|Posted by James on July 10, 2012 at 11:55 AM|
What the fuck, people!?
Two years ago I wrote an article defending Sam Raimi and criticizing Sony’s decision to reboot the Spider-man franchise. The comment board was filled with support for the Evil Dead director. While everyone agrees that Spider-man 3 was a misstep, we all recognized it had less to do with Raimi than with studio tampering, and no one (and I mean no one) wanted to see the old web head start from scratch.
Oh what a difference a critically acclaimed reboot makes. The Amazing Spider-man is a hit - the critics love it, audiences love it. You know what that means! Time to start bashing the Raimi films!
Ten years ago Tobey Maguire was the “perfect Spider-man,” according to many fans. Now he’s a hammy hack who was miscast from day one. Doc Ock was “one of the great super villains in cinema” when Spider-man 2 was released. Now Alfred Molina is remembered as having failed with a capitol F. Raimi’s bright color palette and light touch with the material was seen as a breath of fresh air a mere decade ago. Now the Spider-man trilogy is remembered as being cheesy, and anyone who doesn’t embrace Spidey’s new, darker tone is an idiot.
Look, I understand that times change, styles are updated, and tastes differ. I get that. ...But the first Spider-man is only ten goddamn years old! Spider-man 2 is only eight! These are not cellphones we’re talking about, for Christ’s sake! These are movies! Cinema! Art! Never in my life have I seen audiences turn on once beloved films simply because a new, shinier version is presented to them.
I haven’t seen The Amazing Spider-man. I have no interest in it. Not because I’m some douchy Raimi purist, pouting over my beloved Sammy being booted off the saga. The trailers didn’t wow me, I don’t like the suit, the cast doesn’t impress me, and the tone of the film feels off to me. When it comes out on DVD I’ll rent it, but I have no desire to plunk down good money to see another Spider-man origin story.
You know, I kind of hate movie audiences in this day and age. Avatar came out and everyone shit themselves, they loved it so much. I didn’t read a single negative review or comment during that films opening weekend. Two years and a couple billion dollars later and Avatar is one of the most hated movies in all of geekdom. No one will even admit the movie had good effects any more.
While that irks me, this whole Spider-man thing is worse, because I’ve seen it before and I know I’ll see it again. Tim Burton’s Batman was remembered as a classic of 80s cinema, as influential a movie to that decade as Star Wars was to the 70s. The Nolan movies come out and suddenly Burton’s vision was pure shit - every performance an atrocity, every plot point a crime against film. Anyone want to bet that Richard Donner and Christopher Reeve are in for a similar thrashing next year when Man of Steel debuts?
Then there’s Bryan Singer’s X-Men...oh, don’t even get me started on Bryan Singer’s X-Men! That movie premiered, like Spider-man, a mere decade before its “re-imagining” at the hands of Matthew Vaughn. As with Spider-man, X-Men had a superior sequel, once hailed by Wizard Magazine as the “greatest superhero movie of all time.” As with Spider-man, Batman, and Superman the Movie, X-Men helped launch the comic book film genre, and was beloved by fans of all ages.
Then along came X-Men: First Class, one of the most overrated movies in recent memory (in my humble opinion). Despite a couple of sterling lead performances by James McAvoy and the always impressive Michael Fassbender, First Class was a fairly forgettable movie. The team of X-Men assembled were given little to no character development, Kevin Bacon was painfully miscast as the lead villain, January Jones was so one note and boring as Emma Frost I wondered if I was watching a puppet, and the movie infuriatingly could not decide if it was a continuation of Singer’s X-Men films or a reboot, so it just sort of mashed the two concepts together.
But all was forgiven when X-Men: First Class arrived. Vaughn’s film was without flaw, while Singer’s once classic double feature was looked upon with burning hatred by fanboys everywhere. Hell, even movie critics have all become fanboys. The same critics who praised Singer’s X-men, Burton’s Batman, and Raimi’s Spider-man now tear them to pieces while reviewing the new films.
This isn’t about fanboy ire or me being an old fuddy duddy clinging to the past. I mentioned cellphones above - that’s what movies are becoming. We love our cell phones. We marvel at all the new features, all the cool apps, the slick new design. Six months later the newer models are out, and suddenly we hate our cellphone! They’re junk! They’re shit! They barely work!
Is that what we want to have happen to an art form like cinema? Do we need to update books like 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die every few years so we can boot out original films and replace them with their reboots? Hell, I’m not saying there isn’t room for both in such a book. If Amazing Spider-man is as awesome as they say, than maybe it deserves a slot in such a book. But that doesn’t mean you kick out Spider-man and Spider-man 2 to make room.