If it's crap ... We'll tell you
Whoever ends up taking “The Amazing Spider-Man” forward needs to avoid re-visiting plot lines from Sam Raimi’s trilogy because it would end up being an even bigger case of ‘Been there, done that’ – we need to something new and bold. The story should not go overboard with darkness like Christopher Nolan’s Batman did but it should not return to the campy style that plagued Raimi’s work. It’s a thin line to tread but with the proper direction and ideas I think it can be done.
The material is certainly available to give audiences something new, and it would give fans of the comic book series a chance to see different characters get their chance to shine.
Here is what I think should be done, and what should be avoided.
“New” antagonists and an evolved plot line, do not re-visit the familiar!
Re-doing a character like William Defoe’s “Green Goblin” or Thomas Haden Church’s “Flint Marko / Sandman” would be the ultimate cop-out, keep them out of this but keep the character of Norman Osborn in the frame. Osborn doesn’t need to put on that absurd suit but he should still play a part in events as a unethical businessman. What I’d like to see is the continuation of the whole “Cross-Species” plot line started by Dr. Curt Connors. It could be revealed that OSCORP has been continuing Dr. Connors work in the dark, a top-secret project led by Michael Morbius (Fans have speculated that Morbius is the ‘mystery man’ seen during the credits-teaser of the last movie). This leads to OSCORP delving into shady business practices (They are not above this as we saw in The Amazing Spider-Man) as they create cross-species mercenaries for mob-bosses who want to kill Spider-Man. Think along the lines of the “Spectacular Spider-Man” animated series and it’s early story-arc then you have a good idea what I’m getting at. Doing this would also open doors for the director to add more depth to this world by adding aspects of corporate corruption, ethical science, nature vs nuture and what it really means to “Play God”.
I feel that part of the reason Sam Raimi did not include the likes of Rhino and Scorpion in his trilogy is because they both sounded and looked silly in their previous incarnations (Cartoons, comics, etc), but with the cross-species angle Mark Webb went with I think they could be groundbreaking. Look at the concept art of the recent “Amazing Spider-Man” game and what they did to Scorpion, he looks incredible! Imagine a fight between the ‘arachnobatic’ Spider-Man and the terrifyingly lethal Scorpion?
This storyline could be built on even further as OSCORP’s creations could turn against them. In response they enlist the services of Sergei Kravinoff to hunt down and eradicate them before the Spider-Man and Gwen Stacey (Still working at OSCORP) expose what they have been doing behind closed-doors. By this point Peter Parker would have turned 18 and could start working for the Daily Bugle as a journalist while attending Empire State University, here he could help bring OSCORP’s illegal activities to light – with Gwen Stacey as his inside-woman (This could lead to something big…).
By doing this the sequel would introduce characters audiences have not seen on-film before and would create a completely engaging story. The stakes would be raised for Spider-Man as he finds himself against the natural predator of Spiders, the Scorpion.
Sounds a lot better than “Angry businessman takes epic-steroids, puts on a silly costume and goes after Spider-Man” right?
Resolve the “Disappearance of Richard & Mary Parker” plot line.
This could be easily intergrated into the OSCORP storyline mentioned above, it was even hinted at during The Amazing Spider-Man that OSCORP might have had a hand in their ‘Disappearance’. This was a problem that many had with the story of the last movie; They never explicitly stated what happened to Peter’s parents. Maybe they were laying the foundations so they could really go into it in depth during the sequel?
Resolve the “Murder of Uncle Ben” plot line.
The most we got out of this fairly big plot line in the last movie was that Peter Parker had given up his crusade to find his uncle’s killer after learning that his powers would be better used elsewhere. However, what if his hand was forced in the sequel? What if the killer’s name turned out to be MacDonald “Mac” Gargan!? Fans of the comics know that Mac Gargan is the man who becomes the Scorpion! Gargan is forced into OSCORP’s cross-species program after racking up considerable debts to a mob-boss but is promised clemency if he succeeds in killing the Spider-Man wrecking havoc on their operations. Gargan finds himself enjoying his powers too much but despairs at losing his humanity. OSCORP would have perfected their formula by this point so Gargan keeps his sanity, which would make him all the more dangerous as he has more focus and drive than the Lizard did. Curt Connors started out as a good man and that was always there, even when he was the Lizard. Gargan would be the polar opposite – a killer from the get-go who gets the means to do it better. Not only does this provide a contrast between Peter Parker’s new-found responsibility and Mac Gargan’s lack of it but this also offers a way to resolve the arc once and for all.
Re-introduce certain characters.
I know this contradicts what I wrote earlier but some characters play a huge part in Peter Parker’s story and need to be re-introduced. The manner in which we meet them again will be paramount, they cannot be done the same way they were during Raimi’s run with the story. Peter meets both Mary-Jane Watson and Harry Osborn at Empire State University, he could meet Jonah Jameson and Eddie Brock through his work for The Daily Bugle (Hard to change this one). This would not mean that current characters get moved to the side; Flash Thompson ends up becoming good friends with Peter Parker during their time at University and we saw hints that their enmity was starting to diminish at the end of the last movie, I don’t think his role is over yet.
If you’re going to make this series part of “Something Bigger”, do it properly.
Audiences have been screaming for Spider-Man to join The Avengers 2 and despite the ownership issues (Sony & Disney that is) I think it can be done. Mark Webb explicitly stated that his reboot would “Draw influence from the ‘Ultimates’ storyline” and in this larger storyline Spider-Man is involved with the super-hero team. If events in the sequel pan out like I hope they will it is entirely plausible for Spider-Man to join The Avengers, it cannot come across as being too forced otherwise audiences will just not buy it despite calling for it for a long time. Sadly, it's down to the two companies to reach an agreement to give the fans what they want.
Sony have confirmed that they are going ahead with an ‘on-the-side’ movie for Venom, which is meant to tie-in with this rebooted trilogy and will focus on the character of Eddie Brock. For this reason I suspect Brock will play a part in this sequel and will return in the final movie of the trilogy, what the nature of his role will be is anyone’s guess. To me this could either be very good or very bad, I’m hoping the former myself!
I’ve said my piece on what I hope for this sequel, like I said: The material is there in abundance and I hope Sony don't cop-out and rehash something that has already been done. Do not lose the people who you convinced to see this franchise rebooted!
What do you want to see in “The Amazing Spider-Man 2″? Do you have a different view of what the plot should be? Should there be a different antagonist?