In case you were wondering, that’s skinny Steve Rogers (Chris Evans + CGI) above, and Magneto (Michael Fassbender) and Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) apparently enjoying some downtime below.
Also not to be forgotten, we have another official pic of Marc Webb’s Amazing Spiderman. Looks good in a dark room, at least.
Update: Just as I finished posting this, a promo image leaks from Matthew Vaughn’s X-Men First Class. From left to right: “Michael Fassbinder as Magneto, Rose Byrne as Moira MacTaggert, January Jones as Emma Frost, Jason Flemyng as Azazel, Nicholas Hoult as Beast, Lucas Till as Havoc, Zoe Kravitz as Angel Salvadore, Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique, and James MacAvoy as Charles Xavier.” Looks…crowded.
“James’s charm, warmth and wit are legendary as is his range as an actor in both comedic and dramatic roles. We feel very lucky to be able to welcome him as one of our cast.” Peter Jackson fills out his Dwarf Company with James Nesbitt and Adam Brown as Bofur and Ori respectively. “Adam is a wonderfully expressive actor and has a unique screen presence. I look forward to seeing him bring Ori to life.“
And, elsewhere in fanboy casting news, Andrew Garfield’s Peter Parker (and Marc Webb’s Spiderman) may soon have some caretakers in Martin Sheen as Uncle Ben and Sally Field as Aunt Mary. Compared to Rhys Ifans as The Lizard, that casting seems pretty by-the-book. Still not bad…but do we really have to sit through the origin story again?
“On selecting Garfield, director Marc Webb said, ‘Though his name may be new to many, those who know this young actor’s work understand his extraordinary talents. He has a rare combination of intelligence, wit, and humanity. Mark my words, you will love Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker.‘”
I’m inclined to agree — this is really great casting. Better than Tobey Maguire, in fact. Sony’s Spiderman reboot finds its friendly neighborhood webslinger in Andrew Garfield of The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus and Red Riding ’74 (and soon of Never Let Me Go and The Social Network.) And given the Peter Parkerish sensiblity at work in Webb’s (500) Days of Summer, this project actually seems to be coming together quite nicely.
“Webb said, ‘This is a dream come true and I couldn’t be more aware of the challenge, responsibility, or opportunity. Sam Raimi’s virtuoso rendering of Spider-Man is a humbling precedent to follow and build upon. The first three films are beloved for good reason.’” Well, actually, not many care much for Spidey 3. In any event, the post-Raimi reboot of Spiderman at Sony has found its director in Marc Webb, previously of (500) Days of Summer.
A solid choice, although two things give me pause: 1) It’s hard to escape the sense that Webb was picked mainly because the studio suits think that, unlike Raimi, he’ll be more malleable than a lot of the A-list names floating around (Fincher, Cameron). 2) The ramifications of the following sentence might just end up being terrible: “The touchstone for the new movie will not be the 1960s comics…but rather this past decade’s ‘Ultimate Spider-Man’ comics by Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley where the villain-fighting took a back seat to the high school angst.”
“A decade ago we set out on this journey with Sam Raimi and Tobey Maguire and together we made three ‘Spider-Man’ films that set a new bar for the genre. When we began, no one ever imagined that we would make history at the box-office and now we have a rare opportunity to make history once again with this franchise.“
Um, ok. Apparently as a result of continuing tensions between Sam Raimi (still gunshy after being forced to include Venom in Spiderman 3) and the studio suits (who wanted him to move ahead anyway), Sony puts the kibosh on Spiderman 4 and sends Raimi, Maguire, et al on their way. Next up is a reboot, scripted by Zodiac‘s James Vanderbilt and slated for 2012. (Here’s a tip — Don’t give the Green Goblin a cruddy mask this time.)
Also, in much less interesting Marvel firing news, Stuart Townsend is out as Fandral in Kenneth Branagh’s Thor, and has been replaced by Joshua Dallas of the forthcoming Red Tails and The Descent 2. Hmm…Perhaps he was still bitter about the whole Aragorn thing.
Sam Raimi’s Spiderman 3, which I saw a week ago, before this recent illness descended in earnest, is — as you likely already know — a disappointment. Both undercooked and overstuffed, it oftens feels like a Sequel-By-Numbers, the creation of a boardroom of comic-book-ignorant Sony suits who sat down and watched the splendid Spiderman 2, brainstormed for two hours about what its main selling points were, and tried to add 20% more of each to Spidey 3. The end result, as Joseph II might say, has too many notes. There occasionally seems to be a decent, heartfelt Sam Raimi Spidey foray struggling to get out in here somewhere, but it’s mostly wrapped up and powerless against the black suit of the corporate bottom line. I highly doubt this film will be the end of Spiderman, after that outrageous opening weekend take, but it does sadly suggest that it may be time for Raimi & co. to escape Spidey’s web and take a break from the franchise.
