It happened on my last outing to the movie theatre. I scratched my head. I couldn’t believe it. I wasn’t alone. Several members of the audience turned to each other, and asked out loud things like, “Didn’t they just do that?” or “Again??”
These comments weren’t in response to the movie. They were in response to the trailers preceding the movie. Specifically, a trailer for Spider-Man. A new Spider-Man, telling the origin of Spider-Man. Except, we’ve only just recently been treated to three excellently-written and filmed Spider-Man adventures, all of which more than took us on a journey with the iconic character. Now, while the trailer was shot from an interesting perspective (i.e.: the point of view of Spidey as he swings and climbs), the fact remains that Spider-Man’s origin story is already well-developed. And, while I’m all about new explorations, I simply don’t see the draw of exploring it again, however well done. Even Batman wasn’t done better until several years after the fact.
And Spider-Man isn’t the only blast from the proverbial past to which we’re being treated. Take the Smurfs, for example (like we needed them the first time around). Or Winnie the Pooh. The explorations of origin stories began some time ago; I actually first noticed the trend with Batman Begins, then Superman returned, then we were treated to Wolverine’s backstory, then the X-Men’s…and that’s just within the context of the superhero genre. I can’t help but be curious as to why. Jeffery Overstreet attributes the phenomenon to nostalgia, which, I agree, can’t be underestimated as a moving cultural force, especially during a time of (perpetual) war.
I also wonder if there’s really a shortage of original ideas in the medium of film. Or, if business interests are driving writers and film-makers to produce origin stories. Perhaps to capitalize on our nostalgia? Whatever the case, I’m going to be honest: I’m sort of over the origin story concept. I’m as nostalgic as the next guy, but not nostalgic enough to watch Spider-Man’s origin again so soon.
Do you think the new Spider-Man film is capitalizing on nostalgia? Are we out of new ideas? Are you tired of re-makes of classics? Tell me…I’m interested to hear.
Photo Attribution: JD Hancock