Hey, folks! As you can tell by the headline, this will be an opinion piece. I don’t think I’ve written one before (laughs). I’m more of a fiction writer than a blogger. For this piece, though, I wanted to go a different way. I’m no authority among critics or anything, but I’m a big fan of superhero movies and a decent storyteller. So I wanted to share my opinion about the failure of the Spider-Man reboot films starring Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 wasn’t that bad of a movie. It still could have been better, though. I liked Garfield’s Spidey a lot better than Maguire’s. And Stone did such a good job as Gwen Stacy that I’ll have a tough time seeing another actress take that role. Ultimately, having a stellar cast wasn’t enough to save the franchise. Most of the issues were with storytelling. Here’s what I think could have made the film better:
1. Cut the nonsense about Oscorp’s involvement in the creation of Spider-Man and his entire rogues gallery.
The Spider-Man reboot films went too far in standing apart from Raimi’s franchise. Oscorp having a hand in the creation of Spider-Man and all of his enemies felt…strange. It would have been okay if that was done only once (the Lizard), but it was done with every other baddie (Electro, the Rhino, the Green Goblin). It was a long time ago that I read Spider-Man cartoons and watched TV shows, so I don’t remember much. Still, I’m pretty sure Oscorp didn’t send tons of baddies Spidey’s way. Here’s an article that goes into much broader detail about this issue.
2. Settle on just one or two villains for the whole film.
During marketing for The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Marc Webb promised that his movie wouldn’t make the same mistakes Spider-Man 3 did. Months later, we see the movie and guess what? Amazing Spider-Man 2 tripped over the same stone, but the fall felt harder. Sony tried to set up a shared movie universe, and in doing so sacrificed the quality of the story. The Rhino was funny, but he could and should have been omitted. Having Spider-Man chase some random criminal would have sufficed; it didn’t have to be Sytsevich. The inclusion of Alistair Smythe and Felicia Hardy didn’t really hurt the movie. Hardy would have been better off not being affiliated to Oscorp, though. And…what’s the deal with the shady guy in the hat?
3. Make Norman Osborn the original Green Goblin, instead of using Harry for that.
This is a thing about the movie that probably bothered quite a bit of fans. Norman was used as some sort of plot device. Apparently, a rare terminal disease affects the Osborn family. Norman succumbs to it, and Harry faces the same fate. The Spider-Man serum is later found to be a potential cure for the Osborn disease. This felt lazy. Why couldn’t Norman simply create his own cure? He’s more than smart enough. Norman, knowing him, could have used the formula as an excuse to give himself superpowers. Things would have gone awry, turning him into the Green Goblin. That scenario is sufficiently different from Raimi’s Spider-Man, and it’s not a huge departure from Norman’s origin story.
4. Do something different with the story of Peter Parker’s parents.
This is the part of Peter’s story that I’m the least familiar with. Still, like almost everything else, their disappearance had ties with Oscorp. Apparently, Richard Parker and his wife fled after discovering Norman Osborn’s research on biogenetics. Everything that Osborn was revealed to have been working on throughout the movie had the purpose of saving himself from dying. He also seems to have toyed with the idea of creating a team of supervillains or something. It’s all convoluted. I think it would have been better to have Richard and/or May be government agents. They may have been investigating Norman Osborn for his suspicious research on biogenetics or something. Osborn would have blown the Parkers’ cover, leading to their disappearance. This article points out interesting issues on the subject.
5. Use Gwen Stacy’s death as a better setup for the next movie.
Gwen Stacy’s death wasn’t part of the movie’s faults, in my opinion. It was a good way to pay homage to the story in the comics and to introduce Mary Jane in the next movie. If Gwen was kept alive, few things could have made Peter leave her for Mary Jane without making audiences hate him. The only fault was that Gwen’s death felt quite rushed. A better way to handle it would have been for Spider-Man to fight and defeat Electro just as he did. Norman Osborn (as the Green Goblin) could have witnessed it from afar, and left to formulate some plan. Next morning, or sometime after, he could have kidnapped Gwen. Maybe Osborn wanted to kill Spider-Man because of bitter feelings toward what his parents did in the past? Anyway, Norman kills Gwen, causing Peter to give up being Spider-Man. The movie ends (with Norman either fully healthy, or badly injured in the hospital). Then, in the next movie, Mary Jane Watson enters Peter’s life. She would have eventually restored Peter’s will to live, and inspired him to return as Spider-Man.
In the end, the failure of the Amazing Spider-Man franchise wasn’t so bad after all. Marvel’s negotiation with Sony was excellent news for movie fans. Spidey will finally join the Marvel Cinematic Universe! Soft-rebooting the character is a great way to introduce him. The way the Amazing Spider-Man films went, it would have been hard to come up with a reason why Parker wasn’t in the Battle of New York or the War against Ultron. The filmmakers want the new Spider-Man to be high-school age. This is a perfect way to explain why Parker hasn’t been around until now: he only just gained his superpowers. It’s sort of like Skye/Daisy Johnson’s recent transformation. Not all superheroes gained their powers at the same time.