In true comic-book fashion, Spiderman 3 begins basically where the last installment left off, with Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson (Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst, both of whom seem bored) in love, his secret identity out to her. But, just as our friendly neighborhood webslinger begins to contemplate wedding bells in his future, a slew of supervillains rise up to disturb Spidey’s domestic peace: The Green Goblin II (James Franco, putting in his best work of the series), who’s also aware of Spidey’s identity and is out to avenge his father’s death; The Sandman (Thomas Haden Church, good with what he’s given), who’s out to find his daughter some quality affordable health care (good luck! Even fantasy has limits); and, most troubling, Venom (ultimately, Topher Grace, a likable actor that sadly doesn’t work here), an oozing alien symbiote that first draws out Spiderman’s dark side before congealing with his biggest rival at the Daily Bugle, photoshop expert Eddie Brock. Eventually, Spidey must find a way not only to beat back this rogues’ gallery before doom befalls Ms. Watson high above Manhattan, but also come to terms with his darkest impulses, grapple with his deepfelt desire to cut a rug in a jazz club, and make Mary Jane feel important and special despite her withholding secrets from Peter most of the movie for unexplainable reasons. Can he pull it off, Spider-fans?
Maybe so, but the movie sure can’t. If that litany of villains put you in mind of the later installments of the Batman franchise, Batman Forever or Batman and Robin, you’re in the right ballpark. Basically, Raimi has too many balls in the air this time around (I haven’t even mentioned Gwen Stacey, who’s also in here for some reason), and the film just can’t do justice to all of them. The Sandman in particular is given short shrift — much time is devoted to giving him a backstory, but it gets dropped halfway through and never amounts to much. Meanwhile, other important plot points, such as how Spidey’s enemies decide to gang up on him, are handled perfunctorily, apparently to make room for more wet blanket Mary Janeisms or badly-conceived comedy involving J. Jonah Jameson (J.K. Simmons). By the end of the film, when Harry Osborne’s butler becomes Basil Exposition and Spiderman runs around without a mask in front of hundreds of cameras, the carelessness taken with this installment of the franchise becomes manifest. Raimi would likely have done better to leave Venom out of this episode and saved him for the next one (and, indeed, circumstantial evidence suggests that Venom was foisted on him by Sony — Raimi wanted the Vulture.) As it is, though, Spiderman 3 is a swing-and-a-miss — not as bad as X3, mind you, but definitely the worst outing thus far in the Spidey franchise. ‘Nuff said.
Venom (Topher Grace) comes to the fore in the final, very spoilerish, and Comcastic trailer for Sam Raimi’s Spiderman 3 — really, it seems like more of an executive summary than a preview. And, also up this weekend is the trailer for Matthew Vaughn’s version of Neil Gaiman’s Stardust, featuring, among others, Charlie Cox, Sienna Miller, Claire Danes, Michelle Pfeiffer, Robert De Niro, Ricky Gervais, Jason Flemyng, Rupert Everett, Ian McKellen, and Peter O’Toole. Not a bad cast, that, and with Layer Cake‘s Vaughn at the helm, I’ll go see it, even if this trailer is a mite underwhelming.
It‘s official: Maggie Gyllenhaal takes Katie Holmes’ place in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight. And, with Tobey Maguire appearing to beg off any future webslinger installments after Spidey 3, the door is now wide open for Maggie’s brother Jake…
I’m talking about the man in the mirror…Two new posters for Sam Raimi’s Spiderman 3 make it online, showcasing the Spidey-Venom duality.
The new Sandman-heavy trailer for Sam Raimi’s Spiderman 3 is now online. To be honest, I think I preferred the teaser — this one doesn’t really grab me (and it seems to give away too many plot points.) Nevertheless, here it is.
As most of y’all likely already know, this past weekend was Comic-Con 2006 in San Diego, which means an exceedingly large amount of news in the fanboy department. To wit:
Elsewhere, Michael Bay’s big-budget version of The Transformers gets a teaser (hopefully the robots work better than the website), and Spiderman 3 gets spoiled rotten over at Dark Horizons — Seriously, don’t go if you don’t want to know.
