I think about a world to come where the books were found by the golden ones, written in pain, written in awe by a puzzled man who questioned, "What are we here for?" All the strangers came today and it looks as though they're here to stay.

-David Bowie "Oh! You Pretty Things"

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Reboot City: Spider-man

When Marvel launched the Ultimate Marvel line, they announced that there are four properties that form the center of the Marvel Universe: the Avengers, the X-Men, the Fantastic Four and Spider-man. Well, Marvel is currently nailing The Avengers, what with the fantastic films leading up to it (Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor, and Captain America: The First Avenger), and I've already told you how the X-Men and Fantastic Four franchises should be rebooted, so I guess it's time for Spider-man, right?

The first two Sam Raimi Spider-man films were fantastic, and I have a lot of hope for 2012's The Amazing Spider-man. Of course, like all of the Marvel films, I wish that the rights to Spider-man could be signed over to Marvel Studios, but that doesn't mean that other people can't do great Spider-man films.

The reason that I already think that Spider-man needs to be rebooted once again has something to do with a little internet phenomenon that took place during the casting of The Amazing Spider-man. While the filmmakers were choosing between potential Peter Parkers who were all cute, young, and incredibly pale, actor Donald Glover of NBC's Community began a viral campaign on Facebook and Twitter petitioning for a chance to try out for the role of Peter Parker / Spider-man. I want you to note that he was not trying to get the internet to elect him to the role as opposed to the will of the filmmakers. He was merely trying to get an audition. But he was denied. Despite all of our efforts, the internet proved that we can get an old woman who is no longer funny on Saturday Night Live, but we can't even get a black man in the casting room of The Amazing Spider-man.

I blame Donald Glover for the next big news item surrounding Spider-man. Glenn Beck blames Michelle Obama, but I blame Donald Glover. Within about a year of Glover's campaign to become Spider-man, Brian Michael Bendis, the writer of Ultimate Spider-man and Ultimate Comics Spider-man made the decision to kill off Peter Parker and develop a new Spider-man. That Spider-man has been revealed as Miles Morales, a bi-racial boy who was bitten by a radioactive spider. Whereas Peter Parker was intended to be a kind of every-man (every-boy?), there were those who felt that having white people as all of the Earth's most important heroes with a few token exceptions was embarrassing. Now, we have a Spider-man who represents three interestingly under-represented groups of Americans, the black population, the Latino/Latina population, and the most under-represented of all, the bi-racial population.

What do I want for the reboot of Spider-man? Donald Glover would have been nice a year ago. As of right now, the reboot should tell the story of Miles Morales. He should be played by a young and unknown bi-racial actor with a great deal of potential. My favorite actors of the last three years have been Joel Courtney (Super 8), Hailee Stanfeld (True Grit), and Max Records (Where the Wild Things Are), and if I'm honest I have room for another one. For now I'm going to call him the kid who played Miles Morales / Spider-man.

I wish The Amazing Spider-man all the luck in the world. I hope it is the greatest superhero movie of all time and that it is one of the strongest films of the decade. But if I'm being honest I just want it to get out of the way and make room for the advent of Miles Morales. It may not make the most money at the box offices because people prefer their sedentary sameness in all things (Pirates of the Caribbean...), but it's just the right thing to do, both for the franchise and for the people of America.

And Glen Beck can blame anyone he wants for a more socially conscious America, for all I care. As long as there's a more socially conscious America, I'll even take the blame for it.

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