Being a fan of pop culture naturally gets you used to the reset button. There are so many examples of TV shows, movies, comics and books that have ended up writing themselves into a corner and needing to find a way out that dramatically changes the story. Whether it’s the infamous death and subsequent return of Superman, the semi-incestuous brother/sister love story in Brothers and Sisters or the exceedingly dumb mask twist in “Mission Impossible 3,” it’s a cheat and it takes people out of the experience of culture.
Recently, writers have gotten used to this and massive retcons have become somewhat less common in media. Instead, we’re seeing the fictional reset button being used almost constantly in an attempt to ease public scorn. It all started in 2008, with the release of “The Incredible Hulk,” a brand new origin story for Bruce Banner that attempted to ease the hate against Ang Lee’s 2003 “Hulk” film.
It was a smart commercial move for Marvel but it seemed so unnecessary. Lee’s film might have been a strange departure for the character and the franchise, but it was a unique take. The 2008 version was certainly more action packed and accessible, but it existed as little more than a chance to relaunch a well-known character.
While some of the motivation was certainly designed to set up excitement and fan interest in the upcoming “The Avengers,” the existence of the sequel seemed to only be an attempt at fan appeasement. Now, they’re doing it again.
The rumors of a reboot of Spiderman had been going around since as early as last spring, with casting rumors from Jesse Eisenberg to Community’s Donald Glover, but the trailer for the film has finally materialized, telling a new origin story for the character that seemingly follows the newer “Ultimate” version of the hero’s genesis.
It’s nice that the film looks more focused and seems to tread territory that wasn’t viewed in the first film in 2002, but its mere existence begs the question of why it exists.
Even for those who don’t care about the genre, or who have never seen the films, Spiderman is a cultural icon and his origin story is something that is etched into the collective consciousness. Why then, do audiences need to see a story they knew before they saw it the first time?
It’s a question that answers itself, but it’s an answer we as a movie going audience shouldn’t be happy with. A reboot of a popular series, particularly one featuring up and coming but highly recognizable performers such as Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield is sure to be one of the biggest hits of the summer and it can be something for Marvel Pictures to bank on if “The Avengers” fails to meet the insanely high expectations that they have for it.
That being said, it’s a proven moneymaker and that’s all that really matters. What’s worse, I’ll be just another guy in line willing to watch a 10-year-old movie twice baked over.