It’s official: for the third time in fifteen years, Marvel is making a new Spider-Man film, with an entirely new actor playing Spider-Man. This time, the web-slinging superhero will be played by Tom Holland, whose work so far includes the acclaimed television series Wolf Hall and the upcoming In the Heart of the Sea, which is due out later this year.
When I heard about this reboot, my first question was “whhhhyyyyyy?” Why does Marvel keep insisting on remaking a franchise that never seems to get better over and over again? First, they gave us the Tobey Maguire version, which was mediocre to begin with, as Maguire is entirely too mild-mannered to believably play a superhero, and the whole thing (including Maguire) only got more boring as the series continued. Then, there was Andrew Garfield, who was more fun to watch, but even he suffered from a poorly written storyline and one of the most ridiculous villains to ever hit the big screen. I mean come on, a nice scientist who turns into an evil, bulletproof lizard? It was like watching Jar-Jar Binks wake up on the wrong side of the bed, and just as painful.
While I was definitely expecting Marvel to make more Spider-Man movies, I wasn’t expecting them to get rid of Garfield. Critics praised his performance and he’s an extremely likable actor. But apparently Marvel and Sony decided that at the ripe old age of 32, Garfield was too old to play Spider-Man.
Enter Tom Holland, who’s only 19. He’s already filmed his scenes for Captain America: Civil War, and his first Spider-Man movie is scheduled to come out in 2017.
Now back to my original question: why the endless Spider-Man remakes?
In true Hollywood style, it really all boils down to money.
First of all, if Sony doesn’t keep actively making Spider-Man movies, they’ll lose the rights to the character and the story. And clearly the Sony and Marvel producers believe that if they can just get it right, they’re sitting on a gold mine – and they’re not wrong.
A sort-of-recent interview of Gitesh Pandya, the editor of Box Office Guru, sheds an interesting light on the subject of remakes. According to Pandya, Hollywood doesn’t especially care if American audiences are sick and tired of their reboots, because international audiences are loving them. Case in point: 2012’s The Amazing Spider-Man, or as I like to think of it, Reboot Round One, made $262 million in North America, and almost $500 million in other countries. You have almost the exact same scenario with its 2014 sequel, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, which made a little over $200 million in North America and a little over $500 million everywhere else.
That’s over $1 billion on the last two Spider-Man movies worldwide alone. So obviously, despite all the complaining and eye rolling when more Spider-Man movie news is announced, people are still going to the theater and watching the movies.
Listen. If they’re going to continue to insist on making Spidey movies, just make them better than the existing ones. I personally don’t much like Spider-Man — I think he’s rather milquetoast as far as superheroes go — but if you’re going to keep making us sit through these, at least do a good job. You owe us that, Hollywood.