News recently broke that the next Spiderman will be played by Tom Holland.
My immediate reaction was, meh. I know nothing of him, and from his filmography, I am not alone in this. A British actor playing an American superhero…. its been done before.
He looks very young, but I am okay with that. It could suit Spiderman.
But it will take much more before I will start to get excited about another Spiderman reboot.
The quality of the hero character in superhero movies does play a role in their success, but it is not alone. The quality of the story and, in particular, the quality of the villain(s) also have enormous impacts.
For instance, most will remember Christian Bale’s Batman for the emphasemic Bat-voice. The Nolan Batman series was carried largely by the quality of the story (losing that a bit in the 3rd movie), and some outstanding performances amongst the villains.
So what should the new reboot bring to the table?
First off, it CAN NOT retell the Uncle Ben dying story over AGAIN. The rehashing of similar story is part of what hurt The Amazing Spiderman reboot. Actually, I thought Andrew Garfield did a great job on the character. He was annoying, smart mouthed, and angsty in a way that made me want to reach in to the scene to slap him. Just like Spiderman often does in the comics. But the story was terrible and villains uninspired, depending heavily on visual effects instead of quality storytelling, so Garfield suffered the fate of the series.
So, who should be the villains for the Spiderman reboot?
Spiderman’s nemesis has always been the Green Goblin. Not having him would be like doing Superman movies without a Lex Luthor appearance. But both recent series of Spiderman movies have featured this character heavily. So leading with him this time around would be an instant turn off. I liked the way James Franco’s Harry Osborne developed into the sort of villain over the 3 movies. But to then have him switch back to friend mode in the third film was too quick and clunky. Harry Osborne is a central character to the Peter Parker entourage, so I would take the time to really develop their friendship. Really focus on the sense of betrayal at their eventual falling out, and maybe by the 3rd or 4th movie in the series, only then have him suit up as the nemesis.
Dr Octopus. Has been done before and to my mind one of the better adaptations. It is hard to envisage a version of him that would bring anything new. Avoid.
The Lizard. Also been done before. And not particularly well. Avoid.
Electro. Okay, they had to forego the ligtning bolt mask, but this was THE most recent villain and not well received. I particularly disliked the ease with which the character flipped from Spidey’s number one fan to biggest threat. Avoid.
The Rhino. Also made brief appearance in the most recent Amazing Spiderman. Really need to separate this reboot as much as possible from that series for it to succeed. Would have to be nothing like the mechwarrior knock-off version to be permissable.
Mysterio. This is an interesting option, and was one of Spiderman’s earliest opponents in the comics. He seems more like a mastermind pulling the strings from behind the scenes than an action sequence combatant though. Has potential.
Vulture. Unused other than a brief allusion to the flying suit that appeared in Amazing Spiderman 2 as a set up for the doomed Sinister Six movie. Could make a good action sequence combatant, perhaps doing Mysterio’s bidding?
Scorpion. Similar to the Vulture. Basically unused. Good for action sequences. Not a particularly clever villain.
Kraven. Very interesting, but the nature with which he fits into Spiderman lore is not suited for a first villain encounter. Maybe in a later movie in the series.
Jackal. Lame-o villain who mainly fits in through the clone story arcs. Very poorly suited for adaptation to the big screen. Avoid.
Chameleon. Useable. Still not a major player. More of an underling preferring subterfuge.
Black Cat. Felicia Hardy made an appearance in the Amazing series. But she never suited up. It could be interesting to see her play a role similar to what Catwoman did for Batman returns. Especially if her advances on Spiderman leave the youngster confused because he is only just figuring out girls in general. Maybe by the second movie.
Morbuis. The sometimes anti-hero vampire. An interesting option. So long as he doesn’t sparkle, I’d be okay with it.
Hobgoblin. Linked to Green Goblin in his origin. Separating his origin storey seems hokey (hey, Spidey has multiple completely unrelated goblin themed villains. What a coincidence!) Avoid.
Demogoblin. See above.
Venom. A fan favourite, and the previous version was poorly executed. But difficult to bring in without retelling the black suit symbiote storyline over again. Would feel too much like a story line rehash, and an origin story the fanboys would be unlikely to forgive significantly rewriting.
Carnage. I should be saying as per Venom since Carnage’s origin is linked to Venom. But hold up a moment. I would be completely prepared to accept a new origin for Carnage separating him from Venom. A psycho killer gets whammied by the space artifact kind of deal, perhaps. Or, something wierd falls out of the negative zone during a Fantastic Four film that turns up somewhere later and finds its way to Cletus Kasady. I would allow it just SO CARNAGE CAN GET ON THE SCREEN AND GO NUTS! That is the first idea that would make me excited for a new Spiderman movie, and would have fanboys lining up around the block. And it would make for a brutal first opponent for the new Spiderman to take on straight out of the box. PWHOAR!
But with a largely unknown actor in the Spidey suit, could you also risk a complete unknown as Carnage?
Both I and the friend who were talking this subject over called out the first actor that came to mind to play Carnage. We both had exactly the same person in mind.
Jackie Earle Haley – or as most Superhero movie fans would remember him, Rorschach from the Watchmen movie.
We played around with different actors names, but few grabbed us as quickly and as boldly as that suggestion. Only one other name came up that we thought might be worth considering given that it is a much younger actor, and therefore may fit the youthful approach of the new series.
Nicholas Hoult. His Mad Max Fury Road performance proved that he can do crazy.
A third name did come up. And while I don’t doubt he could pull off crazy (perhaps even without trying), I find it difficult to see him achieve scary or menacing, which Carnage needs to be. John Cera.
And finally, given that Carnage would have a fair amount of CG involved, Andy Serkis was mentioned. But this isn’t a character where the CG creates the character’s expressiveness. He unmasks for that. The mask is jut meant to be scary-freaky-cool! So Serkis would be wasted.
The biggest worry about the film appears to be the trouble Marvel and Sony have in agreeing on the approach to the reboot and Spiderman character. I really do hope they can figure this out, because another failed reboot will see Spiderman shelved for anything other than the odd Avengers cameo for a long time to come. I really fear they will try and force characters to get the Sinister Six movie back off the ground, and that is a recipe for ruin.