-Man – he works just fine in the contemporary Marvel U. But Bendis’ run on the series (which is continuing under another name) is by far the most entertaining take on the character in the past decade. The film producers would well to look to it for inspiration.
As for who could fill the tights of Spider-Man today, there’s one name being thrown around a bit in the media that I heartily agree with. Anton Yelchin, who stared in Terminator: Salvation and as Chekhov in JJ Abrams Star Trek reboot has the youth and acting chops that could make him a great Peter Parker. The questions is, can they geek him up a bit? My guess would be yes.
Whoever winds up as my favourite webslinger, I just hope it’s a good choice. And that they keep the bloody mask on during fight scenes. Is that too much to ask?