Sunday 18 March 2018

James Dempsey: Well hello there Spiderman ... haven’t we met somewhere before?

A scene from The Amazing Spiderman
A scene from The Amazing Spiderman

PERHAPS - four days before The Amazing Spiderman comes swinging into cinemas across the globe, hoping massive numbers fly directly into its web to justify Sony’s reboot of a franchise that was one of the most successful transitions from comic book to silver screen ever - you find yourself wondering whether this is something you’ve seen before?

On a figurative level, of course it is. It was only back in 2002 that Sam Raimi’s version of Marvel’s friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man broke box office records with its six-packed Tobey Maguire, nipply Kirsten Dunst and cameo-laden origin tale of Peter Parker’s web-slinging superheroics. Combined with the 2004 sequel – bigger set-pieces, better villain, fewer nipples – we can see not only the origins of the franchise, but also the roots of the nascent trend of comic book superhero flicks that have come to dominate movie screens for the past decade.

And then it all went a bit pear shaped, falling foul of the notorious curse of the threequel; Spider-Man 3, a bloated mess of a follow-up, with Raimi shoehorned by the studio into including Venom – a villain made of highly marketable and merchandisable intergalactic space goo, boring space goo at that – two other villains, love woes, professional rivalries, a new love interest, Broadway flopping, a fringe and more of Aunt May’s sermonising than was really necessary. Despite poor reviews, the film was the most successful of the series, taking in a massive $890m at the global box office.

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