Words by Matt Smart
Spidey has swung on to our screens (warning, terrible puns ahead), several times over the last ten years. It seems only fitting that in anticipation of The Amazing Spider-Man 2, and with the new trailer being released, that I share my own hopes and trepidations for the sequel. Will Andrew Garfield don the tights with style and finesse? Or will we be sat sulking, wondering what could have gone so wrong?
1. No more second rate villains
The Amazing Spider-Man saw a reinterpretation of the classic origin story, and praise for Garfield’s portrayal of the sharp tongued wall-crawler. Focusing largely on Oscorp and its shadowy past with the Parker family, this time around, things became gritty.
So why-o-why did we need The Lizard as our villain? He was never that imposing to Spidey, not intellectually anyway. As a combatant, I want to see an enemy who uses his physical prowess and his mind to trick our hero. Any comic book fanatic will tell you Spidey’s weakness is his responsibility to protect the public. If the writers had stressed the relationship between Connors and Parker as something more than acquaintances, then we could justify the need for a villain close to our hero’s heart. Instead we get a divergence into the Osborn corporation. Is that the best way to reboot a franchise? To focus on the conglomerate rather than individual story? And while I am nitpicking, I recall The Lizard still wore his white lab coat during his fights- a constant reminder of his devastating transformation from Dr Connors to reptilian monster.
2. Where is Mary Jane?
As I recall watching the original, there was no mention of Mary Jane Watson. A character who dominates the Spider-man story, yet she seems to be absent from the “Amazing” universe. Granted, Sam Raimi already used her in the Parker-Osborn-Watson love triangle in his trilogy, but is that enough justification to omit her completely? After all, Spider-Man without Mary Jane is like Superman without Lois Lane, or strawberries without cream. They inevitably come together. I am not even suggesting she should become the new damsel in distress, just some mention of her will be fitting for the upcoming film.
3. Stan Lee.
It goes without saying he will make a cameo appearance in the new film. Touch wood there is some terrible reason he can’t appear. But again, like the Mary Jane argument, his face is as synonymous to Marvel as the Spider-man emblem itself.
4. Avengers 2 with Spidey?
The announcement of the Superman vs. Batman film scheduled for next year has come with its own surge of controversy. It seems only fair that Spider-Man deserves his crossover treatment in 2015. Even X-Men’s Days of Future past will contend with an ensemble cast. Big names like Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellan, James McAvoy, Hugh Jackman and Michael Fassbender, will pave the way for a true spectacle. So with X-Men’s internal crossover, and Avengers tapping into every other Marvel franchise, I have come to the conclusion that Garfield needs to swing on set for the upcoming movie.
Does this mean Ant-Man will swarm the movie too?
This title of the section leaves little to be explained. Garfield delivers a great version of Spider-Man that feels original and slick. Tobey Maguire previously delivered a familiar, and somehow awkward Peter Parker that was a chore to watch. Considering Garfield’s filmography, demonstrating a versatile acting style, he will no doubt bolster a character of ambiguity and suffering alongside a wit that feeds into the original Spider-Man-villain rapport. Introducing Jamie Foxx to the mix, we can expect nothing less than extravagant action sequences – like those we’ve seen in the trailer, featuring Spidey weaving between electricity pylons. Foxx and Garfield will no doubt produce a “well-charged” camaraderie. Proving that Spidey and Garfield are both bad-asses in their own right. Plus, the actor is going out with Emma Stone off screen! So much for being a “web-head”.
6. What about Richard Parker?
As the crux for the first film’s narrative, we have continually asked who Peter’s father was? What was he working on? Will Peter ever know the full truth?
Needless to say we will be teased over the next film with some insights, and assuredly be dumbfounded by the revelations. I am by no means a Spider-Man comic enthusiast (so my knowledge is limited), but what I would like to see is nothing too far from believable. If Marvel could somehow connect to Weapon X from X-men, or the Avengers initiative or another approaching villain for an upcoming third instalment, then I for one will be an elated fan. If all is revealed for this film alone; in respects of Mr Parker single handedly developing Electro or Rhino technology, I will be sorely disappointed in such obvious writing.
7. Can Dane DeHaan deliver as the new Green Goblin?
What I am slightly confused by is Harry Osborn as the Green Goblin, when there is no prior mention of Norman Osborn as the villain’s predecessor. Columbia could be keeping an eerie canonisation from the Raimi trilogy, insofar as they are following the events of the third film’s conclusion. This is flawed, considering Harry’s death in the third part. But it seems more likely Marc Webb (aptly chosen director if I might say), is gliding over Norman’s story to uphold the orphan narrative. Peter Parker, as the orphaned teenager compelled by a need to investigate his father’s lost legacy. And Harry Osborn, a child of wealth and prestigious power, struggling to keep his father’s fortune alive.
Since DeHaan’s breakout performance in Chronicle, the actor has pulled his way through the ranks, cementing himself as a worthy, top-budget actor. His countenance alone is striking and maniacal, which suffice to say will add a depth of loveable hatred to the Goblin. I will however concede the impossibility of DeHaan as the purely outlandish, utterly insane villain that Willem Dafoe and James Franco both exemplified, with their “gassed” up Goblin. Only seasoned and leading actors seem to possess those qualities capable of memorable performances.
8. Is that an armoured Rhino I see before me?
From the most recent trailer, it seems my previous hope for no second rate villains has been answered. Paul Giamatti will play the archetypal villain, trudging from weedy stature to immense power by accessing the Rhino suit. Let us hope three very different villains on screen can be balanced adequately; the brute (Rhino), the conjurer (Electro) and the manipulator (Harry Osborn).
A step in the right direction by the producers, to not only cash in on the villains we have not seen before, but to also expand their origins as well. Rhino used to remain a man implanted into a synthetic suit that increased his muscle mass, and thereby his strength and speed to monolithic proportions. Now it would appear the armoured mech version has it’s début in conjunction with Columbia’s battle with Warner Bros. A need to compete with the recent giant mech monster fighting Pacific Rim (2013) and upcoming monster epic Godzilla (2014) has swerved Columbia in the general direction of the one man piloted mechanics, using Rhino as a test subject. Should we naively accept this as a contemporary twist on the Rhino character? Or rather a keen ploy to exploit the growth in Japanese inspired mechs? Needless to say, it will be interesting to see the extent Columbia will push this trope. I for one am happy to see what havoc ensues – including Rhino destruction of NYC.
Matt is a final year MMU student studying English and Film. When he is not stressing over dissertation he is at the cornerhouse or reading Batman comics. Preferably with a glass of whisky. You can follow him on Twitter and follow his blog here.