Monday, August 2, 2010

The New Spider-Man Actor...

I don't know anything about this Andrew Garfield cat, but from some angles in this video, he looks pretty Peter Parkeresque. Hmm... Maybe I should have typed "Andrew Garfield guy.*" My apologies.

The big question is: How will the Internet respond? As I recall, people weren't too happy about Tobey Maguire's casting in the role. He wasn't my first choice (that would be me, and you have no idea how close this came to actually happening-- I detail the whole sordid saga in my forthcoming Hollywood tell-all memoir), but once Sam Raimi made his pick, I felt it was a brilliant piece of casting. Much better than Wizard Magazine's suggestion of Leonardo DiCaprio. As I'm completely ignorant of Garfield's work, I'm basing my initial opinion solely on his physical appearance, and I'm tentatively satisfied. Garfield could be a John Romita-era Parker/Spidey. Later, as more info about the film's direction comes out I'll wonder if he has the acting chops and if he'll even need them for this movie?

My hope is for a couple of resounding yesses. I like an action movie emphasizing character and acting over mammoth special effects-driven set pieces. Certainly we'll get those; this is a huge superhero flick, after all. But the character stuff isn't a given and I view it the way people used to view quality effects and music back in the day; we didn't go to see Jaws because we expected a realistic shark. If it had been, it would've merely been icing on the cake. Now the CGI shark is more important than having a coherent story and actors who can give line-readings that don't sound like cut scene voice overs from a 1993 computer game. A million work-hours will go into creating realistic sunlight-shadow play around the shark's lower precaudal pit-- this aspect will receive its own mini-featurette on the special edition 4-DVD release-- but they'll start filming without a finished script draft.

So if there's one good performance or a single memorable, quotable line in any of these damned things, I'm over the moon with joy.

Classic values like acting, directing, screenplays and dramatic unities used to count for something before movies became mere marketing points-- grotesquely overpriced and increasingly artificial ones to boot-- in mammoth multimedia extravaganzas. Lost in a flood of fast food ad campaigns, toys, video games, pirated DVD releases with Cantonese subtitles and American Chopper theme bikes, summer movies now are almost afterthoughts, if you can consider something that costs $300 million and has enough delirously nonsensical plot threads to serve any eight conventional melodramas-- Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, I'm looking at you-- an "afterthought."

Actually, I could just as easily look at the third Sam Raimi-helmed Spidey movie, a bloated mess that seems to have made this completely revamped version necessary to Sony's rapacious shareholders. But in the first two movies, Raimi managed to please just about everyone. Movie buffs like me who also happen to like superheroes received plenty of cine-substance, superhero fans who just wanted to see Spidey slinging webs all over the place got a lot of cool effects sequences and obsessive Tobey Maguire fans got Maguire spank-material by the bucketful. And those are the only kinds of people who go to movies: cinephiles, comic freaks and Tobey Maguire masturbators. Do you realize how difficult it is to please all three of those demographics with a single film?

*When the new movie comes out, some phantom editor should go to work on a version called Spider-Man Minus Andrew Garfield. It'll be just the supporting cast reacting to nothing.

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