Somewhere, Dylan Baker is weeping. On Monday, Sony announced that Rhys Ifans had been cast as the villain in their Spider-Man reboot - but they decided not to reveal who exactly he'd be playing. The temptation to sit back and watch as fans speculated over the possibilities probably proved to be too strong.
As it turns out, we didn't have to wait that long for an answer. The Wrap has confirmed that Ifans will play Dr. Curt Connors/The Lizard in director Marc Webb's 3D reinvention of Spider-Man. While The Lizard was mentioned as a potential adversary back in June, recent rumors suggested that Venom or Electro were candidates as well.
However, there was one particular quote from Webb that seemed to tip the scales in The Lizard's favor:
"What sets the Spider-Man villains apart is the complexity of their relationships with Peter Parker. Rhys’ incredible ability to embody both warmth and rage makes him the ideal choice for this character."
While I'm still excited about Ifans' participation, I'll admit that I have mixed feelings about this. Rumors persist that the Spider-Man reboot is actually set in college, not high school. The inclusion of Connors supports this - unless they've altered his origin as a college professor for the film. I'm not totally against them changing Connor's profession (the Spectacular Spider-Man cartoon revamped it while preserving Parker and Connors' relationship), but I think I would take issue with Parker becoming Spider-Man in college rather than high school.
The other potential downside to this is that a Spider-Man vs. The Lizard story would have had so much more impact if they'd introduced the Connors character before turning him into a villain. Sam Raimi had the right idea by giving Connors a supporting role in Spider-Man 2 & 3 and leaving the door open for an appearance from The Lizard in subsequent films.
Ifans is a terrific actor and I'm optimistic about Andrew Garfield as Spidey as well, but in my opinion there's just no way this showdown is going to have the same weight to it that a Tobey Maguire/Dylan Baker face-off would have had.
Also, is this not a total slap in the face to Raimi and co.? Didn't the studio tell him he wasn't allowed to use The Lizard in Spider-Man 4 because they wanted a villain with a human face? Seems like a really expensive and time consuming way to wind up right back where you started (if those reports were indeed true).
Here's my biggest issue with this, though - from the beginning we've been promised that this reboot will be a completely different take on Spider-Man mythology and have little in common with Raimi's films. However, a story about a guy who acts as a mentor to Peter turning into his enemy is ground that has already been well-covered in the first two Spider-Man movies. When they tried to give us another sympathetic villain with The Sandman in Spider-Man 3, it just felt like we'd already been there and done that.
At the moment, this seems less like the breaking of new ground and more like a variation on the same old theme. Hopefully, I'm wrong and they've got a few tricks up their sleeve that will help the new Spider-Man stand on its own. If you ask me, not enough time has passed for them to use the same template Raimi already utilized to great effect.
Source: The Wrap
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