The cast and crew of Sony's Spider-Man reboot, The Amazing Spider-Man, are getting ready to wrap up filming in Los Angeles next month and I can't think of another recent comic book movie that's given fans such an unrestricted peek behind the curtain of production. As a result, I'm also hard-pressed to name one that has fallen under as much scrutiny.
Marc Webb's 3D re-imagining of the character has made controversial decisions in its casting, its costumes, and in the depiction of its antagonist. There may be a groundswell of skepticism surrounding the film, but there are still a few Spidey fans that are excited to see a grittier and back-to-basics take on the Web-head. Sony must feel incredibly optimistic about what they've seen of the film so far, because they're already getting the ball rolling on its follow-up.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, screenwriter James Vanderbilt met with studio executives yesterday to get the thumbs up for his take on The Amazing Spider-Man sequel - and today he's evidently hard at work on the script.
Vanderbilt has a long-standing relationship with Sony and the Spider-Man franchise. Before the studio decided to go the reboot route, he worked on the scripts for what would have become Spider-Man 4 & 5 - and his character-driven approach to the story made enough of an impression that he was later asked to bring those same sensibilities to The Amazing Spider-Man. Alvin Sargent (who worked on Spider-Man 2 & 3) and Steve Kloves (Harry Potter) went on to make revisions to Vanderbilt's original draft.
Vanderbilt's past credits include The Rundown, Zodiac, and The Losers. He also wrote the upcoming comedy Glide and was recently brought aboard Len Wiseman's Total Recall remake to polish up that film's script.
This development isn't likely to change the minds of anyone who has already decided to write the film off, but it's still a legitimate sign of Sony's faith in the project - and in Vanderbilt as a writer. It's also not unheard for a studio to prepare for a potential franchise - Warner Bros. took the exact same approach with Green Lantern by hiring Michael Goldenberg to begin writing that film's sequel while it was still in production.
Again, this level of enthusiasm is certainly encouraging - but effective sequels typically take note of what elements worked in the original film and more importantly - which ones didn't. Does it matter that Vanderbilt can't possibly make that sort of analysis before The Amazing Spider-Man has even been completed?
To be honest, I'm not sure I really understand the level of hate this film has been receiving. The behind the scenes photos definitely aren't the most flattering images, but I thought the costume looked pretty decent in context. There are some major deviations from the previous design, but it's still immediately recognizable as Spider-Man - at least to me.
And you know what? I hated Batman's costume in Batman Begins and The Dark Knight from the moment I saw the first photos of them right up until I saw the finished films. I still think they're terrible - but they had little to no impact on my enjoyment of the film as a whole. I completely understand why fans get so passionate about these choices - but I think once we see the first trailer for The Amazing Spider-Man, a lot of people might start to come around.
The Amazing Spider-Man hits 2D and 3D theaters on July 3, 2012.