Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Is Spider-Man Being Produced by Idiots?


John Malkovich is reportedly being considered for the role of the villain the Vulture in the next Spider-Man movie — but what’s more important is that the same report says that the villain the Lizard, who has appeared more than once as an as-yet-untransformed character in the films, will not soon make his full, scaly debut because the producers think he’s too weird-looking.

I’m fine with the Malkovulture but can in no way understand why a reptile-man wouldn’t work at least as well visually (indeed, I’m skeptical of the report). Hasn’t Hollywood done countless reptile-person villains? Have we so soon forgotten the Gorn? Have we already forgotten V?!? The Lizard would be awesome. (And there’s already bare-bones computer animation they could use as a model for making him more gecko-ish and creepily wall-crawling, if desired, since he appeared in the computer-animated late-90s Spider-Man TV series in that mode.)

Truth be told, I wrote a letter to Sam Raimi and company suggesting how they could work the Lizard into Spider-Man 2 back when they were reportedly toying with the idea, a letter noting my TV and comic book-writing experience and carefully waiving any and all legal claim to the idea, so eager was I to assist. No matter how clear you make such legal disclaimers, though, Hollywood apparently still sends back a letter saying they can’t read any outside suggestions for legal reasons. Fine. At least I tried (and now I have the ostensible signature of one of the other producers).

My suggestion was that they avoid the recurring problem of the multiple villains in these movies seeming thrown together at random by depicting Doctor Octopus and the Lizard as rival scientists, one enamored of cybernetics and the other enamored of biotech, each seeking to replace damaged limbs. Then, scientific rivalry becomes a (timely! relevant!) physical battle to the death — with their student Peter Parker caught in the middle.

But on to more culturally-significant matters in two days: the twentieth anniversary of The Simpsons.


Jacob T. Levy said...

That’s… a really good idea.

Do you think we’ll ever see a superhero movie franchise successfully make it to three high-quality movies? It’s hard not to be optimistic about Nolan’s Batman run… but, well, Spider-Man 3, X-Men 3, Superman III, Batman Forever…

Todd Seavey said...

Batman seems promising, perhaps Iron Man.

While we’re at it, two notes:

1. The MoMA Tim Burton exhibit I mentioned in my 12/12 entry was interesting in several ways, but one was the revelation that Burton’s sketches for Batman suggest that he had a much more cartoonish, _Nightmare Before Christmas_-like vision in mind that didn’t fully translate in his two Batman films but might work nicely as a comic book — a squat, gnomish, wild-haired Joker akin to the recent _The Batman_ animated version, Cat Woman’s stitched-together costume more blatantly akin to Corpse Bride, Batman’s cowl a bit “wiggly” and curvy/ghosty-looking, etc.

2. And if there really are studio bigwigs out there opposed to the Lizard, let me remind them there is _nothing_ visually-silly about a bio prof turned into bipedal alligator wearing a lab coat:


Todd Seavey said...

And here is a thoroughly unrelated “Spider-Man” story of a much less savory nature (perhaps these twins should be called Venom and Carnage, actually):


cb said...

You know, while your Octopus/Lizard scientist battle idea is fabulous, even Lizard all by himself _still_ yields a far more emotionally complex scenario for our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. At least in the comics, the Vulture was always a) goofier and b) your standard megalomaniac, and c) purely mechanistically enabled — not even as high tech as Doc Oc. I can’t think of a comic-grounded villain more lame. Even Electro would make a better big screen adaptation.

Lefty said...

The Lizard was always my favorite Spider Man villain. I’m pretty sure I even had a Lizard action figure when I was a kid.

Frank said...

Hollywood obviously still sends back Write My Homework For Me letter saying they can't peruse any external ideas for legitimate reasons.