Let me say this up front: I am a huge fan of The Amazing Spider-Man. It's the most romantic superhero movie we've seen this year -- it does things with the relationship between a superhero and a normal person that we haven't seen before -- and when it flies and soars over the streets of Manhattan, we're hypnotized by how much the movie loves its main character and the city he calls home. There's a fierce debate online between those who adored this movie and those who despised it, but it's my hope in the next year or two (or three) that folks come around to The Amazing Spider-Man because, damn, I had a good time watching it. And that's why Marc Webb shouldn't return to direct the sequel.
Let me back up. Word has it Marc Webb is wanted back for the sequel, which he's down to direct, except a previous deal with Fox Searchlight (who put out his other film, 500 Days of Summer) may force him to step away from the Spider-Man franchise in order to fulfill that commitment to Fox, assuming they make him go that route. Based on stories like this one from the L.A. Times, Fox let him go once to make The Amazing Spider-Man, but they're unlikely to let him go again... unless, say, he commits to a two-picture deal with them instead of the one-picture deal he currently has.
So right now we're in this sort of in-between zone as the filmmaker negotiates his way through a very tricky time in his career. Does he stick around and tackle this Spider-Man franchise, or does he bail and go make movies for Fox Searchlight? I think he should bail, and here's why.
Marc Webb is special. He's one of those rare directors who makes us feel a relationship. He makes us hurt, laugh, cry and cheer on a "movie romance" like few others are able to do these days. He fixates on the little moments; the smile, the touching, the jokes and the kiss. His movie kisses are so great, and while it may seem weird to applaud a director for his kisses, it's a large part of the reason why this guy needs to move on to the type of material that really suits him.
I don't feel like Marc Webb is a superhero franchise guy. As much as I loved what he did with The Amazing Spider-Man, injecting the genre with a much-needed dose of heartfelt emotion, I'd much rather see him continue honing those skills on smaller films. These days, relationship movies are a dime a dozen, but relationship movies that actually move you to remember them are few and far between.
But we need them, just like we need the superhero movies. Marc Webb is full of too much potential -- the kind of potential I'm afraid he may lose if he's stuffed in a room with Transformers writers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, who were no doubt brought on to help craft more eye-catching action sequences in favor of the lovey-dovey moments Webb is so good at producing.
So let them do that. Let them do what Orci and Kurtzman do so kinda well, and let Marc Webb off the hook. Let this guy go make different films; stuff that plays to his strengths, yet also takes chances with characters and what we've come to expect from your typical on-screen relationship. I want Marc Webb telling more personal stories, and I'm just afraid at this point there's no way to continue doing that with a Spider-Man franchise looking to kick up its attitude (and spectacle) more than a few notches.
What do you think? Is Marc Webb the guy to direct The Amazing Spider-Man 2?
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