Now, this could change within seconds after I post this, but for the time being it looks like Josh Hutcherson, the 18-year-old star of… something, I’m sure… is going to be the next Spider-Man in director Marc Webb’s franchise reboot, and I’m left wondering if all this VERY young blood is good for the franchise, which is very close to my heart.
After all, Spider-Man has been my hero since I picked up The Spectacular Spider-Man #231 at the Walgreen’s by my house in February, 1996. That was first grade, folks. That issue, among tons of other mid-’90s issues of Spider-Man and X-Men, still resides in my blue Batman: The Animated Series backpack I’ve had since kindergarten.
As you can tell, I grew up with the webslinger, and I was quite pleased with the first two Sam Raimi-directed films in the series, before the atrocious third offering, which was ruined by too much studio interference (and Topher Grace). I didn’t think Raimi deserved to go, but alas, he did, and that’s when Sony brought (500) Days of Summer director Webb aboard to redo the entire thing with a new cast by bringing Spidey back to high school.
That’s all well and good, but I’ve seen nothing from anyone involved, unless you count this Green Day video Webb did back in the day.
The man’s got some talent based on those nifty little slow-mo parts, but it doesn’t speak to his ability to choreograph crazy aerial fight scenes or anything like that. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt, though, based on reviews of (500) Days of Summer. It seems Webb will be able to get to the bottom of who Peter Parker is as a person, which is always a good sign that a summer blockbuster won’t just be about the spectacle.
It’s Hutcherson’s casting which leaves me a little more scared. He’s got the right look and is actually still in his teens, so there won’t be any of the usual people-in-their-thirties-playing-teenagers stuff going on, but the only time I’ve ever seen him on-screen is in TV previews for Journey to the Center of the Earth, which, like most things involving Brendan Fraser, looked awful.
The kid must have some chops, or else he wouldn’t have received the role. He’ll have to bulk up a lot, though, to look like a super hero.
My main hope for the newbies involved is that they don’t just do another lazy retelling of Spider-Man’s origin story, especially since the first movie only came out in 2002. Audiences are not stupid and they don’t need to be given a slight variation on something they saw very recently.
Hopefully the rumors are true that the Lizard will be the bad guy for the reboot and it will involve Peter, already with his powers, working for the Daily Bugle and dealing with being a kid with superpowers, how all the best classic Spider-Man stories were told.
I’m sure the studio’s done its homework with tons of screen testing for Hutcherson and I bet Webb gave a great pitch to get his version off the ground, but I can’t help but be a little worried the film franchise of my favorite hero of all time will be going down the drain, Batman & Robin-style.