Despite mixed feelings towards the rushed reboot of Sony’s Spider-Man franchise, it is happening. Spider-Man 4 was canned and a reboot is on its way, set to release only one year off the mark for their planned release of the next installment. It will be based on a story that was already being worked on while Sam Raimi and co. were still on board.

What we knew about the reboot involved a younger Peter Parker back in high school and we heard rumors that Marc Webb was the leading contender for the directing gig. Now it has been confirmed and the (500) Days of Summer director will be bringing Peter Parker back to school as he’s now officially charged with helming the reboot.

This may not be too much of a surprise but it might be a slight disappointment for some. We knew a few days ago that Webb was sitting atop a shortlist of directors Sony Pictures had for the director’s chair with James Cameron, David Fincher and Wes Anderson apparently being some of the other candidates. We also knew that Matthew Vaughn (Kick-Ass) was dying for a chance at the job and some at Sony were in support of that idea because of how much of a hot item his high school based hero flick is becoming.

Vaughn, as we know, was initially in charge of bringing Thor to the big screen as well as X-Men 3 but neither of those happened for him and he made Kick-Ass on his own instead. By nature, Vaughn would be perfect for this job but I’m not so sure he and Sony would mesh together. Sony is obviously very controlling over what the next film must be, hence the farewell to Sam Raimi, and they already had screenwriter James Vanderbilt working on scripts for the next two Spidey films (Spider-Man 5 & 6) well before Raimi and Sony parted ways. These scripts were planned to be used as a reboot if Raimi and Tobey Maguire didn’t return for another after Spider-M4N.

Vaughn on the other hand made it clear what he wanted to do with Kick-Ass and that’s why they made it on their own, only to find a distributor later through a bidding war he started after the success of its panel presentation at last summer’s San Diego Comic-Con. I think Vaughn would like a lot of control of the Spidey film and its story and I’m not sure Sony is willing to give that up.

Enter young Marc Webb who has crazy talent for the character romance and comedy, no doubt why they’re bringing him in for the high school love rectangle stuff we’ll be seeing in the reboot. He’ll be eager and willing to follow Sony’s master plans but the problem for me is that is that they are seemingly focusing on re-hashing the origins of Spider-Man, something that’s still fresh in the minds of fans and moviegoers everywhere who saw Raimi’s Spider-Man just a few years ago.

The official press release is below but here’s a snippet from it:

The key for us as we sought a new director was to identify filmmakers who could give sharp focus to Peter Parker’s life. We wanted someone who could capture the awe of being in Peter’s shoes so the audience could experience his sense of discovery while giving real heart to the emotion, anxiety, and recklessness of that age and coupling all of that with the adrenaline of Spider-Man’s adventure.

Note the “so the audience could experience his sense of discovery” part… We’ve already done that. Many of us were hoping that the Spider-Man reboot would take the route of The Incredible Hulk and get right into the story with the protagonist already a web-slinger, not re-play how Bruce Banner became the Hulk. We all know Peter Parker got bitten by a radioactive/genetically enhanced spider and I’m not interested in seeing that again. I also think changing that origin wouldn’t help the film either. Perhaps they’ll change the web-shooters to something Parker creates artificially?

Here’s the official press release:

CULVER CITY, Calif., January , 2010 – Marc Webb, the director of the Golden Globe nominated Best Picture (500) Days of Summer,  will direct the next chapter in the Spider-Man franchise, set to hit theaters summer 2012, it was jointly announced today by Columbia Pictures and Marvel Studios.

Written by James Vanderbilt, Webb will work closely with producers Avi Arad and Laura Ziskin in developing the project, which will begin production later this year.

Commenting on the announcement, Amy Pascal, co-chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment, and Matt Tolmach, president of Columbia Pictures, said, “At its core, Spider-Man is a small, intimate human story about an everyday teenager that takes place in an epic super-human world. The key for us as we sought a new director was to identify filmmakers who could give sharp focus to Peter Parker’s life. We wanted someone who could capture the awe of being in Peter’s shoes so the audience could experience his sense of discovery while giving real heart to the emotion, anxiety, and recklessness of that age and coupling all of that with the adrenaline of Spider-Man’s adventure. We believe Marc Webb is the perfect choice to bring us on that journey.”

Arad and Ziskin added jointly, “Over the years, the Spider-Man comics have been told with bold and creative new writers and artists who have re-calibrated the way audiences see Peter Parker. Marc Webb will do for the new direction of the films what so many visionary storytellers have done with the comic books. He is an incredibly talented filmmaker and we look forward to working closely with him on this new adventure.”

Webb said, “This is a dream come true and I couldn’t be more aware of the challenge, responsibility, or opportunity. Sam Raimi’s virtuoso rendering of  Spider-Man is a humbling precedent to follow and build upon.  The first three films are beloved for good reason.  But I think the Spider-Man mythology transcends not only generations but directors as well.  I am signing on not to ‘take over’ from Sam.  That would be impossible.  Not to mention arrogant.  I’m here because there’s an opportunity for ideas, stories, and histories that will add a new dimension, canvas, and creative voice to Spider-Man.”

Stan Lee, co-creator of Spider-Man, added, “I’m excited that Sony has chosen a director with a real penchant and understanding for the character.  This is a brave, bold direction for the franchise, and I can’t wait to see what Marc comes up with next.”

Added Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige, “The idea of re-imagining the on-screen story for one of the world’s most iconic superheros is sure to deliver an exciting new dimension to Spider-Man fans everywhere.  There are volumes of comics and material available to inspire fresh and compelling takes on Peter Parker and his journey as Spidey and we look forward to seeing this come alive onscreen.”

Marc Webb has won acclaim with his film debut (500) Days of Summer. He has several MTV VMAs™ including 2009’s Best Director award for Green Day’s “21 Guns,” 2006 Best Rock Video for AFI’s “Miss Murder,” and Best Group Video for The All-American Rejects’ “Move Along.” The Music Video Production Association honored him in 2006 as the Director of the Year for his work with Weezer, AAR, and My Chemical Romance.

In addition to two Golden Globe nominations including Best Picture (musical or comedy), his first feature film, (500) Days of Summer, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel, has been nominated for three Independent Spirit Awards, including Best Feature.  Webb was also awarded the Spotlight Award, which honors outstanding directorial debuts, by the National Board of Review.

I’m sure Webb will nail the characters but he is untested in the action epic side of things. Let’s see if he can pull it off. The idea is for this film to launch another trilogy and Webb’s contract includes the usual multi-picture option.

Next up: Who plays Peter Parker? Is is Taylor Lautner? Jim Sturgess? Stay tuned for more on this soon from Screen Rant!

What do you think?

Ultimate Spider-Man (I’m just calling it that for fun as Webb digs the Ultimate version) is tentatively set for a summer 2012 release.

Source: Deadline Hollywood