I’m inspired by The Amazing Spider-Man. I didn’t really want to write this column. I had no original ideas and I didn’t want to take the time to say anything new. Coming up with something creative to say just wasn’t in the bag this week. So I figured I’d just rewrite — or reboot — last week’s column about Magic Mike.
Because my dear reader, this editorial space is really just an excuse to fill a hole on a piece of paper, and the main reason that piece of paper was ever created was to sell advertising, which would then make money. It’s a deep, dark secret around these here media parts. Your enjoyment of my writing doesn’t matter. As long as you pick up Fast Forward Weekly (or any other print publication) someone will be able to sell advertising and people will make money.
It’s very similar to the film industry, where the goal isn’t to tell good stories, it’s to maximize revenue.
So whether or not you’ve already spent time thinking critically about the dramatic shortage of penises in Magic Mike is irrelevant. The reboot of The Amazing Spider-Man proves that the folks at the top think you, as a consumer, will spend your hard-earned cash on the same thing over and over again.
So here we go. We’re rebooting last week’s Magic Mike column. It’s going to say the exact same thing but it’s going to be darker and more ominous. Well, it’s not going to be too dark or too ominous — that might alienate potential revenue streams, and I’m not Chris Nolan over here guys, take it easy — but trust me, there are going to be some seriously dark and ominous undertones. Or, at the very least, I’m going to try to repeat the words “dark” and “ominous” as many times as I can in this paragraph. Dark and ominous. Dark and ominous.
That’s what sells. So we’re going to go dark. The font will be bold (emboldened? Editor, help me out here) and the opposite of comic sans.
Man, the dramatic tension in this column is insane.
If this all sounds hopelessly cynical, I do not apologize. The hallowed halls of the Reel Talk offices have echoed with defences of comic book adaptations for ages. But this movie has pushed me too far. Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man represents a triumphant accomplishment in nerd-cinema and as much as I love me some Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone, there’s simply no way to justify this film’s existence.
There’s not actually anything wrong with rebooting comic book films. Throughout their long history, most superheroes have had their stories retold countless times by different writers, and just last year we saw a new cinematic take on the X-Men franchise that was superior to the original. And, of course, rebooting Batman worked wonders for the character.
But The Amazing Spider-Man feels different. The film’s heavy focus on Spider-Man’s origin story means a large chunk of the movie is simply a rehash of information we already know. Rebooting a franchise is supposed to make it fresh, but there’s none of that here. It’s literally just the same story, again — but this time with more brooding.
This is a problem that’s likely going to become more common in the coming years. Batman, for example, is simply too lucrative a character to leave on the shelf. But with Nolan saying he won’t make any more Batman films after The Dark Knight Rises, someone else is going to need to take the reins. And they’ll have a choice. They’ll either emulate Nolan’s tone and style or they’ll bring their own unique vision and tell a story we haven’t heard before.
Unfortunately, the people behind The Amazing Spider-Man didn’t even make that choice. They just did the exact same thing that was done before and trusted us to give them their money.