Posts Tagged ‘Anti-Hero’

Happy “Tobey Maguire is No Longer Spider-Man Day” Everyone!

January 11, 2010

Today, January 11th, 2010, we learned that talks have fallen through with Raimi and the studios and that the director of the first three Spider-chronicles will not return to direct the fourth.  With him, he is taking the principle cast of at least Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst.  And it looks like 2010 is already shaping up to be the breath of fresh air that we had all been anticipating it to be!  Maguire as a casting choice has always struck me as an irritating and awkward move.  While I obviously understand that I am in the minority on this issue, I have still never fully understood the draw that Maguire brings to the franchise.  Short of physically semi-resembling the character of Peter Parker, and having an impressive resume of The Cider House Rules and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas at the time of casting, Tobey Maguire plays the character of Peter Parker as everything he was not.  Quiet, one-dimensional, and purely reactionary in his civilian life.  The character of Peter Parker functions as a largely ascerbic, sardonic, loud-mouthed little punk who lucked out BIG TIME in the superhero lottery after being bitten by a radioactive spider.  In his origin story, Spider-Man is actually a bit of a primadonna.  He lets his new-found fame get to him and allows a common criminal to easily slip right by him which (spoiler alert for all of you who have never watched TV/read a comic before) leads to the death of his dear Uncle Ben.  This act alone launches him into a quest for vengeance and justice that spurs the character’s heroic, good-natured tendencies and pushes the super-hero narrative further.

Maguire is none of those things.  He is quiet, brooding, introverted, and almost inept to social conventions.  While he can be a talented actor, it is clear that Maguire had no previous connection to the character before the script and decided to dote more on Parker’s nerdiness than his actual inherent bravado and surrogate machismo.  Rather than portray the wise-cracking, originally anti-heroic Parker of the comics, Maguire crafted his own, dulled-down rendition.  Which simply didn’t work.

This has been my problem with the franchise from the beginning.  Along the way, Kirsten Dunst has always failed to capture the iconic femme fatale that Mary Jane Watson always embodied and the awkward and unsubtle mix-up of the classic storyline, i.e. Gwen Stacy coming in AFTER Mary Jane, Mary Jane marrying Jameson’s son, etc., etc., are all further problems that left me fully disenfranchised by the series.  Then, of course, there’s Venom.  One of Spider-Man’s greates foes and a treat that fan-boys have waited years to see onscreen.  I won’t even go into the shortcomings that were apparent from that endeavor.  However, that does launch me into the short list of praise that I had for the now-defunct franchise.  While it did very little right, Raimi’s three picture chronicle DID manage to produce certain elements of the story perfectly.  Mostly, Alfred Molina was a WONDERFUL Doc Octopus, and his story was quite well-done, also.  Willem Dafoe performed well as the Green Goblin and James Franco nicely assisted in his role of Harry Osbourne.  Also, J.K. Simmons is as close to J. Jonah Jameson as we will ever actually get onscreen, and I ADORE every minute of screen time he received.  And in a moment of wishful thinking, I’d like to acknowledge Topher Grace who was COMPLETELY ERRONEOUSLY cast as Venom.  While totally inappropriate as the muscle-head photographer Eddie Brock, Grace COULD have been the quintessential Peter Parker, and yet EVERYONE seems to have simply breezed over this.  Grace has the perfect dry, sarcastic wit and persona to match Parker’s fluently.  His appearance is even more Parker-esque than Maguire.  With a slightly more kinetic/frenetic dispostition, Grace would have been PERFECT for the role.  But these are all events that never transpired…

I have had an outspoken hatred for this franchise for the longest time, as I do with almost ALL superhero franchises (X-Men, The Punisher, Watchmen, Superman Returns, Daredevil, Elecktra, etc., etc.), which is fueled from my LOVE of each original franchise (did I mention that I’m a nerd?).  So this news marks a new holiday for me!  Yay!  The news that is circling the intranets is that a reboot of the franchise is now slated for 2012 (you didn’t actually think that Sony would just leave this prospect dead in the water, did you?  There’s MONEY to be made!).  So what I thought I would never see in the next ten years (the spidey-saga rebooted) I will see in three!  SOOOOOOOOO EXCITED!  As always, below is a link to /Film’s article on the subject.  And even below that is some shameless self promotion.  Feel free to comment all over about how foolish I am for not seeing the “raw potential” that Tobey Maguire has been “wowing” audiences with for the past 8 years.

/Film

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