Guest Columnist: Your friendly neighborhood reboot

Jimmy Miller

My little brother has completely ruined backyard basketball for me.

Growing up, I’d frequently beat him in a one-on-one contest, and he’d beg for a rematch. After I’d say no and that I won fair and square, he’d trail me inside, kicking and screaming. I would reluctantly grant him a rematch like he’d beg for, but eventually, I stopped agreeing to play basketball with him because I knew he would force me into restarting every time we stepped outside.

I was reminded of this basketball anecdote when reading reports Tuesday that Sony and Marvel have agreed on a deal that essentially guarantees a reboot of the popular Spider-Man series. The two companies will share Spider-Man rights, and recasting Spider-Man to retell his high school origins is a must in order to move into some of the glamorous projects rumored to be ahead, including a “Sinister Six” villain film and a web-head sighting in “The Avengers.” 

While all of this seems promising, and it’s nice that Marvel is able to use Peter Parker as a character again, I no longer have any desire to continue spending money on a franchise that has rebooted two times in the last decade.

Sony Pictures’ “Spider-Man” trilogy concluded in 2007 with “Spider-Man 3,” tossing three villains into one subplot-riddled film. When Sony rebooted the franchise in 2012, Tobey Maguire, the original Spider-Man, was tossed to a reject pile that his successor, Andrew Garfield, likely just joined Tuesday. 

For me, the newest reboot leaves more questions than answers — some more frustrating than others. How can I possibly believe Spider-Man is ever going to get out of the origin stage, or how many more times do we have to (spoiler alert, but you’ve probably seen it twice already) see Uncle Ben die?

I’m not going to defend either series as if the movies are the epitome of great cinematography, because there were flaws that riddled both of them in key areas, such as plot development, acting, Maguire’s dance sequence in “Spider-Man 3” and a Phillip Phillips montage in “The Amazing Spider-Man 2.” But restarting the series again just devalues Spider-Man as a concept. 

Much like I couldn’t get into backyard basketball after all those years of my brother begging to rematch, I can’t emotionally attach to a new Peter Parker, no matter who plays him. A restart may present wonderful opportunities to play Spider-Man differently, or to give the new series a more serious undertone like Christopher Nolan did with Batman, but we’ve also seen two consecutive horrible reboots from Marvel before, such as the two recent Hulk movies after the Lou Ferrigno classic. After two Spider-Man failures, I say it’s either time we stick to one Spider-Man or let the series die.

There are too many frustrations that come with starting anew, and just like a game with my brother lost its luster the second, third or even fourth time through, Spider-Man will no longer be able to create any reliable storyline or emotionally appealing characters. Watching the third Peter Parker take the role since I first started liking Spider-Man will just deflate any desire to try and connect with the hero. 

And unless Sony is going to give me back the estimated $50 I’ve spent going to see these movies in my lifetime, I feel ripped off. Twice I’ve been told I am getting a Spider-Man to care about, to grow with and to feel nostalgia for, and twice I’ve been let down.

I can’t take a third disappointment.

Jimmy Miller is the sports editor. Contact him at [email protected].