Saw “Amazing Spider-Man” yesterday. Look, I didn’t hate it, there was a lot I liked about it in fact – the cast, the amount of heart injected into the screenplay, and the – but it also felt like I had seen it all before. Because I had, at a media screening exactly ten years ago. Because it’s such a rushed reboot and encompasses very few surprises, it didn’t play as well as it could’ve had it have been released, say, eight or nine years down the track. I guess you’d say it’s an entertaining insult.
But that’s that, and Sony’s going to have the last laugh because it’s already made a packet at the box office.
Not surprisingly, what with most studios demanding a three-act sage now from their superhero movie tentpoles, the studio has revealed that “The Amazing Spider-Man” is the first in a trilogy. A trilogy, one assumes, that’ll culminate in Peter Parker getting all the answers about his parent’s mysterious death. That being, as the marketing materials remind us, ‘The Untold Story’ of the “Spider-Man” series.
But even more interesting is the revelation that much of this ‘Untold Story’ may have been left on the cutting-room floor.
Due to time constraints and no doubt the tug-of-war that goes on between studio and filmmaker, especially on these big-budget superhero movies, director Marc Webb has admitted to having had to lose quite a few good moments from the movie.
Many of these moments, Bad Ass Digest points out in an article titled, weren’t so much just minor plot points either – they were major arcs in the movie. And if you’ve seen the many trailers, TV spots and images released from “The Amazing Spider-Man”, you’ll notice much of the stuff didn’t end up in the movie.
“Even the most positive view of the movie has to acknowledge the feeling of dangling plotlines and truncated editing”, says Devin Faraci at the aforesaid site. “By my count there are two and a half major plotlines that are just left in the wind at the end of the movie: the hunt for Uncle Ben’s killer, the wrap up of Oscorp goon Mr. Ratha’s story and the mystery of Peter Parker’s parents.”
In addition to secondary villain Mr. Ratha disappearing strangely after being confronted by The Lizard on the bridge (despite leaked images suggesting he actually gets a thrashing by the creature in the original cut) and the other abandoned plotline, regarding Peter’s hunt for the tattooed killer of Uncle Ben, there’s a couple of other things that were dropped from the final cut.
Much of the story about Peter’s perplexed parents, and what they created (i.e Spider-Man, among other things) before their mysterious disappearance, has been dropped from the film.
“In the first and last trailers we hear a man – clearly Mr. Ratha – whispering ‘Do you think what happened to you, Peter, was an accident? Do you have any idea what you really are?’ That certainly sounds like a reference to Peter’s genetic destiny, and a clip that I don’t believe is in the finished film. Judging by the whisper I’m going to guess – and this is just a guess – that it is Ratha’s dying words to Peter after the Lizard does him in. This is a movie that seems like it should have at least one info dump dying declaration in it, and this would have been it.”
There was also some fab stuff featuring a nice, fun date sequence between Peter and Gwen, apparently. Dropped, no doubt, so the film could instead jump quicker into the next action sequence. And also Dr. Curt Connors was supposed to have a family, but we never actually get to see any of them in the flick. They’ve been snipped too.
Faraci says the biggest loss is, “the POV swinging scenes. The Comic-Con 2011 footage and the first trailer included a lengthy bit of POV web-slinging that was cut to shreds in the movie. This is the most baffling change in the whole film. I suspect it was done for pacing, but in IMAX and 3D this should have been big time money shot stuff.”
Question is : Why? Especially if these moments might’ve either improved or the movie or helped tie up some hanging plot points?
No idea, but I’d say it’s got something to do with the studio wanting a more action-centric picture and director Marc Webb wanting something with more heart, and both having to come to a compromise.
“Marketing was still using concepts and imagery related to a completely deleted storyline – the ‘Untold Story’ – as recently as May”, says Faraci. “This fits in with rumors I heard that a spring screening for Sony execs went poorly and changes were made. Excising the ‘Untold Story’ seems to have been the brunt of that change.”