Why Joss Whedon Gets Superheroes, And Marc Webb (Seemingly) Doesn’t

Image courtesy of Wikipedia and Gage Skidmore 3For anyone that hasn’t seen Marvel’s “The Avengers,”–and considering all the moolah it’s pulling in, there are probably very few people who haven’t–get out there and catch what will probably be one of the best movies of the summer.

For those who have, you’ll notice that NO time was spent exploring the origins of the assembled superheroes.  Why not?

Can you say, “Iron Man,” “Iron Man 2,” “Thor,” and “Captain America?”

In other words Joss Whedon knew that the characters that he was working with were already firmly established in the public consciousness, and there was no need to re-tread already familiar territory.

Though notice that in the case of Black Widow and Hawkeye, there are hints given of their past together–in fact the first part of the movie spends quite a bit of time establishing the two characters (which is probably why it’s a bit off tonally from the rest of the film).

Which brings me to Marc Webb’s “The Amazing Spider-Man.”  If you’ve noticed from the trailers, they appear to spend quite a bit of time with Spider-Man’s origin, despite the fact that there are THREE prior films that did just that, to varying degrees.  Now, I understand that the origin story being presented is not exactly same one that we see in Sam Raimi’s films, but I would argue that’s it’s close enough–Peter Parker bitten by radioactive spider, father killed because of his negligence, “With great power comes great responsibility,” and so on–that we don’t need to see it again.

Then there’s the time that’s spent establishing what will be a mostly familiar origin, despite the differences, as opposed to just throwing the view into whichever situation that Spidey happens to be in.

Which is a really, really dull way to go about things.  For instance, one point that separates this reboot from the three original films is that Spider-Man–like in the comics–invents his web shooters and web, unlike in Raimi’s version, where there are organic.

So, why is it that viewers need to see him inventing his web shooters?  I suspect that most are savvy enough that they will be able to accept the change without it being spelled out to them.

In other words, just treat the character as if the changes were there all along, the result of which would (in my view) be that fans of the prior films would be pleasantly surprised, while new viewers could be given hints along the way–how Peter Parker interacts with other characters, whom his girlfriend happens to be, his parents, and so on.

Then there’s the fact that Whedon has written comics for publishers like Marvel and Dark Horse.

While Webb managed to make what could have been a typical romance into something fresh and innovative with “500 Days of Summer,” though I am not sure that he can being the same sort of novelty to superheroes, only time will tell.

One thought on “Why Joss Whedon Gets Superheroes, And Marc Webb (Seemingly) Doesn’t

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