“This is about camaraderie. It’s about teamwork, but most of all it’s about history. It’s really about knowing your roots. I mean, kids today, they’re reading about Wolverine’s clone sister. What the hell is that about?” The Secret Wars Re-Enactment Society (By way of Do You Feel Loved?) For old-school comic fans, this is worth seeing for the Kang and Ultron costumes alone. (And, as Chris noted, the payoff is pretty funny too.)
Superhero Hype! procures an impressive new pic from Spiderman III, and it’s official: Peter Parker is donning the black garb…which means the long-swirling rumors that Topher Grace is playing Venom seem to be on the money. Hmmm. Even with the Sandman involved, I’d have preferred to see more of Spidey’s classic rogues’ gallery before Raimi & co. got to the peeved symbiote in question. Update: As a keen-eyed AICN fanboy noted, is Parker asleep in this pic? That’d dovetail nicely with the comics, when, pre-Venom, the costume started getting a mind of its own.
Another Superbowl has come and gone (Congrats to the Steelers, some of the calls notwithstanding), and — while I personallly preferred the FedEx cavemen and Hummer monsters — some new movie ads were scattered throughout the game, including new looks at V for Vendetta, MI:III, Poseidon, and Pirates of the Caribbean. (And, also in movie news, the increasingly over-stuffed Spiderman 3 picks up another marquee name with James Cromwell as Capt. Stacy, Gwen’s father.)
Clone Wars and Samurai Jack creator Genndy Tartakovsky will helm The Power of the Dark Crystal. And, in other fanboy news, Bryce Dallas Howard shows off the Gwen Stacey tresses while promoting Manderlay, and Dark Horizons obtains a pretty large spoiler about James Franco’s role in Spiderman 3.
Curiouser and curiouser…The Village‘s Bryce Dallas Howard joins Spiderman 3 as none other than Gwen Stacy, Peter Parker’s doomed childhood sweetheart. I find this somewhat strange, since they’d basically turned Kirsten Dunst’s Mary Jane Watson into Gwen Stacy in the first film (#6). (Plus, they’ve switched hair-colors, but ah well.)
The first official pic of Thomas Haden Church in Spiderman 3 is released, and, sure enough, he’s that candy-coated clown they call the Sandman.
Oops. While promoting Cameron Crowe’s Elizabethtown, Kirsten Dunst seems to have revealed the villains for Spiderman 3: Sandman and Venom. (Let’s hope, for Spidey’s sake, that MJ is less flippant about disclosing Peter Parker’s identity.) Thomas Haden Church as the Sandman was a gimme, but, given Sam Raimi’s purported affinity for the classic villains, I felt pretty sure Topher Grace would be Electro.
That ’70s Show and In Good Company star Topher Grace joins the cast of Spiderman 3, likely as a villain. It seems pretty clear Thomas Haden Church is The Sandman, but I can’t think offhand of who Grace might be playing. Electro, perhaps? Or will he be Venom?
Sam Raimi declares he’s up for directing a whopping six Spiderman movies in total. That’s a bold statement. I mean, has he seen Superman IV: The Quest for Peace? (And speaking of the Big Guy, Blue Tights has posted an intriguing behind-the-scenes look at Supes’ three-axis flying rig.)
In Marvel film news, the Fantastic Four trailer from ShoWest makes it online (nope, still not feeling it), and there’s more talk of the villains for X3 and Spidey 3: Dark Phoenix and (as I guessed…booyah) The Sandman respectively.
Thanks to ShoWest and otherwise, there’s been quite a bit of fanboy news to come down the pike in the past few days…
“Absolutely we wanted to have a villain not only who would fulfill the character needs but somebody who could entertain the audience on a visceral level and provide great visuals, something we haven’t seen before, and create a real challenge and great foe for Spider-Man and his unique spidery, spider-like powers.” Sam Raimi announces he’s picked a villain for Spiderman 3, but won’t say who it is. After the Green Goblin/Hobgoblin and Dr. Octopus, Spiderman doesn’t have all that many more culturally resonant arch-nemeses in his Rogue’s Gallery: It’d be hard to see them building a movie around Mysterio, Electro, The Vulture, The Sandman, or Kraven the Hunter. And, while Green Goblin II, The Lizard, and Man-Wolf were all alluded to in Spidey II, only the Harry Osborne/James Franco storyline seems weighty enough to build a third feature around, and I’m not sure they’d want to repeat the Goblin so quickly. So, unless Webhead takes on the entire Sinister Six, I think it’s a pretty good bet we’ll be seeing Venom in the next installment. He got really quickly overused in the McFarlane era, which is right around where I stopped reading Spidey (give or take a few issues of the Straczynski run.) But he should also be an FX dream on film if done right.