Now that "The Amazing Spider-Man" has opened to sensational
(if not overpowering) box office, all but assuring that a sequel is coming -- in
fact, it's already got a May 2, 2014, release date -- it's time to start
speculating on where the newly rebooted series goes from here.
First, a friendly warning: We're going deep into spoiler territory from this
point on, discussing plot points and the ending from "The Amazing Spider-Man,"
so if you have not seen the film yet and don't want it ruined for you, step away
now. Otherwise, keep reading. Ready? Let's go ...
The first thing to consider is what is not in "The Amazing Spider-Man." As
sites like Vulture and Badass Digest have pointed out, scenes that have been
part of the marketing of the movie for the past year, such as a showdown in the
sewer between the Lizard (Rhys Ifans) and lesser villain Rajit Ratha (Irrfan Khan) or the Lizard telling Peter Parker
(Andrew Garfield), "If you want the
truth about your parents, Peter, come and get it," are nowhere to be found in
the release version of the movie. In fact, Ratha vanishes from the film entirely
after being trapped on a bridge by the Lizard, while another subplot about Peter
searching for his uncle's killer also leads nowhere.
Those omissions and others can, perhaps, be explained away by the possibility
that Columbia Pictures execs re-edited the film because they were not satisfied
with director Marc Webb's original cut. Rumors about this have been circulating
for a while now, and they're given greater credence by the absence of sequences
and/or shots we've seen in trailers, press materials and TV spots. They're also
supported by Webb's refusal in all interviews to say he'll be back for the
second film, which is looking very doubtful at the moment.
But the biggest exclusion from "The Amazing Spider-Man" is the so-called
"untold story" that has been part of the marketing campaign for months. Yes, we
are told that Peter's parents disappeared when he was a little boy, but we don't
get any real answer to the mystery of what happened to them. There is a fleeting
glimpse of a newspaper headline blaring something about a plane crash, but that
feels like it was stuck in at the last minute. We also don't get any fuller
understanding of why they left, or what their true connection is to the
experiments that turn Dr. Curt Connors into the Lizard, or the research going on
at Oscorp itself, except that Richard Parker took off because he did not want to
be at Oscorp anymore. But why?
There has been a rumor going around for a while that part of the "untold
story" was a major revision of Spidey's origin: that instead of becoming
Spider-Man through a random bite by a radioactive spider, he has already been
"programmed" with the genetic materials needed -- by his father, no less -- and
the "programming" is awakened by the spider's bite. In other words, he was
mutated by his own dad to eventually become a new form of human/animal hybrid --
the same kind of work that transforms Connors into the Lizard.
If that is the "untold story" -- that Peter Parker has become Spider-Man
through genetic manipulation by his own father -- will we get to learn that in
the sequel even though it was promised to us in this film?
That's just one of the questions that the next movie (which is now confirmed
to be part of a proposed trilogy) needs to answer. What is the truth regarding
Peter's parents, and how is it connected to his becoming Spider-Man? And who was
the mysterious figure that appears in Dr. Connors' jail cell during the end
credits bonus scene, asking Connors if he told Peter about his father? Here's
what we would like to see in "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" or whatever they call
Peter's parents: At least let us know what happened to them or if they alive
or dead. Let's not drag this thing out to a third or even fourth movie. Tell the
boy about his father and get that out of the way so that we can move on. As
"Prometheus" has shown, keeping something a mystery past the end credits for the
sole purpose of encouraging a sequel can be maddening to an audience.
The man in the shadows: Don't leave this plot thread hanging either. Rhys
Ifans recently told MTV that the fellow who comes to visit him in his cell is
definitely not Oscorp head Norman Osborn, but someone "in the employ" of Osborn.
And since this fellow mentions something about Peter not being told about his
father, this person is obviously someone in the know about the "untold story."
So who could it be, if not Osborn himself?
Going Green? Speaking of Norman Osborn, he is mentioned throughout "Amazing
Spider-Man" and his unseen presence haunts the film. Will we meet him in the
next film? Common sense dictates that we will, although whether he becomes the
Green Goblin or not is less certain. Perhaps the studio will save that for a
Although Christopher Nolan has shown that you can successfully reinvent
villains in his "Dark Knight" trilogy -- where he's used four bad guys who
showed up in previous Bat-films -- we can't say we're super-thrilled about
seeing Green Goblin again after Willem Dafoe played him in 2002. Bring on
Mysterio or Kraven the Hunter! It seems inevitable, however, that the Goblin
will show up, if only for one reason: Gwen Stacy.
The end of Gwen: One of the most acclaimed aspects of "Amazing Spider-Man" is
the chemistry between Garfield's Peter Parker and Emma Stone's Gwen Stacy, not
to mention Stone's all-around excellent performance. There's no doubt they make
a great screen couple. Which is why Gwen Stacy must die.
Now, before you start shouting, listen up: Fans know that one of the most
powerful moments in not just "Spider-Man" comic books but in comic book history
is when the Green Goblin drops Gwen to her death from the George Washington
Bridge. It was shocking for fans to see one of their heroes fail so badly, and
it was a landmark, turning-point moment in the development of Spider-Man's
character. By introducing Gwen as his girlfriend now, the "Amazing Spider-Man"
producers have all but ensured that she must perish, no matter how popular Stone
is. Her death will bring more gravitas and tragedy to the "Spider-Man" saga than
either the deaths of Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen) or even Gwen's father, Capt. Tracy
(Denis Leary), while altering Peter Parker's life
forever. Will the studio chicken out or do this classic story justice? Based on
the way it backed away from the more controversial aspects of "The Amazing
Spider-Man," we're not so sure.
Geeking Out On...J.J. Abrams Directing 'Star Trek' and 'Star Wars'
J.J. Abrams' 'Star Trek Into Darkness' is set to open this week, then begins the task of directing a new 'Star Wars' film for 2015. Check out this episode where Kurt argues why he's the man for the job and how it's enough already about the lens flares. Also, a few other "double dippers" in the dueling franchises as well as a few others.